Spotlight of the month: Volunteer


Every month we will be spotlighting an important member of our Get Out, Get Active community. This could be one of our brilliant activators, a volunteer or a participant.

Get Out, Get Active wouldn’t be able to function without the help of our dedicated team of volunteers. This month we are spotlighting one of our longstanding volunteers, Kelsey Jones. We caught up with Kelsey to hear more about her volunteering experience with GOGA.

GOGASpotlightTell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Kelsey and I have an undergraduate degree in genetics. I am originally from Lancashire but I am loving living in Leeds and really enjoy getting involved with GOGA.

How did you get into volunteering?

I regularly came on GOGA walks as a participant and found that I had a natural interest in helping with navigation and guiding the group. After hearing an activator talk about volunteering opportunities at the end of one walk, I decided to apply! I have now been a volunteer for about a year.

What have you been able to experience through being a GOGA volunteer?

GOGA has provided me with many opportunities that I never would have had otherwise! I have learnt map reading skills, been on a first aid course and developed my confidence in talking to people. If you had told me a year ago that I would be leading groups of people through the countryside using a paper map, I would have said that there was no way!

What have you enjoyed most about getting involved with GOGA?

Getting to visit so many places that I otherwise wouldn’t have visited is always amazing! GOGA has allowed me to explore so much of the country. The walks are so therapeutic, I always come back feeling refreshed after being outside, getting some fresh air and exploring.

Reach new heights with our indoor and outdoor climbing sessions


Our climbing programme is bigger and better than ever before with indoor and outdoor sessions taking place throughout the autumn term.

Participants have been enjoying indoor sessions at the climbing wall at the Edge and outdoor trips at the beautiful spot, Almscliffe Crag.

Our indoor sessions are ideal for beginners and they provide an opportunity to progress with the necessary skills and knowledge onto our outdoor climbing trips. Climbing indoors is a lot of fun and can teach you valuable skills. Many famous rock climbers have learned their skills on indoor climbing walls! You can expect to be shown the basics of climbing from bouldering and scaling 8m up the climbing wall, to coming back down safely.

You will also learn the key skill of how to belay others.

Our two outdoor climbing trips have proved to be popular this term. Almscliffe Crag is a beautiful spot for climbing. The crag is considered the greatest gritstone crag in Yorkshire and it has been climbed by some of the very best climbers!

From the top of the crag you can enjoy the scenic views of the valley below. On our outdoor trips this month, participants were led through some basic bouldering before having a go on the ropes, scaling carefully up the crag and abseiling back down again.


Phil, our climbing instructor, is able to adapt the rope course so it’s appropriate for all – whether you’ve had no previous climbing experience before or you consider yourself an expert! Almscliffe Crag is a climber’s paradise with lots of different routes available of varying difficulty.

Climbing is a fantastic full-body workout. It’s the ideal challenge both physically and mentally!

We have a few indoor climbing sessions left this term. You can book your spot here. Our outdoor climbing sessions at Almscliffe Crag will return to the programme next spring.

Garuda Matwork now part of our Balance Class programme!

Yoga class

Pilates and yoga are a permanent feature on our wellbeing balance activity programme. On Wednesday evenings (17:30-18:30) we have a brand new class with Sandy, our pilates instructor.

Garuda Matwork takes its name from an Indian mythological sacred bird that can change shape. It combines the spirituality, breath worth and asana practices of yoga, the core strength and focus of pilates and the balletic grace of dance.

It has all the benefits of a robust cardiovascular workout while stretching the mind as well as the body. Garuda is a test of mental strength as well as physical, demanding total concentration during the exercises.

Using the specially designed Garuda apparatus, mat or other complementary equipment you’ll learn to control your body through precise stretches and actions, placing an emphasis on smooth, seamless movements without any stress on joints. Through routines carefully choreographed by Sandy, you’ll soon develop greater poise and control, and a leaner, more resilient body.

Whether you’re recovering from a physical injury, looking for an alternative to traditional gym workouts or an accomplished athlete, Garuda will challenge you but the rewards will be considerable.

Sandy, our Garuda instructor, comments:

“Garuda inspires a more intuitive way to exercise the body. If you come along to my class, you will learn how to control your body through precise stretches and actions, placing an emphasis on smooth, seamless movement without any stress on the joints.

Garuda is the perfect workout after a day of being sat at a desk. The first class was a real success and I look forward to seeing lots new faces over the coming weeks!”

Come along to our class and experience increased strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance. Sessions are just £3 pay on the day. Book your place in advance here.

Food & Nutrition Workshops back with a Mexican themed evening!


After the success of last year, our food workshops have made a return to the Get Out, Get Active programme. We kick started the term with a Mexican Street Food themed workshop.

Our food workshops are an opportunity for you to enhance your cooking skills and nutrition knowledge with the help of our activators and our Food Science and Nutrition volunteers. Each workshop has a different theme and we have created recipes especially for each theme, considering cuisine from around the world.

On the menu of our Mexican Street Food workshop we had baked vegetarian enchiladas topped with a spiced tomato sauce and double cheese, chunky guacamole and creamy corn and black bean salsa.

Mexican cuisine began about 9000 years ago and Mexican street food is one of the most varied parts of the cuisine. Participants learnt about seasonal eating and what foods are in season currently and we discussed what constitutes traditional Mexican cuisine.

Our activator, Ellie, demonstrated the carefully crafted recipes before the participants split off into small groups to have a go at cooking the recipes. First up was the vegetarian enchiladas which are a satisfying healthy meal packed full of flavour, fibre and fiesta! They are very easy to make and are a quick and easy crowd-pleaser if you are ever hosting.

Everyone got stuck into making the accompanying dips whilst the enchiladas were baking in the oven. Guacamole is a staple in Mexican food. The recipe is fresh, chunky and creamy whilst packing a citrusy punch from the lime, garlic and (optional) chilli. The corn and black bean salsa is another quick and easy side that adds cool flavour to the fiery enchiladas.

All participants went away with copies of the recipes and leftovers in their bags!

Our next food workshop will be vegan themed and will take place on Thursday 14th November. You will be shown how to make some delicious sweet and savoury vegan dishes. Come along to enhance your cooking skills and understand how to get the nourishment you need from a plant-based diet. Book your place for this workshop now.

To have a go at making the Mexican recipes yourself, please click here.

Meet the girls making strides for England

University of Leeds students compete in Mountain Running Championships

Over the weekend, three University of Leeds female undergraduates competed at the final, World Mountain Running Grand Prix, held at Smarna Gora in Slovenia. Jemima Elgood (Dentistry, 3rd year & Sports Scholar), Hannah Russell (Cardiac Physiology, 2nd year) and Helen Thornhill (Geological Sciences, 2nd year) represented England in the women’s under 23 team.

In a statement, Thornhill expressed the thrill of competing in such a picturesque location, commenting:

The race was an amazing opportunity for me, as I didn’t really know if I’d make the team. Slovenia was a beautiful country and we got to see areas such as Lake Bled and explore the mountains as well as compete in the race. Preparation for me involved training with the University Cross Country team, University Swimming Club and doing some solo gym sessions at the Edge – Leeds has such good sports facilities! It’s really boosted my running confidence, and I’m hopeful that the next year will bring more opportunities for me, as long as I train hard and keep things up.

The trio were joined by Lauren Dickson (International Business and Spanish, 2nd year & Sports Scholar) who competed for Scotland. Indeed, all four managed to secure a finish inside the top ten, amongst a world class field of senior athletes.

Leeds Varsity 2019 Round Up

cardboard sign saying 'go gryphons' at the Leeds Varsity 2019 netball opener

Leeds Varsity 2019 – the annual inter-university sports Varsity between arch rivals University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. It began in January with the cross country and culminated, as it does every year, with the Rugby Union finale held at Emerald Headingley Stadium, where over 10,000 students cheered on their teams from the stands.

History Makers

It was a historic moment for both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett’s women’s rugby union teams, as they played at Headingley Stadium for the first time. 

Our team came out on top and beat Beckett 19-12 in a great game of rugby.

University of Leeds Women's Rugby Union team celebrating their Leeds Varsity 2019 win.

University of Leeds Club Captain Ashley Ross had this to say:

“The experience of playing our varsity match with such a huge crowd was incredible, and not one that any of us will forget! It’s a special honour, especially for a university team, and it’s especially significant for us as a women’s team as we often struggle to get the same status as men’s sport. It feels like a massive step forward for gender equality and women in sport – not just playing for our team but every other woman’s team who hasn’t had the same opportunity as men. Thanks very much to everyone who came to support us!”

The men’s rugby union team unfortunately lost their game 25-16. However, they put on a brilliant, battling display they should be proud of. 

Uni of leeds men's rugby union team in a group huddle at headingley stadium for the leeds varsity 2019 finale match.


Check out the Leeds Varsity 2019 highlights, thanks to LSTV here – 

Other highlight fixtures included the openers, Netball 1sts and Women’s Hockey 1sts. Both games ended in draws, 41-41 and 2-2 respectively. This showed just how close the competition would be and set the tone for the rest of the event.

In total, the University of Leeds registered 25 wins whilst Leeds Beckett had 33 wins. There were 3 draws on the day which meant the score ended 102-78 points in Beckett’s favour. Ultimately this crowned them Leeds Varsity 2019 champions.
You can see a breakdown of all the results on the Leeds Varsity website.

Congratulations to our Gryphons!

A huge well done to all our Gryphons that took part and competed in the spirit of Varsity. 

A girl in the crowd cheering and shouting at the leeds varsity 2019 netball match

Your card is your key – no card means no entry

To ensure you have the best experience possible at The Edge, from the 14 October 2019 we will be improving the way we manage card access to our facilities. To be fair to all of our members, you will need to bring your Student ID or Membership Card for every visit to gain entry.

This is part of our commitment to improve your experience. By introducing this we aim to reduce queuing times to give you quicker entry to facilities and give staff more time to assist you during your visit. It will also help to reduce the misuse of cards by preventing customers from giving their card to visitors who have not paid to use the facilities, this will help us to make it fair for everyone.

For more information please contact

Thank you for your understanding.

FREE Seminar: Changing the Game – The Leadership Challenge

Maurice Keyworth Building

Sport & Physical Activity have partnered with highly respected leaders in business and sport to bring you a free seminar on Friday 15 November. The seminar, hosted in the Maurice Keyworth Lecture Theatre (University of Leeds Business School) brings together individuals, who in their own unique way have not only improved the performance of a number of organisations and teams, they fundamentally changed the game or industry in which they operated.

Each will give a brief perspective on their experiences ‘changing the game’ of organisations in sport and business, followed by a panel discussion. The three speakers include:

  • Alistair Gray – leading European strategic management consultant and voluntary leader at a number of UK and European sports.
  • Baroness Sue Campbell CBE  – Head of Women’s Football at The FA and former Chair of UK Sport and the Youth Sports Trust

Alistair Gray published The Game Changer with Routledge earlier this year. It outlines how a number of organisations in business and sport have done more than raise their performance – they have also changed the rules of the game in their industry.

Book your free space now for the chance to learn from some of the industry’s best!



Women’s Rugby Union Team Make History at Varsity

Women's rugby varsity

The Gryphons may not have retained their Varsity title, however Varsity 2019 shall go down in the history books; our women’s Rugby Union 1st team played for the first time ever at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

Leeds Varsity is the annual inter-university sports Varsity between arch rivals University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. It began in January with the cross country and culminated, as it does every year, with the Rugby Union finale held up at Emerald Headingley Stadium where over 10,000 students cheered on their team from the stands.

Unfortunately for the Gryphons, Leeds Beckett have taken the title for this year. Lydia Evans, LUU Activities Officer said:

“Despite the result, it’s been a great day of sport for the Gryphons and every one of our athletes should feel proud to have represented their clubs.”

However, it was a historic moment for the women’s Rugby Union 1st team on Wednesday night, as they took to the pitch for the first time to compete against Leeds Beckett in front of the 10,000 strong crowd at Headingley Stadium. Ashley Ross, the women’s captain said:

“The experience of playing our varsity match with such a huge crowd was incredible, and not one that any of us will forget! It’s a special honour, especially for a university team, and it’s especially significant for us as a women’s team as we often struggle to get the same status as men’s sport. It feels like a massive step forward for gender equality and women in sport – not just playing for our team but every other women’s team who hasn’t had the same opportunity as men. Even though Beckett are our rivals, it’s a great achievement for them too. Winning was an amazing bonus on top of that! We’ll all definitely be celebrating tonight! The opportunity to play in the stadium is one we have been working towards for such a long time now so to see it all come together has been incredible. Thanks very much to everyone who came to support us!”

Our Gryphons put on a stellar performance over 60 fixtures including athletics, handball, tennis and lacrosse. Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport commented;

“I’m really proud of all our Gryphons who played their best whilst representing University of Leeds. It was especially exciting this year to see our women’s rugby union club playing at Headingley with such great support from the student crowd.”

A full list of the results can be found here, and keep an eye out on our social media channels for photos and videos from the day. See you all again in 2020.

The Sanctuary enquiry giveaway Terms and Conditions

The Edge Gym Leeds graphics

To celebrate The Sanctuary one person will win a Chilly’s bottle and an Edge performance T shirt.

To enter you need to:

  • Complete an enquiry form at The Sanctuary
  1. The Edge will use any personal data submitted only for the purposes of facilitating the prize draw and for contacting you in regards to booking a tour of The Edge
  2. All entries must be received by 02/10/2019
  3. All correctly completed entries will be entered into a prize draw which will take place by 03/10/2019. The winners will be drawn at random
  4. Only one entry per person
  5. No entrant may win more than one prize
  6. One Chilly’s bottle and one Edge T-Shirt. No cash alternative is possible
  7. The winners will be notified via email by 09/10/2019 at 12:00. The Edge will make a reasonable attempt to contact the winners but reserves the right to draw a substitute winner if this is not possible