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Cardiff Met ‘Open Campus’ addresses community needs

A Cardiff Metropolitan University initiative which has benefitted thousands of schoolchildren and members of the community is now looking to diversify its provision to help more people access sport, physical activity and health support. 

Open Campus puts Cardiff Met students at the heart of solving societal problems by providing learning opportunities which offer sport and health interventions for the local community.

There have been almost 10,000 attendances from schoolchildren and members of the community to date. Over 1,000 Cardiff Met students have delivered activity through Open Campus, engaging with 41 schools across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to date. 

For students, this also included over 320 on-campus placements and over 250 community placement opportunities, delivering sessions as part of their undergraduate degree programmes, including Sport Coaching, Sport Media & Management, Sport PE & Health, Sport Performance Analysis and Sport Conditioning, Rehabilitation & Massage.

From coaching children’s sport to researching the impact of cardiovascular health; supporting delivery of falls prevention courses with the elderly community to supporting performance athletes; and running elite level sporting events to doing market research for National Governing Bodies (NGBs), Open Campus aims to provide students with the opportunity to enhance physical activity and health provision across the Welsh capital.

Now, Cardiff Met plans to extend its offering to more groups, including those in the youth justice system and refugees, and expand its provision to offer cardiac rehab centres and health hubs for frail people, which in turn will enhance the learning experience for Cardiff Met students.

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Robin Bridgman, 20, a third year BSc Sport Coaching student, has been involved in Open Campus through course placements and chose to coach children as part of his required hours. He said: “It’s a brilliant environment to work in, coaching children across a whole range of sports. It’s given me hands on, practical experience which is helping me develop professionally. But I’m also aware that I’m helping to bring sport to schoolchildren who might not necessarily have access to the facilities. 

“Sport and physical activity is fundamental to having a healthy life, and making sure children have access to sport from a young age is really important. It feels good to be part of that.”

The success of Open Campus over the last two years was celebrated at a large-scale event at Cardiff Met’s Cyncoed campus where over 400 individuals including primary and high school students, cardiac patients and neurodiverse children took part in sport and health activities led by over 120 Cardiff Met students.

Cathays High School: Girls Play Rugby

Cardiff Met alumni and the Community Learning Manager at Cathays High School, Miss E. Williams, wanted to get female pupils at the multicultural and multi-faith school engaged in sports they hadn’t experienced before or had access to. Miss. Williams reached out to Cardiff Met through Open Campus for support in introducing students to the sport.

Led by Sports Management student Amy Rothero, Cardiff Met created a rugby programme for Cathays High that ran for six weeks, with three sessions at the high school and three on the university campus including a strength and conditioning class to promote female body positivity.

Twelve girls, aged 12-13, took part each week, with four of the students going on to attend a week-long rugby camp in Nantes, France in August after enjoying the sessions so much.

Miss E. Williams said: “Working with Cardiff Met has brought a really positive response to rugby which I think in turn is going to encourage more girls to take part in this sport. The girls loved learning the basics of rugby and really enjoyed the S&C session up at Cardiff Met’s campus. We’re really grateful to the female rugby coaches there for putting the sessions on and providing this opportunity for our pupils. We look forward to future opportunities like this one.”

Cardiff Met intends to implement this style of programme across other schools and sports in the future to encourage young women to get into sport at an age where they are likely to disengage. 

Laura Williams, Assistant Director of Sport, Physical Activity & Health at Cardiff Metropolitan University said: “The impact of Open Campus has been staggering, students have had the opportunity to experience real-world situations, translating what they learn in the classroom and applying this to groups of school children. Reciprocally, the schools and their pupils have had the opportunity to experience sport in some of Cardiff Met’s world-class sports facilities and enhance their PE provision through student-led activity. 

“The success of Open Campus is that staff and students work collaboratively with the Cardiff community, creating learning experiences through sport. In doing so, this enhances physical activity and health provision across the Welsh capital, contributing to establishing Cardiff as a world-leading capital city for sport, physical activity and health.”

If your organisation would like to work with Cardiff Met through Open Campus, contact [email protected]

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