Sheffield Hallam announces official Tour de France partnership

19th February 2014

Sheffield Hallam University has today become the first organisation to announce that it is an official supporter of the Grand Départ 2014, the three-day spectacular that sees the Tour de France come to the UK in July.

The sponsorship agreement, which means Sheffield Hallam is the first ever university to partner with the Tour in this way, was announced today (17 February) by Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Jones and Peter Dodd from Welcome to Yorkshire. The University has taken up this exclusive opportunity with ASO (organisers of the Tour de France) through Welcome to Yorkshire. This innovative new agreement will provide significant benefits for students, enabling them to be involved in the world's greatest cycle race. It will provide more than 200 volunteering and participatory roles that they would be unable to experience at any other university. The University has a long-established reputation in sport, running one of the UK's largest ranges of sports degree programmes. It is also home to three world-class sports research centres, which have worked with governing bodies such as UK Sport and the Premier League, and with a variety of national teams and elite athletes on sports science programmes. Researchers recently won the contract to test goal-line technology in the Premier League and used their engineering skills to build a sled for daredevil Guy Martin to break the land speed world record. This sport expertise has meant that students have been able to benefit from unique volunteering opportunities at major events, including the Beijing Olympics and Delhi Commonwealth Games, with over 200 Sheffield Hallam students taking up key roles at London 2012, more than any other university. This new partnership with the Tour de France means that students will once again be able to benefit in this way, with a range of volunteer roles exclusively on offer to them. The University is developing a full plan of activity as part of the sponsorship package that showcases its academic expertise and experience in art and design, sport, engineering, and events management, amongst others, aiming to bring the excitement of the race to Sheffield. Speaking at the announcement Professor Philip Jones said: "In July, the eyes of the world will be on Sheffield. Our exclusive partnership with the Grand Départ continues Sheffield Hallam's proud history of being a major educational partner at global sporting events. This is a natural fit for Sheffield Hallam." "Exclusive volunteering and participation opportunities at the Grand Départ will be excellent additions to the CVs of our students. For those who are looking for careers in sport or event management, for example, they will be able to demonstrate that they have put their learning into practice at an international event, demonstrating the skills, knowledge and experience that will make them highly attractive to employers in the future." "This event also provides a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of our academic teaching and research strength in sport and event management, and our creative expertise drawn from our heritage in art and design which dates back to 1843." Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: -It is great to announce this partnership today, a UK first for the Grand Départ. The Tour de France will shine a global spotlight on the whole of Yorkshire providing the perfect platform for Sheffield Hallam to showcase their exciting student experiences. We are delighted to be working with them on this unique initiative and maximising the benefits for Sheffield and Yorkshire. Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said: -It is great to announce these new supporters of the Grand Départ. The UK is now the centre of world cycling due to the recent success on the road as well as the track. The Grand Départ 2007 in London was a massive success but since then Mark Cavendish has won 25 TDF stages and Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have both brought the yellow jersey to Paris. I've no doubt the crowds will be even bigger in Yorkshire, Cambridge and London than in 2007, which is why we are so excited to return to the UK in July. I have a feeling the Yorkshire Grand Départ will be a very special moment for Le Tour, for cycling and for all those companies involved like Sheffield Hallam. It will be a moment not to forget. The University's activities will provide opportunities for students from across the University to be involved in organising and managing events, continuing the University's rich tradition of creating volunteering opportunities at major events that enable them to develop and hone the skills that future employers are seeking from today's graduates. A series of public events will showcase the expertise of the University's world-class sport research, featuring interactive cycling exhibits and famous faces from the world of sport to demonstrate the science behind cycling as well as how new technology and engineering have changed the sport. A production called BeSpoke is being developed by acclaimed playwright Chris Bush, who is launching an appeal for stories about cycling from the general public in order to create a series of audio dramas that will be released throughout the 100 day cultural festival. In addition, these stories will be developed into a piece of theatre inspired by the Tour de France that will be performed by Sheffield Hallam students. The University will also carry out a huge programme of activity with schools and colleges in Yorkshire to bring the excitement of the Tour to children across the region, and encourage greater participation in sport and physical activity. The fun and informative activities will focus on cycling, coaching, and nutrition alongside an art and design competition. As a result of the partnership, the University is seeking other opportunities to develop relationships with organisations involved in the Grand Départ to deliver student placements, employment and business opportunities. 17 February also sees the launch of Get Active Week at the University, a programme of events organised in conjunction with Hallam Union to encourage greater participation in sport and physical activity amongst the student and staff community.

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