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. 

Coronavirus (covid-19): update on sport facilities

coronavirus (covid-19) information

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

Important Coronavirus update – Facility closure

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

This Girl Can… And They Did!

On Monday 9 March, Sport and Physical Activity hosted a series of free taster sessions: netball, badminton, indoor climbing and a wellbeing walk for all students and staff who identify as female.

80 students and staff came together to take part in the free sessions, which were organised to raise awareness of the This Girl Can campaign and to celebrate International Women’s Day.

This Girl Can – a National Lottery-funded campaign encouraging women to get involved with sport and physical activity – has relaunched with an inspiring advert.

Since its inception in 2015, the campaign has inspired 3.5 million women to get active. But there is still a long way to go, with 40% of women aged 16 and over insufficiently active, compared with 35% of men (Active Lives, 2018).

The event day on March 9 began with a guided wellbeing walk at lunchtime. Participants met outside LUU and enjoyed a bout of fresh air in Woodhouse Moor.

Meanwhile, students and staff learned about the basics of climbing and scaled the indoor climbing wall at The Edge. If you missed out on the chance to sign up for a climbing taster session, do not fear! Book a free 30 minute taster session through Edge reception.

Many participants relived their schools days in the sports hall playing badminton and netball. The badminton and netball sessions included partner work, drills such as around the world and some game time.

All participants were encouraged to provide some feedback. One participant said:

It was a great experience with a positive and friendly atmosphere!

TGC badminton

Kate Petty, one of the This Girl Can organisers, said:

It was brilliant to see so many students and staff from all across the university engaging in the activities, and for many, trying something new. We’ve gathered some useful feedback from this event that has given us an insight into what activities women across campus would like to see in the future. We shall use this feedback to inform future events and initiatives.

We plan to continue to raise awareness of the This Girl Can campaign and encourage more women in our university to engage in sport and physical activity. A women in sport working group will be established to help us identify and host future events. Further information about this will follow in due course.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the first event day, we hope you enjoyed it. Keep your eyes peeled for future This Girl Can activities!

Row Britannia; Unite & Row for Mental Health!

Row Britannia Web Banner

Our challenge

Attention all University of Leeds students, staff and alumni! Row Britannia challenge you to row 2,020 miles by Saturday 6 June 2020 to support and raise awareness of mental health and raise £3,000 for Sports Relief.

Track our progress here:

Row Britannia mile

Why are we doing this?

Row Britannia is an inclusive, adaptive sporting challenge by The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) in support of mental health, fitness and wellbeing and is an opportunity for teams throughout the UK to raise vital funds and awareness. Funds raised will support Sport Relief and the British Inspiration Trust.

The Row Britannia Challenge for Sport Relief has the potential to involve every university and college student in the UK.  If every university and college enter a team and raises £3000, they could raise a total of £1.5million for Sport Relief.

We know mental health affects relationships and wellbeing, determines how students learn, and their productivity. Despite the surge in the numbers of students asking for support, it is likely that there are many others in clinical need who are not seeking treatment because of stigma or problems with access to care.

Two students walking down the corridor

How can you help?

We are kicking off our challenge on University Mental Health Day, Thursday 5 March, by hosting a #RowBritannia event to start clocking up our miles. You shall find us on the precinct (as long as yet another storm doesn’t sweep in) or in The Refectory from 8.30am – 3.00pm. We invite you all to participate by rowing as far as you can and making a pledge to help us reach our target.

We shall also be setting up the ergs (indoor rowing machines) on Friday 13 March in the same place to give you all another chance to get in your miles and donate, so don’t worry if you cannot make it to the first event.

We want you all to come together and be part of #RowBritannia. When you are next in the gym, why not row your mile, and let us know by tagging @Leeds_Sport on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter along with the hashtag #RowBrittania and #RowLeedsUni. We also ask you to donate as much or as little as you can to the campaign via our University Just Giving page below.

To raise further awareness and help the campaign to gather further momentum it would be fantastic if you could nominate a mate to row their mile too.

The University of Leeds is committed to supporting this initiative and all our staff and students with their health and wellbeing. Together we can make a difference.

University of Leeds Boat Club Win at the Leeds Sport Awards!

boat club celebrating

The University of Leeds Boat Club have won Student Sport Team of the Year at this year’s Leeds Sport Awards.

The awards were held last night at the first direct arena in Leeds, in celebration of all the fantastic sportsmen and women across the city and their contributions to sport.

The University of Leeds Boat Club has an outstanding record of delivering performance and participation. Over the past few years the results of crews at the club have significantly improved, going from two semi-finals at BUCS regatta in 2018 to nine last year.

Its elite athlete support helped home grown talent like Matt Brigham break onto the international stage in 2019. The club does significant work in the local community with coaching for clubs and schools and social rowing groups for casual participants.

Club Captain, Ella, told us what it meant to the club to win at the awards;

We feel honoured to be able to accept this award and grateful to be part of a club deserving of it. we are so proud of how inclusive we are. There is somewhere for everyone in this club.

Also highly commended at the awards were rowing scholar Matt Brigham and the University of Leeds Women’s Rugby Union Team. Matt has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years, and in 2019 beat two-time Olympic champion, Mahe Drysdale, at Henley, as well as winning gold for England at the Home International Regatta.

Uni of Leeds Women's Rugby at Sport Awards

The Women’s Rugby Union team made history last year as they played alongside the men at Emerald Headingley Stadium in the annual Varsity competition. They are also active members of the local community, taking part in numerous projects and working with local charities for worthwhile causes.

Club captain, Ashley Ross, said;

It was an honour to have our growth and impact as a club recognised at the Leeds Sports awards. We only hope our ethos of inclusivity will continue to attract more females to the game of rugby. It was amazing to see the rise of equality in female sport reflected at the awards with so many amazing achievements by female athletes being highlighted. Events like this will further inspire LUUWRUFC to continue to break down barriers to sport participation and provide an outlet for a diverse group of women to come together, play rugby and most importantly, have fun.

Well done to both our winners and nominees from all of us here at Leeds Sport.

Volunteer of the Month: Turgay Demir

Volunteer of the month headshot

February’s volunteer of the month is Get Out, Get Active activator Turgay Demir! He volunteers on the GOGA programme, assisting in the running of trips for fellow students to the amazing countryside right on our doorstep.


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

I am on the GOGA hiking/walking volunteering programme and I have been volunteerıng wıth GOGA since 2016.


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

I spend almost all my Saturdays every week with GOGA during the month. This is quite a manageable activity for me. Because, I am a PhD researcher and a teaching assistant. Therefore, getting out of Leeds at least one day a week helps me to refresh my mind in terms of my mental health and it also motivates me to focus on my routine research and teaching studies. Having plenty of oxygen around the Yorkshire countryside, meeting up with new people and especially making new friends from all around the world are other incentives for me to manage my time and studies.


What made you want to volunteer?

I first joined a GOGA trip as a participant and experienced meeting with new friends and refreshing my mind by going somewhere different from where I live and this made me want to volunteer for GOGA and do something for others.


What is the best thing about volunteering?

For me the best thing is the opportunity to meet with different people from various historical, cultural and educational backgrounds all around the world and recognise and understand their cultural aspects.


What are the challenges?

Everything has its own challenges. For GOGA activities, sometimes participants might not listen to your advice about the trip route which sometimes might be geographically challenging or steep and this could affect the time management during the trips. However, I love challenges and more importantly I love volunteering with GOGA and helping others. Therefore, feeling a bit tired at the end of the day is the only challenging part for me. In general, personally I love challenges and these are manageable challenges for me.


Would you recommend volunteering to others?

I would definitely and wholeheartedly recommend others volunteer, especially with GOGA. You are not just discovering new areas of the world and meeting new people, you are also discovering new personal skills such as leading, coordinating with others, group work and time management.


How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?

I am quite happy with such a result. Normally, I do not want and do not like advertising what I have done. But if others appreciate your work and they choose you to be volunteer of the month, it is an absolute pleasure and nice to be recognised for my work as I mostly spend my free weekend time with GOGA during the academic year. GOGA is a lifestyle- only such a lovely programme can bring such lovely project leaders, activators, volunteers and participants together who have totally different backgrounds in the picturesque setting of Yorkshire and beyond.


‘Turgay has been a dedicated GOGA volunteer for many years now. He has assisted several of our walking trips and is knowledgeable about the local area so he regularly steps up to lead one of our walking routes. His passion for walking and bringing people together is evident in the way he engages participants and other volunteers. Turgay is a valuable member of the GOGA team and we’re very grateful for all his work so far’ – Kate Petty, Physical Activity and Wellbeing Officer.


If you are interested in any of our volunteering roles, have a further look on our website.

Why Would You Volunteer?

Do good stuff volunteering graphic

Hi! My name is Nicola and I am the Sports Development Assistant (volunteer) here at Leeds Sport! Whilst I am new to the role and the Leeds Sport team, I am not new to volunteering. Over the last five years I have dedicated over 800 hours to volunteering within the Watersports Sector.

My volunteering journey started off in 2015 when I was sailing at my local club in Manchester. I decided that I wanted to get more involved with the running of the club and was given a few jobs to do each week to help out, including helping to rig the boats and launch them. I really enjoyed this and decided I wanted to become an instructor, but I couldn’t pay for the course fees and so I made an agreement with the centre that if they pay for the course, I will continue to volunteer my time as an Instructor. My experiences grew from there and in 2016 I was awarded the Manchester Sport Young Volunteer of the Year for my dedication to volunteering within the sport sector, alongside my studies.

Manchester Sport Award 2016

I continued to volunteer for the club and moved my way up the committee from Social & Events Officer, to Vice Chairperson and now to Commodore. In 2018 I won the inaugural Panerai Challenger Trophy for my ability to use sailing and windsurfing to overcome difficulties in my life, which led to a £5000 grant to go towards my training and equipment and £10,000 for my club. Now I am a Senior Instructor in Sailing, Windsurfing and Powerboating.

Award Winner

Although winning awards and improving my CV have both been great outcomes from my volunteer work, it’s not really what drives me to keep doing it. The connections that you build with people and seeing that you are making a change in someone’s life through what you’re doing are enough to keep me motivated and enjoying what I do.

Volunteering isn’t always a walk in the park, like with any ‘job’ it can come with its own challenges. For me it was the competition for time between my studies and volunteering and finding a balance, but I found doing volunteering little and often meant that I could manage my studies, whilst still having fun from the volunteering and sports. You just have to find a balance that works for you.


I always recommend that everyone gives volunteering a go because the skills that you develop from it and the opportunities presented are invaluable and not to mention, you’ll have a great time doing it too!

I hope to bring my past experiences to the role and help to improve offerings around campus!

If you are interested in the Sports Development Assistant post or any other of our volunteering roles, find out more on our website

Three Promotions in One Day for our Men’s Football Club

close up of someone's boots playing football
The University of Leeds Men’s Football Club had a very successful day on Wednesday 19th February 2020, with three of their teams achieving three promotions!

The 1st, 2nd and 4th team all secured their respective BUCS league titles with games to spare. A draw was all it took for the 1st team, while both the 2nd and 4th teams won.

Men's football 2s - one of three promotions on 19th Feb

The 1st team were away to Leeds Trinity 1st team, drawing 3-3 after coming from 2 goals down. This point took them to 22 points with two games left to spare. As a result, they’re seven points clear so no one can catch them.

The 2nd team were at home, facing York St John’s 1st team. They won the match 4-1, taking them five points clear with only one game remaining, therefore securing back-to-back promotions. This match was our featured #onetowatch fixture on Twitter, we’ll have all the photos from this game up on our Facebook page next week!

The 4th team were away to York St John’s i2i Academy team. The 4th team won 1-0, retaining their unbeaten record in the league – nine matches, nine wins.

men's football 2s celebrating a goal - one of three promotions on 19th feb

Head of Football at the University of Leeds, Steve Grime said:

Huge congratulations to the club on their three promotions yesterday! Thank you to our Club Captain Matt Welch, 1st team captain Jack Stirland, 2nd team Captains Max Kennedy and Charlie Rodick, and 4th team Captains Will Bainbridge and Nathan Brewster for all their hard work and dedication for making it happen! As they are all third years and moving on, they have left the club in a better place and this is a perfect way for them to finish their University football journey.

Steve Grime - head of football

Finally, a big congratulations from everyone at Leeds Sport to Steve and the club on their very successful seasons!

Free taster sessions for females

TGC climbing 1100x400

This Girl Can – a National Lottery-funded campaign encouraging women to get involved with sport and physical activity – has relaunched with an inspiring advert.

To raise awareness of This Girl Can and to celebrate International Women’s Day, Sport and Physical Activity are hosting a series of FREE taster sessions on Monday 9th March for all University of Leeds students and staff who identify as female.

No experience is needed for any of the taster sessions; all abilities are welcome.

All equipment will be provided so please just turn up in comfortable clothing and footwear and bring a bottle of water with you.

For students:
  • Netball and badminton- 3-4pm @ Sports Hall 1A and 1B, The Edge. For more information and to register your place, please contact Rachel Harrison. 
  • Indoor Climbing- 12-2pm @ the climbing wall, The Edge. These 30 minute tasters are for anyone who would like to try climbing for the first time or to learn how they can take their climbing to the next level. To register your place, please contact Edge Reception. If you would like to discuss anything beforehand, please contact Helen Pepper, Climbing Coordinator.
  • Women’s Wellbeing Walk- meet on the precint outside the main entrance of LUU at 11:55 for the walk to begin at 12:00. The route will incorporate Woodhouse Moor and Woodhouse Ridge and will be approximately 45 minutes in length, weather dependent.
For staff:
  • Netball and badminton- 2-3pm @ Sports Hall 1A and 1B, The Edge. For more information and to register your place, please contact Rachel Harrison. 
  • Indoor Climbing- 12-2pm @ the climbing wall, The Edge. These 30 minute tasters are for anyone who would like to try climbing for the first time or to learn how they can take their climbing to the next level. To register your place, please contact Edge Reception. If you would like to discuss anything beforehand, please contact Helen Pepper, Climbing Coordinator.
  • Women’s Wellbeing Walk- meet on the precint outside the main entrance of LUU at 11:55 for the walk to begin at 12:00. The route will incorporate Woodhouse Moor and Woodhouse Ridge and will be approximately 45 minutes in length, weather dependent.

This Girl Can… Can you?

Become a Media Assistant for Leeds Sport!

Do good stuff volunteering graphic

The role of a Leeds Sport Media Assistant is exciting, varied and flexible. It opens the door to opportunities which are shaped towards your interests and skills you wish to develop. In the role, activities stretch from social media coverage of Varsity to writing blog posts about sport initiatives in Leeds such as Goodgym. It’s a really rewarding scheme and a great way to develop employability skills such as leadership and communication.

ELLIE: Social Media Assistant 

I applied to the Media Assistant role because I intend to go into a marketing career and wanted more experience. My previous marketing roles have been in social media marketing and market research. I wanted to build on this experience in a new industry context. I’m interested in going into a sports marketing career but did not have any experience in this industry. Therefore I thought the role would be a great way to develop my understanding of sports marketing.

I really appreciate the flexibility of the scheme, both in terms of the role and time commitment. I have been able to mould the role to suit areas that I would like to get more experience in. For example, this semester I will be learning more about the Sports Colours Awards, which is a big sports event on campus. Last semester I focused more on social media for a variety of different events such as the Parkrun. This flexibility has allowed me to gain experience in areas that I wanted to develop, whilst also developing other crucial employability skills such as communication. The scheme requires around two hours of work a week during term time. On the whole, it is extremely flexible around your degree.

I’ve really benefited from the scheme so far, not only have I developed my skill set which I have found really useful when applying for graduate roles, but I have really enjoyed being involved in such a wide variety of sports opportunities throughout campus.


MADDY: News and Blog assistant

Maddy Sherratt

 As an aspiring journalist, the role of the media assistant really appealed to me. I wanted to diversify my time between academic writing, keeping active and writing news and blogs. In the past, I’ve worked with financial news organisations and write regular blogs on issues of current affairs and human interest.  However, I wanted to develop knowledge and skills in a new field whilst also gaining reputable writing skills for my year-in-industry and future graduate role. The voluntary nature of the role is incredibly rewarding as both others and yourself benefit from the work you produce. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Olympic hopefuls and inspiring coaches. It’s fascinating to hear and convey stories from the universities key role models in sport.

Adapting my writing style from academic essays to journalistic articles has been a real learning curb for me. I’ve really benefited from learning about digital platforms such as WordPress. I’m also excited to create a video with Ellie for the Leeds Sport Volunteering campaign this month. As well as this, I’ve gained a valuable set of skills ranging from communication, leadership, teamwork and initiative. The role is very flexible around your degree which avoids lots of stress when it comes to managing essay deadlines. This role will also give you direct access to societies and you can assist them with media enquiries.

I would highly recommend this role as it has allowed me to be recognised by other journalists and business professionals on platforms such as LinkedIn and it also provides you with free access to the Edge gym – one of the many advantages of a volunteering role.  


Check out all of our volunteering opportunities for the 2020/21 academic year, including the Leeds Sport Media Assistant, here.