Thursday 24th February 2022

In the first event of its kind, the SSS Women’s Futsal Festival proved a big hit with participants and has built strong foundations to grow the sport. Emma Kern (SS Futsal Communications, Wellbeing and Inclusion Officer) explains more….

The first-ever Women’s Futsal Festival took place on Saturday 19th February and was hosted by University of Stirling. The event was delivered in partnership with the Scottish FA. Alongside a development workshop, three student teams took part in a tournament alongside Boroughmuir Thistle U19s, in what was an outstanding showcase of high quality futsal.

The Futsal Development Workshop took place with guest speakers educating and informing existing players, and some that were new to the sport. Steve Chatila, founder of Perth Youth Futsal and coach at University of Edinburgh, kicked off the workshop with a talk on tactics and coaching. Steve used his experience of coaching in the Champions League to inspire a new generation of female coaches in the game. Gordon McCabe, a SFA, UEFA and FIFA Futsal referee, gave an update on changes to the laws of the game, and explained the refereeing pathway while outlining the fantastic opportunities to travel the world for officials. The final presentation was from Beth McKay, former University of Stirling student and now football player for Heart of Midlothian. Beth also plays futsal for Northern Ireland and she spoke about her career and the positive impact of a dual pathway for futsal and football players.

The round robin tournament took place in the afternoon, with the student teams named “Amandinha”, “Peque” and “Ana Catarina” after some of the top female players in the world. Teams comprised student players from the University of Strathclyde, University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh, the University of the West of Scotland, University of St Andrews and City of Glasgow College. These teams were joined in the draw by a representative squad from Boroughmuir Thistle U19s, many of whom were participating in futsal for the first time.

Goals quickly began to flow with Amandinha and Peque drawing 2-2, before Boroughmuir then claimed their first victory with a 6-0 win over Ana Catarina. Amandinha also beat Ana Catarina (3-0), followed by a very close game that ended in a win for Boroughmuir against Peque (1-0). Peque got their first win against Ana Catarina (3-0) before the final group game  saw Amandinha beat Boroughmuir (3-1).

In between matches, the teams took part in a penalty shootout challenge, with players having 10 seconds to drive the ball from the halfway line and score. This gave players an opportunity to showcase their futsal skills but also showcased the high standard of goalkeeping on display. The first shootout saw Amandinha beat Ana Catarina (1-0), followed by a victory for Boroughmuir against Peque (1-0). After the playoffs, Ana Catarina managed to come in third place in the challenge after beating Peque (3-2), whilst Boroughmuir secured first place against Amandinha (2-0).

The group stage finished with Amandinha in 1st place followed by Boroughmuir, Peque and Ana Catarina. In the third-place playoff, Peque finally started to click despite not having any subs, and comfortably beat Ana Catarina (10-0). The final saw another comeback win for Amandinha against Boroughmuir (4-2), meaning that the leaders of the round robin cemented themselves as champions!

Overall, this tournament provided our student teams with the opportunity to play against different opponents and with different teammates. This also introduced youth football players to futsal in the hope to promote the sport nationally.

Watch the video below to hear more about the day…

Filming by YFS Media.

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Tuesday 22nd February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work

40 footballers on pitch smiling to camera, half standing and half kneeling in front of them

Kristina from the University of Edinburgh Women’s Football Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Kristina, thanks for reaching out. How has the start of the semester been for the club?

Everyone at Edinburgh University Women’s Association Football Club (EUWAFC) has been happy to have the chance this year to get back together on the pitch and play in matches after a year of social distancing. Each of our four teams – ranging from our first team in the Northern Prem to our newly competitive fourth team in Scottish 3A – has featured several new faces and grown as groups showing great cohesion, strength, and resilience this past semester. Our recreational program also saw a surge in participation demonstrating the increasing interest in football across our community. These remain tough and uncertain times for student sports clubs but EUWAFC has taken every challenge head-on thus far and will continue to do so this semester.

What steps are you taking as a club to make your sport more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

EUWAFC has a strong history of commitment to LGBTIQ+ inclusion and as the club’s first Inclusion Officer in recent history, I’ve aimed to maintain our efforts and build on past progress this year. Both on and off the pitch, EUWAFC strives to offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for players of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. This year we’ve worked closely with our Sports Union to ensure the fullest participation as possible for our transgender and non-binary members and still aim to do more work on this front to help with participation in competitive games. We also have previously reformed our Club Constitution to use gender-neutral language and currently, we encourage the sharing of pronouns by our Club Committee and members during introductions and on their social media. Additionally, we run awareness campaigns on our social media (@EUWAFC) throughout the year. Back in December, we participated in Stonewall UK’s ‘Rainbow Laces Day.’ Donning the ‘Rainbow Laces’ was a small way to symbolize our Club’s dedication to LGBTIQ+ inclusion in football, and in line with the campaign’s motto of “Lace-Up and Speak Up,” we used our Instagram to raise awareness of and take a stand against LGBTIQ+ discrimination in sport.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month? 

It’s important to celebrate awareness and visibility dates such as LGBT+ History Month because these occasions give recognition to the progress gained by affected communities while also raising awareness of the continued challenges faced by them. LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport has grown in recent years but barriers and inequities to full participation remain, which need to be addressed. We at EUWAFC acknowledge our ability to be an advocacy platform and change agent in football and Scottish student sport. For example, during this year’s LGBT+ History Month, we are participating in Football v Homophobia’s (FvH) ‘Month of Action.’ As part of this campaign, we will host an inter-university tournament with the University College London (UCL) and the University of Glasgow in honor of FvH, make a club pledge toward further inclusion actions (e.g., formal development of an equity policy and trans inclusion policy), and report on these actions as well as promote awareness using our social media platforms. Through these actions, we both celebrate the LGBT+ community and work to demand better for them.

What would you say to an LGBTIQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?four square photos with four different team pictures

I would say that it is understandable to be worried about joining any new group but reassure them that EUWAFC truly welcomes everyone. Whether you are just trying out football for the first time or this beautiful game has been your forever passion, you can have a place in our club. EUWAFC – its Committee, coaches, and members – will be there for you and is committed to taking active steps to make you feel as safe and included as possible.

Thank you to EUWAFC for sharing their development journey with us. This is the last of our student spotlight stories for LGBTQ+ History but look forward to continuing to shine a spotlight on the membership.

To assist us in our journey to make student sport even more inclusive, complete and share our equality survey.

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Tuesday 15th February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work.

Oscar from the University of Aberdeen Boxing Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Oscar, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the return to boxing been for the club?

After the last year, going back to the new normality took us more organisation than we expected. The University of Aberdeen released a number of guidelines to assure a safe return, which helped us set up a COVID-safe environment. Since the start of the course, we are asking for at least one negative covid test, and we keep a record of the members who attend training. These protocols have allowed us to start organising socials including a big boxing show, that allows members to get to know each other.

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make boxing more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

By making it clear that this is a place for everyone. We do not discriminate or judge. As an example, in our latest social, we provided tags where members can write down their pronouns.

team social playing pool

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

I think it is incredibly important in a sport like boxing, riddled with toxic masculinity and prejudice, to celebrate and make everybody aware of months such as LGBT History Month. Many people in the past, who may have been boxers, were too afraid to express themselves and be their true selves.

What would you like to say to an LGBTQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

It is hard to venture into a new sport, club, or environment, not knowing if people are going to like you or judge you. I would tell them that in our club, we welcome everybody, and finally, if they have any worries or doubts we have an equity officer who is there to help.

Thank you to AUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

To assist us in our journey to make student sport even more inclusive, complete and share our equality survey.

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Monday 7th February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a light on student clubs that would like to share their work.

12 club members gathered in a semi circle

Ryan from Glasgow Caledonian University Fencing Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Ryan, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the return to fencing been for the club?

Navigating the intricacies of compliance and trying to ensure the safety of our members has taken a serious amount of thought and effort on our part. That’s being said, we are super happy that we could get back into the swing of things and easily worked off the lockdown rust we had built up. Our members came back with amazing enthusiasm for the sport and we have picked up some new members who’ve shown that same love and appreciation for fencing. We are ready to put the last few years behind us and build up our club to new highs.

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make fencing more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

We try to make our sport more inclusive and welcoming to all students by being champions of inclusion in fencing. We always take the opportunity to engage with relevant campaigns and create a supportive community in the club where all individuals are welcome and members are actively trying to promote equality in everything we do.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

It is important to pause for recognition of the unique challenges faced by those in the LGBTIQ+ community and for all of us to play our part in supporting and championing LGBTIQ+ causes.

“We are ready to put the last few years behind us and build up our club to new highs”

What would you like to say to an LGBTQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

Come along! We do our absolute best to accommodate everyone and we provide an inviting and non-judgemental environment. If you do have any concerns feel free to contact our committee, we will do our best to answer any concerns or tackle any issues you might have before you come along on the day.

Thank you to EUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing other stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

 

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Tuesday 1st February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work.

Rebecca, from the University of Edinburgh’s Badminton Club, reached out to our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh, to highlight the work EUBC is doing to ensure current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

 

Hello Rebecca, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the start of the semester been for the club?

Hi there, the semester has started off really well! We’ve just reached a milestone of 300 members – I believe our highest number to date – and we’ve seen the restart of ‘Lothian League’ after a long covid-hiatus which means more match opportunities for our team players. Lots ahead!

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make badminton more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

EUBC is trying to make it clear that ALL athletes are welcome in the badminton community and we have a zero-tolerance policy in our club for members who discriminate. We do our utmost to facilitate members joining the competitive team which best reflects their gender identity. We ensure there is no ‘policing’ – people aren’t asked if they are in the ‘right’ group, or if they are using the ‘right’ changing rooms/toilets at our sessions.

AT EUBC, we’ve recently changed the language we use when describing teams. Now, instead of “men” or “women”, we use the terms “men’s team players” and “women’s team players”. This small change will hopefully make our sessions more inclusive. We encourage our members to introduce themselves with their pronouns and to call people by their names until they know what to use. Our current goal is to develop our stance in regard to players who may not conform to the gender division of competitive play. We’ve engaged in communication with the institutions who organise these matches, such as BUCS, to see what we can achieve together. 

“You are absolutely welcome regardless of your sexual or gender identity and you’ll see members wearing rainbow shoelaces for support.”

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

It’s absolutely paramount to celebrate these dates as a sports community because it acts as a strong statement of our values. It’s an opportunity to remind queer people that they are welcome, celebrated, and to combat heterosexist normality and internal prejudices.

 

What would you say to an LGBTIQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

We’re one of the largest badminton clubs in the country and there’s a community of our members who are also LGBTIQ+. We look after each other and would love to have you! If you have any worries, we have an active and friendly committee that would help you settle in and make friends!

“As a queer member of EUBC, I’ve always felt accepted at club sessions, socials, training, and as a team captain. You are absolutely welcome regardless of your sexual or gender identity and you’ll see members wearing rainbow shoelaces for support. On top of that, the recent steps towards increasing inclusion of trans and non-binary people are a great example of EUBC’s development and make me feel seen and respected.” – Barbara, 2nds team captain.

I’ve found the badminton club a very queer-friendly group and have never heard of any contrary experiences. Plus, there is a great representation of LGBT+ in our leadership which helps us protect and promote these issues!” – Yiling, Vice-President.

Thank you to EUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing other stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

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Wednesday 26th January 2022

February is LGBTQ+ History Month, help us celebrate the great work of the membership!

SSS logo with LGBTQ+ colours

In the words of our LGBTQ+ Lead Carolina, “every month we focus on supporting the inclusion of LGBTQ+ sporting participants across Scotland”, now it is time to shine a spotlight on that work. This LGBTQ+ History Month, you can help SSS celebrate the great work of the membership alongside your student clubs, unions, and facilities.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

Student Club Spotlight

During the month, SSS is going to share at least one spotlight story each week from across the country that is doing good work within their club by creating a safe & inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people – Do you have any clubs in mind? If so, please email your interest to Eilidh before Monday 14th February to be featured.

Rainbow Laces

SSS would like to donate our limited stock of Rainbow Laces to our members (max 100 pairs each) during this month with the only cost we ask to be covered being postage. The laces will be reserved on a first come first serve basis. If interested please email Eilidh.

Football v Homophobia Month of Action

FvH Grassroots is an initiative supported by Puma to get grassroots football clubs to take action to tackle LGBTQ+ discrimination in football throughout February, the Football v Homophobia Month of Action. We recognise this is an individual journey for each club, so the campaign pack will provide different ideas which clubs can adapt.

Find out more here.

Trans Active Glasgow & Edinburgh (NEW!)

LEAP Sports programs, Trans Active Glasgow and Edinburgh are friendly sport and physical activity groups where students and community members will have the chance to socialise with other trans people, make friends, and try out new things. Now new to the city of Edinburgh, find out more here.

LEAP Sports Corporate Cup

Would you like to enter a ten-pin bowling team, raise money for LEAP Sports and compete for the win in Glasgow? Find out more here but be quick, there are is limited number of space left.

Thank you to our partners LEAP Sport for continued assistance with our development within this area of work and to our LGBTQ+ Lead Carolina for the passion and expertise she bring to her volunteering role in SSS.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator, Eilidh.

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Wednesday 12th January 2022

In an announcement exclusively made during the first BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar of 2022, SSS committed to pursuing and advocating for the Active Travel agenda through the Way to Work Pledge.

The BiteSSSize Best Practice series began 2022 focussing on Active Travel, as a key component of SSS’ ambitious new approach to Active Health. Active Health is an important strand in SSS new strategy and education around active travel will feature more going forward.

Patrick Harvie MSP was joined by Robyn Warburton from Paths for All, alongside Kate Lesenger and Adam Kesby from Sustrans. A wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience was expertly guided through the conversation by SSS’ Megan Richardson who leads on our Active Health work.

The panel discussed existing projects in Scotland and other European cities; examples were shared of practical examples of small changes with big impacts; and there were discussions on how to influence behaviour change and advocate for greater investment in the area.

You can watch the full webinar HERE!

It was also announced that SSS has signed the Way to Work Pledge, committing to supporting active travel in our workplace and community. SSS joins organisations such as Queen Margaret University, South Lanarkshire College and multiple NHS trusts in placing active travel at the forefront of staff wellbeing and healthier communities.

SSS pledge to embed a culture and environment that encourages our staff, members, volunteers and partners to choose active and sustainable travel as their first choice where possible, and ensure sustainability remains at the forefront of our work. Make sure to look out for our pledge on the Way to Work Pledge Wall and we hope to see yours in the future.

 

 

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Tuesday 7th December 2021

What better way to celebrate the new Active Health strand of our development work than having the first webinar of the New Year dedicated to Active Travel.

Active Travel is increasingly part of the sustainability agenda and we are delighted to bring the discussion on the subject to the SSS community. On 11th January, we’ll hear from experts in the field who will inform us of the latest developments and best practice.

The webinar panel will include Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights. Patrick was elected to the Scottish Government in 2003 and has been Co-Leader or Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party since 2008. Patrick will share news on the governments agenda for active travel over the remainder of the current parliament.

Kate Lesenger and Adam Kesby from Sustrans will join the panel. Kate is the Project Officer for Way to Work, a Scotland-wide partnership project focusing on supporting workplaces across sectors to promote active and sustainable travel. The Way to Work website is a one-stop shop for employers and employees to find information on all things active and sustainable travel.

Adam is a Project Officer in the Workplaces team, based at Sustrans. The workplaces team engage with the full gamut of workplaces across Scotland from independent traders to large public bodies, trying to make it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle. Some of the programmes Adam has worked on include the Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge, Active Travel Champions and the Cargo Bike Library.

The panel will also include Robyn Warburton, Senior Development Officer at Paths for All. Robyn leads on Smarter Choices, Smarter Places, a programme that supports Scottish local authorities to encourage more journeys by foot, bike and public transport

Some of key topics covered will be:

  • What is active and sustainable travel and why is it important for Scottish colleges and universities
  • The benefits of active and sustainable travel for employers and employees
  • Practical things you can do to create change
  • Where you can find funding, resources and inspiration

Sign up to attend the webinar by clicking HERE.

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Wednesday 24th November 2021

In the latest networking event from the SSS Coaching Network we welcomed Anne-Marie Hughes to chat through her coaching journey and share some wisdom for other coaches in student sport.

In the first edition of From the Sideline the SSS Coaching Network heard from Anne-Marie Hughes who has over 30 years of coaching experience. Anne-Marie is also Assistant Head of Sport at the University of Strathclyde and has worked with student-athletes of all abilities for many years.

The network heard about “the good, the bad and the ugly” of coaching in student sport, and the life-changing opportunities that open up to those coaching sport. Anne-Marie has been to multiple World University Championships and has coached Olympic and Commonwealth athletes. Anne-Marie talked through some of the challenges around changes in technology and communicating with different generations of students that have required her to adapt her approach to coaching over her career.

She described the role of a coach in student sport as a “lonely position” at times but praised the enjoyment of working with young people on a regular basis. The SSS Coaching Network has been implemented to challenge that feeling of loneliness among coaches and create a support network that can share best practice and offer advice between different generations of coaches.

In the ensuing group discussion some of the key take-aways were:

Add value to taster sessions

During Welcome Week it can be more beneficial to make taster sessions more similar to regular coaching sessions. This gives a more accurate impression of what week-to-week sessions might be like and allows the teaching of skills so that students might feel more comfortable returning.

Regular wellbeing check-ins

Asking teams/individuals how they are feeling [mentally and physically] at the start of each session helps to manage expectations within the group. A simple 1-10 rating can help flag any concerns but also gives coaches the opportunity to manage the training load for participants.

Adapt your communication

We all have to adapt to new platforms for communication and finding the best way for your players takes time. Knowing your players is key to effective communication and building trust.

The SSS Coaching Network is open to all those coaching within student sport, and if you would like to join the network please click HERE. We’ll keep you notified of future events and opportunities.

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Friday 19th November 2021

Scottish Student Sport is delighted to welcome Kevin Harper as the new Equality Steering Group Chair.

We are delighted to announce Kevin Harper as the new Chair for the SSS Equality Steering Group.

Kevin was a professional footballer from 1992 to 2009. The former Hibernian FC striker was the first black player to play for the Hibs, before going on to have a successful career with several English clubs including Premier League sides Portsmouth, Derby and Stoke. Kevin is also the founder of the Kevin Harper Football School of Excellence and is a passionate diversity and inclusion advocate.

As Chair, Kevin will provide support and future direction for the group, and be an advocate of equality and diversity within student sport to the wider network.

Speaking to Scottish Student Sport, Kevin said: “I am absolutely delighted to be the Scottish Student Sport’s new Equality Chair. I have been championing equality within Scottish sport and society for over 25 years and I will do my utmost in the role to make student sport in Scotland, open to all.”

Speaking on the appointment of Kevin, SSS Chief Operating Officer, Stew Fowlie, said: “I am delighted to welcome Kevin to a position of such vital importance to the SSS team. Kevin has a well-informed passion for equality and diversity, and as someone who has faced barriers throughout his own life and career, I know he will provide leadership and inspiration both to our Equality Steering Group and the wider network. I am excited to work alongside Kevin to achieve the cultural and systemic progress required to make sure that sport and active health are truly at the heart of the student experience for all.”

SSS Development Coordinator Eilidh Paterson added: “I am very excited to work alongside Kevin and continue to achieve the outcomes in the current Equality Action Plan and have his experience to assist SSS to look to the future as to what we should be achieving long term.”

The SSS Equality Steering Group

The Scottish Student Sport’s 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.

Kevin joins the group as Chair as they reach mid-way through their annual Equality action plan which will continue to steer the work of the current group (see below): 

  • Emmanuel Akerele – Ethnicity Lead & Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, Robert Gordon University
  • Georgia Moran – Women’s Lead & East Regional Development Officer, RYA Scotland
  • Laura Pilkington – Disability Lead, Scottish Para-Swimmer & student at Edinburgh Napier University
  • Carolina Sousa e Sá – LGBTQ+ Lead & Project Officer Communities, LEAP Sports Scotland
  • 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

Scottish Student Sport would also like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Equality Steering Group Chair and Dr. Robin MacPherson Award winner Barabara Lawson for her expertise and dedication to this work over the last three years.

If you would like to discuss your or SSS’ equality and culture work in more detail, please contact Development Coordinator Eilidh.

 

 

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