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Durham University

Durham University News


Enjoy world-class sporting facilities and outreach

(4 April 2017)

DURHAM University is inviting more people to take advantage of its sports outreach programme – and enjoy its world-class sporting facilities.

The University’s Maiden Castle currently hosts 15 community clubs, engaging more than 2,000 local residents, including staff, each week. More than 200 Durham students regularly volunteer their time to run coaching sessions, clinics and large-scale events for local children, working with more than 45 schools each year. Their school holiday camps are extremely popular and two will be held over the upcoming Easter holidays.

Additionally, the University recognises the power of sport for both physical and mental well-being and, working with others, has run multi-sport programmes for drug rehabilitation clients; people with learning disorders, mental health disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders; vulnerable women; homeless people; and young offenders. In total, these involve more than 4,000 people each year.

Maiden Castle is open to the public, offering a fitness suite, athletics track, squash courts, sports hall, fencing salle, ergo gallery and hockey, rubber crumb and grass pitches. The University hosts and delivers much of the Durham Institute of Sport Programme, an initiative that supports around 100 of the County's most promising young athletes. 

Development plans

In addition to community use, the facilities are enjoyed by more than 10,000 students each week during term time and plans have recently been announced to develop Maiden Castle into a Sports Park which will benefit students and staff but will also enhance the University's role as a hub for local and regional sport. With the development of a new 3G football/rugby pitch, two water-based hockey pitches, an indoor sports hall, indoor cricket centre, sports labs, indoor tennis and squash courts and a new fitness suite, Maiden Castle will be transformed. It is hoped these facilities will be ready by October 2018.

Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham, which co-ordinates University sport, staff and student volunteering and outreach, student theatre and music, said: "Sport and physical activity is important to so many people and it is critical that the University continues to play a pivotal role in the development of programmes and the provision of facilities that benefit the local and regional community as a whole.

“Our students can be outstanding role models for young people. Their commitment to supporting our community programmes is a truly outstanding feature of Durham University Sport and something that we are determined to build on further in the coming years."

Sporting heritage

The University has long enjoyed a strong reputation for sport. Three-quarters of Durham students take part in sport on a regular basis and former students include rugby star Will Carling, cricketers Andrew Strauss and Nasser Hussain, long jumper Jonathan Edwards, Olympic gold medal-winning rowers Sophie Hosking and Lily van den Broecke and double Paralympic fencer Gemma Collis.

Durham was named The Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015 and has finished second in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues for five consecutive years.

Mr Sloper said: “Sport brings people together, whatever the sport and whatever the level. We have always believed that partnership is critical to developing sustainable sports programmes and it is a privilege to be part of so many of the programmes that make sport and physical activity such a big part of many people's lives across the City and the County as a whole."

For more information on Durham University sport, visit

For more information on the University’s contribution to the North-East, visit

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