Manchester Handball: preventing the ‘University problem’ 

For any young adult, heading to university can be an adventure of new friends, societies and of course, team sports. 

According to Sport England, two thirds of university students take part in sports activities during their studies, meaning over one million students are playing their favourite sport at university.

But what does this mean for local teams, groups and clubs surrounding university campuses?

With many students choosing to stay in the big cities after graduation, can more be done to form relationships with local teams, aiding the growth and participation of physical fitness within the city?

Well, a team in Manchester might just have found the answer.

A Manchester handball community 

Earlier this month, England handball announced a partnership with Trafford handball, the University of Manchester handball and Manchester Metropolitan University handball clubs.

To find out more about this partnership, which aims to help handball grow across Manchester, we spoke to Trafford handball’s Chairman, Stan Belinski, to find out exactly what this meant. 

‘The handball community in Manchester has always been strong,’ Stan told us. 

‘The aim of the partnership is to help each other further develop handball in the city and the Greater Manchester area.

‘Together, our clubs can provide a pathway for local players to access handball from an early age all the way up to university level.’

‘It’s also going to allow university students to carry out volunteer and paid work, developing youth handball at clubs and schools in the local area.

‘We’re extremely hopeful that our efforts will lead to increased participation in handball for young people and adults.’

‘it’s always a challenge to manage a sustainable pathway between youth and senior teams’

Preventing the ‘University problem’ 

Trafford handball and the university clubs are working together to help grow the sport at a youth level, while also creating an inclusive atmosphere for university students.

As a sport which lacks the mainstream attention of football, rugby or netball, gaining a level of interest from young people is highly important.

But what happens when these players leave for university?

‘As youth players inevitably move around the country for university studies, it’s always a challenge to manage a sustainable pathway between youth and senior teams,’ Stan informed us.

‘However, we’ve had support from England handball and specific university tournaments and leagues throughout the season.

‘It’s allowed the sport to keep developing, and handball in higher education continues to grow.

‘We’re looking forward to seeing more clubs and universities around the UK explore the benefits of partnerships, because it can only help grow the sport we all love.’

Creating partnerships countrywide

So how can other local clubs benefit from university partnerships?

Well, Trafford handball and the Manchester universities have shown that creating partnerships can lead to greater participation, better management and a clear vision for youth players. 

Too many times, clubs are seeing a huge dropout of youth players as they go to university.

On the flip side, university cities are seeing thousands of students looking to join sports teams in and out of the university campus.

Partnerships between city clubs and universities solve both of these problems.

It allows students and local sports teams to easily find each other, increasing sports participation across the country and creating a healthier nation. 

Here’s where we can help

As an app focused on improving sports and fitness participation, we love seeing relationships like this form. 

Creating links between sports and higher education allows new students to keep active, while also helping local teams to maintain their attendance levels.

And this isn’t just the case for Handball, with clubs such as Brooklands Manchester University, a premiership hockey team actively encouraging university students to join their club. 

But we think this is just the start…

If you’re a member of a sports team wanting to connect with your local university, get in touch to find out how we can support future partnerships, either through DM on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email at

We want to help, allowing easy progressions from youth to senior level and make getting active accessible for everyone.

Posted on

November 4, 2020


Jack Gerrard