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Sports minister Richard Caborn, the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA), University and College Sport (UCS) and Sport England have given their support to a new initiative launched by five universities in the north east.

The Sports Universities of North East England (SUNEE) programme is a partnership between the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Teesside and Northumbria which aims to use their resources in order to make a greater contribution to sport within the community.

SUNEE has already worked in partnership with several other programmes in the north east, such as the successful Drug Interventions scheme, which has helped more than 400 current and former drug users improve their fitness and self esteem through football coaching.

Caborn said: "What SUNEE is doing is a real asset. This is an important collaboration between five universities determined to make a difference within their communities."

Peter Warburton, the chair of SUNEE said: "Universities have a different role in 2006 and we want to use our resources, whether those resources be buildings, students, staff or coaches, to do something we have never done before.

"We are going to work with disadvantaged groups and support the work which goes on to get more people engaged in sport."

SUNEE co-ordinator, Neil Hurran added: "The universities acknowledge that they have a clear role to play in helping to address economic disparities, in retaining a well-rounded and educated work force, promoting social equity and impacting positively on the the daily lives of the communities in which they are based."

Photograph (from left): Phil Attwell, chair of BUSA; Peter Warburton, director of sport at Durham and chair of SUNEE; Judith Rasmussen, regional director of sport for Sport England North East; Tanya Gray, One North East Sport specialist advisor; Ian Randell, chief executive of BUSA; Vince Mayne, chair of UCS and director of sport at Coventry University.

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Sports minister Richard Caborn, the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA), University and College Sport (UCS) and Sport England have given their support to a new initiative launched by five universities in the north east.
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