Welsh need to foster sports links

28th February 1997 at 00:00
Colleges in Wales should do more to foster links with sports clubs and community groups, a report on sport in the principality advises.

The study, by the Sports Council for Wales, shows wide variations in the type and amount of sport in FE colleges.Less than two-fifths of the 29 FE institutions in Wales had any links with outside clubs.

Researchers said: "While some institutions are responding well to timetabling pressures and increased enrolments by continuing to provide opportunities for students to participate in sport, others are doing little to bulwark sporting opportunities against such pressures."

But the report, commissioned for the Further Education Funding Council for Wales, did point to the varied number of extra-curricular activities available to students.

Many have few on-site sports facilities, although a few are well equipped and most students have access to some form of sports facility. But overall students are offered a wide range of different sports and there are efforts to improve facilities using lottery funding.

Football is the most widely offered sport, with rugby second. But sport for women is under-represented, with large discrepancies in the number of men's and women's teams organised in colleges.

Financial support is available in two-thirds of colleges to help run sporting activities, but again, help available varies considerably from college to college. And sport for students with learning difficulties or disabilities is poor, according to the report's authors.

The report says: "Despite the high level of usage of community facilities, links with local community groups and clubs are not well developed. Improved community links are essential if institutions are to be eligible for accessing lottery funds to improve the provision of sorts facilities in the future. "

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