Member of the month: November

November's member of the month
Every month we celebrate our incredible members.

In November 2019 the winners were David Barton and Julia Geddes.

November 2019 Members of the Month

They were nominated by personal trainer and class instructor, Aimee Lewis.

David and Julia have been coming to The Edge for a long time but have never stopped bringing positivity and smiles to every class they attend no matter what the weather or how early in the morning the classes are. In each class they perform exceptionally well and ensure they do their best while offering encouragement to others and are a constant positive influence to their classmates.

They always have time for others and show genuine enjoyment in every session at The Edge creating good vibes all around. I believe David and Julia demonstrate the perfect attitude which we love to see at The Edge.

– Aimee


Couch to 5K Run Leaders Win a Vice-Chancellor’s Award For Health and Safety 2019!

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Our run leaders have been recognised for their inspiring work in hosting an entry level Couch to 5K programme for university staff as they have been awarded the Health and Wellbeing Champions award as part of the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Health and Safety 2019.

The run leaders, Grace Roberts, Louise Walton and Get Out, Get Active student activator, Ellie Dean, have been inspiring and educating participants to improve their health and wellbeing now and in the future by laying the foundations they need to continue to build physical activity into their everyday life.

The Couch to 5K programme included carefully planned sessions to help participants progress and build up their fitness whilst improving their technique and knowledge about running in a safe, social and friendly environment.

25 staff from across the university community took part in the programme which culminated this week in a graduation event for all participants at the Leeds 5K series at the Brownlee Cycle Centre. All runners completed a chip-timed 5K run at this EvenSplits licensed event.

Grace Roberts, one of the run leaders, said:

I’ve really enjoyed watching our runners develop over time – not just in their running, but also in their confidence, the way they work together as a group, support each other, and seeing them enjoying their running. As a leader, I love watching this process. I think it helps people realise they really can do anything if they try!

Couch to 5K participants were guided through a 9 week running programme which involved a mixture of running, jogging and walking. The run leaders developed the sessions so they were flexible and sensitive to individual needs. Many participants were returning to or starting exercise for the first time after illness and injury and long absences. Other motivations to take part in the programme included a desire to increase self-confidence around running.

The run leaders were contactable for all participants via the private social media group so any worries or questions could be addressed outside of the set coaching sessions.

One participant said:

I’ve always been a nervous and self-conscious runner and have avoided it at all costs.  But I’ve also been envious of those that do.  So I bit the bullet and signed myself up to the Couch to 5K programme.  From the very first session, the run leaders were supportive and encouraging. Their sense of fun made each Tuesday’s session something to look forward to rather than something daunting.  And the actual Coach to 5K programme meant the progression has been gradual and therefore manageable.  My ‘running’ confidence has grown enormously so much so that I quite willingly go off running on my own now.  My sense of wellbeing following each run is a joy and my overall improvement in fitness is noticeable.  I’m still slow-and-steady and was nervous about the actual 5K event, but that is a huge improvement from just a couple of months ago when I couldn’t even run to the end of the road!

There is a pathway for continuation for participants now that the Couch to 5K programme has finished; our GOGA run club meet twice a week for a lunchtime run. The Couch to 5K participants have been welcomed into this wider running community on campus.

We will be hosting another Couch to 5K programme in the New Year. This is open to all university students and staff. The programme will officially begin on Tuesday 4th February 2020 with an option to begin in the second session on 11th February if you’re unable to begin on the 4th.

The programme is 8 weeks long and will culminate in a graduation event for all participants at the Leeds 5K series at the Brownlee Cycle Centre on Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 7.15pm. All runners will complete a chip-timed 5K run at this EvenSplits licensed event.

The cost of the course is just £20 which includes all coached sessions, entry into the chip-timed 5K run on 25th March and you’ll also receive a commemorative certificate of achievement.

Click here to book your ticket for the next Couch to 5K programme now.

Spotlight of the month: Participant

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This month we are spotlighting a regular GOGA participant, Gabriel Matos. One of our activators, Grace, went down to Parkinson steps early in the morning to meet Gabriel before he headed off for a lovely walk to Malham Cove.

Tell us a bit about yourself…GOGAparticipant

My name is Gabriel and I’m in the first year of my Physics PHD. I am originally from Portugal, Lisbon where I did my undergraduate and masters degrees in maths.

How did you first hear about GOGA?

I was looking on the Leeds University Union website when I first moved here. I wanted to find cool new things to do and that’s where I came across a GOGA walking event.

What activities have you participated in through the GOGA programme?

So far I have been on many walks in Yorkshire and the rest of the UK – today I’m going on my 10th walk!

What made you first take part in a GOGA activity?

I wanted a chance to meet new people and visit the countryside in and around Leeds. It’s certainly helped me to do both of those things!

What have you enjoyed most about getting involved as a participant with GOGA?

GOGA gives me the chance to get away from work for a while and do something completely different. My highlight so far has been the walk to Whitby, the weather was amazing that day!

Staff 5 a side football tournament for charity

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After the success of the 5 a side tournament during Staff Healthy Week, the Health & Wellbeing team are bringing it back and are hosting a 5 a side football tournament to raise money for the local charity, Leeds Mind.

The tournament, taking place on Thursday 19th December between 12-2pm in Halls 1 and 2 in the Edge, is £10 per team pay on the day and all proceeds will go to Leeds Mind.

This tournament is open to everyone, no matter your age, gender or ability and it will be a fantastic chance to have fun and blow off some steam after a term of hard work. We very much encourage mixed gender teams.

It’s time to grab your colleagues and form your team! If you’re interested in playing, please email Rachel Harrison with your team details. There are a limited number of team spots available so make sure you’re quick!

If you’re looking to join a team, we’ll help you find one, just get in touch with Rachel.

The deadline to submit your team details is Monday 16th December.

It’s time to grab your colleagues and form your team! It’s set to be a great afternoon. We look forward to seeing you there.

Getting creative with vegan recipes at food workshop

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Participants enjoyed cooking up sweet and savoury vegan dishes in our second food workshop of the term.

On the menu of our Vegan workshop we had Sicilian aubergine stew (Caponata) and raw coconut balls.

Traditionally, the main motivation behind veganism was to prevent animal cruelty and exploitation. The activators leading the session, Ellie and Gabriele, discussed the rise in veganism over recent years and the shift in motivations; many people are now adopting the diet to improve their health and reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

Participants learnt some interesting facts about veganism throughout the workshop. For example, the number of vegans in Great Britain increased four times between 2014-2019 and almost half (42%) of UK vegans made the diet change in 2018.

Participants were informed how they can get the nourishment they need from a plant-based diet and we suggested some easy food swaps to reduce meat intake whilst still consuming a tasty and balanced diet.

Our activator, Gabriele, demonstrated the savoury and sweet dishes before the participants split off into small groups to have a go at cooking the recipes. First up was the raw coconut balls. These are the perfect option any time you’re craving a sweet snack. The balls are quick and easy to make and can be made in a large batch and stored in the fridge or freezer.

Whilst the coconut balls were setting in the freezer, participants prepared the Sicilian stew. This traditional dish can be eaten warm as a side dish or main or cold as an antipasto. The stew combines aubergine and tomatoes seasoned with vinegar, salted capers, onions and green olives.

All participants had the opportunity to tuck into their creations at the end of the workshop whilst chatting with other participants and the team of volunteers and activators.

If you’d like to enhance your cooking skills and nutrition knowledge in a fun and social environment, be sure to come along to our next workshop. Our final workshop of the term is Festive Treats themed and is on Thursday 5th December. We will be making traditional British festive treats and we will learn about different festivities around the globe. Book your place for this workshop now.

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

Women’s Leadership Programme: My Experience So Far

Women's football and futsal presidents network
Women’s Football club captain Ellie Richards talks about her experiences on the new ‘Women’s Leadership Programme’; a joint venture between BUCS and The FA.

The application process

In April this year I received an email with an opportunity that I knew I shouldn’t pass up. BUCS and The FA are delivering a Women’s Leadership Programme, using females in higher education to develop leaders in football. The course aims to develop us so we can have as much of an impact within the game as possible, as well as developing our professional network and employability.

To apply for the programme, there was first a big hurdle to overcome. You had to complete a video application instead of your standard application form. For me this was very difficult to do because no one likes seeing themselves on camera and having to listen to your voice over and over while editing is not the most enjoyable experience. I went to film my video at Weetwood with some friends and I just froze and couldn’t get any words out. I tried again at home as I knew this would be worth putting myself out of my comfort zone for and I’m glad I did.

Bushtucker trials?…

Our first residential was before term started in September at the University of Nottingham; we spent the first hour or so just getting to know the other participants and the people who would be leading the course, as well as what we could expect from the weekend. Then, it was straight into our first task which was a ‘bushtucker trial’ of sorts. The aim was to see how far we would push ourselves out of our comfort zone by challenging us to make up a tuck bag from different items on the table. I ended up with some seaweed, a couple of mealworms, some barbecue crickets and some jelly tots. It was definitely not the way I was expecting to start the weekend!

After that, various other tasks were given to us including building a bridge, reflection jenga and reading various job descriptions. The first of our networking dinners was in the evening. The leaders of the course encouraged us to get used to networking, as most of us have never had to do it before. After a very early start to get to Nottingham, it was definitely a struggle to stay awake at this point!

someone delivering a presentation to a group of people

Word of the day – Feedback

The second day involved improving quality feedback giving. We had to watch each other’s application videos so we could feedback on each of them. Feedback is a big part of everything we are doing on the course as it is one of the best ways to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It also really helps you to improve and grow as a person. We could give feedback to anyone at anytime by writing on pieces of paper that were stuck up around the room with people’s names on. I have definitely found that useful because you get to think about things that otherwise you may not have.

In between our residentials, we are given tasks to complete as well as books to read. This is to help us continue our growth and prepare for the next residential. So far we have had ‘Start with Why’; ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ and ‘Radical Candor’. I am excited to see what else they come up with for us! A lot of our tasks involve how we can take the ideas and theories we learn about back to our university and implement them into our club and committee.

The second residential

The second residential was at St George’s Park, the home of the FA, which was an incredible place to visit. They set us a ‘The Apprentice’ style task for this residential. The task was to maintain the momentum of the Women’s World Cup and the impact it had on different age groups. The winning prize was tickets to the England women’s game at Wembley, so a lot was at stake! A budget was given to us and we had all day to work on the task before presenting at 9am the next morning. Upon reflection, we realised that more planning and better time management was needed to be more successful.

I have been given the opportunity to be part of a video series documenting my progress throughout the course. I haven’t been properly interviewed on camera before so it feels quite surreal. It will be really good to look back on this and see how far I have come.

The candidates on the women's leadership programme

The future

I have definitely learnt a lot about myself and my skills, strengths and weaknesses on the programme. They push us in many different ways and encourage us to get out of our comfort zones on the residentials. It has given me a purpose and sense of direction for my career that I haven’t had in many years.


Volunteer of the Month: Ellie Stroud

Ellie Stroud Volunteer

Ellie talks about the volunteering she is involved in, why she wanted to participate and how it feels to win volunteer of the month.


‘Ellie has been a fantastic addition to our team of netball umpires – she is reliable, punctual, eager and frequently goes above and beyond. She is also a lovely, kind, pleasant human being who proactively looks to help and make a difference.’ – Rachel Harrison, Social Sport Coordinator.


Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?

I do two volunteering programmes for Leeds Sport. The first one is the Netball Umpiring Scheme which involves umpiring two games a week in the Tuesday and Friday social leagues. The second is the Media Assistant role, which is a bit more varied. I mainly focus on social media, where I can be covering anything from Varsity to the One to Watch Twitter Poll. I am also in the process of writing a blog post about GoodGym, which has recently launched in Leeds.


How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?

I do a few hours of volunteering a week. As schemes, they are really flexible meaning that I can balance my studies and volunteering easily.


What made you want to volunteer?

For the Netball role, I had been involved in the social leagues a lot during my first and second years, both playing twice a week then being Sports Secretary for a society. I really enjoyed these two years and so I felt passionately about the social leagues scheme at Leeds and wanted to help run it. For the Media role, I am interested in a career in sports marketing, but did not have any direct experience of marketing in a sports context, and so thought it would be a great way to develop some more marketing experience and skills.


What is the best thing about volunteering?

It has really helped me develop skills for my future career. For example, it has allowed me to develop leadership and communication skills in the umpiring role in particular, whereas the Media role has given me some invaluable marketing exposure and experience. I’ve found that it’s been really useful to talk about these schemes when I have been applying for graduate jobs, along with giving me some future direction for career options. I’m also hoping to get an umpiring qualification this year, which the University generously offer a bursary for, which will really help improve my skills as an umpire.


What are the challenges?

It took me a little while to develop my confidence as an umpire. I did not have much experience before, it was more just when I was running training sessions, and I had not played for a year so the first few weeks were a bit challenging!


Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Definitely! There are lots of different volunteering schemes to get involved with, from Gryphons Abroad to Sports Sport Activators so there’s something for everyone to get involved in, regardless of your experience and what skills you’d like to develop.


How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?

It was a lovely surprise! I really wasn’t expecting it at all.


If you are interested in getting involved in volunteering with Leeds Sport, check out all of our programmes on our website.

December offer at The Edge

‘Tis the season to be healthy!

This December take advantage of those silent nights during our quieter season and get your fill of festive fitness.

Get 7 days premium access for £10

Get a taste of our Edge premium membership with exclusive 7 consecutive day premium access throughout December. Get full access to:

  • 250 station fully air-conditioned Fitness Suite
  • 25m 8 lane Swimming Pool
  • Sports halls
  • Squash courts
  • Extensive class programme

To sign up to our December promotion, simply buy online or come into The Edge Reception. Last day of purchase is the 31st December.  For more information please contact the Membership team.

Please note: Memberships are for consecutive days including closed days (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) and days with reduced opening hours (13th December and between 24th December – 1st January). See full terms and conditions below.


Exclusive premium offers for you

To get a true taste of premium at The Edge, why not try an exclusive premium offer?

  • Full show-around with the membership team – We’re more than just a gym so to find out all that The Edge has to offer, book a tour with us by contacting the Membership team.

You can also choose from one of the following during your 7-day membership:

  • Free body analysis with our Personal Training team
    This quick and private health assessment gives an overview of your current general health, helping you know where you stand, and where improvements can be made. Book via reception.
  • Free swim consultation, great for wellbeing
    Get a 30-minute consultation with one of our expert swimming instructors, perfect whatever your level and a great way to kick start your swimming. Book via the Membership team.
  • Get into climbing
    Whatever your level we have a session for you, choose from a free climbing taster, belay test or a belay refresher.  For more information visit: Book via reception.

Terms and conditions

  1. Memberships are premium access, excluding the use of BUCS university gym membership scheme.
  2. Memberships can start from 01/12/2019, all memberships expire on or before the 06/01/2020.
  3. Last day of purchase is the 31/12/2019.
  4. Memberships are for consecutive days only.
  5. Upfront payment only, no joining fee. Promotion is non-refundable and cannot be frozen.
  6. During this period the facility will be closed for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. We will also be running reduced opening hours on the 13th December and between the 24th December 2019 and the 2nd January 2020. These days, including closed days, will count towards your membership. Full details will be available on our website:
  7. Facilities remain subject to change. Activities e.g. classes organised by the Centre, remain subject to change. Change includes both withdrawal and re-timetabling.
  8. Classes, course or session bookings are subject to availability. This includes the advertised free body analysis, free swim consultation and a free climbing taster, belay test or belay refresher. During your 7 day membership you can book one of the aforementioned free sessions. If you are unable to attend one of the free sessions during your promotional period, you will still be able to make a booking until the end of January, providing we can facilitate your request.
  9. As part of the 7 day membership, customers have full premium access but are not entitled to the exclusive discounts on PT packages, Edge courses and physio which are available on full premium memberships. Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is included on our Technogym machines.
  10. This offer is not transferable from one individual to another.
  11. Multiple memberships can be purchased by one user in the defined period.
  12. We will provide you with an EDGE green access card, unless you are a University of Leeds student, and in which case your student card will become your access card; use this to swipe yourself into the turnstiles to access the facilities for the next seven days.
  13. Car Parking is available outside The Edge Monday – Friday before 9am and after 4pm. Weekends are available at any time. Customers get 3 hours free during these times by using the daily code, available in the centre. If you would like to park for longer please email It can take up to two days for us to facilitate this request.
  14. This membership is subject to our standard User Terms and Conditions. Particular attention is drawn to section 9.1: Membership is personal to the Member. Members are not permitted to allow any other persons to use their Membership. In particular, others may not use Members cards to book Facilities or gain entry to the Centre


Planning to fit in your fitness of the Christmas period? Be sure to check out our Christmas opening hours.

Christmas Opening Hours 2019

The Edge

Be sure to fit in your fitness over the holidays!

The Edge opening hours will be as follows throughout the Christmas holiday period:

DateFacility Opening Hours
Friday 13th December 201906:30 – 18:30*
Saturday 21st December 2019Normal opening hours
Sunday 22nd December 2019Normal opening hours
Monday 23rd December 2019Normal opening hours
Tuesday 24th December 201908:00 – 14:00
Wednesday 25th December 2019Closed
Thursday 26th December 2019Closed
Friday 27th December 201910:00 – 17:00
Saturday 28th December 201910:00 – 17:00
Sunday 29th December 201910:00 – 17:00
Monday 30th December 201910:00 – 17:00
Tuesday 31st December 201908:00 – 14:00
Wednesday 1st January 2020Closed
Thursday 2nd January 2020Normal opening hours

*This closure is due to essential maintenance works, resulting in a loss of heating and hot water during the evening.

Please note that on days with reduced opening hours, all Edge Club members will be able to use all the facilities at any time of day.

There will also be no women’s only swim and gym sessions on the above dates.

The Exercise Class timetable will be reduced over the Christmas period and can be found here.

Our swimming pool timetables can be found here.

Parking will be available at any time for customers on days with reduced opening hours (December 24th – January 2nd). Members who have registered their car can benefit from unlimited parking during these days, and all other members or pay as you go customers can use a 3 hour free parking code at any time during these days.


Looking for a taste of The Edge this Christmas?

Check out our Christmas promotion today!


Through The Lens: The Athlete

Matt Brigham Rowing at Henley

Leeds Medic Sets Eyes On The Prize

Matt Brigham tells Leeds Sport about life as a scholar athlete and how he balances a medical degree alongside a vigorous training programme.

“It was pretty surreal.” Matt Brigham, 23, tells me as he relays the euphoric moment he beat two-time Olympic champion, Maye Drysdale at the Henley Royal Regatta this last summer.

From only joining the University of Leeds Boat Club in 2015 and having never rowed prior, Brigham is considered to be one of Leeds top athletes and aims to secure a place in the next Olympics. Leeds Sport interviewed Brigham on everything from his medical degree to landing a place on the GB Start scheme.

1. When did you first decide to start rowing?

“Not until I came to university, so it was four years ago when I started. I’d never done it before at all, I used to swim before that but always wanted to try rowing at university. The university rowing team taught me everything. I started with sweeping in the larger boats and now I’m doing sculling in smaller boats.”

Brigham then told me about his daily routine. As a fourth-year medic, he balances a five-day week on placement (either in hospitals or medical practices) and manages to squeeze in a vigorous training program of twelve-sessions per week.

His day usually lasts from eight in the morning until five in the evening, so he fits his rowing schedule around that. The three types of training sessions he swears by include: a rowing machine, rowing on water or a gym session.

“I usually manage to get a session in quite early beforehand and then as soon as I return home from placement, I do a second session.”

2. Are you part of a team and what occurs in a rowing race?

“So, I’m part of The University of Leeds Boat Club i.e. The Rowing Club and I always race for them and have done so from the start. I’m also on a talent program called GB Start, where I’m trained by a professional rowing coach.”

“In rowing, the smallest boat is the single and if we stick to sculling there’s a double and a quad. In general the bigger the boat, the faster it goes.”

“During the summer the standard race distance tends to be around two kilometres. In the winter months, we complete longer races on rivers which are entirely focused on time trials as opposed to side by side racing.”Matt Brigham Rowing at Henley

3. How did you first get onto a sports scholarship programme with the university?

“The first two years I was just with the university rowing team, I wasn’t a scholar then, I was just getting into it. And then I applied to the GB Start talent pathway and managed to get onto that. As soon as I was in that, I was able to qualify as a sports scholar here. I’ve been a scholar for the past two years now and a TASS supported athlete.”

Brigham explained that there were “tonnes of benefits” to a Leeds Sport scholarship such as funding, new equipment and even “nice kit”. However, he emphasised that the support side was most beneficial. In particular, he credited his strength and conditioning coach, Ben Warman who regularly trains Brigham at the gym.

“I’ve had Ben Warman as the S&C coach for the past couple of years, he’s been really great giving us individualised and tailored programs to really develop the strength side of it.”

In addition, he praised access to the sports physiotherapy, psychology and nutrition departments for being there whenever he needed them – all of which are available to him through the sports scholar program.

4. You recently raced in the Diamond league sculls event at Henley, how did it feel to be part of such a prestigious event?

“To race in the summer was quite special, it’s hard to explain but it’s quite unlike any other rowing event. I’d been the year before to watch and tried to qualify an eight with the university but unfortunately just missed out. We stayed and watched, and it was a fantastic social event. It was fun just to sit and watch all the races with the many Olympians and international crews.”

5. How did it feel to beat New Zealand’s course record holder and two-time Olympic champion, Maye Drysdale in the first round? One commentator described it as “the shock of the decade”. 

“Yeah that was an incredible experience, quite unexpected to be honest. We found out the draw the day before that I’d be against him – wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not!”

“We thought at least we’d get to race the Olympic champion – certainly a great experience.”

“My coach and I devised a race plan to do my own thing and attack it quite early and just really go for it. And then on the day, I had a good start where I was level with him, I put a little burst in where we’d planned to and managed to get ahead which was quite unbelievable. ”

“Drysdale is known for having a strong backend of the race, so I was waiting for him to come back on me and just charge through as he’d done many times before. Amazingly, I managed to hold on and he couldn’t come through at the end.”

“Yeah, it was pretty surreal.”

Matt Brigham at Henley

6. What’s on the horizon in terms of events? Is there an upcoming regatta that you are training for?

“Recently, we’ve just been to the first stage of the GB trials which is effectively the process of how you get yourself into the Olympic team. It’s going to be quite hard to get into the team this time round because its Olympic year but we’re just going through the process anyway to get experience.”

“That was in Boston in early November and it went really well to the extent where I’ve been invited onto the next stage in December – the GB development coaches are getting a bit more interested in me which is nice. I’ve also been invited to a training camp after that down at Reading which is where the GB rowing team are based.”

7. Do you hope to carry on rowing at such a high level alongside your medical career?

“So, both rowing and medicine are quite busy I must admit. But at present, rowing is going so well that I’m pushing to try and get onto the Olympic team. If that were to happen (which hopefully it will) I will have to weigh things up with medicine.”

“I’m not entirely sure what that would look like, maybe taking a bit of a break or doing part time training. But for now, I’m sticking to fourth year and rowing training. I’ll see what happens but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to get into the Olympics. ”

8. Lastly, do you have any advice for our students looking to secure a scholarship programme or get involved in rowing professionally?

 “I’d definitely recommend applying for the scholarship programme, there’s tonnes of benefits that you get from it and it will really support you as a student athlete. Even if you don’t get on it, there’s no reason why you can’t apply next year.”

Brigham is looking to target the Henley Royal Regatta, BUCS Regatta and FISU’s World University championships in 2020.

Good Luck Matt from everyone here at Leeds!