15/06/2020: Coronavirus (covid-19): update on sport facilities

The Edge

Check here for the latest updates on Sport and Physical Activity’s response to the coronavirus.

Important Coronavirus update – (15 June 2020)

We hope that you are keeping well and active at this time.

We wanted to reassure you of the careful planning and preparation to ensure that when the time comes, our community can return to our campus and outdoor facilities with peace of mind.

Whilst we are unable to confirm when we will reopen our facilities, we are very excited to begin reviewing options to welcome you back and return to keeping you fit and healthy.

During this time, our priority is to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of our staff and customers. Caution will be essential to ensure that the transition toward reopening goes smoothly and that the safety of our users is maintained in accordance with government guidelines.

Below we have outlined the steps we are taking to prepare for reopening:

  • We are planning a safe approach to reopening our facilities, which includes a phased approach.
  • We continue to incorporate advice and guidance from the relevant authorities in our planning including the NHS and Public Health England, industry associations, such as UKActive, and national governing bodies, such as UK Sport.
  • We are revising our cleaning regime to ensure we are following the latest guidance and advice. This will include undertaking additional cleaning between sessions.
  • We are looking at how social distancing guidelines can be implemented in our facilities, this includes looking at how we can create one-way routes where needed and how we manage access.
  • We will provide training for our colleagues on our new way of operating.
  • We will look at the scheduling of activities and the relocation of some of these activities to ensure social distancing guidelines can be adhered to.
  • We will continue to update you with new information regarding our plans to reopen and we look forward to welcoming you back when it is safe to do so.

As a reminder, for those with an Edge membership, all membership fees are frozen until a time when facilities are accessible again and annual memberships will be extended for the time that we have remained closed. We will continue to get in touch with you with any new updates regarding memberships.

We would like to offer our most heartfelt gratitude to all our customers for your continued support and understanding in such uncertain times and to thank our colleagues who are working hard to ensure our customers get the support that is needed throughout this period.

In an effort to support our members to stay active and healthy during the closure, we have created our Your Home, Your Move hub. We have been delighted at how many of our community have benefitted from our home workouts, health and wellbeing resources and diet and nutrition advice. Our team are continuing to support you with new content coming out each week, so keep an eye on our Your Home, Your Move hub. In addition to this we recently conducted our Balancing Life survey to find out how the lockdown has impacted your activity levels and wellbeing so that we can plan how best to support you in the future.

In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance please do get in touch with us. For general enquiries about our campus and outdoor facilities, please email sport@leeds.ac.uk. If you have a membership-related enquiry, please email edgemembershipservices@leeds.ac.uk.

Updates from the University of Leeds will continue to be published through coronavirus.leeds.ac.uk and our specific messages on sport.leeds.ac.uk.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

With kind regards,

University of Leeds, Sport & Physical Activity Team



Important Coronavirus update – Facility closure (19 March 2020)

In line with advice regarding the Coronavirus (covid-19) from the relevant authorities, including the NHS and Public Health England, the University of Leeds has taken the difficult decision to fully close our Sport & Physical Activity facilities from 5 pm on Friday 20th March until further notice to protect the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff, which is our number one priority.

University of Leeds Sport & Physical Activity facilities include: The Edge, Cromer Terrace, Gryphon Sports Centre, Sports Park Weetwood, Bodington Playing Fields (including the Brownlee Centre), Boat House, and Selside Outdoor Centre.

We will continue to update all our customers, and we will re-open at the earliest possible opportunity. We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this difficult period.

  • All Edge memberships fees/payments will be frozen until a time when facilities are accessible again.
  • You do not need to contact us to arrange freeze of payment, we will do this for you. Swim credits will carry over until re-opening. Block booking payments will not be taken during this time.

If in the meantime we can be of any assistance please do get in touch with us. For general enquiries, please email sport@leeds.ac.uk. If you have a membership-related enquiry please email edgemembershipservices@leeds.ac.uk.

Updates from the University of Leeds will continue to be published through coronavirus.leeds.ac.uk and our specific messages on sport.leeds.ac.uk.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

With kind regards,
University of Leeds, Sport & Physical Activity Team

Leeds to Host Six Teams During the RLWC2021!

Rugby World Cup Artwork

Leeds to host the men’s squads from Jamaica and Ireland, as well as women’s squads from hosts England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Canada

With 500 days to go until the opening fixture of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), tournament organisers have announced that Leeds will act as the training base for men’s squads from Jamaica and Ireland, and women’s squads from England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Canada.

There is sure to be a carnival atmosphere in Leeds, as the city welcomes some of the biggest and best names in rugby league, across the men’s and women’s game, all six nations will be welcomed to what promises to be one of the biggest parties at RLWC2021.

No strangers to incredible sporting action and home to two venues at the tournament, Elland Road and Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds is in for a feast of rugby league action in 2021.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, said: “We are incredibly excited that as part of Rugby League World Cup 2021 which is now just 500 days away, six teams in total from both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be based in Leeds.

“This is testament to the tremendous training facilities that we are able to offer as a city through many different sites, which includes as part of this tournament, those available at University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University.

“With two of our city’s most iconic venues Elland Road and Emerald Headingley Stadium also hosting matches as part of Rugby League World Cup 2021, we simply cannot wait to once again showcase Leeds to people from across the world in what promises to be a truly unforgettable tournament.”

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “Today marks another hugely exciting milestone on the road to Rugby League World Cup 2021 as we celebrate 500 days until the opening fixture at St James’ Park in October next year.

“Leeds is set to see some amazing action, hosting more matches than any other city. Now, with the city set to act as the training base to some amazing nations and rugby league cup debutants, Rugby League World Cup 2021 is set to be an unforgettable time for the people of Leeds.

“Our refreshed tournament identity and today’s nation base announcement can serve as an exciting reminder for the people of Leeds of what’s to come in 2021 as we continue to build momentum towards what promises to be the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history.”

The squads from the 21 unique nations and 32 teams will be based in different locations. The full list of host towns and cities, and the corresponding nations is as follows:

  • Bolton – France (Men’s)
  • Doncaster – Samoa (Men’s)
  • Hull – Fiji (Men’s)
  • Leeds – Jamaica, Ireland (Men’s) | England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Canada (Women’s)
  • Liverpool and St Helens – Tonga, Italy (Men’s teams)
  • London – England, Australia, Norway, Spain (Wheelchair)
  • Manchester – England, Australia (Men’s)
  • Newcastle – Scotland (Men’s)
  • Preston – Wales (Men’s)
  • Sheffield – Greece (Men’s) | France, Wales, Scotland, USA (Wheelchair)
  • Tees Valley – Cook Islands (Men’s)
  • Warrington – Papua New Guinea (Men’s)
  • Wigan/Leigh – Lebanon (Men’s)
  • York – New Zealand (Men’s) | Australia, New Zealand, France, Cook Islands (Women’s)

All the host cities and towns, including those who won’t be a dedicated team base (Coventry and Kirklees), will form a huge part of making the tournament a success, welcoming players from around the world and adopting them as their own, as they get behind them and cheer them on in 500 days’ time. Following this announcement, the fixtures for all three tournaments will be announced in the coming months.

RLWC2021 has today also revealed new branding for the tournament, celebrating the power of together, focusing on human interest stories and emotional connections, with the goal of connecting with a universal audience.

The new branding will also include bespoke elements from each host, drawing on recognisable icons and displaying the sense of civic pride each host has for its town or city. RLWC2021 will be asking people from each town and city to vote on the icons that make up their custom patterns in the coming months and will be doing something similar for the nations towards the end of the year.

Please visit www.RLWC2021.com for more information and for details on how to sign up to the receive ticket alerts and all the latest news first.

Virtual Run the Loop Results

Brownlee Run the Loop

In light of the current global pandemic we were unable to deliver our annual ‘Run the loop’ event at the Brownlee Centre this year. However, with exercise and physical and mental well-being high up the agenda we decided instead to go virtual!

A very ‘2020’ concept, a virtual running event involves designing your own course and running it whenever you fancy whilst of course maintaining social distancing. So this could be indoors, outdoors, on road or trail, it could even be 95% downhill if you were inclined! We laid down the gauntlet to runners to devise their own 7km challenge (guaranteed PB) to be run the week of 18 May, before submitting their time to claim their medal (via post).

Check out the virtual run leader-board – well done everyone and enjoy your medals! We hope to see you out on the real Brownlee Centre circuit next year.

All proceeds from the virtual event went towards our international sport development project in South Africa; Gryphons Abroad.

If you participated in our virtual event and are yet to submit your entry you can send your time & evidence to festivalofrunning@leeds.ac.uk. This could be a picture of your time and distance on your watch or a screenshot from your preferred running app (Strava, MapmyRun etc).

“Ashes Run” for Charity!

Do good stuff volunteering graphic

With the university cricket season cancelled, and cricket off the cards for the majority of summer, we at University of Leeds Men’s and Women’s Cricket Clubs have decided to put our free time to good use and raise money for three brilliant charities:

All three charities are very important to everyone in both clubs and with physical activity being a big part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we have decided to organise an ‘Ashes Run’ to raise as much money as possible for these brilliant causes.

Men's cricket ashes charity run

We will be running the distance between the five Ashes 2019 cricket grounds; a total distance of 913km! This will be covered by around 40 runners over the course of a 5-day test match. Many of the runners in UoLMCC & UOLWCC have taken the decision to run at least 5km of the challenge in full cricket kit. To any non-cricketers out there this means running 5km in pads, thigh pads, gloves, helmet and a bat.

As a club our original aim for fundraising was £1500, however we smashed that before we had even begun the challenge. Therefore, we’ve doubled our original target and are now aiming to raise more £3000 for charity and have passed £2000 (as of 14 May).

mens cricket charity ashes run

The run began on 13 May and we completed 282km with over 100km being done in pads, however we are not alone in this challenge and have managed to get 12 other university cricket teams to complete the distance alongside us, hopefully raising even more money for charity in the process.

You can keep up to date with our progress @uolmcc or @uolwcc on Instagram and @LUUMCC or @UOLWCC on twitter. Please donate what you can and support us on social media for these great causes.




Fantastic Fundraising Efforts!

Do good stuff volunteering graphic

During this extraordinary time, our clubs have created and taken part in some fantastic fundraising efforts, with the money being to donated to causes that need it the most during this global pandemic. All of the efforts have been amazing, with everyone showing a real commitment to making a difference where they can. Below is just a snippet of all the incredible fundraising being done by so many of our clubs. 

team gryphons

Our Swimming and Waterpolo club challenged all other University of Leeds sports clubs to Race to Porec! The challenge is to complete the distance between Dover, England and Porec, Croatia within a 10 day period – a distance of 970 miles! Gryphon clubs which have accepted the challenge include; Badminton, Men’s Rugby League, Women’s Rugby Union, Gymnastics and Women’s Hockey. This is to raise money for Leonard Chesire, in order to fund vital PPE equipment for social workers. This challenge has also been taken on by other University sports teams across the country and collectively they have raised over £12,000 so far.

University of Leeds Netball Club are running one metre for each of the 1.5 million NHS workers in the UK in just one week! Their aim is to show appreciation for those risking their lives daily to care for our country and to raise as much as they can for the National Emergencies Trust. University of Leeds Development Netball are running 1,500km in seven days for the National Emergencies Trust & NHS Charities Together.

Members of the University of Leeds Cheerleaders took part in the 2.6 challenge and are also running the 195 miles from London to Leeds between the team on 10 May. Both are in aid of Winston’s Wish, a charity that supports children through the extremely tough and confusing thing that is losing a loved one. Not only that, they also took part in #HandstandUpToCorona, where members of the squads posted pictures of themselves doing handstands on Instagram along with the hashtag. This was in support of a project by PlayerLayer, a British sports brand with all proceeds going to front-line heroes.

University of Leeds Cheerleading - Handstand

The University of Leeds Athletics Club are completing the 2,377km from Leeds Bradford Airport to Vilamoura, Portugal, where they would have been on their warm weather training camp. They have encouraged their members to complete this as part of their daily approved exercise, either walking, running or cycling. This is in aid of Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.

University of Leeds Men’s Cricket are taking part in a “No Shaves, No Haircuts” challenge where the boys have vowed to not cut their hair or shave their beards until social distancing and self isolation measures have been reduced. This will be attempted for the Trussell Trust, with all money raised being donated to aid food bank provisions and operations. Not only this, they are also participating in a BUCS Outdoor Cricket Season: COVID-19 Edition. Started by Coventry University Cricket Club, a group of University teams are competing with each other each Wednesday afternoon to see who can run the distance between the two clubs the quickest. All donations will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Men's Cricket No Shave Challenge


University of Leeds Women’s Hockey Club are climbing the height of the three highest peaks on earth; Mount Everest, K2 & Kanchenjunga equating to 26,045m! Or, in other words, 8347 flights of stairs. All funds raised will go to Mind.

The fundraising efforts highlighted above are just a small percentage of everything all our clubs are doing in order to support and raise money for those most vulnerable in our society.

Keep going Gryphons, you are all doing amazing things.

“Grammable” Sports Colours Awards 2020

A selection of silver trophies

The 2020 Sports Colours Awards went virtual on Wednesday 29 April!

The awards usually consist of a sit down dinner in The Refectory, but due to current circumstances we had to change our plans.

Instead, we hosted the event via our Instagram stories, with over 1000 people tuning in on the night! We celebrated another fantastic year of sport and all of our student’s successes too. It was a great collaboration with our friends at Leeds University Union and we thank them for delivering a great event.

We can now reveal the winners of each award category are:

  • Social Leagues Team of the Year – Development Netball
  • Gryphon Leadership Award – Phillipa King
  • Sue Jacklin Club Coach of the Year – Will Tsang (Kickboxing & Krav Maga)
  • Mike Brook Performance Coach of the Year – Paul Matthews (American Football)
  • Mike Brook Most Improved Team of the Year – Ice Hockey C
  • Chris Hatton Award for Most Improved Athlete – Rosanna Crabb La-Hei (Rowing)
  • Most Improved Club of the Year – Pool & Snooker
  • Committee Member of the Year – Charlie Pindar (Men’s Hockey)
  • James Burke Team of the Year – Men’s Football 1s
  • Roberts Award for Most Outstanding Athlete – Matt Brigham (Rowing)
  • Club of the Year – American Football

A huge well done to all the people who were nominated, shortlisted, highly commended and of course, the winners.

We hope you enjoyed the event. You can look back on a great year of sport by watching our montage video below.


View this post on Instagram


Video montage of our Leeds Gryphons from the 19/20 season! Music: Blue window Musician: Jef

A post shared by Leeds Sport (@leeds_sport) on

Run the Loop Goes Virtual!

Brownlee Run the Loop

In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic and following guidance from both the Government and England Athletics it is no longer appropriate or possible to deliver Run The Loop as a mass participation event. So it is with regret that we must inform runners that this years event has now been cancelled.

However, in these times, exercise is more important than ever and here at the University of Leeds we wanted to provide people with an opportunity to engage in a communal event that follows the Government’s guidelines of social distancing. So we have created “Run The Virtual Loop” as a replacement.


So what is a virtual running event?

A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail or on the treadmill. You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.


When can I do it and how far do I need to run?

To respect social distancing and to ensure that we do not have hundreds of runners all out on the same day, we have set a week window between Monday 18th May and Sunday 24th May for runners to complete their run and submit evidence to us. For this virtual event, we are setting the distance as 7km. Why 7km? We figured that it isn’t a usual race distance, so at least everyone will be able to bag a PB!


What do you mean by evidence and where do I send it?

To get the medal and for us to be able to draw up a set of results, we need to know that you have completed the challenge. We take evidence in many forms; a photo from your watch showing time and distance or a screenshot from your running app (strava, map my run etc) for example.

You then need to send it to us via email (festivalofrunning@leeds.ac.uk) by Wednesday 27th May.


That’s great! What about some bling?

We have 100 places available for this event and we have a very special medal lined up! Featuring the Run the Loop branding and a special addition that will allow you to toast your running feat. All entrants will be featured on a leader-board so you can see how you fared! Images will be released closer to the event. All medals will be posted out to participants in early June.


How does this fit with the government guidance?

Current advice is to continue exercising in the open air, on your own, a minimum of 2 meters away from other people and no more than once per day. For more information on the coronavirus please visit the NHS website and keep yourself abreast of government recommendations on how to protect yourself.


All sounds good – How much does it cost and where do I enter?

Run The Virtual Loop has a set cost of £10. This is to cover the cost of the medal, administration and postage costs. Any remaining profit will be donated to the University of Leeds International Sports Development Project – Gryphons Abroad. We have set up a new entry page with our good friends at Racebest.

Any questions?

If you have any questions or need any further details please contact the Run The Loop team.

Five Ways to Switch Off This Weekend

It’s important to look after yourself and give yourself time to switch off, particularly during this unprecedented time.

Here are five ways you can truly switch off this weekend and enjoy a well-deserved break:


Walking, running, cycling, yoga, a home workout – anything that gets your heart pumping. Exercise is great for clearing your mind, relieving stress and you’ll feel great after it! Check out the new hub from The Edge for some workout inspiration. Please make sure to follow government guidelines when partaking in outdoor exercise.

Take up or revisit a hobby

Dust off that guitar sitting in the spare room, get your knitting needles out, or channel your inner Mary Berry. Taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one can help improve your mood. It also means you’re focusing and giving all your attention to that one thing, so can really give your mind a break.

Reduce your screen time

Social media is great for staying connected and up-to-date with everything and everyone, but it can be quite overwhelming at times. Try having a phone free hour every day – put it on aeroplane mode or shut it away in another room.


Listen to music, whether it’s songs you want to get up and dance to, or songs that to help you relax. Listen to a podcast – there are loads out there to choose from. Listen to what’s around you, go outside (if you can) or open a window and focus on the sounds of nature – a bird singing, the trees rustling in the wind…zen.

Write down your thoughts

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, confused; it might help to write all your thoughts down on a piece of paper. The process of actually writing can help, as you’re focusing on that physical task. Once all your thoughts are down, it can help you make sense of them and help you go forward. Try doing this before bed if you’re struggling to sleep.


Remember, it’s okay to not be super productive during this time, it’s okay to have days where you don’t do any of the above!
Stay connected with friends and family and look after yourself.

Customer Service Accreditation success

Waterside Cafe

We are delighted to announce that our services in the Facilities Directorate have received re accreditation of the Customer Service Excellence ® (CSE), a government standard that recognises an organisation’s commitment to putting customers first.

Following a tremendously busy year in 2019 services in the FD have worked harder than ever to deliver continuous improvement on their existing compliance plus status. Earlier in March the Services received a one-day surveillance visit from the CSE accreditor who looked over this year’s submission and met with colleagues to find out more about the great work that is taking place.

Jo Hynes, Deputy Director Estates and Facilities commented:
“I would like to thank and congratulate all our staff across Campus Support Services, Catering and Events Management, Marketing and Communications and Sport and Physical Activity. This achievement is testament to everyone’s continued hard work and commitment to deliver excellent service to our customers. This year, we have achieved compliance plus across a further 10 accreditation criteria. This is a fantastic result and demonstrates our ability to deliver continuous excellence.”

Our Services received compliance plus and additional praise for the following:

We use reliable and accurate methods to measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

We analyse and publicise satisfaction levels for the full range of customers for all main areas of our service and we have improved services as a result.

We have made positive changes to services as a result of analysing customer experience, including improved customer journeys.

There is corporate commitment to putting the customer at the heart of service delivery and leaders in our organisation actively support this and advocate for customers.

We empower and encourage all employees to actively promote and participate in the customer-focused culture of our organisation.

We can demonstrate our commitment to developing and delivering customer focused services through our recruitment, training and development policies for staff.

We provide our customers with the information they need in ways which meet their needs and preferences, using a variety of appropriate channels.

We take reasonable steps to make sure our customers have received and understood the information we provide.

We have improved the range, content and quality of verbal, published and web-based information we provide to ensure it is relevant and meets the needs of customers.

We identify individual customer needs at the first point of contact with us and ensure that an appropriate person who can address the reason for contact deals with the customer.

Volunteer of the month: Kate Hiley

Do good stuff volunteering graphic

Our volunteer of the month for March is Kate Hiley! She has been volunteering at Seacroft hospital running sports sessions for patients struggling with mental health. 


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

I am involved in the Gryphons in the Community programme, specifically as a ward activity volunteer at Recovery College. This is a project at Seacroft Hospital where volunteers go onto one of their low secure mental health units to lead weekly sports sessions for service users. We currently lead fun football, basketball, tennis & badminton sessions on the men’s ward.

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

One and a half hours a week on a rota basis (usually bi-weekly) – the sessions run on a Wednesday afternoon outside of teaching hours so it is easy to fit around my studies as long as a I am back to the library after!

What made you want to volunteer?

Previous voluntary experience has shown me the rewards to be gained are well worth the time and effort you give. Knowing you’re making a positive impact on a group, whilst learning so much about yourself and building leadership and communication skills is amazing.

What is the best thing about volunteering?

Seeing the impact you make on others and the development over time of individuals’ confidence and self-esteem. Working alongside other passionate volunteers helps you to bring out the best in yourself and others as well.

What are the challenges?

One of the major challenges is the unpredictability of the sessions on a week to week basis; having to learn to be adaptive and think on your feet in order to make sure you take into account the groups ideas to keep them engaged. But this is a skill that is so important in other aspects of life so I am grateful to have been able to develop that through volunteering.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Couldn’t recommend it enough!

How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?

Very flattering! You don’t really start off volunteering for the praise or recognition but its lovely that others can see the passion and enthusiasm you have for what you do.

‘Kate has been a really enthusiastic and committed volunteer on our Recovery College programme – she is always super energetic and professional which is really appreciated by staff. This was a brand new programme this year so the volunteers were taking a step into the unknown! They have all done an amazing job and really exceeded our expectations. The service users and NHS absolutely love them and the impact they have had in a really short amount of time should not be underestimated’. – Suzzi Garnett, Sports Volunteering Officer


If you are interested in volunteering next year check out all of our opportunities.