Thousands enjoying HEVO volleyball sessions

3rd January 2019

Thousands enjoying HEVO volleyball sessions

The Higher Education Volleyball Officer programme continues to help grow the sport, as the latest participation figures reveal. 

The mid-year statistics have been released for the scheme, which sees students take up roles as Higher Education Volleyball Officers (HEVOs) in their universities and deliver recreational volleyball sessions for fellow students throughout the academic year, and revealed that it is helping thousands of people get involved in volleyball.

The half year report showed that 3217 people have participated in the HEVO sessions which are delivered in 60 universities across England.

“This year’s cohort of HEVOs are doing a brilliant job in getting people involved in volleyball,” said Rob Payne, Volleyball England’s Core Market Co-ordinator who manages the scheme. “The programme is in its eighth year now and continues to drive increased participation in the sport.”

The half year report

The sessions, which are separate from competitive university teams are also emphasising how inclusive volleyball is. Women make up over half the people going along to the sessions with 1802 females and 1415 men taking part.

On top of that, half of the participants are international students. This is reflective of the volleyball in this country which brings together a wide range of nationalities, with over 40 nationalities represented in the National Volleyball League alone.

The programme’s overall aim is to get more people into the sport and promisingly, the latest statistics show that almost a fifth of the participants are regularly attending sessions. This is a very positive sign as often participants in the sessions want to join the wider volleyball community after they finish university. Of last year’s participants, 40% said they were likely to continue playing, while 44% said they wanted to join a volleyball club.

The half-year report highlighted success stories at particularly universities. The University of Manchester had the highest participation figures, with 169 attending the HEVO sessions, while the University of Central Lancashire had the best retention rate with 77% of their participants regularly attending the sessions. The University of Sheffield had the most male students (71) and Durham University the most female students (84).

Making the transition

“The 2018/19 academic year has been a brilliant one for the HEVO programme so far,” said Rob. “As well as this very positive mid-year report, this year has also seen the launch of the HEVO Transitions which is a vital development of the programme as we aim to build on the impact it can have on the sport.”

The Transitions programme sees former HEVOs offered support and funding of up to £1,600 to establish volleyball clubs in their communities. Most HEVOs stay involved in volleyball as players after university and some have stated they would like to set up clubs but find there are currently too many barriers which stop them from doing it. The Transitions programme is helping them overcome that.

The Transitions programme has had lots of support including from a former HEVO Eve Thompson who set up a club, before the Transitions scheme was created. She gave her backing to the scheme and revealed what it took to set up her club in a video interview.

“The Transitions programme has been underpinned by research from 400 HEVOs over the last seven years,” says Rob. “As Volleyball England continues its focus on its core market, transitioning more people from the HEVO programme into the wider volleyball community is the next step for the programme. So hopefully, in the second half of the academic year we will see more former HEVOs accessing the Transitions programme and the continued high levels of participation in the HEVO programme.”

The next participation report for the HEVO Programme will be in March which will further reveal the impact that the programme is having on growing volleyball. While applications for students wanting to be HEVOs for the 2019/20 academic year will also open that month.

Thousands enjoying HEVO volleyball sessions