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Sports Student Develops Disability Awareness Programme

A University of Ulster student, who received funding to develop a disability awareness sports programme in primary schools across Northern Ireland, graduates today.

Sara-Jayne McClung, from Omagh, was a Schools Coordinator for the University’s Sports Outreach Programme during her placement year.

“During my placement I was encouraged to apply for funding from Sports UnLTD, which is part of the charitable organisation UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

“I was awarded £7,000 to develop my own disability awareness sports programme in primary schools. This involved me organising Disability Sport Northern Ireland (DSNI) training for student volunteers and primary school teachers, designing a teaching resource, ordering equipment, placing student volunteers in schools to deliver the programme and organising a festival as a finale to the programme.“

Sara-Jayne, who will graduate with BSc Hons Sports Studies, was also involved with the Sport for LIFE programme, encouraging children to take up physical activity for life. She also received a WASS scholarship in her final year for Outreach.

Ulster Sports Academy lecturer, Sinead Connolly, said: “Sara-Jayne has been an amazing ambassador for the University and has taken full advantage of the opportunities on offer at Ulster sporting, academic and professional. She has also made a massive contribution to the Outreach and GymFUN programmes.”

Sara-Jayne, a former member of the Elks Ladies Hockey team, helped set up a new student gymnastics club, which won the Jim Allen Merit award in its first year.

She was also heavily involved with the gymnastics programme at Ulster, GymFUN, and gained Level One and Two coaching qualifications in general gymnastics through this programme.

“This allowed me to coach at the University’s children’s gymnastics club. Through GymFUN I have moved from volunteer to scholar to a paid coach and finally, in my last year to Head Coach and mentor to the new first years.

“As a result of my experience and knowledge gained at Ulster, I have received two offers for Primary PGCE teacher training. My time at Ulster has been invaluable and I owe so much those who I have worked with over the last four years.”