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 unique project which aims to raise aspirations through activity and leadership. This student led project is a fantastic opportunity for you to 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 1st October 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 1st October 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.

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

Sports Colours Awards 2017

On Wednesday 3rd May, players, coaches, students and staff from Leeds Sport celebrated a fantastic year of sporting achievements. The Sports Colours Awards dinner was a fabulous evening, just one of many nights that made up the over arching celebrate week, which culminates with Friday nights grand finale; The Riley’s.

The evening was opened by host Activities officer Taiwo Ogunyinka alongside Sports, Dance, & Martial Arts Reps Ruan, Lauren, and Sam. This lead us in to the first awards of the evening, Club Colours, presented by the reps and Full Colours, by Sports Coordinator and BUCS guru, Rob Fairley. These are awarded to individuals who have gone above and beyond for their society or who have consistently performed highly for their team. This year there were a phenomenal 101 Club Colours awarded showing the fantastic commitment of Leeds Sport club members. There were also a huge 40 Full Colours awarded highlighting the talent of the athletes here at the University.

After a wonderful meal provided by the University of Leeds refectory, attendees were treated to a sensational performance by Dancesport to open the second half of the evening. The performance set a fantastic tone to the evening and showcased the talent among our dancers here at Leeds. The Sports Colours Awards evening also allowed Leeds Sport to celebrate its strength and depth of Sport Scholars whom it supports throughout their time at University.

Following these celebrations, we awarded this years White Rose and Gryphon Award winners who again have excelled either through commitment to their club or their performing excellence respectively. This years White Rose winners were:

  • Olivia Carter (Squash)
  • James Nicholson (Hiking)
  • Ayesha Lee (Cricket)
  • Shona Macloud (Football)
  • Frances Robbs de la Hoye (Rugby)
  • Will Carter (Ultimate Frisbee)
  • Grace Galbraith (Dancesport)
  • Tom Harding (Rugby Union)
  • Jack Bullock (Football)
  • Natasha Shafquat (Hockey)
  • Luke Bowen (Snowriders)
  • Ciaran Lennon (Ice hockey)
  • Nigel Sibanda (Volleyball)

And our Gryphon Award winners, were:

  • Rachel Newborough (Football)
  • Rosie Blout (Cycling)
  • Robert White (Ultimate Frisbee)
  • Fionnuala Crosbie (Netball)
  • Ciara Crosbie (Netball)
  • Savvas Hadjigeorgiou (Hockey)
  • Felix Titherley (American Football)
  • Josh Blower (Lacrosse)
  • Sarah Donnelly (Kick boxing and Krav Maga)

This lead in to our top 9 awards for the evening beginning with 2 new awards; Social League Team of the Year which was awarded to Law Netball, and the newly introduced this year Gryphon Leadership Award, awarded to Hannah Clarke for her outstanding contribution to the Netball Umpire Academy. The next two rewarded our coaches for their hard work to get the teams to where they are. This years Sue Jacklin Club Coach of the Year went to Hockey’s Chris Golding who coached 3 of the hockey clubs teams this past year. Our Mike Brook Performance Coach of the Year went to Women’s Cricket head coach Rick Holland who has gone above and beyond his role in the past 12 months to deliver an excellent coaching experience to the Women’s Cricket Club and the newly formed Women’s MCCU side.

Netballers posing for photo with award and presenter Emma
Hannah Clarke accepting award from Andy

Most Improved Athlete of the Year was awarded to Rowing’s James Boak who since starting rowing from scratch in 2016, was selected for the Club’s new group of ‘Performance Scullers’. In November James entered the National BUCS Indoor Rowing Series, where he placed Silver in the whole of Great Britain, an achievement which no one from Leeds has done on recent records. He has continued to break other Club records, posting the best 30 minute time on the rowing machine to date. He is driven and always gives his all. He is now setting his goals towards the water.

James & Jess posing for a photo with trophy

The Chris Hatton Most Improved Team of the Year went to the American Football who’s team went undefeated and become the BUCS 2A North conference champions, scoring an average of 35 points a game as the number 1 ranked offense in the country. The team also made it to the BUCS Northern Conference Cup finals.

This year’s Roberts Athlete of the year award went to Triathlon’s Sam Dickinson, one of the Universities Sports Scholars. Sam claimed 1st place in the Time Trial Qualifier at the 2016 Kitzbuhel ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup, and 1st in the main Triathlon event. He also took 1st in the 2016 Holten ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup, and 8th in the 2016 ITU World Triatlon Grand Final Cozumel. Sam also achieved Gold in the BUCS Sprint Triathlon 2016 beating Gordon Benson, GB triathlete and Leeds Alumni in the process. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.

Sam Dickinson posing with trophy

Rugby League were the winners of this years Team of the Year, who’s award has now been renamed in memory of James Burke who tragically passed away in April this year. Rugby League are one of the few teams at Leeds that currently compete in the BUCS Premier division. This year they finished an impressive 3rd behind Leeds Beckett and Northumbria, their best league finish in over 10 years. They reached the BUCS Championship semi-finals narrowly missing out on the finals to league winners Northumbria. The team were also victorious in a new event this year, the Yorkshire Varsity, which took place at the Headingley Stadium against a side made up of the best students from across Yorkshire Universities.

Rugby League team posing for a photo with trophy

The Chief Executive of Leeds University Union, Aidan Grills took to the stage to present the final and most hotly anticipated award of the evening, Club of the Year. For the second year running, Women’s Hockey, were announced winners of this award having sent in an impressive nomination excelling in all criteria for the award. The 24 strong club committee efficiently manages 8 teams and uses its strength in numbers to boast as a leading society for charity fundraising. They have created their own website and have been heavily involved with getting involved in the community with their annual ‘Quicksticks’ tournament. Not only that but they have continued to develop relationships with alumni and aid player personal development opportunities with their ‘Hockey Works’ scheme. Congratulations ladies on a well deserved award!

Womens hockey club on stage collecting winners trophy

New Trustee for The Bambisanani Partnership

This week, The Bambisanani Partnership appointed Leeds Sports Professional Development Manager, Andy Lockwood, as a Trustee.  

Andy became involved in the Bambisanani Partnership 2 years ago and made his first visit to South Africa in 2015 with students and staff from St. Mary’s School, Menston. Inspired by the visit, Andy set about organising his own project with students from the University of Leeds to head to South Africa to further develop the work of the partnership. In June 2016, the first ‘Gryphon’s Abroad‘ leadership project was delivered to over one hundred junior school children and pioneered a unique cycling programme (Cycling to Success) at Mnyakanya School.  Its safe to say the project was a huge success and the students that helped to deliver the project had an incredible experience.

“Over the last two years, I have had the privilege of working with the partnership, initially as a sponsored guest and more recently as a fully-fledged project partner through my role at the University of Leeds. I can quite honestly say that the partnership has had a profound effect on me as an individual and the way in which I view the world. Through my visit with the partnership in 2015 and the delivery of my own project in 2016, I have seen the positive effect the partnership’s work has on the young people and communities it comes into contact with, whether it be supporting young people in South Africa to develop their leadership and coaching skills or supporting our students to develop their skills and broaden their horizons. The charity has an impact upon everyone it comes into contact with. It continues to leave a lasting and growing legacy both in Kwa Zulu Natal and Leeds. It is something that the charity should be very proud of. Sport has an amazing power to change and enrich the lives of young people and this is something that I am incredibly passionate about. I am committed not only through my role at the University of Leeds but personally to the continual development of this work and the good that it does. I believe that my passion and experience will help to develop the partnership further and that I will be able to contribute to its ongoing success. It is a great honour to be appointed to the Board of Trustees and I look forward to playing my part in this amazing charity.”

The Bambisanani Partnership is a multi-award winning charity which uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, health, global citizenship and leadership in one of South Africa’s most deprived rural areas.  Andy will join Founder Trustees David Geldart, Darren Beardsley, Katie Campbell, Barbara Pounder and Diane Maguire on the Board. Chairman of The Bambisanani Partnership, David Geldart, was excited to welcome Andy to the board:

“Andy is an outstanding young man who has gained national recognition for his work in Sport Development and Leadership. He has demonstrated great commitment and personal investment to the partnership and has the vision and enthusiasm to make a significant contribution to the charity, both strategically and operationally. Andy is both a fantastic team player and leader and it is a privilege for us to have him on board.”

University of Leeds are delighted to hear of Andy’s appointment and are excited to be involved in such a fantastic partnership. Head of Sport, Suzanne Glavin, commented on the appointment:

“This is inspirational stuff and I’m delighted for Andy that his hard work , commitment and personal dedication are being recognised through this special appointment. It’s a delight to work alongside people who believe in their product. He is a great ambassador for the University of Leeds and for the power of sport.”

2017’s Gryphon’s Abroad cohort are already well underway fundraising for the second year of the project.

 

Varsity Teams Up With parkrun

student running in fields

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce another brand new event in this years series. This year, we have teamed up with parkrun to bring you our very own parkrun Varsity.

If you’ve always wanted to be involved with Varsity and help your University score those all important varsity points, now 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 1st October, 8.30am

Where? Woodhouse Moor

How? Register with parkrun then simply turn up on the Saturday morning wearing your University colours to take part. Both staff and students 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 just turn up in your colours and you’ll still score a point for your University. 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 victor!

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 the University of Leeds. 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
  • Our Get Out, Get Active team have recently set up their own run club so if you’d like a club to run for, please select Get Out, Get active – Uni of Leeds run club when you sign up.

Become a Gryphon

Become a Gryphon

At the University of Leeds we provide one of the best sporting experiences in the UK and Leeds is known as “The Home of the Gryphons”.

So how do you Become A Gryphon? It’s simple, all you need to do is get involved in sport in whatever way suits you. Whether you want to volunteer, play socially, compete at the highest level or simply support the Leeds Gryphons clubs you’re joining the Leeds Sport community and becoming a Gryphon.

Follow us on social media and sign up for our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything!

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Your Varsity Needs You!

Students, are you still in Leeds this summer? We’re looking for models to be a part of this year’s Varsity campaign which will be displayed all over campus in the run up to this year’s event – and don’t worry you don’t have to play sport to be a part of the campaign. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the biggest sporting event in the University calendar. The photo shoot will take place on Friday 19th August from 9am – 5pm (schedule tbc).

If you are interested and available on the aforementioned date, please contact L.V.Wood@leeds.ac.uk for more information before 12pm Wednesday 17th August.

 

Student volunteer heads to Rio

University of Leeds student and women’s hockey club member, April Leeson (pictured left), is currently half-way through her 6 week stay in Juiz de Fora, Brazil. Here she is studying Portuguese through an intensive language course. This August, she will be making her way to Rio de Janeiro to participate in the Olympic Games as an official volunteer. She will be part of the accreditation team, where she will be using her language skills to welcome athletes, officials, the media and VIPs onto the park and helping to assist them during their time in Rio.

April, who studies Arabic and Spanish, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for me to develop her foreign language and communication skills, as well as learning about South American culture, before moving into my final year at the University of Leeds”

Find out more about our Gryphons that are out in Rio here

 

A Trip to the Orphanage

In the second week of their South African Adventure, our Gryphons Abroad team paid a visit to the Zulufadder Orphanage. Here they tell us all about it.

Rachel Weaver

Spending the past 2 days at the Zulufadder Ophanage has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, seeing children who have next to nothing, smile as if they have the world is a truly amazing sight. Initially the children were timid and curious as to what a bunch of strangers were doing visiting the orphanage but within a few minutes of us being there I’ve never experienced a group of children wanting as much love and attention as these. Both days were full of playing games, cuddles and laughter and was a real eye opener as to how something as small as a colouring book or ball can make so many children so happy! Before arriving at the orphanage Andy had told us about Poppy, the lady who runs the orphanage, and how amazing she is but nothing could compare to actually meeting her!

Poppy is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, her ability to control 65 children aged 2-6 was admirable and you could see that every child saw her as a role model. I have honestly never met someone as happy and enthusiastic as Poppy and I really aim to be as passionate as her from now on! These 2 days were unforgettable and are moments I will cherish for the rest of my life!

Jessica Foggarty

Our visits to the orphanage were nothing like I ever could have imagined.  I was expecting a really challenging and upsetting environment but in reality it was much different.  Although the children come from very difficult backgrounds it is far from obvious.  Over the two days we spent at the Zulufadder orphanage I was able to get to know the most amazing group of children.  The love, laughter and cuddles that these children were able to give and receive was nothing like I have ever experienced before and it really hit me that happiness is not something we get through material items and having the money to be able to do great things but instead from the people we surround ourselves with.  Poppy – the lady who runs the Zulufadder orphanage is honestly the most incredible woman I have ever met and will ever meet.  The work she puts in to ensure the children eat, learn and love just like any other children is utterly inspiring.  I really hope that I can come back in the future and help her to continue the work she does there.  There is a lot that I have taken from this trip but my visits to the orphanage provided me with an experience that has hit me hard, I will never ever forget it and I have been inspired to keep helping people in the future.

 

Shona Mcleaod

The orphanage had the most profound impact on me as a person. Working with children is foreign to me and was a huge learning curve. It really showed me how simple things can make people happy and have a positive impact on someone’s life. Seeing the children smiling and offering the ‘older’ role model position gave the children someone to cuddle and become friends with. Reading, colouring and playing with the children and seeing how happy this made them is something I will never forget. It really showed me how important the little things in life are. Saying goodbye to Poppy was one of the saddest parts of the trip. She is by far the most amazing woman I have ever met. Her happiness radiates into those around her and I couldn’t think of anyone better to run such a brilliant centre. I will never forget this experience and I am grateful to have the opportunity to take part.

Eamonn Laird

As a group I think we were all in agreement that the visit to the orphanage would be the most significant experience of the trip and provide insight into a situation far removed from our own family setups. Arriving at the orphanage we were given the most heartfelt and enthusiastic welcome from Poppy who ran the orphanage, her welcome was a perfect representation of the atmosphere and feeling we would find running through the orphanage.

Regardless of the situation the children may be in, there was no feeling of sadness at the orphanage, simply children enjoying being children. The joy the children took from what we would consider the simplest items, a ball, a colouring book, a skipping rope, was over whelming and provides a great example to us all that we should not lose that enthusiasm for even the wee things.

 

Rosie Victoria Kerr

It’s so incredible meeting a group of children who are so happy, joyful and smiley, despite having all lived through deprivation of some sort, whether it be losing one or both parents, or a background of poverty. Both days when we initially arrived at the orphanage, the children were shy and reserved, after 20 minutes they were jumping all over us, playing games and just enjoying spending time with us. There was a lot of laughter over the two mornings we spent at the orphanage and it was great to feel that even for a few hours the children felt enveloped in love and attention. I think my favourite moment of the whole trip was seeing Poppy, the incredible lady who runs the orphanage, get so immensely excited about seeing donations of kit, clothes and books. This moment will stay with me for a lifetime.

Sian Jones

Our last couple of days in South Africa was spent at the Zulufadder Orphanage in Eshowe, and it was an incredibly enriching experience. The children were some of the happiest and most excited children I’ve ever met; they jumped into our arms and there wasn’t a moment where we weren’t holding a child or laughing and having a good time. The real star of the show was Poppy, the lady who has run Zulufadder since it started and a lady that is incredibly inspiring and so grateful for all the things we were able to donate. It was sad leaving the orphanage but it was great to see that all the kit was going to such a fantastic cause, as well as the children looking very cute in their tiny kits. I had one of the best days I’ve had here in south Africa, and it was very emotionally draining but I would happily do it all over just to see their big smiles again.

Gryphons Abroad – day 2

Day 2 in the schools is now complete in the Gryphons Abroad camp and we’ve had our latest update from the team about how it went

Rachel Weaver

On the second day we worked at Gratton School again. During the first session we did leadership and worked mainly on communication, we led games such as blindfolded obstacle courses to encourage the importance of communication. Our second session was our curriculum lesson, Sian led this lesson and it was about Business. We did a dragon den styled lesson where the children invented “the best gift ever” for a family member or friend; they designed things such as a safe house for their family or a box of things they enjoy. Our final session was on netball; most of the girls had previously played before and so were really excited! We did a few drills and games that prepared the school for the netball tournament we led after lunch. During the tournament our school got split into 4 teams, my team did really well just missing out on the finals! Overall I really enjoyed today, the children always had a smile on their faces and even after 2 days of working with them I could see how much they had  developed in confidence and leadership.

 

 

Eamonn Laird

Starting the second day at Gratton the group were all feeling confident and enthused after their successful first day. Our group worked on netball first, a sport which a lot more of the children seemed to have played before and picked up the drills very quickly. The second session of the day we worked on leadership, a highlight was having one of the children stand up and lead part of the session, running a game they had learnt on the first day. The personal highlight of the day, and although we have several days left, it will probably be the highlight of the trip, was having a whole class room of students sing the “Flower of Scotland”. Sofia was delivering an art class and asked the class to draw a symbol which represents them. I myself drew a Scottish flag. I showed it to the class and asked them to guess what it was, they were able to answer very quickly as they had recently had a Scottish teacher at their school. They had been taught the Scottish national anthem for the teacher leaving so were more than happy to break into song which I of course joined in with.

“I always knew I would have some special moments in South Africa but never thought I would have one that special and that personal.”

 

 

Sian Jones

Another day at The Gratton School brought huge smiles and even more fun for us and the children! The three sessions went superbly well and the children loved all the things we taught them. The second lesson of the day tested my knowledge and put my teaching abilities to the test as I ran a “Dragon Dens” style exercise. It was a real pleasure to see the children, who originally did not want to present to the class, thrive and receive the highest points. It highlighted how the leadership section of our teaching was paying off and how we’ve helped them over the past few days. A personal highlight for me was seeing those students, who during the sports session were unmotivated and uninterested, wanting to play more and more netball during the sports competition at the end. It’s been a fantastic experience at Gratton, and the final day is looking to be even better!