Monday 6th September 2021

Scottish Student Sport is seeking to appoint Equality Steering Group Chair with an outstanding commitment to equality and diversity and the importance of reducing barriers to activity in Scottish Sport.

Scottish Student Sport is seeking to appoint a new Chair for our Equality Steering Group. We are looking for an individual with an outstanding commitment to equality and diversity and an understanding of the role Scottish Student Sport has in developing the student experience in Scotland alongside the importance of reducing barriers to accessing sport and physical activity. We highly value the diversity of thought which comes from having different voices around the table, drawn from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and characteristics.

We are looking for an individual who mirrors our values, has strong leadership skills, is passionate about achieving positive social change, is keen to play an active role in driving that change, and will help us to expand the agenda and achieve our strategic goals.

Scottish Student Sport (SSS) was established in June 2011 with the aims of ensuring quality and breadth in well-managed sporting programs, increasing and promoting involvement in physical activity, and aiding and supporting the development of appropriate professional structures and systems throughout sport in tertiary education in Scotland.

The SSS Equality Steering Group was created in 2018 to advise and prompt the staff, committees, and networks of SSS on all relevant aspects of equality and inclusion, with particular emphasis on ensuring adherence to a rolling Equality Action Plan for the organisation. The role of Chair will include providing support and direction for the group, the chairing of up to eight meetings in a year, and generally being an excellent advocate of equality and diversity within student sport.

The group has an annual action plan which will steer the work of the group which alongside the Chair is made up of;

  • Emmanuel Akerele – SSS’ Ethnicity Lead
  • Georgia Moran – SSS’ Women’s Lead
  • Laura Pilkington – SSS’ Disability Lead
  • Carolina Sousa e Sá – SSS’ LGBTQ+ Lead
  • Keith Macleod – Institute of Sport & Exercise, University of Dundee
  • Fraser Reynolds – Edinburgh Napier Student Association
  • Jenny Beedie – University of Glasgow Sport Union
  • Ian Lowe – Head of Development, SSS
  • Eilidh Paterson – Development Coordinator, SSS

Applications close on Sunday 26th of September 2021, further information and details on how to apply can be found here. Please contact Eilidh if you have any questions or queries about the role.

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Monday 28th June 2021

It is safe to say moving to university or college can be a daunting experience for anyone. In our latest webinar, we heard from QMU student Brenna Collie and Fife College student Cameron Hemphill on the transition process for students with a disability moving onto university or college.

As part of the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Young Start Programme, 1st year Queen Margaret University student Brenna Collie and Fife College student Cameron Hemphill both agreed that the topic of transitioning to University and College as a disabled person was an area they would have appreciated more guidance on. From there, the idea of a webinar focusing on transition was created.

Once Brenna and Cameron shared their idea, they gained support from SDS’ Grampian Regional Development Manager Alison Shaw who brought together Scottish Student Sport (SSS), Lead Scotland and Robert Gordon University student-athlete, and SSS Disability Lead Laura Pilkington to discuss the idea of a webinar further.

The webinar was led by students Brenna and Laura who provided background and shared insight and their previous experience as to what it was like transitioning into higher and further education with a disability. We also heard from Lynne Glen of Scottish Disability Sport, Rebecca Scarlett of Lead Scotland, and Eilidh Paterson of Scottish Student Sport.

The webinar was opened with Brenna providing the attendees with a bit of background of how this webinar came to be before handing it over to Rebecca who told us about Lead Scotland’s work and how they can assist pupils or students when transitioning to University or College which included some top tips and some very useful links:

RGU student-athlete Laura took us through her student journey which as she said herself, “was not a straight line” as well as sharing some personal stories and key tips. Then it was the turn of SDS’ Participation Manager Lynne to tell the attendees how the staff can assist students with disabilities to take part in local activities whether you are staying where you are or moving away. Lynne then handed it back to Brenna who took us through her first year at QMU, how she prepared to move, the support she sought out, and what she is looking forward to next semester. Before wrapping up, the panel answered questions from the attendees most of which were current or future students seeking advice.

SSS’ Regional Development Coordinator Eilidh said:

“It was excellent to work with our long-standing partners, SDS and Rebecca at Lead Scotland. Our development work at SSS focuses on supporting all community members to lead an active and supporting lifestyle. As Laura and Brenna said, moving on to University or College can be a daunting experience – joining a sports team can help alleviate some of this.

“The webinar provided some practical examples of how students with disabilities can be active during their studies. Equality & diversity is a mainstay of SSS and we are looking forward to heightening our work in this area in the upcoming years alongside Disability Lead Laura and students, with the support of our friends at SDS & Lead Scotland.”

If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to email SSS Regional Development Coordinator Eilidh and she will do her utmost to help.

Watch the webinar in full here ⬇️

 

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Wednesday 24th February 2021

As part of LGBT History Month, we are celebrating the Saints Sports recent equality and inclusion success! Towards the end of 2020, the University of St. Andrews became the first institution in Scotland to complete the LGBT Charter, receiving the silver award! Read the full story here.

In December of 2020 LGBT Youth Scotland announced that Saint Sport, University of St Andrews became the first University or College Sports Department in Scotland to complete the LGBT Charter and achieve the Silver award. A fantastic achievement by the Saints Sport team!

LGBT Youth Scotland’s Charter is a straightforward programme that enables your organisation to proactively include LGBT people in every aspect of your work, protecting your staff and providing high-quality service to your customers. By being awarded the Charter, it enables you to send a positive message, with confidence, that your organisation is a champion of LGBT inclusion where LGBT employees or customers will be safe, supported, and included.

We spoke to Doro Weber, Fundraising Manager at LGBT Youth Scotland, who led the Saints team through the Charter. Doro was full of praise for the Saints Sport team and their dedication throughout the project. She said:

“It was a pleasure to work with the team at Saints Sport on their LGBT Charter journey. They worked hard to make their department extremely welcoming to LGBT young people and have created a benchmark  of best practice for other sports organisations to aspire to.

“I was particularly impressed by their social media campaign around LGBT sporting icons which highlighted role models who don’t always have a spotlight shone on their achievements.”

Some of the most notable actions at Saints Sport for LGBT inclusion has seen members and staff at Saints Sport undertaking training, and a review of policies, practice and resources to make sure they are as inclusive as they can be.

Coordinating this piece of work is Saint Sport’s Head of Development Claire Scott (pictured below, right). She said:

“I am delighted that Saints Sport has been awarded the LGBT Charter Silver Award. This makes a clear statement that equality and diversity are at the heart of what we do at Saints Sport. It has been a journey of discovery, understanding and strong partnership.

“This award would not have been achieved without a team of great people around us including HR and Student Services. We have worked tirelessly to ensure Saints Sport became the first Sports Department in Scotland to complete the LGBT Charter.”

Carolina O’Neill de Sousa e Sá, is the newly appointed LGBTQ+ Lead within the Equality Steering Group. She added:

“This is a significant achievement for Saints Sport and one which should not go unnoticed. This award is evidence of Saints’ commitment to and passion for LGBTQ+ inclusion, and ultimately means LGBTQ+ staff and students will feel more supported, visible and represented. Our hope at Scottish Student Sport is that more members will follow in the footsteps of Saints Sport, and we would be thrilled to collaborate on any initiatives.”

Congratulations to the Saints Sport team and the University of St Andrews for continuing to embed the importance of inclusion throughout their work.

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Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Our Equality Steering group have recruited four new volunteers onto the group. Meet our Women’s, Ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and Disability Leads here!

The Equality Steering Group was established to advise and prompt the staff, committees and networks of SSS on all relevant aspects of equality and inclusion, with particular emphasis on ensuring adherence to a rolling Equality Action Plan for the organisation. Meet our four new volunteer leads!

Emmanuel Akerele, Ethnicity Lead

Meet Your LeadMy name is Emmanuel, I studied Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (MSc) and currently serving as the President for Education and Welfare at Robert Gordon University Student’s Union. I love and play football and I am very passionate about equality, diversity and representation within sports and wider society.

What attracted you to the role? I know that still racism exists, having experienced it myself and hearing of others’ experiences. It is imperative that everyone be anti-racist, actively against racism until it is completely eradicated. During my studies, I co-founded RGU’s Black Liberation Network which is a network of students coming together to take a stand against racism. I have also led several activist campaigns in the past such as Black History Month and hope to add more value to the subject through SSS.

Fun fact about yourself? I love football and I love scoring goals. I am a big boxing fan and my favourite sportspersons are Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Joshua.

 

Carolina O’Neill de Sousa e Sá, LGBTQ+ Lead

Meet Your Lead: I’m a Portuguese/American who grew up in Lisbon and has been living in Scotland since 2013. I’ve been an avid sportsperson for most of my life; taking every opportunity to get involved in sports teams, competitions, and outdoor activities. I studied at the University of Edinburgh – an undergraduate in Sports Science and a Masters in Sport Policy and International Development.

Like most people, it was during my time at uni that I really came into my shell. One thing which definitely helped me was joining the Women’s Football Club. It was a place where I felt understood and like I could be entirely myself. It was during my Masters that I developed my passion for promoting equality and diversity through sport, particularly LGBTIQ inclusion. I now work as a Project Officer for LEAP Sports (Scotland’s LGBTIQ sports charity) and Football v Homophobia Scotland.

What attracted you to the role? Student sport is a dynamic, fast-paced industry so I have always considered SSS to be an exciting organisation to be involved in. As for the role, this is a completely new role within SSS so it feels like a clean slate and something I can get creative with. LGBTIQ inclusion in sport is what I’m passionate about, and I’m really looking forward to working with students and sports clubs all over Scotland to make student sport a more welcoming space for all LGBTIQ people.

Fun fact about yourself? Not a fun fact, but my claim to fame is that I went to school – in Portugal – with Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier. He was in the year above me, and I used to play football with him during our lunch breaks.

 

Laura Pilkington, Disability Lead

Meet Your Lead: My name is Laura Pilkington and I was born with a disability called Brittle Bones disease. I am a second-year student at Robert Gordon University and I study sports and exercise science.  I am a competitive para-swimmer and have been involved in swimming for the last 10 years. I am part of the Scottish Para-Swimming team and have Scottish para-swimming records in my classification. I am currently part of both Scottish Disability Sport and sportscotland’s Young People’s Sport Panel. I am also a swimming teacher covering shifts when I have some free time!

What attracted you to the role? I am passionate about inclusion within sport and know how much being involved within sport can have such a positive impact on your life; mentally, socially, and physically. However, I know that there are barriers that prevent those with disabilities taking part. I think raising awareness of these barriers within SSS is really important as well as finding out how best we can promote inclusion within disability sport. Sport is such a big part of student life and having a disability shouldn’t stop you from participating in this! I am really excited to work with the team and SDS to increase participation.

Fun fact about yourself? I can lick my elbow!

 

Georgia Moran, Women’s Lead

Meet Your Lead: Hello, I’m Georgia, SSS’ Women’s Lead. I studied Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University, where I got quickly involved in the Students Association for four years before being elected as VP Sports & Societies for two years after I graduated. I am now the East Regional Development Officer at The RYA Scotland.

Being VP Sports & Socs lead me to so many amazing volunteering opportunities within SSS such as Elected Students Forum Chair, Competitions, Equality and Executive Committee Member and Chair/Founder of the Women in Sport Working Group. I have a passion for Equality and Inclusion in sport and I can’t wait to continue making a positive impact on the Student Sport Sector with SSS and the rest of the Equality Steering Group.

What attracted you to the role? I am excited about this role as it will provide more positive impacts to happen within the SSS membership. I have chaired the Women in Sport Group from 2019, now and I am so excited to keep pushing forward with the rest of the team. I have loved volunteering with SSS the past couple of years and I believe this group will have some amazing outcomes.

Fun fact about yourself? When my mum and I were visiting Nashville, Tennesse we were invited on stage to sing a couple of country songs in one of the most famous bars.

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