Change Lives In South Africa

students helping a south african student to ride a bike

Our Gryphons Abroad project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop your skills whilst changing the lives of young people in South Africa.

In June we will travel to South Africa and deliver a life changing project which aims to raise aspirations through activity and leadership. This student led project is a once in a lifetime adventure where you will gain a huge amount of skills and experience which will set you apart once you leave university.

What Will the Project involve?

uni student high fiveing sa studentYou will spend two weeks in South Africa, the first week inspiring students through sport and the second teaching them to ride and maintain bikes.
In the first week you teach leadership skills, sports activities and a range of classroom lessons to over 100 primary school children, culminating in a day where the South African students lead in organising a range of activities and a sports festival.
The impact of this week is invaluable to the employability of the students in this deprived area as they are taught valuable skills as well as gaining a huge amount of confidence in their ability.

“Gryphons Abroad is without doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done, I had the best time doing things I never thought I would get the chance to do.”
Amy Grabe, Philosophy Student

students holding up bike wheelsThe second week involves teaching 20+ students to ride and maintain their own school bikes. Travel to and from school in these areas can be an issue due to the distance between home and school (up to 2 hours walk) and this is a barrier to some students accessing an education. You will teach students a skill which can be life changing, this impact is especially clear with young girls as cycling is not a skill that is traditionally taught to women in their culture.

To pay for your place on the trip and donate towards the project costs e.g. buying bikes you will be required to fundraise £2000 over 8 months. This is a challenge which will develop your skills and contribute towards your employability.

“Don’t worry about the fundraising because it seems like a lot of money at the start but it is literally so easy, and such a miniscule part of the process to get to such an amazing country and work with like-minded people that you’re probably going to be friends with for a long time.”

April Leeson, Language Student

Join the Team
We want enthusiastic and motivated students from across the University to join our team for 17/18. The project is open to all students and no prior experience in a sports setting is needed. So if travelling to a different country and experiencing a new culture while leading on a project and making a clear impact on students’ lives in South Africa sounds like it’s something you would like to be a part of the make sure you apply before the 29th September 2017.

We’ve made the application process as simple as possible, all you need to do to apply is email Tilly (n.c.hall@leeds.ac.uk) answering the following question:

Why do you want to be part of the team and what could you offer?

Your answer needs to be a maximum of 1 side of A4 and emailed to Tilly (n.c.hall@leeds.ac.uk) by midnight on the 29th September 2017.
Interviews Will Take Place: w/c 2nd October

Got any questions? Email Tilly: n.c.hall@leeds.ac.uk or take a look at the Gryphons Abroad Webpage.

Varsity Hockey Comes to University of Leeds

male hockey player dribbling the ball ready to be tackled by male opponent

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce a brand new event in the 2017 series. Varsity Hockey will see the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University battle it out for two Varsity points on the Tuesday evening the night before Wednesday’s Big Finale.

With both the women and men’s teams taking to the field, the event is set to be an evening of fierce competition. Given the clubs are two of our largest sports societies, the atmosphere is set to be electric. Even if you’re not familiar with the game, there will be commentary to keep you informed on the game and more importantly, the score.

To keep you entertained, there will be performances from LUU’s Freestyle Dance and Leeds Beckett Dancers on the night. Refreshments will be available from Dodsons catch Fish & Chips, our exclusive caterers for the evening, and drinks will be available from the view bar.

When? Tuesday 3rd October. Gates open 6pm. Women’s 1st XI pb 6.45pm, Men’s 1st XI pb 8pm.

Where? Sports Park Weetwood. Limited parking is available on a first come first served basis or the venue can be easily accessed by the number 1 or 6 bus from outside Parkinson steps for just £1 with your student card.

How much? FREE

If that’s not enough to convince you, hear from the club captain of the women’s hockey club herself, Molly Bret:

“We are extremely excited to be hosting the new hockey opener event this year! With all the hard work gone into planning the event we are sure it’s going to be a great evening and it would be great to see as many people there as possible. So please wear your uni colours, show your support and we will do our very best to grab hold of that much desired varsity point!”

To find out more about other Varsity events, head to the official Varsity Website or head to the Leeds Varsity social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Leeds Alumna Five-Time World Champion

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

University of Leeds Alumna Laura Anderson (Dentistry, 2010) has this weekend become undisputed Aikido World Champion. Laura won her 5th world individual title while competing in Akita, Japan, a feat never before achieved in the history of the sport.

Laura began her Aikido career at the age of 12 at Wharfedale Aikido Club in Ilkley, as an active child Laura jumped at the chance to try a new sport and has never looked back.

Laura began her Dentistry degree at The University of Leeds in 2005 and was awarded an Elite Sport Scholarship to help support her in training and competing at an elite level alongside studying for a world class degree. She was also a member of the Women’s Hockey Club during her time at Leeds.

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

In 2011 Laura won her first individual world title in London, followed by two more in Japan (2013) and Australia (2015). This put Laura in the record books as no competitor had ever won 3 world titles in the history of the sport.

This year the first World Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF) world championships took place in London. The WSAF is a world governing body for Aikido and has been set up to provide a platform for open and fair competition with a goal to encourage the amalgamation of all international competition. At this competition Laura won her 4th individual world title along with a mixed team gold and women’s team silver.

Just two weeks following this competition, to ensure Laura was undisputed champion of the world she travelled with the British Team to Akita, Japan to compete in the World Championships hosted by the Japanese Aikido Association (JAA). The majority of competitors at this event hadn’t competed in London as they have an affiliation to the JAA.

Laura ANderson receiving her gold medal

Laura made her way through the preliminaries and into the final where she won her 5th individual title and was crowned undisputed champion of the world. Laura remains the only person in the history of the sport to win more than two individual world titles, so to win five is an incredible feat.

 

 

 

In her career Laura has won 11 gold medals in total including a number of mixed and women’s team medals. A full list can be seen below;

Year  Location Event Medal
2011 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2013 Kawasaki, Japan Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2015 Gold Coast, Australia Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2017 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
Women’s Team Silver
Akita, Japan Individual Gold

 

If you would like to try Aikido then get in touch with the University of Leeds Aikido Club or contact Leeds Central Aikido Club.

Leeds Rhino’s First Women’s Team to Play at Sports Park Weetwood

Rugby pitch Sports Park Weetwood

Leeds Rhinos have launched their first women’s Rugby League team and are set to train and play at Sports Park Weetwood.

The Leeds Rhinos Women’s team, an Open Age side, will aim to compete in the Women’s Super League in 2018. The creation of the women’s team is part of Leeds Rhinos’ commitment to grow the game and offer more opportunities for females to play Rugby League through its charity Leeds Rhinos Foundation. This supports the RFL’s own ambition to attract more women to the game after it was revealed that 93 per cent of the current total of 95,000 who play the game are male.

Gary Hetherington, Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive said:

“Leeds Rhinos are totally committed to supporting the growth of Rugby League amongst women and girls and it’s so good to see so many currently playing the and we hope the creation of a potential new Super League team will encourage even more to play.”

Lois Forsell, Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s women and girls development officer, who is a current England international, will be heading up the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team as programme co-ordinator and is confident that Leeds will benefit from this new venture.

Forsell said:

“Leeds Rhinos Foundation now engage with more girls and women playing Rugby League in Leeds than ever before, so for us to offer an opportunity and a pathway for them to play for our own team is something that will help the women’s game grow even further,”

We firmly believe that the introduction of a women’s Super League team in Leeds will enhance our women’s and girl’s development programme. As a charity, we are very proud to be affiliated with the Rhinos and we believe that having a club with their success and history behind us will inspire more girls to get involved in playing and we hope to be a team that young girls aspire to play for, just as boys dream of playing for the Rhinos.”

Women interested in playing are invited to a launch evening at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on 21st September in the Pavilion, where they will be able to find out more information on the new team.  This will be followed by taster sessions and try outs which will cater for all women interested in either having a taster of Rugby League or aiming to excel further within the sport.

 

Leeds Rhinos Women’s Fans Taster Session: Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Monday 2nd October 2017, 6.30-8pm

Leeds Rhinos Women’s Under-16-19s Try Out: Sports Park Weetwood, Tuesday 10th October 2017, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Leeds Rhinos Women Open Access Try Out: Sports Park Weetwood, Tuesday 17th October 2017, 6.30pm-8.30pm

 

For more information on Leeds Rhinos Women’s team contact lois.forsell@leedsrhinosfoundation.org

Celebrities Play Cricket at Sports Park Weetwood

celebrities playing cricket at university cricket pitch, sports park weetwood

The University’s sports facilities were shown off in spectacular fashion this month when the BBC chose Sports Park Weetwood to host their celebrity cricket match.

For the 60th anniversary of the BBC 5 Live Test Match Special Radio Programme the BBC organised two mixed teams of cricketing greats and celebrities to play a T-20 match. The teams were lead by captains Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan and included celebrities such as Sprinter Yohan Blake, the Made in Chelsea Star Jamie Laing and BBC breakfasts Naga Munchetty both of whom are alumni of the University of Leeds.

Members of the public applied for tickets to watch the game via a random draw and 1,500 people out of the 27,000 that applied were lucky enough to get a ticket. For those who couldn’t be there on the day the game was screened live on the BBC red button, online and on BBC 5 live sports extra showing off the first-class cricket pitch and beautiful surroundings of Sports Park Weetwood.

During the match Great Food at Leeds delivered an astonishing birthday cake to the TMS commentary team which Henry Blofeld described as “…the cake of the century!”

cake int he shape of parkinson building

This fantastic event was a huge success and has showcased some of the high quality of the sports facilities at the University of Leeds where £25m has been invested over the past 8 years.

Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg, who manages our outdoor operations said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. But this was a great opportunity that we could not turn down.
“Test Match Special is a broadcasting and cricketing institution and it is good to be part of their anniversary celebrations.”

Suzanne Glavin Head of Sport and Physical Activity said: “It allows us to showcase some fantastic sporting facilities that students and public can enjoy. We can also explain the work we are doing to develop top-flight cricketing talent, the names who’ll no doubt feature on future Test Match Special broadcasts.”

If you missed the match you can watch it back on BBC i-player until the end of September.

To find out more about playing cricket at the University of Leeds, including our MCC cricket centre of excellence take a look at our cricket page here. 

Leeds Varsity parkrun, be a part of the series

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce that following last years success, Varsity parkrun is back for 2017.

If you’ve always wanted to be involved with the greatest sporting event in the university calendar, you can! So how does it work?

Each runner and volunteer will score a point for their University, the University with the most points wins parkrun Varsity.

When? Saturday 30th September, 8.30am

Where? Woodhouse Moor

How? Register with parkrun then simply turn up on the Saturday morning wearing your University colours to take part. Staff, students and alumni are welcome. parkrun is a 5km run which you can take as slow or as fast as you like. If you are keen to get involved but can’t run, don’t worry, you can volunteer for your University and you’ll still count towards your universities total. There will be 3 funnels after you’ve finished, you simply need to make your way down the funnel allocated to your University and hand in your token.

Who wins? You will only score a point for your university if you register and wear your University colours. The University with the most participants (runners and volunteers) will be the parkrun Varsity champions!

Helpful Information for on the day

  • Register beforehand
  • Print off and bring your barcode
  • Leave bags and coats at the finish line not the start line
  • Get to the start line for 8:50am
  • Please listen carefully during the run briefing
  • It’s a run not a race, you’re an ambassador for your university. Please be considerate to other runners and park users
  • Wear your university’s colours, GREEN for Uni, PURPLE for Beckett.
  • Try to seed yourself on how fast you think you’ll be able to complete the run
  • Cross the finish line the third time it comes into sight
  • After crossing the finish line stay in order until given a finish token
  • Get your barcode and finish token scanned at your University-specific scanning station

Dream Test Debut for Alumni Toby Roland-Jones

cricket pitch at the university of leeds

University of Leeds alumni, Toby Roland-Jones, called up to the England cricket side for their latest test against South Africa, had his dream debut taking four wickets and scoring 25 runs with the bat.

Middlesex medium paced bowler, Toby Roland-Jones took an impressive four wickets in his opening 33 balls in his first Test cricket match. Within just six overs he had balanced the match heavily in England’s favour, who in the first innings set a score to chase of 353.

The wickets fell in close succession with South Africa’s Elgar caught behind off an edge followed by an LBW (leg before wicket) to send Kuhn back to the changing rooms. Amla, a triple centurion the last time he played a Test match at The Oval, was the third to fall at the hands of Roland-Jones, giving a simple catch to Jonny Bairstow. The fourth and final wicket came from another catch behind as Quinton de Kock sent the ball straight in to the hands of gully, leaving the South African innings was in tatters.

In an exceptional start to his international career, Roland-Jones not only performed with the ball, but also scored 25 runs in as many balls, including a 6, showing his true impact as a player.

Whilst at the University, Toby Roland-Jones played for the Leeds Bradford MCCU side which supports talented cricketers through their time at university.

Head of Sport Suzanne Glavin said:

“It’s fantastic to see another university alumni achieving so highly in the World of Sport. Congratulations to Toby on his incredible debut, we wish you plenty more success for the future and will certainly be keeping our eyes on your successes.”

To find out more about cricket at the University of Leeds and how you can get involved, head to our clubs page here.

 

Sports Park Weetwood to Host Celebrity Cricket Match

cricket pitch at the university of leeds

The University is to host a cricket game with a difference – a celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the Test Match Special radio programme.

The twenty20 match will be played at Sports Park Weetwood on Thursday, August 24th, and you can enter a ballot to attend.

Cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew and batsman Geoffrey Boycott are to coach the players for the match and the teams will be captained by ex-England players Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell.

Among the players taking part are cricketers Graeme Swann, Simon Hughes and Charlotte Edwards. They will be joined by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Harry Judd from McFly and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake.

The match is being organised by the BBC using the top class cricket facilities at Sports Park Weetwood – home to the Leeds cricketing centre of excellence which is supported by the MCC.

Known as the Leeds-Bradford MCC, it offers talented undergraduates a chance to get a degree and to benefit from elite cricket coaching, to nurture students to go on and play 1st class county cricket and ultimately for England.

Suzanne Glavin, the University’s head of Sport and Physical Activity, said:

“It is fitting that Weetwood has been chosen to host the match. It provides a golden opportunity to showcase our facilities and the expertise of our staff to some of the most influential people in cricket, demonstrating how we can support the most talented athletes into the sport by providing flexibility in their studies and first class coaching standards.”

Alumni of the cricketing centre of excellence include:

  • Fast bowler Harry Gurney – Nottingham and England
  • Steve Patterson, a stalwart of Yorkshire country cricket and a member of the championship sides of 2014 and 2015;
  • Kate Cross – who has played for Lancashire women at county level and the England team.

The Test Match Special celebration match will be broadcast on BBC TV on the red button and radio commentary will be on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra..

Admission to the ground will be by ticket only. The tickets are free but will be allocated by a random draw organised by the BBC.

To enter the draw click here

You have until 11pm on 1 August to register and you can apply for a maximum of four tickets, admission to the ground is from 3pm onwards.

 

Strength and Conditioning Coaches Workshop

strength and conditioning room

On Thursday 20th July, the inaugural Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coaches Workshop brought together S&C Coaches from Universities across the North of England to share knowledge and ideas.

Assisted by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), who sent down National Network Manager Craig Williams to attend, the purpose of the workshop was to address common issues faced by these coaches, and use each other’s experiences to piece together solutions.

The day revolved around two presentations. The first by Jon Kantor form the University of Nottingham, who discussed ‘Quality in Quantity – An S&C service in Higher Education’, and the second by Tom Walton from Northumbria University who gave in insight to their Internship programme. Both talks were highly insightful, and sparked in-depth discussion on the topics.

Staff members at coaching workshop listen to presentation

 

Andy Woodward, a staff member from Barnard Castle School also attended the day, initiating interesting conversations in to bridging the gap between school and University.

 

 

Roundtables throughout the day focused on monitoring the University athlete, and addressing the issue of athletes being away from University for large portions of the year due to holidays. Discussions were fruitful, with the different experiences of coaches blending together with various ideas to put in to practice over the coming year.

Staff members sat listening to presentation

 

The day proved to be a great success for everyone involved with the plan to continue this type of workshop in years to come. For further information please contact Max Roger on M.Roger@leeds.ac.uk

Let’s Ride at the Brownlee Cycle Circuit

Brownlee Centre

British Cycling is opening up the cycle circuit at the University of Leeds’ Brownlee Centre for the first of its free-to-attend, Let’s Ride pop-up sessions next weekend.

Whether you want to ride for fun or fitness, this free monthly pop-up event gives you the chance to ride a traffic-free cycle circuit as many times as you want, at a pace that suits you. The first of which takes place on the 9th July at 12pm – 2pm and the second on August 13th.

The event is open to all ages and abilities and the circuit is easy to ride, with volunteers on hand throughout, ensuring peace of mind and safety for all cyclists.

For those wanting to take things up a gear, British Cycling Go-Ride coaches will also be available to help you improve your cycling skills, and local Ride Leaders and Breeze Champions will be there on the day to tell you more about other cycling opportunities in Leeds with HSBC UK Guided Rides and HSBC UK Breeze.

Tom Mutton, British Cycling’s partnership manager for Yorkshire, said:

“From complete beginners to those wanting to take things up a gear, the Lets Ride pop-up sessions will be an ideal way for people to discover or rediscover a love of cycling, or to improve their skills.

Regardless of age or ability, people will be able to come down to the circuit and build their confidence with the help of trained British Cycling coaches and volunteers.

The cycling facilities at the Brownlee Centre – which British Cycling helped to fund – have been extremely well utilised by the local public so far, and with this series of pop-up events and Leeds’ HSBC UK City Ride on the way, this is a really exciting time to get involved in cycling in the city.”

For those without their own bikes, bike hire is available from the venue on the day, including a fleet of tandems, trikes and hand-cycles.

FAQ

  • Event times: 12pm to 2pm.
  • Parking: Yes
  • Changing facilities: Yes
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Bike hire: No bike, no problem! Bike hire is available on the day, including a fleet of tandems, trikes and hand-cycles. Simply register your free place and turn up on the day

Volunteer

Can you spare a couple of hours a month to help out at Let’s Ride Pop-up Leeds? Email letsridepopup@britishcycling.org.uk to register your interest.