Wednesday 29th March 2023

The Story So Far – Development Work

The 2022/23 academic year has been great for Scottish Student Sport, seeing the continued success of students representing their institutions at both recreational and competitive levels.

This year has seen our development team continue to promote worthy causes and work with other organisations to continue to improve student sport. With that being said, here is a brief outline of some of our work during this period.


Membership Audits


Our recently completed Membership Audit has revealed some interesting data. We have seen a record of 41,250 members which makes a 14% increase in the number of members over the last five years. 50% identify as female while 46% identify as male. This makes this the third year where the majority of our members have been female-identifying. Our members are also spread across 586 clubs representing 91 different sports. This record-breaking year has shown the enthusiasm within student sport and we hope to see these impressive members expand further in the future.


Football vs. Homophobia Month of Action


2023 alone has already seen massive strides towards the acceptance of LGBTQI+ people in football, including the public coming out of Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto and Scotland’s Zander Murray. However, the fight against homophobia in football is still as relevant as ever. Scottish Student Sport has worked with partner organisation Leap Sports to help raise awareness towards issues still faced in the sport, as well as to bring more inclusivity into the beautiful game. Football vs. Homophobia has also been championed by four institutions, those being: University of Edinburgh Women’s FC, Abertay University FC, Heriot-Watt University FC and Edinburgh Napier FC. If you want to learn more, we featured Carolina Sousa e Sá, Leap Sports’ Lead Project Officer, on our official podcast. In Episode 25 of the podcast, we discussed LGBT+ people in sports, the issues that are still faced and how we can continue to improve inclusivity across the sport.


Active Health Forum


The Scottish Student Sport network believes in developing not just the physical health benefits of student sport but the mental health benefits as well. In February we held the Active Health Forum, where staff from SAMH, CIMSPA and The Daily Mile gave presentations alongside healthy discussions from representatives across many of Scotland’s Institutions. Hearing from sector leaders and encouraging discussion, network members left enthused with ideas and best practices to make their institutions a healthier and more active place.


Leadership Programme


The SSS Leadership Programme has continued for the 2022/23 academic year and has seen eight students given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. Those previously included in the course have seen themselves flourish in the sporting industry. The programme returned in January 2023 and has seen the lucky students gain insightful insider information from industry experts such as Guy Richardson of Eiger Performance and Ross Simpson from the University of Edinburgh. We aim to help young people gain experience in the sporting world which can hopefully waylay themselves into an industry job in the future.


Reffin’ Brilliant


Every sport needs players to make a game happen but they also need officials. This is why Scottish Student Sport has continued its Reffin’ Brilliant programme which allows students to gain experience refereeing across a range of different sports. Supported by sportscotland, the programme helps budding students gain experience officiating, with the possibility that they could become match officials in professional games going forward.


Boccia Special Projects


The University of Stirling hosted the first Boccia Festival in November 2022. At Scottish Student Sport, we believe in inclusivity and allowing sports to be enjoyed by everyone. The emergence of Boccia as a student sport has enabled more athletes with disabilities to perform. Working alongside Scottish Disability Sport, SSS accepted a Special Projects Fund bid, which provided institutions with Boccia kits to make the sport more accessible. Eight institutions were successful in their applications, these were:


  • City of Glasgow College
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Perth College UHI
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Stirling
  • University of West of Scotland


With these new kits, we hope these institutions will continue to build upon their hard work and continue to allow more students with disabilities to get involved.


While we can’t go into detail about all the work done by the development team, they have continued to work intensely to improve our work as an organisation. Some other examples of their work include new disability forums across campuses, coaching and officiating programmes, MHiS and UKAD training, and HBHM engagement.


This was the story so far with our development in 22/23. In the coming months, we will continue the work we have put in to develop the best organisational practices for our institutions and students to allow them the best opportunities in the world of sport.