Gryphons Abroad: The Trip of a Lifetime

Gryphons Abroad Amy Grabe teaching children

Gryphons Abroad is without doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done. There is nothing I could ever write that would accurately sum up the project, or describe the amazing experiences I had. The only way to understand is to apply and experience it for yourself; I just wish I could do it every year.

Although the fundraising target of £2,000 can seem daunting there is truly no need for it to be. Whilst it is an individual target, the rest of the team are more than willing to help you in any way they can. I made a quick start on my fundraising, and this definitely paid off. I started doing cake sales in the Edge, giving me a real starting point and a confidence boost. I also applied for a Leeds for Life grant and I was awarded £500, securing almost half of my target by doing just two things. To make sure that my fundraising didn’t impact on my uni work, I designated a few hours in the evenings to planning and for the rest of my events to take place during the weekend, that way I didn’t need to do any fundraising during weekdays. To top up my fundraising total, I organised a charity afternoon tea, raffling off specially made cakes and this was definitely successful! I also did a sponsored zip wire, and wrote to local businesses telling them about the volunteering securing another £500!  Fundraising money always seems a little bit off-putting but it just takes some careful planning. It is by no means about who can put on the biggest event, it is just about giving yourself enough time to plan it all out, being thorough and realistic is key!

 

Amy speaking to children in South Africa

 

The trip to South Africa itself was just amazing, it is full on but you really do only get out what you put in; on this trip you’ve got absolutely nothing to loose and only great memories to gain! I had just as much fun as the kids we worked with, and probably even more at times, there is absolutely nothing that you don’t want to do or get involved in. What makes it even better is the team you’re with. Before the trip, none of us knew each other, but I know for a fact that I’ve made friends for life through Gryphons Abroad and its horrible to think that without this project, I most likely wouldn’t have met them! Everybody has the same goal, to make a real impact on the lives of those we’re working with, immediately giving us all a common purpose.

I decided to sign up for Gryphons Abroad 2017 after seeing a post on the VLE and I am so glad I did. I wanted to volunteer at uni, but with having so many other commitments I just couldn’t consistently give a certain number of hours each week to a society. I wanted to try something new, meet different people and make a difference whilst having fun. Gryphons Abroad 2017 went above and beyond this, it was hard work but I had the best time ever doing things I never thought I would get the chance to do.

There is no other project I know that combines teaching young people to cycle in the mountains, going to a game reserve, teaching over 100 kids how to be leaders and visiting an orphanage meeting the most incredible children and giving them things that will change their lives. I just wish I could explain the true extent of this project, but the only way to do that is to experience it for yourself!

Amy 

P.s To get a real feel for the trip, have a look at our photo’s here.

 

Customer Satisfaction Results

Following our annual customer survey for 2016/17 you, our members, have given us a fantastic 80% satisfaction rating. However, we are always striving to improve the provision of our service standards.

If you ever have a comment; positive, negative or suggestive please feedback to us online.

Here is a reminder of some of the exciting improvements we have made over the last year:

And we would like to let you know about some of the upcoming changes for next year:

  • We are investing in four brand new Technogym Climb machines in the Fitness Suite
  • Our exercise class timetable will have even more new additions this September
  • You want more classes over lunchtimes and teatime. Coming to the gym floor this September: new High Intensity Functional Training classes.  30 minute fast classes of sweat inducing moves to improve your strength, stamina and speed
  • We will be launching a new state-of-the-art virtual studio where you can train with a virtual instructor in the class of your choice at the time of your choice
  • We will be expanding our Edge course provision even further

We will also continue to review the cleaning arrangements at The Edge, alongside maintaining the use of all our facilities. We are also reviewing our supply and demand for our sport and physical activity facilities provision with the purpose of seeking to increase the space and improve access to existing space.

British Cycling Open New Disability Hub at The University

Brownlee Centre

The University of Leeds new Brownlee Centre and Cycle Circuit will become British Cycling’s newest HSBC UK disability hub. 

The new facility, part-funded by British Cycling, was officially opened last month with state-of-art training facilities, including a 1.6km (1-mile) cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country.
HSBC UK disability hubs provide dedicated para-cycling coaching sessions for riders who want to keep fit, have fun and improve their performance. The sessions, led by British Cycling Go-Ride coaches and supported by local volunteers, help riders to achieve a variety of goals; whether this be to get into a new sport, improve fitness and confidence on a bike, rehabilitation from injury or to train for a competition.

Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful ever female Paralympian, welcomed the announcement, saying:

“Disability hubs provide a fantastic opportunity for people with all different types of impairments to get into cycling. Cycling should be accessible to everyone, and these disability hubs are making a huge difference.”

British Cycling development manager, Rob Mace, added:

“The disability hubs have been a huge success across the country and we are very pleased to be expanding the programme to Leeds. This will provide a great opportunity for riders with disabilities to develop their cycling skills, make cycling a part of their lives and possibly one day compete for Paralympic medals.”

Named in honour of the University of Leeds’ most successful modern Olympians, The Brownlee Centre sits alongside a 1.6km (1-mile) closed-loop cycle circuit at the University’s Bodington Playing fields in north Leeds. The facilities are open to sports enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Find more details on how to use the new facilities here.


British Cycling’s investment into the project has also helped to provide a fleet of bikes at the facility, including adapted bikes such as handcycles, tandems and trikes, making the new disability hub sessions accessible for those who don’t have access to their own bike.
Suzanne Glavin, head of sport and physical activity at the University of Leeds, added:

“We are delighted to work alongside British Cycling to ensure that we can provide a truly inclusive offer of cycling at our fabulous new £5m facilities at the University of Leeds. We want to maximise the use of our one mile off road cycle circuit and believe it is the perfect environment for people of all abilities to learn to ride safely as well as train and compete.”

 

The sessions cost just £2 if you book online in advance or £5 on the day, with groups typically focusing on improving fitness, technique and confidence. These sessions run monthly throughout the year with all dates listed in the events section of the British Cycling website.
To speak to someone at British Cycling about disability hubs and what they offer, please call 0161 274 2070 or email development@britishcycling.org.uk.

 

 

Leeds Sport Blogs have landed!

A brand new blogs page has been launched this month alongside the arrival of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series, with a blog about how to strength and condition like a Brownlee.

Leeds Sport, the team who deliver sport here at the University of Leeds, are a highly qualified team. From coaching to volunteering, playing socially or competitively to hosting huge sporting events, it’s all covered, so we thought we’d bring some of that expertise directly to you in the form of a blog.

Each month there will be tips, tricks, skills or advice from a member of our team or some of the talented and dedicated students we work with. You can read more about why we launched our blog here with a welcome from Assistant Head of Sport, Patrick Craig.

Our first blog covers 5 recommended exercises for strength and conditioning training for triathlon. The blog comes from strength and conditioning coach, Tim Jarrett, who works with our top Leeds Gryphon athletes on a daily basis, including our triathletes. This is highly topical with the latest race in the World Triathlon Series calendar coming to Leeds this weekend with both Leeds Sport alumni Alistair and Jonathon Brownlee competing in the event.

Keep an eye out on our social media channels or on the blog page itself for future blogs!

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Edge Club Halls Survey

We want to find out if you have used your Edge Club halls membership this year and your experience of using it. If you haven’t, don’t worry, still complete the survey and tell us why not. It only takes a few minutes to complete and all comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Win a Premium Annual Membership!

All fully completed surveys will be entered into a prize draw to win an annual premium membership.

To get started, click here or copy and paste this URL into your web browser to start https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/edge-club-halls-membership-2017

Strong Start for Powerlifting & Weightlifting Society

strength and conditioning room

Newly formed in October 2016, the University of Leeds Powerlifting & Weightlifting society, have made an impressive start in their first year by claiming victory in the Northern University powerlifting competition.

On the 6th May, the club headed to their first competition organised by the Yorkshire and North East Powerlifting Federation (YNEPF), open to all university teams in the North. The team based format of the competition takes the best 3 men and women’s scores from each university to get a team total.

The team achieved the overall first position with the best team score, the best women’s team, best men’s team, and their 2017/18 captain Kieran Gray was the best male lifter. Kieran also broke the bench press record, lifting 170kg, and the deadlift record by lifting 285.5kg.

Club President Danny White spoke to us about the results:

“Everyone displayed exceptional individual performances, with all 7 team members taking a podium position in their weight categories. This has brought the number of members qualified for nationals to 6; those that are still within the junior age category will be competing at the British Junior Championships in November 2017. Next year we aim to have a team compete at British University Championships and qualify for the World University Championship, in addition to bringing as many new powerlifters into the sport as we can!”

Individual Results:

Kieran Gray1stU105kg
Matt Chivers3rdU105kg
Nick Humphries2ndU66kg
Belal Ahmed1stU66kg
Wura Oyenekan1stU72kg
Josie Penfold1stU63kg
Meri Raty2ndU63kg

 

What happens at a powerlifting competition?

At a powerlifting competition, competitors complete 3 types of lift: the squat, bench press and deadlift, with 3 attempts in each to lift the heaviest weight possible. Upon arrival at a competition each competitor is weighed and put into a weight category, so that strengths can be compared between powerlifters of different bodyweights. For the squat, there are 3 attempts that increase in weight in which Judges will give athletes a white light for a successful lift or a red light for a bad lift. This is repeated for the bench press and then the deadlift, by which point each competitor should have achieved a valid attempt in each of the 3 lifts.

How does the scoring work?

The heaviest weight lifted in each of the squat, bench press and deadlift is combined to get a total. This total is used to give each competitor a ‘wilks score’. This is a way of comparing everyone’s strengths taking in to account different bodyweights. For example, a male with a 100kg bodyweight who lifts a total of 550kg would achieve a wilks score of ~335, whereas a male lifter of 90kg bodyweight with a 550kg lift total would score a wilks of 351. This allows all bodyweights to be competitive, making this a highly accessible and inclusive sport.

Competition preparation

Preparation for a competition varies from athlete to athlete, as it depends on their training programme and time available whilst balancing university studies. Individuals have a programme to follow in the gym. In the run up to a competition the programme increases the weight being lifted until athletes are generally hitting their opening attempts in the week prior to the competition. Team members have also got to be the right weight for their weight class, so there can also be some last minute weight loss involved.

More about the club and how can you get involved

The club became an official society in early October 2016 founded by Danny White (President) and Osura Bangamuwa (Captain). The clubs aims are:

  1. Provide a supportive and encouraging environment for powerlifters and weightlifters of all ages and abilities
  2. Provide affordable training, cheaper than coaching available elsewhere in Leeds

There are 3.5 hours of training per week at The Edge coached by personal trainer (PT) and powerlifter Chris Baldwin, at a cost of £30 per year to members and Tom Millbank (PT and strongman). Since it’s launch, the club now has around 50 members who range from absolute beginners to national level competitors.

To find out more, head to the clubs official webpage.

 

 

 

 

Important changes to Salary Sacrifice

The Edge

The government have announced in the autumn statement that from April 2017 the salary sacrifice scheme will be finishing.

 

What you need to know:

  • Arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018.
  • We will not be able to offer the salary sacrifice scheme to anybody wanting to join/re-join after 16th March 2017.
  • Our final day to accept renewals/new requests will be the 16th March 2017.
  • Unfortunately we cannot shorten or extend the term of the scheme as outlined by HMRC.
  • We currently do not offer any alternatives to the salary sacrifice scheme.

 

For more information on the salary sacrifice scheme please refer to the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-2016