2014/15 represented an exciting year in the growing development of women’s sports teams at LSE, with many benefiting from Annual Fund support to record varying levels of success.
One of the aims of the Annual Fund is to philanthropically support initiatives and projects across the School that aid students’ development outside of the classroom, and sports teams naturally form a significant part of this remit. As such we are delighted that LSE’s sports teams continue to make a mark, building on the success of previous years.
The School’s Women’s Hockey Club, pictured above, are one shining example of such success. The Annual Fund provided funding in order to help the club build on recent promotions for the first and second teams, investing in training for umpire and coaching skills, engaging in hockey volunteering opportunities, and sponsoring a new kit. With the backing of this grant, the hockey team went on to be crowned champions of the South East Universities Cup. Separately, the Annual Fund also supported a development tour of the Netherlands for the men’s and women’s teams.
“Our positive and inclusive approach has seen membership numbers increase significantly, varying from complete beginners to international players,” said Alicja Klosok, captain of the team. “This grant has helped us to ensure that all members of the club feel included, valuable and equal. Meanwhile the Netherlands tour helped us build upon our success and foster an environment within the club that champions sporting excellence, allowing us to gain insight from highly talented and experienced Dutch players.”
Meanwhile the LSE Women’s Rugby team also had a fantastic year, with the 1st team winning all of their league games, reaching the final of the South East Cup, and training at Twickenham with the England rugby squad. In addition, a 2nd team was established, with Annual Fund support going towards pitch time and a specialist coach.
“Four years ago, the Rugby club struggled to get a full 1st team to play once a week – now we successfully turn out two full teams,” said team captain Julia Ryland. “This is testament to our desire to ensure that a sport under-represented amongst women is open to all who want to play. Nonetheless this can be financially difficult, with the costs of paying for more coaches and renting pitch space for two different teams, so we are very grateful for everything the Annual Fund has enabled us to do. We find that rugby is a great way of periodically escaping the stress of LSE’s academic environment, and this support has enabled more people to access such opportunities.”
The all new LSE Mixed Volleyball Club was also established this year, with Annual Fund support enabling them to gain professional coaching and a new kit, as well as enter into international competitions. “We’re really trying to grow the club and get more people participating in volleyball, and setting up the mixed team was a part of that,” said President of the Club, Steffie Brader. “Annual Fund support paid for the registration fee for a competition in Paris – a great opportunity for our players to experience the vibrant and exciting volleyball community across Europe, and seeing what it’s like to play against other international universities.”
Alastair Duncan, LSESU Activities and Development Officer, said: “UK women’s sport is at an important turning point, as national bodies and media outlets increasingly recognise the powerful resonance female athletes can have. Our clubs demonstrate impressive initiative, aiming high and making it clear that they fully intend to set far-reaching precedents. I’ve been incredibly proud to work alongside these women, and I thank the Annual Fund for enabling these ideas to become reality."