Try A Sport scheme launched

Free sessions available in east London

University of East London, with support from the Essex FA, are offering more opportunities for students to take part in 30 minutes of sport three times a week.

The new ‘Try a Sport 365’ initiative offers free Futsal and Female Football Fitness sessions on Monday and Tuesday evenings in Plaistow and Romford.

Try a Sport 365 has something to offer for anybody, whether they want to take part in weekly football sessions or try their hand at a range of new taster sports.

All participation is currently free of charge and the Futsal sessions at NewVic in Plaistow take place on Tuesdays (6-7pm), featuring coaches from renowned National League team Genesis FC.

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Female Football Fitness is booked for every Monday (5-6pm) at Redbridge College in Little Heath, Romford.

A survey conducted at nearby colleges suggested this is one of the areas that was particularly popular and they’re aimed towards people in the 16+ age group who are looking to get into, or back into, football.

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Football is one of the many sports on offer, aimed at beginner or intermediate level athletes who don’t play the sport on a regular basis.

They’re fun, friendly and designed to offer introductory level coaching and match play. Essex FA Education Development Officer, Lana Gillard, has been helping to promote the Futsal and Female elements and said: “We’re looking to engage young people from colleges in our five London Boroughs and Hackney & Tower Hamlets to take part in the free sessions.

“This project will grow over the next three years and, thanks to funding from Sport England, the UEL will be able to offer more opportunities for students to take part in 30 minutes of sport three times a week.

“We first got involved when the scheme was in the planning stages last year and the University were looking for support for their Active Universities funding bid.

“We’ve since helped to identify a coach who will be leading the Female Fitness sessions: one of our most qualified female coaches, Tracy Duxbury. We’ll also be providing the equipment for the Futsal sessions.”

Futsal is quick and dynamic and places high demands on fitness, mostly played indoors using hockey-sized goals and a ball with reduced bounce.

The pitch has touchlines and players can venture anywhere, including the penalty areas, as well as playing over head height.

The absence of rebound boards and changes to the laws favour skilful, creative play rather than a full-blooded style. Players are often placed in tight, pressure situations, challenging their technique.

Try a Sport 365 Project Manager, Claire Smith, explained: “We would love to hear from any students keen to get involved in the programme as we offer a wide range of sessions at different times and locations.

“If you’d like to take part in a sport which we don’t currently offer, please get in touch and we’ll try to arrange a session for you.”

To reserve a place, e-mail, call 07950 142405 or visit

You can ‘Like’ the University of East London’s Sports Department at or ‘Follow’ them at!/uelsports. For details on the Essex FA’s involvement in schools and colleges football, contact Lana Gillard via 01245 393073 or

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