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HEFCE is a key supporter of Universities Week (Note 1). Also we have been working with universities, colleges and other organisations to support higher education’s response to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games since 2005, when London was announced as the host.

HEFCE's research and capital funding has supported sports-related research and infrastructure, and we have given around £4.2 million in the form of direct grants to a diverse range of projects (Note 2). The lasting legacy these investments provide will benefit students and the wider public.

Together with funding from the Skills Funding Agency, we also funded Podium, a coordination and communications unit for universities and colleges across the country. This enabled many of them to engage in London 2012 initiatives and help maximise the benefits of hosting the Games (Note 3).

Pentathlon GB have their high performance centre at the University of Bath.

The projects we funded included ones to encourage student volunteering, to support social inclusion and to promote opportunities for people with disabilities in sport and culture. With the University of Nottingham and British Universities and College Sport (BUCS), we part-funded the first ever National Disability Officer post for university sport.

Isaac Malter a student with cerebral palsy taking part in Any-Body Month at the University of Nottingham.

Another project was an initial investment of £1 million to the Creative Campus Initiative (Note 4), a collaboration between universities in the South East. The initiative has brought together artists, students, academics, schools and local communities to deliver a programme of cultural events in support of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The universities also worked with arts disability groups and people from disadvantaged communities to challenge perceptions surrounding sport. The initiative succeeded in reaching over half a million people.

Steve Egan, HEFCE’s Deputy Chief Executive, said:

‘HEFCE has taken the opportunity presented by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games to invest in sustainable initiatives that will benefit students, universities and colleges, and the wider community. We have worked with a range of partners to help ensure a legacy that will last far beyond 2012. Using sport and culture as a catalyst, these projects demonstrate the role that universities and colleges play in achieving long-term benefits and enhancing higher education’s contribution to the economy and society.’

Notes

1. Universities Week 2012 (30 April to 7 May) focuses on the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The campaign is being coordinated by Universities UK and British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the national governing body for higher education sport in the UK. It is supported by universities across the UK and a wide range of organisations including Podium, the NUS, Research Councils UK, the Universities Marketing Forum and HEFCE. The week culminates in the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championship in the Olympic Stadium, the last test event before the Games in July.

2. For further information on the projects HEFCE has funded see our web page on London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

3. More information on Podium 

4. Further information on the Creative Campus Initiative

5. The official web-site of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

6. The Cultural Olympiad features programmes and projects inspired by London 2012 and culminates in the London 2012 Festival between 21 June and 9 September offering free events throughout the UK.