University Learning Through Sport Initiative Receives International Recognition

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The University of Worcester has been Highly Commended by the 2012 World Leisure International Innovation Prize for its community driven sporting initiative, Learning Through Sport.

Learning Through Sport was developed by the University of Worcester more than 10 years ago as a community outreach project to bridge the gap between young people and higher education, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds or children with disabilities.

Since then, the project has grown significantly and has enjoyed national and international success.

Mick Donovan, Head of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester, who conceived the idea for the initiative, said: “We are thrilled to receive recognition from the World Leisure International Innovation Prize. Learning Through Sport has been a fantastic building block to inspire children from non-traditional higher education backgrounds to maximise their sporting potential and engage them in learning.”

The 2012 World Leisure Innovation Prizes will be awarded at the 12th World Leisure Congress being held in Rimini, Italy and the University of Worcester’s “Highly Commended” award will be mentioned in the Awards Ceremony.

Mick continued: “We have worked with thousands of people from local, regional, national and international communities. The work we have done as a result of Learning Through Sport has seen some fantastic educational outcomes and increased participation in sport from under represented groups significantly.”

The annual Learning Through Sport Day is organised in partnership with County’s leading sports clubs, including the Worcestershire County Cricket Club and the Worcester Wolves Basketball Team. Over 200 students attend the event each year and are involved in a wide range of games and activities planned by University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science staff.

The University’s Worcester Arena, set to open in February 2013, will further build on its community outreach work. The 2,000-capacity sport facility will carry out research into disability sport education, training, coaching and coach education. Significant funding towards the project has been received in recognition of the University’s extensive community Learning Through Sport work.