Monday 14th September 2020

Last week, SSS kicked off their webinar series for the new season, starting with a highly insightful webinar delivered in partnership with Fidra focussing on the environmental impact of synthetic artificial pitches. Find out more and watch the webinar back here!

SSS kicked-off their BiteSSSize Best Practice webinar series with the first webinar focussing on the environmental impact of artificial pitches and microplastics, delivered in partnership with Fidra.

On Friday 11th September, over 30 people tuned in to hear from various environmental experts who explained some of the negatives effects artificial pitches can have on our planet. Joining Madeleine Berg from Fidra on the webinar was Jerry Ahlstrom from KIMO International and Bjorn Aas from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Over the past 20 years, the number of artificial pitches across Scotland and the UK have increased. These pitches provide all-weather options for the likes of predominantly football, rugby and lacrosse teams to train all year round. A key component in the design of pitches is the microplastics used to provide a grass-like surface – often known as rubber crumb. From the webinar, participants learned that over the course of a year a single pitch can lose up to 500kg of rubber crumb – ensuing large financial costs and detrimental damage to the environment with the crumb often leaving the pitch and being flushed away into our seas and oceans.

To raise awareness of this issue Fidra have launched their Pitch In project. This project looks to educate communities and offer suggestions on ways to combat the environmental impact. They provide solutions to minimising the loss of microplastics such as wind barriers, boot brushes and drainage filters. These can be low-cost options that will reduce the volume of microplastics leaving the pitch which in turn reduces the cost of replacing them.

The webinar also looked at some of the more sustainable alternatives to the fibres and microplastics used in existing pitch technology, including coconut husk and cork as a base, and olive pits as the alternative crumb. The alternatives were more cost-effective, cheaper to maintain over time and are still of the appropriate standard to meet FIFA playing regulations.

While many pitch users prefer to play on grass, having access to artificial pitches can keep communities more active all year round. The webinar taught participants of the potential different ways to operate these pitches in a more environmentally friendly way.

Huge thanks to Madeleine, Jerry and Bjorn for delivering and everyone who tuned in.

Missed the event but want to find out more? You can rewatch the webinar in full here. 🎥👇

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Thursday 30th July 2020

SSS begins the 20/21 series of BiteSSSize Best Practice webinars with a collaborative approach to reducing the environmental impact of sport.

During the 19/20 year SSS highlighted best practice from the Tribe through a series of webinars. This included the #FullTimeOnInitiations campaign at RGU and the progress made by Fife College in working through the College Sport Award.

SSS have now planned an ambitious series of webinars for the 20/21 calendar covering topics such as mental health, volunteering, club best practice and disability sport.

The first in this years series will focus on our newest value – sustainability – and the environmental impact of microplastics on synthetic pitches. This will be delivered in collaboration with Fidra, KIMO International, the Centre for Sports Facilities and Technology (Trondheim, Norway) and EUAC.

If you play football or rugby on an artificial pitch, you’ve probably spotted them: tiny granules of rubber, clinging to your kit, collecting in your shoes and washing down the drain in the shower. These tiny microplastic particles, known as performance infill, give the pitch the bouncy feel of real grass, but they also pose a risk of plastic pollution, escaping the pitch and ending up in local soils and waterways. The Pitch In project, created by Fidra and KIMO International, aims to raise awareness of this hidden but important issue and highlight different ways we can all Pitch In to reduce microplastic.

For more information on the webinar and to sign-up, click here.

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Thursday 23rd July 2020

We are delighted to announce that Michael Rimicans has been awarded the Dr Rob MacPherson award for his exceptional commitment to volunteering during his time as Scottish Student Cross Country Chair. Read more about the great work Michael has done here!

Scottish Student Sport are delighted to announce that Michael Rimicans (Scottish Student Cross Country Chair) has been awarded the Dr. Rob MacPherson Award for his outstanding contribution to volunteering with Scottish Student Sport.

Volunteering is vital aspect to the work of Scottish Student Sport, allowing us to reach and support ever greater numbers of students with opportunities across physical activity and sport. We value our volunteers extremely highly and love to recognise their brilliance and impact whenever we can.

The Rob MacPherson Volunteering award was inaugurated in 2016 following the death of Dr. Robin (Rob) Macpherson. No individual in our history has better embodied the positive culture of volunteering than Rob himself.  He was a tireless, wise and extremely capable figure who dedicated much of his spare time to student golf. In particular, he strove to develop opportunities for students and encouraged participation and competition, taking up positions of responsibility across Scotland, the UK and Europe.

His impact is still felt keenly by all those who had the pleasure of working with him, and his contributions to the game of golf remain very much alive to this day. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Rob became an Honorary Life Vice President of SSS in 2013 and he will forever remain part of the story – and history – of student sport.

This award differs slightly from the rest of our awards – there are no nominations, instead, the winner is selected by the SSS staff team as opposed to the Executive Committee. Check out the rest of our award winners here.

Michael Rimicans joins the growing list of worthy winners of this award including Paul McPate (University of Dundee), Emma Borthwick (Cycling Chair), Chris Gray (Rifle Chair), Karen Mackellar (Netball Chair) and Emily Short (Trampoline Chair).

Michael’s impact on the student sporting landscape is clear for all to see, particularly in the development of the Cross Country programme, during his time as SSS Cross Country Chair Michael had a number of significant wins.

With Michael’s guidance and promotion, he grew the 2019/20 Scottish Student Cross Country Championships to its largest participation numbers on our record – 220 students took to the course at Camperdown Country Park, Dundee back in November 2019 (pictured below).

Michael introduced the first-ever Scottish Student Half Marathon Championships this year, engaging with a number of external partners and tying down a suitable date amidst an already hectic student cross country calendar. The event was a great success on the day and hopefully, the first of many SS Half Marathon Championships!

Off the track, Michael had an equally positive impact. He greatly improved online communications within the Scottish Student Cross Country network, creating and managing a Facebook group with 157 members and setting up a Strava group (79 members) in response to the nationwide lockdown – ensuring students stayed active and engaged whilst at home.

Most impressively, Michael completed a consultation with the student clubs regarding the SS Cross Country Championship distances. Michael listened and acted on student feedback – a request for equal distances at races for both men and women – taking up the issue with Scottish Athletics to evaluate potential options. Michael’s proposal was successful and it was concluded that both genders will run equal distances at next seasons SS Cross Country Championships and beyond! Read the full report here!

The above examples are a fine testament to Michael’s work ethic, can-do attitude and opitomise the SSS values of inclusivity and responsiveness. Well done Michale on a fantastic year as Scottish Student Cross Country Chair – your time in the role will leave a lasting impact on the student cross country programme!

 

 

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Monday 29th June 2020

The CHANGES: Train the Trainer programme is designed to up-skill staff in the network to deliver awareness workshops to clubs in an attempt to tackle the challenge of initiation and hazing activity within student sport. Read more about the partnership, and the work done so far.

As of August 2019, the SSS and CHANGES partnership, led by Professor Moira Lafferty (University of Chester) and her colleague Dr. Caroline Wakefield (Liverpool Hope University), continue to work towards a joint aim of making student sport safe and inclusive for all. Together we are continuing to work towards the commitments set out in the partnership agreement alongside the CHANGES trainers, Development Committee, and Equality Steering Group.

So far the partnership has hosted two Train the Trainer programmes which has led to the upskilling of 17 student sports staff across five regions of Scotland. In February this year, SSS invited the trainers to a CHANGES networking and planning workshop to discuss the journey so far and future steps. Amongst other things, the trainers made it clear a third train the trainer programme was required to reach the target of training all student sports clubs in Scotland.

Train the Trainer Course

The third Train the Trainer will take place on Friday 23rd October in Edinburgh. The deadline for signing up is Monday 19th October at 12:00. Professor Lafferty’s research highlights the advantages of having external staff deliver the CHANGES workshops to student clubs. The overall aim is to be in a position where we have developed a large enough workforce so that institutions are able to support one another to train up all our 614 clubs in the network.

Please note that we are mindful of the challenges Covid-19 may bring with delivering this course. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep up to date with public health guidelines so that we can take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of those involved.

📲Sign up here for the next CHANGES: Train the Trainer course.

Michael Webster from the University of Edinburgh, participated in the training last year and from that, co-delivered a workshop to over thirty sports club members.

He said: “The Train the Trainer course was engaging, informative and eye-opening. The effects of hazing and negative group events can be catastrophic, so to have the ability to deliver workshops with the aim of positively influencing the culture of student sports clubs, feels incredibly impactful, and fulfilling on a personal level.”

“The tools and techniques from the course have allowed me to frame conversations around looking to the future, creating new traditions, and utilising team-building techniques to create inclusive, positive, and safe welcome activities.”

The current list of available trainers can found below and will be updated after the October Training.

Tayside, Fife, and Grampian Regional Trainers;

Eamonn Laird, University of Dundee – e.y.laird@dundee.ac.uk

Ellen Morrissey, Robert Gordon University – e.morrissey@rgu.ac.uk

Claire Scott, University of St. Andrews – cls25@st-andrews.ac.uk

South East Regional Trainers;

Fraser Reynolds, Edinburgh Napier University – f.reynolds@napier.ac.uk

Craig Bodel, University of Stirling – craig.bodel@stir.ac.uk

Amy Beattie, University of Stirling – amy.beattie1@stir.ac.uk

Michael Webster, University of Edinburgh – michael.webster@ed.ac.uk 

Bethany Lawrie, University of Edinburgh – Bethany.Lawrie@ed.ac.uk

Catherine Wilson, Heriot-Watt University – catherine.wilson@hw.ac.uk

West Regional Trainers;

Iain Christie, the University of the West of Scotland – iain.christie@uws.ac.uk

Seona McKenzie, University of Strathclyde – seona.mckenzie@strath.ac.uk

Jamie Taylor, University of Glasgow – Jamie.Taylor@glasgow.ac.uk

Scottish Student Sport Staff;

Gavin Rittoo, Scottish Student Sport – gavin@scottishstudentsport.com

Nicola Scott, Scottish Student Sport – nicola@scottishstudentsport.com

Megan Richardson, Scottish Student Sport – megan@scottishstudentsport.com

Neil Rankin, Scottish Student Sport – neil@scottishstudentsport.com

 

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Thursday 11th June 2020

SSS are delighted to sign the SAMH Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, and we have now put a plan alongside this to support the work further. Find out more about what we are doing to look after our staff.

As one of the original working group to the establishment of the SAMH Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, and being a signatory of the Charter since it’s inception, SSS have created a declaration plan to support this work further. In response to the re-launch of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, SSS have committed to celebrating the positive work we do at SSS to look after each one another’s mental health and challenge ourselves to improve wherever possible.

At present, at SSS we pride ourselves on looking after the health and wellbeing of our staff – from day one inductions to last day goodbyes – we look after our staff. Starting a new job can often be a stressful, nerve-wracking process so we make sure our new staff are warmly welcomed at SSS. Staff inductions often include (along with the operational stuff) a relaxed welcome lunch, giving new starts the opportunity to meet and get to know the rest of the team in an informal environment. Welcome signs, personalised playlists are also SSS favorite to make sure new starts feel comfortable.

Facilitating sport and physical activity is core to what we do at SSS, and we make sure these principles are adopted into everyday aspects of our working life too. Walking meetings, allocated time for team physical activity and actively promoting physical activity lunchtime ensures the staff can get a decent break to switch off which studies suggest often leads to improved mental health.

We are also very proud to provide an open and flexible working environment where we encourage conversations surrounding mental health, check-in with each other and understand the challenges that one another might face. Over the last few months, this has never been more important so we have introduced a weekly Wellness Survey and continue to support our staff through our daily calls. If a staff member needs some headspace, flexibility around working hours or locations are often accommodated for to suit the individual’s needs.

In recent weeks our staff team have completed their mental health awareness training and Nicola Scott, Head of Development has been allocated to champion mental health and be qualified in mental health first aid once courses are back up and running. Appropriate time will be allocated for the mental health champion to fulfill the role alongside their other responsibilities so that the role can be fulfilled effectively.

 

📝If you would like more information on the SSS SAMH Declaration you can download it here.

📲If your institution would like to sign up for Healthy Body Healthy Mind you can find information on it here.

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Friday 29th May 2020

SSS are pleased to announce that we have been awarded the Intermediate Level of the Equality Standard in Sport. Read the full story about what the award is and how we achieved it!

SSS recently received the very positive news that we have been awarded the Intermediate Level of the Equality Standard in Sport.

This achievement represents three years of excellent work within the organisation and significant leaps across student sport in terms of participation, projects, and partnerships.

The Equality Standard is supported by sportscotland – via Plan4Sport – as part of its expert resource help to governing bodies and other partners. By working through the standard, funded organisations are encouraged to own and deliver an Equality Action Plan that can demonstrably improve their impact on people in protected groups.

For SSS this has produced a number of highlights including:

  • Our well-developed work with partners at Scottish Disability Sport
  • An active contribution to the SAMH Charter for Physical Activity & Sport
  • A lead delivery role within the rejuvenated Healthy Body, Healthy Mind programme
  • The collection, collation and analysis of better equality data
  • A series of impactful campaigns and projects including Rainbow Laces, CHANGES, and She Can She Will
  • Embedding value-based decision making across SSS – adopting an INCLUSIVE approach in all we do

Reaching the Intermediate award milestone represents another 2021 strategy target achieved, and so it is fitting to pause and celebrate the network-wide commitment that this represents.

SSS would like to thank all who have contributed to the work thus far, both across our membership and within the many partner organisations who have supported us along the way. A special thanks to Barbara Lawson and all of our Equality Steering Group members for giving additional volunteer time to help guide the work. We couldn’t have managed it without you.

Having reached this level SSS is now amongst the most developed sports bodies in the country. This important work will now continue towards the top-level (Advanced) over the coming years, in our bid to make student sport a place where everyone is able and welcome to play.

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Monday 25th May 2020

Carstairs, President of QMU’s Sapphires Cheerleading Club, has been awarded this past term’s Volunteer of the Semester for her continuous dedication to volunteering within student sport during the early months of 2020.

This past semester, Sarah and the Sapphires held the QMU’s Cheer Showcase – a Cheer and Dance competition attended by over 400 students from across Scotland. The club raised over £3000, of which £300 was donated to the local Dalkeith Men’s Shed, a community outreach programme promoting positive mental health and wellbeing for men of all ages. Sarah continued to attend meetings throughout the semester, forging a long-term partnership with the charity, going far beyond a one-off donation.

In addition, Sarah initiated a change to her club’s annual social event based on the popular TV show, Take Me Out, to promote an inclusive environment for all of those taking part by adding two LGBT+ rounds for the first time in the club’s history.

When asked about her experience volunteering, Sarah stated: “I have had the most amazing time being a member of the Queen Margaret University Cheerleading Squad. The experience I had as a part of this team made my time at university unforgettable. My positions within the team allowed me to increase opportunities for students within the club, which gained more recognition for the sport and enhanced the university experience for others.

On behalf of the SSStribe, we would like to say congratulations to Sarah for all her efforts to promote inclusion and continue to build strong community ties in her area – keep up the great work!

Volunteer of Semester – 2020/2021

Does your institution have a committed student volunteer just like Sarah? Why not submit their details for our next Volunteer of the Semester award?

The winning student will receive a £50 Amazon voucher as well as have a profile piece published by Scottish Student Sport.

For more information on the upcoming award for the 2020 – 2021 academic year can be found here.

For more information or if you have any general enquiries, please contact Development and Competitions Assistant, Leah Davidson.

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Thursday 30th January 2020

Scottish Student Sport, along with partners ASH Scotland, NUS Scotland and SAMH, are delighted to launch Healthy Body Healthy Mind 2020. Read more about the new look criteria and award!

Scottish Student Sport, along with partners ASH Scotland, NUS Scotland and SAMH, are delighted to launch Healthy Body Healthy Mind 2020.

Healthy Body Healthy Mind supports colleges and universities in improving student and staff well-being and inspires positive changes on campus. In receiving an Award, institutions demonstrate how they are encouraging sport and physical activity, a smoke-free culture and good mental health.

We believe that young people should be able to arrive into learning environments that support physical and mental well-being. We aim to help create a health promoting culture across campus with the emphasis on positive action and preventing ill-health. This is central to the institution’s duty of care towards all students and staff and supports wider goals such as improving attainment and student retention.

Following an external review of the award last year, we have made some positive changes to the criteria and submission process that we hope will be welcomed and provide an environment to achieve more together. Through offering more support to institutions, as well as ongoing feedback on evidence submissions, the partners are committed to supporting the institutions achieve their goals.

What to expect;
  • Dedicated support from the SSS Project Officer.
  • Initial meeting with SSS staff to establish baseline data and set project goals
  • Access to ASH Scotland staff to support your plans for positively impacting the aim of a Tobacco Free generation by 2034 as well as access to ASH Scotland online training.
  • Support through SAMH as part of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, to explore and build your ideas on how to ensure mental health is being addressed through your activities. This will give you access to online training and resources.
How to Sign Up

It couldn’t be easier to sign up to Healthy Body Healthy Mind! Just complete the online form to confirm your interest and then we will be in touch with you on how to take your next steps.

🔗 Complete the online form NOW!

In the meantime, should you have any queries then please do not hesitate to get in touch with SSS Project Officer, Sarah Gandon via sarah@scottishstudentsport.com or on 07779 117120.

Documentation

Here you can find the all important docs and files for this years Healthy Body Healthy Mind.

📝 Healthy Body Healthy Mind Criteria 

📝 HBHM Additional Information 

📝 Mental Health Additional Information

📝 Physical Activity and Sport Additional Information 

📝 Smoking Prevention Additional Information 

📝 HBHM Process Map 2020

 

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Thursday 28th November 2019

The British Active Student Survey (BASS) 2019-20 is now live. Complete the survey before the 20th of December for your chance to win £50 ASOS vouchers!

What is the British Active Student Survey?

This is a joint initiative between BUCS, AoC Sport and UK Active – with for the first time the work being carried out in Further Education and Higher Education simultaneously. It aims to gain understanding into the levels of physical activity and the relationship between wider health and wellbeing, academic attainment, and employability skills.

The survey builds on the findings of Scottish Universities in 2017, British Universities in 2018 and British Colleges in 2019 – which all highlighted that active students have higher mental wellbeing, social inclusion, plus greater positive perceptions of academic attainment and employability compared to inactive students.

The survey is open from now until Friday 20th of Decembertake part now! 

Why should I take part?

By filling out the survey you will be contributing to important research and analysis to help gauge a greater understanding of the relationship between active students mental wellbeing, social inclusion,  academic attainment and employability compared to inactive students.

Any university that achieves a 5% completion rate in relation to their FTE of students will be provided with their own data set from the students that completed the survey from their institution.

Students who complete the survey will enter a prize draw to win up to three £50 ASOS vouchers.

For more information and to complete the survey follow the link!

 

 

 

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Wednesday 27th November 2019

We are excited to launch our brand new Scottish Student Sport Podcast! Episode 1 is now LIVE and available on Spotify! Find out more here.

We are excited to announce the launch of the brand new Scottish Student Sport Podcast!

In its debut series hosts Gavin Rittoo and Stew Fowlie will be joined by a variety of guests from across the Scottish Sporting world and beyond to discuss their journey and how student sport has shaped it along the way.

Aired monthly, the podcast will feature a chat with one of the sports sabbatical officers from our member institutions – getting to know them a little bit better and the exciting work they are doing this year. There will also be a ‘competitions corner’ segment which will round up all the latest results and reaction from our competitions and events across the country. Alongside this the show will round up all the latest news, updates and discuss all the hot topics in the exciting world that is Scottish Student Sport.

Episode 1

00:00 – 08:00 – Intro and Welcome with Stew & Gav

08:00 – 24:30 – Interview with Georgia Moran, Edinburgh Napier University

24:30 – 28:00 – Live musical performance from Georgia Moran

28:00 – 31:00 – Competitions update and reaction

31:00 – 50:30 – Interview with Malcolm King from the Big Sleep Out, previewing the event in December which SSS will be participating in

50:30 – 53:00 – Round up and upcoming events with Stew and Gav

How to listen:

You can find us on spotify, stitcher, spreaker and all other good podcasting sites.

Listen to “Episode 1 | Georgia Moran & The Big Sleep Out” on Spreaker.

Get in touch

If you have listened to the podcast then we want to hear from you!

Tweet us your thoughts on the podcast using the hashtag: #SSSPOD. Whether its praise, criticism , support or if you have a great idea then let us know! We will read out the best tweets on the next episode…

If you would like to appear on the podcast then drop as an email: info@scottishstudentsport.com 

If you are interested in joining our SSS Sleep Out team on Saturday 7th of December to help raise money and fight homelessness in Scotland then all the sign up information can be found here.

 

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