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11 April 2006 PR 06/41

New sports project provides amazing opportunity for Loughborough students

Seven Loughborough students will be among a group of around forty who will gather at the University tomorrow (12 April) to mark the launch of a pioneering new international sports initiative.

Ben Nash, Jock Wright, Helen Curtis, Claire Jenkin, Paul Williams, Richard Saunders and Jennie Platt have all been selected to take part in IDEALS (International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport) Advanced – a leadership exchange programme, which offers students and new graduates the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills before embarking on their professional careers.

The project has been developed by UK Sport, in conjunction with the newly formed Wallace Group of universities and Sport in Action, a sports development team based in Zambia.

The Wallace Group is a partnership of six universities – Bath, Durham, Loughborough, Northumbria, Stirling, and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) – which was established to work on and promote joint sports development projects that provide ‘added value’ to the students of the partner universities and to the communities in which they work.

As part of the project, each of the Wallace Group universities will send six students to Lusaka, Zambia, for four weeks this summer. Working with Sport in Action, the students will use sport and recreation as a vehicle to promote healthy lifestyles and, in particular, to address the major concern of HIV/Aids among the young people of Lusaka.

“This project has the potential to dramatically affect the lives of thousands of young people living in and around Lusaka, while also being a life changing experience for the students involved,” explains Stephen Stewart, Deputy Director of Sport at Loughborough.

The placements will provide the students with experience of working in challenging circumstances, helping them to enhance their leadership skills and improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures.

The Wallace Group was named after the former Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, Professor Sir David Wallace, in recognition of his outstanding support over many years to university sport.

Of the IDEALS project, Sir David said: “I am really delighted to see the way that these universities are working together on this marvellous initiative. It is a superb way to channel the idealism and energy of young people towards helping others, as well as a wonderful opportunity for those who participate.”

The students will leave for Zambia in June.

– Ends –

For further information contact:

Notes to editors

  1. All the students taking part in the Zambia project will be attending the launch of the IDEALS Advanced programme on Wednesday 12 April at 2.30pm in the Athletes’ Lounge, Performance Centre, Loughborough University. Any media wishing to attend the launch are asked to contact Hannah Baldwin, Head of PR at Loughborough University, in advance, T: 01509 222239.

  2. The IDEALS Advanced project is part of UK Sport’s International Development Assistance Programme. The programme has three strands: ‘IDEALS Gap’ targets 18-19 year olds, ‘IDEALS Professional’ is aimed at teachers and sports development professionals, and ‘IDEALS Advanced’ is for students and new graduates.

  3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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