BUCS This Girl Can Week round-up

Clubbercise TGC header

BUCS This Girl Can Week ran from the 19-25th November 2018, based on Sport England’s campaign ‘This Girl Can’.

Loads of you got involved in many different ways. Here’s a look back at how.

On Monday, the start of BUCS This Girl Can week, one of our Gryphons swam the entire length of the channel down at The Edge! Sadie, a member of the Women’s Hockey club, completed 1344 lengths in the pool and has managed to raise over £650 so far – if you’d like to to add to that tally, then you can donate here

hockey charity swim

Women’s Football starred in our #OneToWatch on Twitter for BUCS Wednesday, whilst over on Instagram, Women’s Hockey took over for the day.
Ailie Rennie, the women’s football club captain, wrote a fantastic blog about her experiences and the opportunities football has given her as part of This Girl Can week. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, have a look here.
It was an amazing effort by all teams as usual, but the pick of the bunch from BUCS Wednesday was Squash 1s and Lacrosse 1s, winning 4-0 and 12-6 respectively.

Women's football

Over the weekend, Jiu Jitsu competed in the Atemi Nationals and Women’s Cricket played fixtures for the BUCS Indoor league. Jiu Jitsu finished 2nd overall, with Emily Knight earning an individual silver in the Green Belt! Cricket managed to win 5 out of 7 of their fixtures, finishing 3rd in their league.

Jiu Jitsu clubwomen's cricket club

We also highlighted our fantastic female volunteers and all the great work they’re doing in the community. Did you know 71% of our sports volunteers are female?

It was great to see so many of you getting involved in the campaign. We look forward to seeing what you get up to for the rest of the year!

The Edge features again at the National Fitness Awards

Sport & Physical Activity, The Edge has been shortlisted for the fourth year in a row at the National Fitness Awards, this time in the category of Education Facility of the Year.

The National Fitness Awards is an annual event which recognises excellence and achievement in gyms throughout the country. The Education Facility of the Year category is aimed at gyms which are based within a school or college or on a university campus.

Shortlisted gyms have all been scored on being able to offer a  wide range of excellent facilities, with staff engaging with students, staff and the wider community; successfully spreading the positive word of health and fitness to the younger generation. Judges have shortlisted Sport & Physical Activity and scored The Edge highly based on the rage of equipment and group classes available, as well as how as a service we are able to support a range of sports clubs and elite athletes, and how The Edge facility enhances the experience of those living and working on campus.

James Buckley, Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing Manager had to say …

The National Fitness awards are one of the most highly respected, independent and sought after awards in the Health and Fitness industry so to be shortlisted again, this time in the newly established Educational category is fantastic! The shortlisting panel were particularly impressed by our commitment to customer service excellence across the breadth of services on offer, and our integrated, inclusive, and collaborative approach to delivering Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing services as part of a whole-university approach of supporting students, staff and the wider community in becoming more Physically Active.

The final results will be announced this Friday 30 November at the awards ceremony held at The Athena in Leicester.

The beautiful game

Women's football team
As it’s BUCS This Girl Can week, our Women’s Football Club Captain Ailie Rennie looks back on her experiences and the opportunities playing football has given her.

Being surrounded by a football-crazy dad and an older brother meant that I ended up playing, watching, talking and breathing football almost every day. I think I probably kicked a ball before I learnt how to walk, much to my mum’s dismay! I joined a boys team as soon as I was old enough and have continued to play ‘the beautiful game’ ever since. Football has taken me on many crazy journeys over the past two decades, from a school tournament in Uganda to playing barefoot in the Amazon Rainforest, ticking off five continents in the process.          

Getting involved with football at uni was an inevitable feature of moving away, and I quickly found myself embedded in this family of amazing girls. It became (and still remains) a place of enjoyment, passion and acceptance for a range of abilities and individuals and I immediately found my home away from home.

In my second year, I became first team captain and was inspired by the sense of responsibility and leadership the role brought me. Naturally, I didn’t have to do too much to win the league with such a fantastic bunch of players within my squad. The team has continued their success from my time as the 1s captain with a third back-to-back BUCS league victory and two BUCS cups!

Following this, I went on a year abroad and came back ready to re-immerse myself in everything uni football and decided to run for club captain. Whilst it’s been time-consuming, it has been incredibly rewarding, even within these first few weeks, recording varsity wins, seeing numerous freshers join (and score hat-tricks) and overseeing the creation of a new development squad.

Women's football club with the varsity trophy

As club captain, I was invited to the BUCS Women’s Football and Futsal Presidents Network on Friday 2nd November, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The day provided a chance to meet other students who carry out the same role as me within their university, giving us the opportunity to grow and learn from one another.

The day also included workshops on the role we play as club captains, understanding the individuals within our club and planning for club development.

Ailie Rennie at a networking event

The event embedded the ideals of creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all within the society, highlighting respect and encouragement as the focus of engagement in an attempt to develop the club and get more women playing the sport.

The opportunities for girls and women within the sport are continuing to grow with days like these provided by BUCS, helping to develop the game at grassroots level and make the Lionesses of tomorrow.


Be sure to let us know what you get up to during BUCS This Girl Can week by tagging @Leeds_Sport and @BUCSsport in your photos, videos and posts, along with #BUCSThisGirlCan.

Watch the new This Girl Can video here.

If you want to enhance your leadership skills or gain experience, visit our leadership web page.

A New Partnership for University

leeds rhinos

We have been working with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation (LRF) to develop some new volunteering opportunities for our students. 

The LRF has recently won Foundation of the Year award from Rugby Football League (RFL) due to their amazing work in the local area. This new partnership has been created to expand the number of volunteer programmes available to University of Leeds students, with some staff also being involved. It will look to build on new experiences to work with schools, the wider community and performance sport.

Head of Sport & Physical Activity, Suzanne Glavin shared her support for the new programme:

“We are hopeful that this pilot will be very successful and allow us to continually expand the programme. Our ambition is to have up to 300 students as part of this partnership! We would love to see students volunteering across Leeds on a range of different projects to benefit the wider community.”

The following projects are being piloted in 2018/19:


Working with LRF schools programme, we will be training and sending 15 students to help assist in schools. The volunteers will come from our many clubs and societies and will work alongside a designated LRF schools cluster coach. Through working alongside a qualified coach the volunteers develop their skills and also bring their own sport to local primary schools in Leeds.

Head of Community and Engagement at Leeds Rhinos Foundation Gareth Cook said:

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Leeds on these projects. Our work in schools now reaches over 100 schools so the support from the students will be extremely valuable. Last year we launched our Physical Disability Rugby League team, which was a huge success and in the next year we expect more people to get involved and more fixtures for the team. To have a team of volunteers focussing on their S&C will be a great resource for the team.”

Strength and Conditioning

Students will also be given the opportunity to assist with strength and conditioning (S&C) sessions for the Leeds Rhinos Physical Disability team. A number of our own staff will work alongside the students to help develop the squad. They will be assisting the Rhinos training and helping them prepare for their upcoming season.


If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Leeds then take a look at our volunteering page.

New career moves for Scholar Harry Aaronson

Rugby League player Harry Aaronson is making moves back to his former club Swinton Lions RFLC.

As a sports scholar, TASS athlete, England Universities player and the University team’s performance captain Harry has already made his mark in the world of rugby league. Leaving his position at Keighley Cougars after two years and 19 appearances in the 2018 season Harry is ready to move back to the club that first started his rugby league career. Despite receiving the Cougars Young Player of the Year award in 2017 and also securing the try of the season accolades in both seasons Harry is set to move on to new and exciting things with the Lions.

Whilst studying Social Policy at Leeds Harry has been a key member of the University Rugby League team.  Working with the boys he has helped them retain their title as the only Leeds team in a BUCS Premier North division. He was also selected to play for England Unis team where he made a strong impression scoring three tries and kicking 10 goals in his four appearances in the 2018 season.

Swinton’s Head Coach Stuart Litter has been impressed by Harry over his time away from the club:

“Harry has been steadily progressing and is a player who we have kept our eyes on. Harry’s highlight reel from the past few seasons shows the electric pace he can add to our squad.” 

Moving to a championship team Harry is going to be challenged in his game and to perform his best. He spoke to Swinton Lions about his move:

“I feel like re-joining is a massive step up for me and I believe that the team that Stuart and Andy (the Lions Chairman) are putting together is promising. The Championship next season has some quality teams and I am looking forward to testing myself against them. I had an amazing two years at Keighley but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with my fellow Lions.”

Sure to prove himself as a strong asset to his new team we wish Harry the best of luck as he continues to make tracks in the world of rugby league. 


*Quotes courtesy of www.swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk

Athlete of the month: November

Winter training can be tough for our athletes as they face the harsh northern weather. Although, those students who put in the extra effort and maintain a comprehensive training programme get the luxury of heading indoors and using our wonderful Gryphon strength and conditioning suite in those cold winter months. 

Rosie Blount from our women’s rugby union team definitely puts the effort into all her sessions, whether she’s out on the pitch or in the gym. 

What’s your sport?

I play Rugby Union for the University of Leeds women’s 1st team. I also play with the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks.

What is your training schedule?

I have rugby training on the pitch three times a week with the university team and Darlington Sharks. I then have S&C three times a week, a sprints session once a week and then a recovery run or conditioning depending on whether I’ve played once or twice and how dead my legs feel.

What S&C do you do?

I have a programme of three different sessions for S&C, two of which are full body sessions and one being a primer to do pre-game. The sessions are a mix of key exercises such as squats, pull ups and deadlifts with some accessory exercises in there too. I’m currently working through a power phase at the moment, so I do less reps and not at maximum weight but instead focusing on lifting the weights fast.

What is your favourite exercise?

My favourite exercise is squats, as it’s a whole body exercise and there are so many variations e.g pause squats, 1 1/2 squats e.t.c, so you can keep trying to improve. You also only need a bar and a few weights which most gyms have so you can rely on being able to do them wherever you are.

What is your least favourite exercise?

Trap bar bench pull because it’s a pain to set up.

How do you feel S&C has helped you develop as an athlete?

I’ve been doing S&C for 10 years or so and it has aided me massively in both sprint cycling (which I used to compete in) and rugby. It’s helped me become a stronger and more powerful athlete, and I believe also helped massively with injury prevention.

Max has been working with Rosie over the start of the new season and told us about how she works as an athlete:

“Rosie is easy and enjoyable to work with. She is a self-driven and self-sufficient athlete, after many years training at a high level. Easily the strongest and most powerful female athlete that trains with us, the programme that Rosie is now on is aiming to ensure that as much of this strength and power as possible transfers onto the pitch – where it counts.”

Check out part of Rosie’s primer session, before a game, of a prowler push into a sprint.