'Inspirational' University of Worcester Arena Shortlisted for Higher Education Award

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The University of Worcester Arena has been shortlisted for a prestigious Guardian University Award.

The University Arena is one of three nominations in the ‘Buildings that Inspire’ category; one of 15 awards which will be given out at this month’s annual ceremony, which recognises and showcases the very best work being undertaken in the higher education sector.

The Buildings that Inspire award was open to entries from universities across the country, and aims to find the projects that have ‘positively enhanced the student and/or staff experience on campus, whether through a new build or a redevelopment’.

Since opening in 2013, the University of Worcester Arena – the country’s first indoor sporting venue designed specifically to meet the needs of wheelchair athletes - has provided a hub at which University, community and inclusivity could thrive, and cemented Worcester’s position at the forefront of inclusive sport in this country.

International netball, basketball and wheelchair basketball fixtures, along with national championships in badminton and taekwondo, have been staged at the venue, which is also home to the Worcester Wolves.

The University Arena is the training base for Great Britain’s wheelchair basketball teams and, later this year, will host the sport’s European Championships. As well as attracting elite athletes and high profile international fixtures, the venue has also acted as a base at which students and countless school, disability and community groups have been able to thrive.

Mick Donovan, Head of the University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, says: “We are thrilled that the University Arena has been recognised in this way. The transformation of a formerly derelict site into a truly world-class sporting arena is something which the University is rightfully proud of.

“The University has always had a strong focus in inclusive sport, and we are delighted that the University Arena has been able to build on this success, removing the barriers to sport participation and offering elite athletes, community members and students the chance to develop their love and passion for sport.”

The Guardian awards – now in their third year - aim to recognise and reward projects in universities that demonstrate genuine innovation in the sector, collaborative delivery on the ground, and meaningful impact both inside their institutions and beyond, with the potential to inspire others.

The University’s most recent success at the Guardian awards came in 2013, when the Hive won the ‘Contribution to the Local Community’ award. This year’s ceremony will take place in London on March 18.