Working together: Success through sport

 A shared belief in the positivity that sport can bring has helped the University of Greenwich enjoy a great relationship with neighbours Charlton Athletic for many years.

Both are key members of the community, with the university's Avery Hill Campus next door to the club's Sparrows Lane training ground.

The two launched an innovative partnership in 2014, which saw the university as the club's main shirt sponsor. This partnership sees shared expertise and joint efforts, working closely in areas of education and research, employment, and community engagement and outreach.

The university's students are among those to benefit from the tie-in, having access to of the state-of-the-art sports, exercise and training facilities at Sparrows Lane.

University of Greenwich 'takeover day' 
student on field kicking ball

Professor David Maguire, the university's Vice-Chancellor, says the partnership continues to reap rewards. "There are great mutual benefits in us coming together to share expertise, research and facilities, and to develop internships, employment and other opportunities," he says.

"Both organisations believe in making a real difference, in building lasting relationships and having a strong impact in our local communities. Providing good career prospects for our graduates is one of our key priorities. Charlton's support gives our students invaluable experience, and is playing a big part in helping us to achieve this goal."

Greenwich students have gained paid positions and internships at The Valley in a range of fields, including finance, marketing and media work. Students are also gaining Sports Science and Coaching experience at the club's training ground, and with its award-winning Community Trust.

Marianne Boyle
Marianne Boyle, Head of Sports Strategy

As part of Greenwich's commitment to enabling health and wellbeing in the community, Marianne Boyle was appointed as new Head of Sports Strategy earlier this year.

A former athlete who competed at national level in various track events, she brings a passionate belief in the power of sport and exercise to transform lives.

Working with key partners, such as Charlton, and the university's Students' Union, Marianne is aiming to develop more sporting and physical activity opportunities for students, staff and the wider community.

"Sport can help students learn so many other skills in areas such as leadership, team-building, communication and resilience."
Marianne Boyle, Head of Sports Strategy.

"A key part of the university's sports strategy is that people who are strong socially and personally are also successful academically, and therefore we want to give students every opportunity to fulfil both their academic and sporting potential. Greenwich has a very bright sporting future and I'm thrilled to be part of it."

These tie-ups are contributing to Greenwich's Sports, Health & Wellbeing Strategy. Building on links with local communities, the overall aim is to support higher levels of participation in sport and physical activity. Greenwich has also launched a strategic partnership with Blackheath Rugby Club, which also aims to promote strong links between the university and its wider communities.

student with camera
Student gets involved with match day experience

Charlton Athletic Community Trust

As well as the football club, Greenwich enjoys a close relationship with Charlton Athletic Community Trust.

As part of the tie-in, a new foundation degree launched this year. The two-year course is aimed at people with a passion for sport, as participants or coaches, who wish to pursue a career in community sport. Students have the option of transferring to the final year of the university's BA (QTS) in Physical Education, which is suitable for a career in teaching.

The trust's work in the community, much of which is aimed at boosting health and wellbeing among people of all ages, saw it named "Community Club of the Year" at last season's Football League Awards.

Greenwich staff and students have worked alongside the trust's team in campaigns such as Kick the Habit, a free advice service for people trying to stop smoking, and Greenwich Get Active, which encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles. 

The two have also joined forces on other events such as health fairs, staff wellness days, stop-smoking clinics, and health and lifestyle check-ups.

Sports science

Greenwich has a successful track record of working in the field of sports science, through its Centre for Sports Science & Human Performance. Degree programmes include BSc Hons in Sports Science with Coaching, BSc Hons Sports Science with Professional Football Coaching and BA Physical Education & Sport.

The university also has interests in sports events management, sports marketing and sports psychology, and offers teacher training in Physical Education.

Holmes playing on Charlton field
Action from The Valley

New pitches launched

Greenwich launched a £1.7 million sports, health and wellbeing strategy this year. As part of this two new state-of-the-art 3G pitches were opened at the Avery Hill Campus in March.

The floodlit all-weather pitches are now home to the university's various sports teams – including rugby, football, hockey, American football and lacrosse. They are in use seven days a week and will host nearly 70 competitive matches and many more recreational games in the coming year. The pitches will help clubs increase their membership levels and enable students to train at more convenient times, thereby boosting team performance.

The launch of the new pitches saw students compete in the university's biggest sporting event of the year, the annual Varsity competition. Students from Team Greenwich and Team Medway battled it out across nine games in various competitions, including netball, men's and women's basketball, badminton and football.

The university's investment in sport and recreation facilities includes the building of the gym in The Dome at Avery Hill, the refurbishment of the gym at Medway and the planning of a new gym within the Dreadnought development.

Greenwich takes over The Valley

Man of the Match Award
Louis Hale from the university presents Jay Dasilva with the Man of the Match Award

The university has teamed up with the Addicks twice in the last year for "takeover days", which saw students working with Charlton's matchday staff.

The events focus on the relationship between the club and university, raising awareness of Greenwich's Open Days and the opportunities available to students with Charlton.

For the club's recent home match with Bury, Media, IT and Sport Science students took part in various activities, such as the players' warm-up, match commentary and filming, interviews, and presenting the man of the match award. Student ambassadors were also on matchday duty, helping promote the university's links with Charlton.

Anne Poulson, Chief Operating Officer at Greenwich, says: "Last season's Takeover Day was a great success and this time we had more students gaining a valuable insight into the workings of a professional football club."

Greenwich also won the first annual Charlton v Homophobia football tournament at The Valley last season. Four LGBTQI+ friendly teams took part in a round-robin tournament.

This season, Charlton became the first professional football club with its own LGBTQI+ friendly football team, CACT Invicta FC.

Find out more about studying Sports Science at the University of Greenwich.