Sports Outreach

Led by sports professionals in the area of physical education, sports development and community sports development.

Based in Ulster University's School of Sport and led by professionals in the area of physical education, sports development and community sports development, Sports Outreach (SO) facilitates a range of programmes (known as SHINE@ULSTER) aimed at widening access to sport and physical activity to young people at greatest disadvantage across the province.

SO prides itself on promoting and rewarding volunteering. It works with the University's richest resource, its students, to deliver these programmes while also serving to enhance the employability skills of these student volunteers.

By mobilising, training and deploying student volunteers annually, SO is able to positively and constructively use the energy, abilities and enthusiasm of the future sport and physical activity professionals of Northern Ireland to reach young people in schools and communities at greatest disadvantage.

Through the design and development of stimulating and fulfilling research informed sport and physical activity programmes, student volunteers are given the opportunity to gain a range of professional skills, qualities and experiences in the delivery of quality assured programmes.

As young enthusiastic role models they use sport and physical activity as a stimulus to engage children and young people, encourage learning, influence behaviour and open eyes to the possibility of a more active, brighter, healthier, positive future.

All SHINE@ULSTER programmes are designed by a team of expert staff. Training is provided on site to ensure quality assurance for our partner organisations.≈

Who we work with

SO has developed strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with key internal and external partners to facilitate delivery of the SHINE@ULSTER programmes.

Internal Partners

  • Ulster University Centre for Widening Access and Participation
  • Ulster University Centre for Flexible and Continuing Education
  • Ulster University Careers / Employability Unit
  • Ulster University Sports Union

External Partners


  • Department of Culture Arts and Leisure
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Education Authority
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • Sport Changes Life
  • Volunteer NOW
  • Basketball Northern Ireland
  • Ulster Badminton
  • Ulster Hockey
  • Athletics Northern Ireland
  • Disability Sport Northern Ireland


  • International Sport and Culture Association
  • The Coca Cola Foundation
  • Irish Sports Council
  • Campus Engage
  • Dublin City University
  • University College Cork
  • Sligo IT
  • Galway Mayo IT
  • Youth Sport Trust

SO Accolades

  • 2016 – Innovation Award for Excellence in Student Experience – College and University Business Officer (CUBO) Awards
  • 2015/16 – UK Coaching Awards, Coaching Intervention of the Year
  • 2015/16 – Sport Northern Ireland 'Coaching Project of the Year' Winner
  • 2014/15 - Times Higher Awards UK Awards - 'Outstanding Contribution to a Local Community' Shortlist award winner
  • 2013/14 – SO Unit awarded 'INSPIRED BY 2012' status by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Unit
  • 2013/14 – 2 members of staff awarded 'Public Engagement Ambassador' status by the UK National Centre for Public Engagement.
  • 2012/13 –3 SHINE@ULSTER programmes awarded 'London 2012 Inspire Mark' licences by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Unit
  • 2011/12 – SO's Sport for LIFE programme selected by the World Health Organisation and Schools for Health in Europe (SHE) as a 'Best practice case study in promoting physical activity and health in a school setting to disadvantaged and vulnerable young people'.


Sports Outreach Research Advisory Group (SO-RAG) is a multidisciplinary team of academics promoting research that has a direct impact on the community. The work of SO-RAG involves informing, designing and advising the monitoring and evaluation of sports outreach programmes and student volunteer training for programmes.

Dr. Gavin Breslin and Prof. David Hassan from Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute and Dr. Duncan Morrow Director of Community Engagement and Senior Lecturer in the School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy are current contributors and advisors. Mr David Czesniuk (Assistant Dean of Partnerships and Alliances at North Eastern University) is an international collaborator with particular interest in sport for development programmes. SO staff are also Advisory Board Members of the International Sport and Culture Association.

The aim of their work is to establish tangible research links and disseminate through peer reviewed publications, academic conferences, abstracts and presentations locally, nationally and internationally the outputs and outcomes of the work undertaken. This innovation contributes to the University's corporate goal of evidence based widening access, increasing interdisciplinary and collaborative research to advance knowledge by achieving international excellence and to transfer knowledge in support of economic, social and cultural development.