On 30 January over 120 students from schools and colleges, both local and from London, visited the University of Brighton’s Falmer campus for the second annual Value of Sport Conference.
After lunch the conference started in earnest with a series of presentations that analysed sports contribution to society, wealth and communities. Professors John Naughright talked through the global value of sport, whilst guest speaker and local sport journalist, Richard Gillis, shocked the audience with stories of how the wages of footballer Luis Suarez appeared to go up with every bite….
Brighton graduate, Melanie Kinnear brought the value of sport back to Brighton by talking through the role of sport in the community through the work which Albion in the Community and American Express do with the disadvantaged in Sussex. She identified that the great asset of sport is that it links so many people in so many ways. Dr Mark Doidge of the University explored with the audience the issues of football fans and their role in supporting the community.
The highlight for many was the opening talk by Fi Tillman, graduate and international sports star. Fi spoke of her journey which began with nearly missing out on a place at university by getting all the answers wrong and virtually turning up on the wrong day. She then had the audience spellbound as she spoke about how her life has changed following a motorbike accident.
With the support of friends and the University of Brighton she has regained her love of sport through joining a wheelchair basketball team. Fi spoke of training harder and longer than she ever thought possible and the team is looking to represent Great Britain in Rio 2016.
Everyone had a great day and we hope to be welcoming many of them back as students in the future. Just some of the comments we received:
“That was great, really enjoyed learning about the global value of sport from John.”
“Fi is awesome; she has made me think I need to think carefully about what I want to do.”
“Some of our students are now really thinking that actually university is for them.”
Students attending the conference came from: Hailsham Community College, Coulsdon College, Sussex Coast College Hastings, Uxbridge College, Varndean College, City College and Ifield Community College.