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.”

Sport
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
boxing
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living