The cost of playing sport at Warwick has risen significantly for the new academic year. Warwick Sport, the collaboration between the Department of Physical Education and Sport and the Students’ Union, aims to provide a “cohesive, cost-effective and user-friendly approach to sport.”
Membership of Warwick Sport is necessary to join any of the Union’s 76 sports clubs, as well as access to many sports facilities. The cost of this membership has risen from £30 to £40. Prices for some additional sports facilities have also risen, such as annual membership of the fitness suite, which has risen from £50 to £90 in the past year.
The increase in prices follow the University’s costcutting measures, as reported in the Boar last year. Most departments faced a reduction in budget of five per cent, whereas the Physical Education department saw a fifteen per cent reduction, of a total of £200,000.
The Students’ Union organised the Save our Sports campaign which aimed to limit the reduction in sport budget. The Union Sport Officer at the time, Terry Marshall, commented that “We recognise the need for all departments to contribute to the University’s £12 million worth of savings but hitting the Department of PE and Sport disproportionately will have a severe impact on all Warwick Sport members, on our clubs and on the accessibility to sport at Warwick”.
Although the Save our Sports campaign was successful in limiting the sport membership price to £40 rather than the initial proposal of £50, the price of the gym shot up dramatically.
Oliver Hambrey, a post-graduate student, said that “The Save Our Sports campaign has managed to reduce the increase in Warwick Sport membership. However the university have made up the deficit elsewhere”.
He went on to suggest that the increase in gym membership had been caused in part by the Union’s campaign, commenting that “the irony is that the Save Our Sports campaign has actually had a far more detrimental effect on the finances of the keen sports player than if the student body had just accepted the proposed £20 increase the university suggested.”
Peter Dunn defended the proposals, telling the Boar that “The University has ensured that, since its inception, the income generated by Warwick Sport is retained by Warwick Sport with no contribution from it to the University to pay the costs of the Department. This is not the case in most universities.”
Despite the increase in prices, the cost of sport at Warwick still compares favourably with other universities. Membership of Warwick Sport and the gym costs £130, whilst the similar prices at Loughborough and Birmingham are £170 and £178 respectively.
James Balchin, a regular user of the gym, told the Boar that “the gym is good, and compared to others is reasonably cheap, but the sudden increase in price seems unfair”. He added, “I am happy to pay £40 to join Warwick Sport because it gives me access to the swimming, squash and football for the whole year”.