Nearly one in five students at further education colleges in England are currently not active enough – that means 138,000 students are doing less than the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each week.
That’s why we’re funding 49 colleges to help get their students active.
As well as traditional activities, such as gym and fitness classes, archery, self-defence, and yoga and Pilates, there are lots of new activities being used by the colleges.
They include Raveminton which involves playing badminton under ultra-violet (UV) lights with fluorescent lines, neon nets and shuttlecocks sprayed with UV paint.
Tag American football, bubble football – where five-a-side football players go up against each while wearing an inflatable orb – and Parkour are just some of the other more non-traditional activities we're funding to get students active.
The colleges have designed their projects to also help the students more broadly.
Many colleges will respond to mental health concerns about their students by establishing a mental health referrals system.
Others will also offer a ‘fit for work’ programme to prepare students for the physical demands of the workplace.
Why we're investing in further education
We know that students who go to a further education college are typically more inactive than students who attend sixth form in a school or go to university, partly because it’s the first time many are not doing compulsory sport.
Colleges also educate more students from lower socio-economic groups, as well as more black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and students with a disability. All of these groups are traditionally less likely to be active for a variety of reasons.
The vision is to transform Bridge College into a hub for disability sport in Greater Manchester and the specialist college will supports its students (who have learning difficulties and disabilities) to get active, and people in the wider community who have a disability.
A full-time sports coach will be recruited to increase the variety and quantity of extra-curricular activities; engage and collaborate with community sports agencies, and utilise the college’s state-of-the-art facilities.
Chesterfield College’s Healthy Lifestyle Project will target students who are doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity per week and aims to give them opportunities to become more physically active on a regular basis.
By aiming it at women and girls, disabled students and vulnerable students, the college aims to use physical activity to improve students' physical and mental wellbeing, as well as their individual development.
The project team will be responsible for working with college staff and local community organisations to set up new activity programmes.
Fit4Work will see physical activity added to students’ timetables for at least one term, to help support their progression to being regularly active.
Students will be identified by what they're studying, including courses with high numbers of female students, level 1 and entry level learners.
They will complete a baseline physical activity survey to determine their activity levels and this will be followed up three months later to identify whether the student is more active as a result.
The project at Bexhill College focuses on students doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity per week.
It has three core elements: mental wellbeing classes such as yoga, engaging students through timetabled wellbeing sessions which link to employability skills, and building on current successful activities by extending their availability.
The aim is to establish more regular activity in students' lives.
Hereford Sixth Form College
Hereford Sixth Form College is aiming to improve the overall health of both students and staff through their new 'All Active' programme.
Their physical wellbeing manager will be running a set of targeted interventions to identify inactive students and staff, before launching a series of tailored activity programmes.
On a more individual basis, the college will also be running a one-to-one referral scheme for vulnerable students and by liaising with the college's wellbeing team, they will refer the students to a flexible series of activity programmes.
Bridgwater and Taunton College
Bridgwater College's BTC Active project will offer a range of inclusive activity sessions each week for all their students.
The project will be focused on women and girls, students from a lower socio-economic background and students with long-term health conditions.
BTC Active will also arm students with employability skills, with innovative ways of getting active being created to spark interest.
You can also download the full list of colleges we’re funding and read a summary of their plans below.