Waving the pom-poms for self-sufficiency

 

One squad. 70 members. And a budget of just £5,000 a year. The Brighton and Sussex Waves are a co-educational cheerleading squad made up of students from the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.

The squad has been named UK National Champions for two years running, but with national competitions costing between £6,000 and £7,000 a year, going for gold and defending their title doesn’t come cheap.

In addition to that, the Waves have two competing teams - doubling the costs of going to competitions. To overcome the financial difficulties of competitive cheerleading, the cheerleaders have found themselves putting both their athletic ability and their entrepreneurial skills to the test.

Squad secretary Thomas Curson says that finding funding for the squad is vital if they are to continue as a competing team: “We do get funding from both universities, but with universities getting larger, and more societies asking for money, the amount we receive is less and less every year,” he said. “Cheerleading is a particularly expensive sport, so we really do have to come up with new and inventive ways to make money.”

May seem like a daunting task, but the Waves seem to have it covered - they have continually generated the highest revenue out of all the university societies every year since they were established in 2006. 

One of the squad’s main fund-raisers is organizing activities for students, such as bake sales and club nights - this year, the Waves organised events for the SuperBowl, Thanksgiving and Christmas, raising approximately £1,500 for the squad. 

However, the squad also makes efforts to raise money for charity and support their local community. 

The Waves’ annual Pink Night is a club night dedicated to the late Wave cheerleader, Hester Stewart, and raises money for the Angus Foundation. This year, the event raised £2,200 towards the charity, which will help raise awareness of the dangers of the drug GBL. 

The cheerleaders also performed at the Brighton Marathon last year to support the runners, and will do the same again this year to help raise money for Breast Cancer UK. To get them towards their target sum of money, the Waves also take advantage of any money-raising opportunity which comes their way. 

The squad’s most recent challenge is their bid to win £10,000 in the RBS ESSA video competition. In order to win, the squad must gain the biggest number of views on their YouTube video, before gaining a place in the adjudicated shortlist. 

Thomas, 25, says: “That amount of money would make an unbelievable difference to the squad. It would fund the international competition in Bournemouth in the summer and we could start subsidising the costs of tumble training for the squad - the members currently pay out of their own pocket.”

Thomas said often the novelty of cheerleading can also find the squad handy pay packets. In January, the squad performed at an event for Aquatrac - a company in swimming pool management and construction - in exchange for a cash sum.

“Aquatrac gave us £100 to throw some stunts at their largest event of the year,” said Thomas. “The squad always jumps at a chance to perform and if it means more money towards competition, then that’s brilliant. I think often the novelty of cheerleading in this country can work in our favour.”

For many, the efforts the squad goes to to find the money to compete would not seem worthwhile. But, argues head coach Cheska Tyler, 22, cheerleading teaches skills which can be carried on to later life.

“It’s all about working in a team, and really pulling together to achieve something,” she said. “The running of the squad and performing well in competitions doesn’t come easy, but the squad really put in the hours both in and out of the gym to make sure we are able to firstly, compete, and secondly, to the best of our ability.”

Squad member Shiv Vara, 20, said her experience of cheerleading has made her university life: “Cheer is not only about the competitive side, it is also about the social side,” she said. “I have made lifelong friends through this squad, and we have so much fun. It just makes all the hard work we put into fund-raising completely worth it.”

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer - Entry Level

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

Guru Careers: Graduate Print Producer / Account Executive

£18 - 25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Graduate Print Producer / Account Execut...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Digital Marketing Assistant - Wimbledon

£18000 - £19000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Digital Marketin...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This central London prima...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms