Monday 29th March 2021

CASE STUDY | How Scottish Student Cycling kept students active, motivated and engaged during the cold, dark winter!

Spring has sprung – gone are the cold,dark winter nights. Replaced with longer, brighter and more hopeful days ahead.

The changing season is very much welcomed, with the easing of restrictions of the next couple of months proving a glistening light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst the winter months were a challenging time for all, there was plenty of golden nuggets of refreshing innovation within the student sporting world to look back on. This extract focuses on our Scottish Student Cycling community and how they spun a negative situation into a positive one.

With in-person, cycling events cancelled for the foreseeable future, the Scottish Student Cycling community led by SS Cycling Chair Aaron Johnson pulled together taking it in turns to host virtual rides, jumping from institution to institution to provide a virtual competitive offering and giving students the opportunity to keep active and motivated throughout the winter.

Scottish Student Cycling Chair, Aaron Johnson writes

Between November and March, 10 different university cycling clubs across Scotland, took on the responsibility of hosting weekly virtual cycling rides (meet-ups), with the support of SS Cycling. Meet-ups took place on the virtual cycling platform, ‘Zwift’. Each week, a different club would delegate a member who would be responsible for creating the meet-up, organising the route and sending invites to fellow students.

A total of 38 participants took part across the various meeting – engaging both current students and alumni members. The highest turnout saw 18 participants tackle one of the hilliest routes on Zwift and was hosted by RGU student, Jamie Chree.

Students were able to use these meet-ups as an opportunity to socialise and engage with clubs, something that has not been possible in-person this year, due to the Covid pandemic. A lot of students also used this an opportunity to fit in a workout, whilst still being able to ride with a group.

The overwhelming response from students and competitors was very postive. Speaking to SSS, Louise Smith (University of Stirling) said:

“I really enjoyed the whole experience! It was good to have a weekly session, knowing I was going to be on Zwift on a Tuesday evening. It was great to be able to chat with students from other universities too. It also helped to fill the hole, that the lack of group rides has left in my life.”

Aaron Blackwood (University of Aberdeen), enjoyed the social aspect of the meet-ups and believes the format has long term potential. He said:

“The SSS Zwift meet-ups gave me a great opportunity to get to know fellow cyclists from across Scotland, at a time where meeting up in person was not possible. The laid-back format with different universities hosting every week really helped to personalise the meet-ups rather than just having a single host picking the routes every time. Even after the pandemic is over I could still see the benefits of running similar events!”

Honourable mentions go to Aaron Blackwood (University of Aberdeen), for never missing a meet-up and even hosting one himself.

Well done to all the students and institutions who took part in meet-ups! Going forward the Scottish Student Cycling team are hoping to build on the momentum gained from the winter events and provide an even better event offering for the 2021/22 season and beyond!

 

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Monday 22nd March 2021

In collaboration with the Scottish Football Association, 22 young football and futsal players took their first steps onto the coaching ladder. Read our highlights here!

The Introduction to Coaching 1.1 Course kicked off in style last weekend, with 22 students taking their first steps to becoming qualified coaches. The course was delivered with our partners at the Scottish Football Association and was unique in the sense that it was the first-ever course tailored specifically for female students.

The course included 22 participants – representing 10 different universities across Scotland – from a mixture of student football and futsal clubs!

David Baird and Karen McConnell from the SFA led the session, with support from Niamh Russell. In addition, Debbie McCulloch (Head Coach at Spartans WFC) delivered a session focussing on leadership and confidence.

This additional session was an important part of the course prompted by the SSS Women in Sport group, which highlights the need for more opportunities available for females in sport in order to gain the extra confidence required to lead a team. The group acknowledged that along with the specific coaching skillset, the confidence to deliver is a crucial part of the jigsaw.

SSS was keen to take the opportunity to incorporate a ‘Changing Lives’ mindset into the training. The ‘Changing Lives’ mindset focuses on using sport and physical activity to intentionally bring about positive change for individuals and communities.

We caught up with some of the participants on the course to find out what they made of the course.

💬”I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Karen and David were excellent and their passion for the sport came through clearly. The entire day was really engaging and it was great to hear from Debbi McCulloch on her coaching journey!”

💬”I really enjoyed the community atmosphere amongst the group. The course was mainly discussion-based so interaction was key – it was great to hear everyone expressing their views and experiences so openly!”

💬”Growing up, I have mostly only had male football coaches, so I was greatly inspired by the enthusiasm and drive that many of the female students had to become the best coaches they could be.”

💬”The course was delivered in an extremely professional manner and was well planned throughout the entire day. As a young female player, I feel really inspired to begin taking active steps forward into the coaching world. I believe there is a huge future for young aspiring female coaches and I hope to be a part of that.”

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Tuesday 9th March 2021

In celebration of #InternationalWomensDay, the latest BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar featured four inspirational women who shared their journeys through working within Scottish Sport. Read the highlights and rewatch the conversation here!

In line with our growing ambition to get more people participating in sport and as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, SSS were delighted be joined by four fantastic females who shared their experiences as women working within the sporting world.

Georgia Moran hosted the call that exemplified the wide range of different career paths in sport. We heard from Laura Montgomery of Glasgow City FC, Rachel Cremin from the University of Strathclyde and Netball Scotland, and Sophie Fusco Mckeown, official at Wimbledon in 2019 and University of Edinburgh graduate.

There were many similarities between the panels first experiences of sport, and some of the barriers they faced. This ranged from a lack of enough opportunities to participate, to the conscious and unconscious bias within sport and society. There was a particular emphasis on the importance of positive role models and for projecting the opportunities for women to participate. Though this shouldn’t focus solely on playing – we should highlight the variety of roles that women can get involved in throughout sport.

In keeping with the theme for International Women’s Day our panel shared experiences of when they have to decide to #ChooseToChallenge. These were a mixture of people and processes that have stood in the way of women progressing in sport. While it is important to recognise these challenges, it is equally important to look ahead.

In a post-Covid world, sport has the opportunity to engage and empower a whole new audience. We have seen habits change and more people become more accustomed to regular physical activity. Providing opportunities to participate, for every level of ability, is where student sport should focus the collective efforts to ensure a healthier and more confident future for women in sport.

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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Thursday 18th February 2021

Have you been running more lately? Fancy using your new skills to benefit others? We have the perfect opportunity for you! Scottish Student Sport are delighted to announce a new collaboration with Jog Scotland and Scottish Athletics. Find out more and take your first step in becoming a jog leader here!

The past 12 months has undoubtedly changed the way we live and interact with one another, for the time being. In our student sporting bubble, we’ve seen students and staff alike swap the court or pitch for the streets and great outdoors. Competing virtually against one another and taking to strava to compete against others or just yourself.

Amongst some doom and gloom, there has been a number of positives that have come with the change in circumstances. With students being unable to participate in their usual sports, there has been an upsurge in walking, cycling and running activity – making the most of time outdoors and exploring the local environments.

We are excited to announce a new collaboration with jogscotland which aims to capitalise on this cultural shift and offer discounted opportunities for students and staff to train as future jog leaders.

Who are jogscotland?

jogscotland is Scotland’s recreational running network and is part of scottishathletics. It is made up of hundreds of jogging groups meeting in sports centres, community halls, parks and businesses, and jogging on their local paths, pavements and trails. The emphasis at every jogscotland group is on enjoying exercise and supporting one another in a friendly atmosphere. Groups are led by qualified Jog Leaders (mostly volunteers), who guide and inspire their members. Nobody is “too slow” to join jogscotland. Groups are available for walkers, joggers and runners of all levels, from complete beginners to long-distance runners.

Courses

Places are available on upcoming Jog Leader training course at discounted rates for staff and students within the SSS membership. Initially, the following courses have space reserved for the SSS Tribe:

Please note, travel across health boards for these sessions is permitted as they are educational courses, and all sessions are operated with social distancing in place and under guidance outlined by Scottish Athletics, sportscotland and the Scottish Government.

The course will qualify you to set up and lead your own jogscotland group once Covid restrictions allow, or to become a leader with an existing group. The blended learning Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course includes four at-home modules, followed by one three-hour practical session.

The discounted price for staff and students from SSS member institutions is:

  • £100 for staff and £80 for students, plus £10 for the required Scottish Athletics Safeguarding Course

Additional Info

  • The deadline for sign up is by Noon on Friday 2nd April 2021
  • Places are limited and will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • To sign-up for either of the two courses or for more information please contact neil@scottishstudentsport.com (SSS South East Regional Development Coordinator).
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Wednesday 10th February 2021

The latest edition of the BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar series focussed on how we can better embed disability sport into our universities, colleges and Scottish sport in general. Read our key findings and watch the webinar here!

Our next webinar, in the ever-popular BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar series focussed on the principle of better embedding disability sport into universities, colleges and Scottish sport on the whole.

We were delighted to be joined by Alison Shaw and Andrew MacKenzie from Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) who delivered a fantastic presentation on the partnership work between SDS and  SSS. They were joined by para-swimmer and current UWS student Erin Swann who gave a student-athlete perspective.

High on the agenda was the importance of collaboration, not just between SSS and SDS, but the importance of institutional collaboration with SDS. This collaboration has allowed for university and college sports clubs to gain access to training and equipment to use to make their sports inclusive to students with disabilities.

Multiple governing body development staff were in attendance, including representatives from Cricket Scotland, Tennis Scotland and Scottish Archery who shared their own best practice of adapting their sports to accommodate disabilities.

From the call, we learned a number of important elements required to create a more inclusive culture in student sport. These included:

  • Make sure para-athletes are visible in branding/imagery on campus and on social media so students with disabilities feel more welcome.
  • Create opportunities for students to participate and try out new sports/ parasports
  • Build links with community clubs to facilitate smooth transitions for athletes going from youth sport into student sport.

The success of Disability Inclusion Forums was also highlighted in the webinar. These forums play a vital role in bringing together different departments within an institution. This can often include student services, sports unions and facilities managers and creates a more collaborative approach to improving access to sports.

SDS works with a number of institutions to deliver training to staff and students. This includes UK Disability Inclusion Training (UK DIT) and organisations interested in learning more should contact their regional lead from SDS.

Huge thanks to our panelists Alison Shaw, Andrew MacKenzie and Erin Swann for sharing their insights and to all the attendees who joined the call and contributed questions and comments throughout!

🎥Watch the webinar back in full 👇

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Wednesday 20th January 2021

In the first BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar of 2021 a panel of experts shared their insight and experience of different ways to ‘Engage the Inactive’. Read our highlights and rewatch the webinar here!

Many people see the turn of the year as a good time to form new resolutions, habits and change behaviors. With this in mind, SSS jumped straight into action hosting the first webinar of 2021 focussing on how to encourage more people to get active this year.

Experts in the field, Sarah Robertson (Oriam, Heriot-Watt) and Fraser Johnston (Scottish Cycling) were joined by Ian Lowe (SSS) to look at previous examples of best practice in this area, sharing some of their key learnings throughout on how to engage the inactive population.

Sarah presented on the Heriot-Watt Park Run which, although in its infancy, is showing positive signs of reaching new audiences. Community engagement has been excellent, but they recognise there is still work to be done to increase student participation. Fraser gave some great insight on his time working at the University of Glasgow where they encouraged students and staff to take part in ‘The Daily Mile’. He also talked about a number of Scottish Cycling’s initiatives which help to make equipment more easily accessible.

Some of the key takeaways included communication, collaboration and changing the campus culture!

Both Sarah and Fraser spoke of the surprisingly positive reaction they have witnessed to more traditional forms of communication such as posters and flyers.

Working across different departments is key to greater buy-in from an institutional, strategic perspective. This collaboration helps to make tackling inactivity a shared responsibility and further demonstrates the important part this can play in improving the student experience.

Changing the culture is the longer-term aim but one that could be supported by activity trends that have been witnessed during the pandemic. We are more acutely aware now of the benefits of regular exercise and the importance of getting daily physical activity. How can we capture this culture change to influence future culture within our student communities?

The final word was left to Ian Lowe who brought a wealth of experience from his various roles across student sport and student services. “This is a long game” he advised, and we should celebrate the small victories we get along the way. Small steps can make a huge difference in the bigger picture and it is important to remain open-minded, learn from new people/projects and remain adaptable to the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in.

Huge thanks to our panelists and to all our attendees for joining the call and contributing to the discussion.

🎥Miss the webinar? Rewatch the action here!⬇️

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Wednesday 6th January 2021

SSS have been busy in the January transfer market… We are delighted to announce our latest new signing – Ian Lowe! Ian joins the team as the new Head of Development. Find out more about our latest recruit here.

Ian Lowe joins the SSS Squad for the remainder of the 2020/21 season. We caught up with Ian on his first day to get to know him a little better…

Ian is well established within the Scottish Student Sport network and the Scottish sporting landscape on the whole. Following a brief career as a professional footballer (Dundee United & Forfar), Ian went onto study Sports Coaching and Development at Abertay University.

From there Ian worked at Abertay University in a number of different roles spanning nearly 14 years in two different stints. These experiences include part-time lecturing, Sports Development Manager, Project Manager for the Dundee Academy of Sport and most recently, Student Services Manager. In between his two spells at Abertay, Ian held the position of East Region Development Manager at the SFA for 5 years. A passionate football fan, Ian also sits on the Board at the Dundee United Community Trust.

Ian will now head up the Development team at Scottish Student Sport in a challenging time for everyone given the current pandemic. Speaking on his first day in the role Ian emphasised his desire to make a difference and rebuild the student experience. He said:

“A lot of my previous roles have been working regionally so I am excited to step up and work on a national scale. Like everyone, students have had a tough time recently.

“Their way of life has been severely disrupted, with much of the usual university and college experience disappearing overnight. I am determined to help, support and restore the positive student experience that all our students deserve with sport, physical activity and extra-circular activities at the heart of that.”

Tell us about one of your student sport highlights?

“Back in my student playing days, we played in a European football tournament in Paris. I can’t quite remember if we qualified for it or if we just paid an entry fee to enter. We played against teams from all across the continent on the old school red-ash pitches. It was great fun playing with your mates and exploring the city too.”

The best sporting moment you have witnessed live?

“This is a tough one. Dundee United beating Ross Country at Hampden in front of 30,000 United fans to win the Scottish Cup was pretty special. But in terms of the best experience it has got to be going to Wimbledon. We applied for tickets through our local Tennis club and lucky got some through the ballot. I remember looking at the date and thinking that is quite late on in the tournament… it turns out we got tickets to the Wimbledon Final – Djokovic v Federer – we couldn’t believe our luck!”

Lockdown Learning… What new skills or hobbies did you learn from the first lockdown?

“What I learned from the first lockdown is that we are all tougher and more resilient than we think. In the first lockdown the ‘I don’t have the time’ excuse disappeared. My mindset changed and like most people, I began to appreciate and enjoy the simple things in life – getting outdoors, chatting to the neighbours over a garden fence, cycling, running and keeping fit!”

Quickfire Questions

We asked Ian a couple of testing quickfire questions to get to know him a little better. No judging!

Heroes or Celebrations? Heroes 

Tea or Coffee? Coffee  (one sweetener)

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Hibs or Hearts? Dundee United

Favourite Sport? Football

Favourite Cereal: Coco Pops

Favourite biscuit: Chocolate Digestive 

Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi

If you could go on holiday next week where would you go? Skiing in Courchevel

Wake up time: 7am

 

 

 

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Wednesday 16th December 2020

Inspiration, innovation and collaboration at every corner. These were some of the key themes that emerged from the SSS 2020 Festive Gathering. Over 70 members tuned into the virtual gathering and were treated to thought-provoking discussion, high-quality guest speakers and plenty of Festive Fun! Read all about it here!

In a change to tradition and a fitting tribute to 2020, the SSS Festive Gathering was delivered virtually this year with over 70  members across the tribe tuning in to hear from a panel of world-class athletes and leaders in sport.

Whilst the virtual gathering was a first of its kind, the longstanding tradition of participants wearing festive jumpers remained true – with some fantastic outfits on show throughout the afternoon. None more so than panelist Robyn Love (pictured below) in what is undoubtedly a candidate for the most festive photo of the year.

After an energising welcome from SSS Chair Pete Burgon, a brief review of the year gone by and finances approved – our attendees were met by two equally inspiring and thought-provoking discussions from our special guests.

First up, the Road to Tokyo panel, where SSS Head of Competitions Chris Purdie, was joined by three athletes whose experiences through student sport had helped shape their career path and their journey to next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Neah Evans (Cycling), Megan Gaffney (Rugby) and Robyn Love (Wheelchair Basketball) discussed how their positive student sport experiences helped them reach where they are today. From balancing the workload of their studies with the pressure of performing in their sport and also trying to keep up a social life in the process, the panelists spoke honestly and fondly of their student days.

All three touched upon the huge sacrifices required to make it at the top level and acknowledged the vital support they received from their institutions and staff during their time at University. This support has been vital to them and many other young athletes looking to achieve their potential while also studying and preparing for their future.

The panel discussed the importance of resilience and “bounce-back ability” that the challenges of Coronavirus and lockdown caused before previewing what promises to be a jam-packed and exciting year of sport in 2021.

All three have very real and promising hopes of competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games and everyone at SSS wishes Megan, Robyn and Neah every success for 2021 and beyond.

Following this inspirational panel, the next section was packed full of ambition, innovation and collaboration at every corner: An Audience with Jan Paterson.

Jan is currently Managing Director Sport for Neom, delivering a bold new vision of future living. Neom is being designed as a global city for global citizens and Jan’s role is to engrain sport and physical activity in the lives of residents. In the future city, citizens will never be more than 8 minutes from a sports facility and physical activity will be an integral part of the curriculum.

Jan herself is a pioneer and her experiences in leadership roles were a great learning opportunity for our audience. She spoke of the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people, and the significance of bottom-up team building. We also heard some great stories of her times at the World University Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

To round off the day and in true 2020 style, the SSS Tribe were treated to a Zoom Quiz of the Year courtesy of Pete Burgon. This gave everyone a chance to show off their best Christmas jumpers, share some “funny” Christmas jokes and engage in some much needed festive cheer.

We would like to wish everyone a restful festive break and we look forward to seeing you all in 2021.

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