South West Universities win bronze in prestigious Olympic Vision awards

08 May 2012 11:42:00

The Universities South West RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy for Arts and Youth Sport) project was awarded Bronze in the prestigious ‘Coubertin’s Olympic Vision’ Award which acknowledges the national higher education project that most lives up to the ideals of the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin.

RELAYS is a collaboration between the region's universities including Bath Spa and was short-listed from over 200 entries. The initiative was placed in the Bronze medal position of third following a week-long public vote. Submissions from all six short listed nominees can be seen on http://www.coubertin-awards.org.uk/

Held in the shadow of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium on 3 May, the awards ceremony was held by Podium, the Further & Higher Education unit for the 2012 Games, as recognition and celebration of the vital role colleges and universities across the UK have played in delivering the London 2012 Games.

It was an amazing night of success for RELAYS as the project also scooped a Silver Award for the Invaluable Volunteering Project and a Bronze Award for the Outstanding Sporting Project.

Collecting the awards on the night was Project Director, Leanne Dingle, who said: "This has been a fantastic night for RELAYS and gives the project the national recognition that it so rightly deserves. These awards are the culmination of the extraordinary collaborative spirit of our region’s universities and cultural partners, who had the vision back in 2008 to recognise the unique ability of students and volunteers to inspire and engage with, to date, nearly half a million young people across the region. Tonight has brought the incredible 2012 spirit that is in the South West to the home of the Games."

RELAYS is led by Universities South West and delivered through 11 of the region’s universities (The Arts University College at Bournemouth, Bath Spa University, Bournemouth University, Plymouth University, University College Falmouth, University College Plymouth St Mark and St John, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Gloucestershire and the University of the West of England) and arts partners (Lyme Regis Development Trust, Watershed Bristol and The Works in Cornwall).

It recognised that 2012 presented a unique opportunity for HEIs to work collaboratively together and with external partners to reach out the community in a positive and pan-regional way. Through a creative blend of sport and culture, RELAYS has delivered a creative range of events from art workshops to school sports competitions, surf events to dance showcases, public festivals to running community classrooms aimed primarily at young people up to the age of 18 and are run by RELAYS staff based at the universities and delivered through a team of trained student volunteers.

The numbers to date are impressive and with an action-packed schedule of activity for 2012, they are increasing daily:

-      Events held – 1,327
-      Young people engaged – 79,522
-      Audience at events – 371,187
-      Businesses supported – 1,825
-      Volunteering opportunities – 6,570

RELAYS is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity that has been set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games and HEFCE (The Higher Education Funding Council for England).