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Silver Fund opens £15k fund to boost physical activity

Hiking North East Project

North East Hike

A fund set up to help students enhance and enrich their experience at the University of Sunderland helped the Institute of Sport deliver a new a ‘Hiking North East’ activity.

This project, funded by the Silver Fund, was designed to promote increased physical activity, emphasise the mental wellness benefits of exercising outdoors whilst simultaneously giving students a unique experience visiting historic North East Heritage sites.

Rob Graham, Sport Development Officer, said: “We offered this two-day residential hill walking/rambling activity travelling to Northumberland to hike Lindisfarne Holy Island and sections of the Coast and Castle Northumberland Coastal walking route.

“Impressively, every student who attended our Northumberland Coastal Hike has gone on to continue participating in sport or physical activity within the University in some form.

“One of our primary aims with this project was to showcase the North East to students who are either from another country or locals who had yet to explore outside their immediate community. This objective was clearly reached as we had students from a number of countries attend including Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Poland and Denmark.”

He continued: “The project was an overall success based on the resounding positive feedback and impact on those students who attended. This initial investment from the Silver Fund has also enabled the Institute of Sport to attract external funding in order to continue delivery into the next academic year.

“Using evidence and insight gained from the Northumberland Coastal Hike project, Institute of Sport staff were able to write a strong funding bid to British Universities College Sport and Sport England which secured £15,000 to sustain delivery until December 2018.

“This funding has meant the Institute of Sport can offer students multiple hikes/treks monthly with additional outdoor activity such as surfing, paddle-boarding, coasteering, bouldering, kayaking etc. The project has targeted approximately 300 students over its six month period.”

The Institute of Sport currently engages with more than 8000 students each year across several varying projects, providing University defining experiences for students through sport and health. The student body has been the primary beneficiary of these activities, with a special focus on students accessing support from Student Wellbeing, Disability Support Services and students enrolled on EPA (English for Academic Purposes).

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