Today we catch up with James Bramley, a 3rd year Geography student from Durham. James (forever dedicated to his campaign for the Sports Officer position) met us at 4pm on Friday, shortly before an SU Sports Candidates’ Question Time and an evening of campaigning in Ocean. No rest for the wicked… Here James tells us a little more about his involvement in sport and his ideas for the future of sport here at UoN.
How’s campaigning going?
It’s going really well – I’m having a lot of fun! I feel like I’m working as hard as I possibly could, so regardless of whether or not I win I’m putting everything in to it. My team have been unbelievable; I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.
Tell us the specifics of your plans for more flexible gym memberships.
So this year we went from a bronze, silver and gold tier system to a flat rate of £135. To join most sports clubs you need to have a gym membership, and you’d often get the bronze membership which was around £60; the cost has gone up for people who would have got a bronze membership, but it’s gone down for people who want to use the gym etc, as the gold membership was £185. So that’s what’s changed.
Now, we’re developing the new sports village, and we’re expecting the price of gym memberships to go up because of these new facilities. But the money we’ll be getting from those will be put back in to student sport.
What I’m arguing for is more flexible payments. If you’re in a sports team, you often end up paying not just for gym memberships but membership of the club as well as all your stash. It can add up to around £300. So having flexibility in when you can make those payments would be helpful for lots of people.
I know a lot of people, instead of using the University gym, have memberships with cheaper independent gyms such as Xercise4Less. Do you think the university gym is struggling to compete with this competition?
It’s difficult to say if competition has increased or not, because I’ve only been here for the past two years anyway. I’d say a lot of people do use other gyms, but the gym at Jubilee has been re-done recently, and gym memberships at the university actually went up last year, so that could be taken as a sign that people are returning to the university gym.
Jubilee’s redevelopment was fantastic and it has received a lot of student support.
Why do you think the lecture recordings of Wednesday lectures is still such a widespread issue when it seems to be an easy solution?
You say it’s an easy solution – I spoke to Adam BK last week and he’s worked really hard to get this done already. A decision is actually being made on this by the University in April, and if it goes through, it’ll be one of the biggest programmes of its kind in the world.
What are the difficulties involved in it?
The logistics – the pure scale of installing equipment in all the rooms on campus as well as, partially, lecturers agreeing to having their material recorded.
Tell us about your plans to increase coverage of sporting events via student media organisations like NSTV, URN and Impact.
One of Kiri’s policies was to cover more games through NSTV, which has worked out quite tough. It’s logistically difficult to record games and play them in Mooch.
I want more promotion of sport – both BUCS and non-BUCS events – more promotion and support for games, promoting which games to go and watch, a Thursday night sport on URN to review all of the games from the Wednesday.
What are the other “best bits” of your manifesto?
The thing that will probably affect students most would be the sports app. I spoke to students who say that they don’t really go on the SU website, but they’re on their phones all the time, so to create an app would make the sports within the SU a lot more accessible.
What would be included in the app?
I’d have to go out to find what students want from it. Broadly, it would involve all sports clubs in the university and provide information about how to get involved with them.
You’ve got a lot of experience – there’s one job title we weren’t familiar with though. What’s a football activator?!
I’m employed by the FA to oversee, run and improve all football at the university. Our university has very good football provision: we’ve got four BUCS men’s football teams, two BUCS women’s football teams, the biggest IMS football programme in the country, we have three men’s futsal teams, two women’s futsal teams.
We wanted to improve football at the University and improve refereeing. We looked at getting more students involved in refereeing. Over the last two years I’ve been paid to ref games, which I loved, but I saw an opportunity to get other students to do it. We now have students refereeing IMS games in football and some other sports, and this has vastly improved the quality of our IMS system.
Tell us a bit about your sporting background.
I’ve always played a lot of sport – although I’m not a budding athlete by any stretch of the imagination! I’ve played football since I was about 4 or 5, and I play football 3 times a week in the IMS programme. I play cricket for the university, not particularly good at it but I can do a job I guess! Yeah, I’ve played loads of sports.
But what I’ve found over the last few years is that I’m not going to be a professional athlete; what I enjoy doing is providing opportunities for other people to get involved in sports. So I’m an ambassador for sport back home in County Durham, we ran a lot of sports programmes for schools when I was 16. I was Sports Sec in my first year in Willoughby, which was all about getting students involved in sport. Second year I was Sports Exec, and I’m obviously Football Activator now.
How do you have the time for this?!
Well we’ll see if I get a 2.1!
What do you think makes you best suited to this role above the other candidates?
All the candidates are good. I’ve been involved in the SU ever since Day 1, literally. I’ve had a lot of experience, and that counts for a lot. I also started this process so early (8 or 9 weeks ago), and I’ve had the time to speak to lots of students. Because of that, I think my manifesto truly represents what students want. It’s a manifesto based on the most in-depth research in terms of the number of students I’ve met.
Who do you think is your biggest competition?
They’ve all got different skills – Yolanda’s pretty good at sport; Aaron was on the Sports Exec as well so I’ve worked with him for two years, Joe I didn’t know before this process but he’s a really nice guy. So they’re all strong.
Ocean, yay or nay: Yay, every single Friday. See you there tonight!
Most memorable holiday: Probably the Uni ski trip. I’m also going to Barbados with the Cricket team in summer though!
Fun fact: I have a parody twitter account (which I have no control of). I once told a really boring story so now there’s a twitter account based off that.
What did you want to be when you were a kid: Police officer.
Biggest inspiration: Steve Gerrard,
Personal hangover cure: Fry-up.
Anything to add?
Thank you for having me!