Nearly £1million is to be spent on coaching and support for sports teams at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) over the coming year under plans announced today.
Leicester City legend and DMU football coach Matt Elliott with students
DMU’s sports performance team is joining forces with DSU (De Montfort Students' Union) staff to deliver the ambitious programme and create one sports development department called DMUsport. It represents the largest annual investment ever made in sport at the university.
It comes after DMU recorded its best-ever year in the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) league, which represents 162 institutions across the UK.
Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, said: “I believe sport is an essential part of student life and has so much to teach us about how we achieve our goals. This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our students have the best possible experience at university.
“We are looking forward to developing the potential of our talented teams and inspiring them to achieve, as well as offering new opportunities for students who may not have thought of joining a team.”
Research has shown that students who take part in sports while at university earn higher salaries than those who do not. A study by Sheffield Hallam University found employers praised the tangible skills in leadership, coaching and management developed by those who have held committee positions.
DMUsport will be led by Sports Performance Manager Fiona Dick. From September, the new team will be based together at The Watershed rather than different offices in buildings at the DSU and DMU.
Plans are in place to enter more teams into the BUCS league and increase opportunities for DMU students to represent their sports by working with national governing bodies. There is a handy Q&A at the bottom of the article which explains to students how the change will affect their team.
DMU’s inclusive approach to sport has led to strong connections with grassroots teams and links with local clubs.
Although focused on competitive sport, part of its remit will be to develop the hugely successful Campus330 programme which encouraged more people to try free sports or fitness sessions on campus.
DSU Vice-President Ahtesham Mahmood will be part of a team overseeing sport, working with DMU’s Pro Vice-Chancellor International James Gardner
Ahtesham said: "I am excited by the continued partnership between DSU and the university in the provision of sport at DMU, which comes off the back of the most successful year ever for our sports teams.
"Not only did we enjoy BUCS league titles from six of our teams, but the students' union's Campus 330 initiative helped more students than ever get involved in non-competitive sport for free. I am especially excited to see that this provision will continue, given the benefits sporting involvement has on both our students' social and academic lives.
"It is also positive to see that the university recognises the role that extra-curricular involvement has on making students' university lives unforgettable. I look forward to the additional investment and hope to see the partnership go from strength to strength."
Earlier this year Prof Shellard delivered a keynote speech on the importance of football to university.
He described how, as captain of his university football team, he had seen first-hand how sport had helped develop fellow students’ confidence, commitment and resilience.
Over the past few years, DMU has invested millions in sports facilities. This has included the £8million QEII Leisure Centre, the £1million Watershed building – a home for DMU rowing, but also a permanent base for football teams – and a £2million project to open FA-standard pitches at Beaumont Park in Beaumont Leys.
Sports administration is moving from De Montfort Students' Union (DSU) to De Montfort University (DMU). I have so many questions…
Please see the Q&A below and any other queries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What does this change mean for our club?
The overall responsibility to manage/facilitate your sports club falls with the DMUsport Team. Overall club governance remains with DSU and will be supported by DSU’s new Student Activities Administrator, overseen by your elected representative Ahtesham Mahmood (VP Student Activities).
Where are the DSU Sports Development staff?
Jake Betts and Sam Davis from DSU Sports are due to start new roles within the university’s DMUsport team. Ross Harrison, DSU’s Sports Development Manager, has moved onto pastures new and we would like to thank him for his service to sport at DMU.
Is the Sports Office still in the Students’ Union? Where will the team be based?
The Sports Office will no longer be based in the Campus Centre; the new DMUsport Team will be based at the Watershed. DSU’s new Student Activities Administrator will be based in the Students’ Union building.
I’ve got a question about my club. Who do I speak to?
You can speak to any member of staff in the DMUsport Team, who will be more than happy to help you with any queries you may have. You can email them at email@example.com If your query is about self-funding or the governance of your club, get in touch with DSU’s Student Activities Administrator.
What happens with our funding?
DMUsport will provide funding for sport teams to affiliate, transport for matches and training, coaching, kit and equipment. Each sports club will still have a self-funding account at DSU, and the Student Activities Administrator will be the person to speak to regarding all reimbursements and payments.
Do we still have a self-funding account? How do we access these?
Yes – you will keep your existing self-funding account, which will continue to be managed by DSU. Full guidance will be given during your Committee Training in September. If you need to speak to anyone in the meantime, please contact Activities Manager Tom Nicholls at DSU.
Where do we send invoices to from last year?
Any outstanding invoices need to be sent to DSU by Monday 8 August. If you have any queries regarding invoices from last year, contact the DSU Activities Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s happening with the Sports and Societies Fair during Fresher’s this year?
Due to the work being carried out on Mill Lane, the new Activities Fair will be held in Hawthorn Square and Magazine Square, which will take place on Thursday 29 September. Feel free to start making plans to make your stall interesting and inviting and you will be contacted by DMUsport and DSU in due course.
Can we still run our taster session on the weekend after the Fair? How do we go about doing this?
Yes – taster sessions will take place on Saturday 1 October and Sunday 2 October. Your sports committee will be contacted by a member of the DMUsport team about when booking/allocation of spaces is open.
What’s happening with our coaching staff?
All coaches will be notified in the near future regarding how to apply for coaching positions as the university will now employ coaches on DMU contracts.
Do our training facilities stay the same from last year? What if we want to change them?
Training and match venues will be booked in the coming weeks in conjunction with the release of the BUCS leagues. Any requests for a change in facilities should be emailed to the DMUsport Team
We want to book a space at the QEII for this academic year; when does this happen?
The DMUsport team will be putting together a timetable of activity at the QEII for our sports teams. Your sports committee will be contacted by a member of the DMUsport team to discuss. Any requests should be emailed to the DMUsport team.
We’ve got a new sponsor, who do we talk to about this?
Sponsorship agreements will continue to be handled by DSU. You will be able to download the sponsorship contract from your new committee resources section soon on the students’ union website.
We want to sort match kit for next year, how do we do this?
Match kit provision is to be handled by the new DMUsport team. The ambition is to have brand new match kit with the DMUsport branding on. We are currently liaising with kit manufacturers to ensure we can have this in time for the new season. You can speak to any member of staff in the DMUsport Team, who will be more than happy to help you with any queries you may have.
How do we order new equipment?
Identify any equipment you think your sports team will need for the forthcoming year with a quote from a company. Discussions will then take place with the DMUsport team on whether to move forward with the purchase (budget dependant).
If a problem has arisen regarding sport, who do I speak to?
The Sports Department at DMU is always on hand to help with any problems or issues that may have arisen within your club. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable speaking to the team, your elected representative at DSU is VP Student Activities Ahtesham Mahmood who will be more than happy to discuss your needs, as will the Student Activities Administrator.
Posted on Tuesday 2nd August 2016