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!

 

First day at school

After settling in, the Gryphon’s Abroad team have enjoyed their first day of school.  

Read about how they got on with our student blogs below and keep an eye out tomorrow for the next update…

Rosie Kerr

The first day in South Africa did not disappoint! No amount of stories or pictures could have prepared us for how amazing the children are. After being shown round Gratton School by the head teacher and feeling pretty emotional after seeing the non-profit hostel run by the school, we were thrown straight into teaching the children. They were so excited to hear what we had to say! Snapchat face swap went down an absolute treat too! Can’t wait for more of the same tomorrow!

 

Ellie McGrath

What an amazing first day! Once we arrived at the school we were taken on a little tour around by the Principle. The one thing that really sticks in my mind and what definitely pulled on our heartstrings was being shown the wall of motivational quotes in the dining hall. The kids were awesome, so full of energy and always happy. I have never seen smiles like it when the football was brought out.

The first day has been brill and I cannot wait for the rest of this trip!!

 

Jess Fogarty

What a day!  From meeting the most amazing children, who literally go full force into everything they do, to having the opportunity to teach them and to play with them (whilst also maybe getting a little too competitive during a hockey tournament) to chilling out at the hotel, playing cards with the group (who are already some of my best friends) and getting excited about tomorrow by planning out the day in full, p.s. tomorrow is netball, it’s time to get excited!  I honestly don’t think there are enough words or pictures to demonstrate how fantastic this place is and how much of an impact the children here have already had on us all… I can’t wait for tomorrow!

 

Charli Brunning

Once again, Africa has not failed to disappoint, and it’s only day one!

Having been shown around the school grounds, the school crop fields and the boarding hostel, we were ready to get started with coaching and leadership lessons.

We were told, last night that the children were super excited to meet us, and we were certainly not disappointed. We were greeted by the most enthusiastic children who were keen to ask questions of us and our culture, especially getting us to say and repeat many words that they thought sounded funny in our accents! It was incredible that they were not afraid to get stuck right in with our hockey tournament, especially for those who had never picked up a hockey stick until today.

An incredible day, filled with a lot of love, learning and laughter. Here’s to the next 2 weeks!

 

Find out more about the project and apply to be part of the team for next year on the Gryphons Abroad Webpage

Sports Massage Diploma Qualification

Always thought you had a natural flare for massage? Why not get those talents certified? From the 4th – 8th June we’re offering you the chance to qualify for a Diploma in Sports Massage.

The course is accredited by Active Foundation which provides participants with the relevant knowledge and experience to carry out sports massage treatment at a professional level. In total, the course will cost £650.

This course has always proved popular and a huge success. Sally Warren who completed the course said;

“I knew sports massage would be a beneficial course for me to go on, providing me with extra skills, enhancing my degree knowledge and prospective for a physiotherapy masters.”

More information about the Diploma can be found here or alternatively please contact Safia Zerdazi, Coach Education Coordinator, on coacheducation@leeds.ac.uk.

Bikes on their way to South Africa!

two girls loading bikes onto a truck

Six bikes are now making their way to South Africa for FREE thanks to Cardinal Maritime shipping company. These bikes have been donated by staff and students at the University and will be given to children in one of the most deprived areas of South Africa through the Gryphons Abroad Programme. Some children live up to 2 hours away from school and the aim of this project is to give them access to education by reducing the time it takes to travel to school.

The students will have bike training which will teach them how to maintain their bikes ensuring once the Gryphons Abroad team has left the bikes will continue to be used. The £1200 to set up this training and purchase the equipment needed has been donated by the University of Leeds Commercial Services Sustainability Steering Group as well as £800 which will be used for educational and sporting resources at the local Orphanage.

127 Miles, 3 Days

andy and james standing at the canal

Andrew Lockwood (Professional Development Manager at The University of Leeds) embarked on an epic fundraising challenge this year; running from Liverpool to Leeds in just 3 days. Yes you read that correct he ran 127 MILES in just 3 days! This mammoth effort was in aid of two charities close to his heart, The Bambisinani Partnership linked to our Gryphons Abroad programme and Sheffield Hospital Charity.
Andy has completed numerous marathons and realised that he would need to push himself to encourage friends and family to part with their cash. After finally deciding to take on the challenge Andy realised it was something either very impressive or totally irrational from the reactions he got from family and friends.

” A few years ago I cycled Liverpool to Leeds and it got me thinking could I run it? To be honest, I had no idea what I had let myself in for”

half way sign on the canal

It was a very tough few days but keeping him company was Andy’s equally ‘adventurous’ friend James who joined him for the whole challenge. Many friends, family and colleagues also joined the pair for part of the second and third day and a 20 strong crowd ran with them to the finish in Leeds city centre and helping them to celebrate their amazing achievement.

” The last day was hell but the thought of getting to the finish kept me going, as we arrived at granary wharf to friends and family you couldn’t get the smile off my face. To achieve something as huge as that and to know you’re making a real difference to peoples lives at home and abroad will live with me forever”

Andy wrote a blog about the whole experience and has raised  a fantastic £1500 so far for these great charities. If you have a spare few pounds then you can still donate online.

To get involved in the fantastic Gryphons Abroad project and be part of the team going next year check out the website.

Sports Colours Awards

Netball team receiveing club of the year award

Following a fantastic year of sporting success, Leeds Sport are excited to announce the ticket launch for the prestigious annual event; The Sports Colours Awards.

This is the evening where our students step out of their tracksuits and into black tie to celebrate the success of all of our Leeds Sport participants throughout the year. This includes our Leeds Gryphon athletes, sports coaches, officials and all the volunteers that make sport possible at The University of Leeds.

“There have been some fantastic achievements throughout the year which are cause for a celebration; Sports Scholar Kim Daybell has been selected for the Rio Paralympics, 3 teams picked up BUCS Trophy medals (a gold and two silvers) and there have been 2 individual gold’s and 2 silver’s at BUCS nationals. We’ve continued to dominate in all triathlon activity claiming all 3 top spots in the BUCS Biathlon. As well as having two alumni; Alistair and Jonny Brownlee pre-selected for Rio 2016, and it’s likely to be an all Leeds affair with current student Gordon Benson and alumnus Tom Bishop looking very strong for the 3rd spot.

In our Social Leagues, Sport Science claimed an impressive, if not unsurprising, double as both football and netball won their leagues in semester one. We’ve also seen  9 students selected to represent the University in South Africa through our Gryphons Abroad programme.

This year has also seen some incredibly adverse weather conditions that have pushed our resources to the limits and it is testament to the work of both students, staff and the local community that sport has managed to keep its head above the water!”

Activities officer Piers Cottee-Jones

The event will take place on the evening of Wednesday the 27th April as part of Leeds University Union Celebrate week.

To find out who has been nominated for the awards and to purchase your tickets click here!

Gryphon’s Big Bike Ride

group of people riding bikes in the sunshine

Get on your bike for a beautiful return ride to Ilkley with a stop off for coffee and cake, all in aid of the Gryphons Abroad programme.

The  Gryphons Abroad programme aims to deliver a life changing programme for students in Leeds and South Africa.

Bike Ride Details

Date: Saturday 12th March
Time: 9am Registration
Distance: 35 miles
Location: Setting off from Leeds University Union
Cost: £10 + FREE t-shirt.
50% of the cost will be donated directly to the Gryphons Abroad Programme

Bookings are now closed for this event.

The Route

We will meander through Headingley, Bramhope and Otley before riding along the River Wharfe into Ilkley, taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way. In Ilkley we will stop for coffee and cake before getting back on our bikes and returning to Leeds for celebratory drinks in the Terrace Bar at Leeds University Union.

The route has been chosen to ensure it is not overly difficult however it is recommended that participants have confidence riding on roads and that 35 miles is within their physical ability. The ride will be led by University Ride Leaders who will be available for help and support throughout the ride.

What You Need

  • A bike (Road or Hybrid)
  • A Helmet
  • Reflective Clothing
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear for all weathers e.g. rain jacket
  • Food and Refreshments
  • Money for coffee and cake (optional)

Raising Funds

Gryphons Abroad School kids

 

In June 2016, the Leeds Sport team with the Bambisanani Partnership will be delivering an international sports development programme, Gryphons Abroad in South Africa.
The team will be delivering an innovative programme aimed at providing education opportunities for children in South Africa through a cycle to success programme.

The Gryphons Big Bike ride will raise awareness and much needed funds for the programme. 50% of the registration fee will go directly to the programme to purchase books, equipment and cycle provisions to ensure the programme has a lasting legacy giving children access to education.

If you have any questions please contact Andy Lockwood: a.lockwood@leeds.ac.uk