Active staff and students have greater sense of wellbeing

woman doing yoga

In March the Sport and Physical Activity Service conducted the annual Balancing Life Survey to find out a bit more about the activity and wellbeing levels of staff and students on campus.

One of the most stand out findings from the survey was that the more active our staff and students are, the greater their sense of wellbeing.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity said,

“It’s great to see the steady progress and an increasing awareness across University of the role physical activity can, and does play in the health and wellbeing of all staff and students, as shown through these the Balancing Life Survey results.”

The full results showed that 74% of our student and staff population are active which means they are doing at least 2.5 hours of physical activity each week.

75% of University staff are physically active and that’s 8% higher than the average for the national working population which is great news. Although only 73% of our students are physically active which is 4% less than the average higher education population.

The results also highlighted that over half of the activity people take part in either takes place on campus or is organised by the university. This supports the importance of programmes and activities provided by the university for staff and students to take part in, and the role they play in supporting campus wellbeing. This ranges from the onsite fitness facilities at The Edge to the Get Out, Get Active programme, Social Leagues and much more.

Suzanne Glavin said,

“We are committed to continuing the work we do through valued existing and newly forming collaborations to help people become more regularly active. We also know that there is more to do as we reach out to more faculties, schools and professional departments to help us support this agenda for students and colleagues alike.”

You can read the full results of the survey online here.


550 Miles, 4 footballers and one big challenge

Berlin Cycle

On the 16th of June four intrepid members of the University’s Women’s Football Club set off on a momentous challenge – to bike to Berlin.

The girls left Parkinson Steps with the hope of making it to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in just 8 days. Hannah, Lil, Cat and Fiona cycled approximately 550 miles across Europe to complete their journey! They were working in partnership with the University of Leeds RAG society in the hope of raising money for their chosen charities.

On their travels the girls faced a variety of different challenges, from aching legs to exhaustion. Around half way they found themselves caught in a five person pile up! With a few scraped knees they continued on their bike to Berlin. It was a physical challenge like no other and Lil admitted to us that:       

“None of us even had a bike when we signed up!”

However with a strong team motivating each other it was not as bad as they had anticipated. The girls managed to distract each other with silly games and songs when it got tough.


With such an extensive cycle the girls did put in some extra hours training but Lil told us that:

“To be honest we did very little training for it! With exams and university work due we were all quite busy towards the end of the year. I think by the time it came around I’d done a combined total of about 70 miles training which was only 5 miles further than the first day. But, the base fitness that we all had from football was enough to see our legs through.” 

Who are the charities?

The girls chose to split their fundraising efforts between three charities, the first of which is CooP Uganda. They are a small charity with aims of improving locals access to education, healthcare and work. Coop Uganda provides bicycles for individuals and also offers support for new enterprises that focus around social cycling.

The other two charities are those chosen by the university football club which the girls fundraise for through various events all year. Stonewall is one which aims to empower individuals as well as promoting equality for the LGBT community across the UK. They work within local communities and large institutions to support people in reaching their full potential. They chose to support Stonewall as it was suggested by the widow of Rachel Lush, an ex-Club Captain who sadly passed away a few years ago, and who this year the team introduced a charity alumni match in memory of.

Their final chosen charity is the James Burke Foundation. The charity was founded in memory of one of our rugby league players and also works to provide education and support for mental health. The girls noted that James Burke was a friend of many of their members and they wanted to help raise awareness of mental health issues, especially for male university students as it is something that isn’t spoken about enough.

The bike to Berlin proved to be a fantastic experience for everyone involved. Hanna told us a little more about her journey:

“The experience as a whole was amazing! Surprisingly the day we crashed was my favourite day as it gave us a laugh. Other days were a bit deflating but getting into Berlin and all cycling up towards the Parliament building together was an amazing feeling. We had a couple friends meeting us at the finish line and the support team were waiting with prosecco so it was an awesome reception!”


Staff Healthy Week Success 2018

Leeds Sport Healthy Week

This year’s Healthy Week has been a fantastic success. We had a 60% increase in organised activity and double the attendance figures from last year.

Healthy Week balloon June 2018

Nearly 200 members of staff joined up to be a Healthy Week Hero! They helped organised lots of their own activities throughout the week. Overall, 160 hours of activity were organised over seven days with 1,036 people taking part.

Our Healthy Week Heroes have done a fantastic job! Everyone was out encouraging colleagues to get involved and consider their own health and well-being.

Let us know what you thought about Healthy Week 2018 by filling out our feedback form at the foot of the Healthy Week page.

Rollerskiing as part of Healthy Week June 2018The free rollerskiing taster at Bodington Circuit was a great success, with both sessions fully booked.

See what other people got up to by searching for #HealthyWeekHero on Twitter.

If you haven’t shared what you got up to already, you can still do so by tagging @UniLeedsStaff and using #HealthyWeekHero.

Activities on campus

Although Healthy Week has come to an end, there are still plenty of activities to get involved in around campus. Many of the activities on the programme take place regularly each week.

Visit The Edge for a swim or sign up to one of their ‘learn to courses’. The Chaplaincy is open regularly for people to go to relax in a quiet space and the Sustainability Garden and LUU Roof Garden have weekly volunteering sessions. You can also do some regular exercise with the Get Out, Get Active team which organises casual lunchtime runs, yoga, weekend trips and lots more.

The free family event, HSBC UK Let’s Ride Leeds (formerly Sky Ride and City Ride), will also be returning to Leeds on Sunday 2 September. Read more about it and save the date!

National Bike Week: Free Cycle Sessions

Leeds Sport Tilly

To mark National Bike week and encourage university staff to get active, we are offering staff a chance to use the new Bodington Cycle Circuit at Bodington Playing Fields for free! 

National Bike Week first took place in 1923 and is an annual opportunity to promote cycling and show how it can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’.

Whether it’s for fun, as a means of getting to work or school, a trip to the local shops or just to visit friends, cycling has huge social, health and environmental benefits, so here at the Bodington Cycle Circuit, we are offering free use of circuit, bike and helmet to all staff and their families on these sessions:

  • Thursday 14  June (14:00 to 16:00)
  • Friday 15 June (15:00 to 17:00)
  • Saturday 16 June (13:30 to 17:00)

We also have regular Pay and Pedal sessions open to all individuals who would like to come and have a go on the cycle circuit, with no need to book. So why not come along and give it a go!

The Power of Football

Football Refugees Group

Leeds Gryphons have been out supporting young refugees in the local community…

Sport Science students at the University of Leeds recently had the opportunity to take part in a brand new project. The students delivered ten weeks of football coaching at the Leeds Refugee Forum as part of our Gryphons in the Community programme. Seven students took part in this pilot scheme delivering football and English language skills to unaccompanied minors at the One Community Centre in Harehills. They spent their Saturday mornings with individuals from countries such as Syria, Eritrea and Sudan.

During the first hour of the session, the students supported language tutors to teach English as a second language. Partnering up with one of the refugees, students supported them with tasks and practising their English conversation. During the second hour the students took the lead in facilitating a football session. All the students got stuck in, organising drills, games and matches and even joining in with the participants. 

What did everyone have to say?

Students reported improvements in their confidence, interpersonal communication and problem solving skills as a result of being involved in the project. Callum Bailey, one of the students involved shared his experience:

After I got involved with the volunteering project I found it so enjoyable. I would definitely consider doing it again in the future and would recommend others to do it as well. It helped me improve on skills such as leadership, teamwork and confidence. Everything I’ve learnt will also help aid my employability in the future.

Following a successful pilot Leeds Sport now hope to sustain this new partnership.  We are also looking to develop links with other community groups in Leeds, bringing people together through sport. 

Suzzi Garnett, the Sports Volunteering Officer at the University could also see the benefits:

The participants involved were around the same age as the students but obviously from an altogether different background. It was wonderful to see the students and participants interacting and having fun together. I could see the confidence of both the students and participants grow week on week.

Gryphons in the Community programmes allow people from all over Leeds to come together through sport. All the projects are fun and rewarding with students helping people in Leeds to live more active lives.

Ali Mahgoub, Director of the Leeds Refugee Forum shared his support:

Integration through sport and other activities is an important part of what we do at the Leeds Refugee Forum. The support of the students at the University of Leeds has exposed our young refugees to different cultures and allowed them to practice their English conversation.

This years project has been a huge success in helping students to make a difference right here in Leeds. Sport Science students will have the opportunity to sign up to Gryphons in the Community projects, including the Leeds Refugee Forum once again in September 2018. But don’t worry these positions are open to all students interested in volunteering. If you would like more information about the opportunities available please contact Suzzi on or 0113 343 1544.


Social Sport Success

University of Leeds Social League Netball

At the University of Leeds we have a whole range of sporting activities that take place throughout the year. From all our BUCS Wednesdays to our Varsity final, sport at Leeds is for everyone.

However participating in sport at Leeds isn’t just for those elite high performing athletes. In fact there is a whole range of social sport activities on offer too. There are a huge amount of teams in faculties, halls and across the university that offer competitive sport where you can play alongside your friends. Recently we claimed victory from Leeds Beckett University in the annual Social Varsity. This year captain Monty Davies-Phippen took her netball team, Development Yellow, all the way to the final against Beckett. Naturally the girls were looking forward to competing for the ultimate varsity trophy! Netball was the final match to be played with the scores level at 1-1. However, they stormed to victory, helping crown Leeds as Social Varsity champions. We spoke to her after their win:


Our game was exciting, with both Beckett and Leeds University showcasing the best of their skills. The Beckett team even managed to continue to display great netball despite the occurrence of a few injuries. However, the Development Yellow team managed to walk away with the victory and retain the varsity social league title!


Social league sports provide a fantastic opportunity for those who want to  play with their friends and compete on a more casual basis. The flexible social sport sessions also allow you to try something different in a fun and welcoming student friendly setting. Monty told us a little more about her experience:


It’s great that our victory has raised the profile of social sport. The social netball league has seen a large volume of teams playing friendly yet competitive netball throughout the year. The LUU Development Netball Club has been at the heart of this social league. We entered five teams this year, with the Yellow team leading the way with the overall winning result. Development Netball is a fun alternative to BUCS sport, whilst also aiming to maintain a high level of netball. The club delivers structured training sessions, with additional training for higher level players. We also ensure regular fixtures in the social sport league and other matches against universities from across the country. We’re proud to provide such an amazing opportunity for many girls and have been grateful for such a wonderful year of social netball. Bring on next season!

The Brownlee Centre is a Finalist

Brownlee Centre

In great news, it can be announced that the University of Leeds, Brownlee Centre facility at Bodington Playing Fields has been shortlisted as a finalist in the West Yorkshire Building Excellence Award!

The Brownlee Centre is the UK’s first custom-made built triathlon training centre; an iconic, architectural facility that is home to the renowned Leeds Triathlon Centre in association with the University of Leeds and named after the elite, legendary, University of Leeds alumni duo, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. Being shortlisted for this award is a great achievement, that highlights the construction and design of the Brownlee Centre and Bodington Playing Fields.


The Building Excellence Awards are all about the essence of good buildings. Our finalists are not judged on architectural beauty, but on the ‘excellence’ show from a construction and technical building control point of view. Our awards showcase buildings and design teams that have had to tussle with technical issues, difficult sites, innovation and creative solutions. – Architects Data File


The awards night will take place at the Best Western Cedar Court hotel in Bradford on Friday 8 June, the overall winners will qualify for the LABC Grand Finals in London on Friday 9 November which is the largest business to business awards in the UK.

Sports Colours Awards 2018

Leeds Sports Colours Awards 2018 Header

The Sports Colours were back on Wednesday the 25th of April to celebrate the momentous achievements of sports teams, students, staff and coaches over the year. Replacing sweaty sports kit for black tie the awards were a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the success we have had at Leeds Sport this year as part of the overarching Celebrate Week.

Hosted by our amazing amazing activities officer Jess Bassett and Doug Edell the Sports Representative the evening kicked off with the presentation of the first set of awards. Called up to the stage were members from a whole range of sports for Club Colours. 64 individuals gained recognition for their hard work and commitment to their chosen sports. Full Colours were given out to 43 individuals this year, for athletes who continually perform at a high level for their teams, showcasing the talent we have in Leeds.

The Refectory swiftly moved the evening on with an excellent 3 course meal. DanceSport then treated us to a wonderful performance demonstrating the exceptional talent among our dancers. We continued to look towards our extraordinary athletes by celebrating our Sports Scholars who are supported in their sporting endeavours over their time at Leeds.    

There were more congratulations to come as we welcomed 22 Gryphon and White Rose award winners to the stage. These awards are given to those who have excelled or shown outstanding commitment in their sport.

This years Gryphon Award winners were:

Christina Nick – Athletics

Cameron Austwick – Cuesports

Patrick Green – Judo

Amber Brennan – Karate

Polly Brooks – Lacrosse

Anya Wood – Netball

Amelia Hall – Netball

Bea Skingsley – Netball

Jenny Davies – Skiing

Nicolas Peters – Ultimate Frisbee

Jonah Leake – Ultimate Frisbee  


The White rose winners were:   

Robert Nayagam – Boxing

Emma Woods – Cricket

Emma Poole – Dancesport

Elizabeth Stanton – Football

Rachel Weaver – Football

Emily Marshall – Kickboxing & Kraav Maga

Lydia Griffiths – Lacrosse

Helena Grennan – Netball

Clare Chapman – Rugby Union

Andrew Marks – Rugby League

Jonny Bolton – Ultimate Frisbee


This built us up to our 10 big awards of the evening. With 46 different nominees there was some fierce competition particularly with the new addition of Team of the Year. Rachel Weaver took home the first award for Gryphon Leadership, which she given for all her volunteer work with the Women’s Football team. LawSoc Netball  claimed Our Social League Club of the Year for the second time. Helena Grenna was awarded the Sue Jacklyn Club Coach of the Year Award, continuing Netball’s success. Joan Young, the head Netball coach, received the Mike Brook Award for Performance Coach of the Year as she lead her teams to great success this year.

Novice Women’s Rowing were crowned as our Most Improved Team of the Year was awarded to. This large team of girls who since only starting the sport in september have placed highly at indoor competition. At BUCS Head they achieved gold medal placement which is something Leeds has never done before. Their boat became the quickest university Novice Women’s quad in the country!

Rosie Blount from Rugby Union received the Most Improved Athlete Award. From never touching a rugby ball until university she became the leading try scorer for the 1st team in the 2016/17 season. Since starting the sport she had played for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Yorkshire Ladies and England Students 7s, an incredible achievement for someone with only three years experience in the sport.

Women’s Rugby Union took home our brand new award for Most Improved Club of the Year. After freshers fair and GIAG’s their club doubled in size! The huge influx of new members has lead to the creation of a brand new development team who hope to enter into the BUCS league next year. Starting from their varsity win – for the first time in the club’s history – the girls continued to smash their way through the BUCS league despite moving up a division and facing tougher competition.

Kim Daybell, Sports Scholar and Table Tennis pro received the accolade of Roberts Athlete of the Year. After competing at two Olympic Games and many open events Kim has had phenomenal success. Recently he gained two silver medals in the PTT US Open despite playing against some tough competition. Over the Easter break he made his debut at the Commonwealth Games. Kim managed to take away a silver medal almost beating his fellow team-mate Ross Wilson.

Men’s Cuesports 1’s took home the title of Team of the Year after some fantastic performances across the season. Managing to retain the title of BUCS 8-Ball Pool Team Champions whilst also gaining a new title of 9-Ball Pool Team Champions, something which no other club has ever achieved. Many members of the team  have also performed exceptionally over the year with selection for England Student teams.

Our final winners of the evening were to take home the prestigious Club of the Year Award. There was some tough competition between four of our biggest Clubs who have all achieved some amazing things this year. However, Women’s Football were victorious! Their huge BUCS success and all their work within the local community gave them the edge. The 1st team were undefeated in their quest for retaining their position at the top of the league and as BUCS Trophy winners. It is clear that the 13 dedicated committee members all wanted the best for the club by fundraising for two charities and increasing their contact with alumni to help raise funding. The girls were ecstatic with their well deserved win and we wish them all the best for next year too!



UOLBC take BUCS Regatta 2018

University of Leeds Regatta

The University of Leeds Boat Club was established back in 1919 and since then it has moved from strength to strength. It has become one of the largest mixed gender sports societies at the university with over 200 members.

On Saturday the 5th of may the club headed down to Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham for the annual BUCS Regatta. Leeds sent total of sixteen boats with all four squads representing the club at the three day event. It was set to be a great weekend with seemingly perfect conditions and the hottest May bank holiday on record! Every squad had been training hard over the Easter holidays with the senior squad enduring an intensive training camp in Tilburg in the Netherlands. Meanwhile the novice rowers headed out on the Leeds Canal for some essential race preparation over the break.

Rowing Novice Men at BUCS Regatta 2018

The club were pushing to continue their success after achieving the best results the club has seen since 1995 for the Head of the River Race. Whilst the women were pushing for some strong results since they achieved the best results in the Women’s Head of the River Race since 2003.

Hard work paid off for the club as some fantastic results were achieved by all. Two of our Sports Scholars, Matt Brigham and Chloe Vialou-Clark both achieved B finals. Both individuals did exceedingly well, racing against some of the toughest competition from prestigious rowing universities.


Results from all the finals can be seen below:

Saturday 5th

Womens Intermediate 2-, 6th C Final

Mens Intermediate 8+, 6th C Final

Mens Intermediate 1x, 3rd B Final

Mens Beginner 4+ (a), 3rd C Final

Mens Beginner 4+ (b), 6th F Final

Mens Beginner 4x, 5th C Final


Sunday 6th

Womens Intermediate 8+, 3rd C Final

Mens Intermediate 2x, 1st D Final

Womens Beginner 4+ (a), 6th F Final

Womens Beginner 4+ (b), 2nd F Final

Womens Beginner 4x, 5th B Final

Mens Beginner 8+, 5th D Final


Monday 7th

Womens Intermediate 4+, 2nd D Final

Womens Beginner 8+, 5th C Final

Mens Beginner 1x, 6th F Final

Novice Women celebrating after their race at BUCS Regatta

After their huge success at BUCS Regatta the rowers received a visit from the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Head of Sport Patrick Craig. They spent the afternoon at the Boathouse while over 80 students took to the water in the clubs 19 strong fleet. Students were also out in force coaching children from the Gorse Boat Club, who work in partnership with UOLBC. Whilst the Club Captain and Secretary talked to the Vice-Chancellor about their plans for development and growth for UOLBC the rest of the rowers headed out on their training session in preparation for the Alumni Regatta.  

 The club hosted their own Alumni Sports Day, challenging crews gone by to a 600m regatta sprint down the canal. The alumni definitely proved their strength winning every event! Although the races didn’t quite fall in favour of the students the rest of the afternoon did.

Club captain Emily Lindsay has been part of the Boat Club since 2013 when she started her degree. Since then she has been on committee four times and has sustained the roll of Club Captain twice. In honour of Emily’s hard work and dedication to the club they decided to christen their newest boat after her.  

With all their recent successes Leeds look set on achieving even more in their upcoming regatta season and hope to bring back some wins. As they continue their training into exam season we wish them the best of luck and hopefully a trip to Henley will still be on the cards.


Leeds Head of Sport Goes Down Under

Suzanne Commonwealth Games

With the Commonwealth Games been and gone Suzanne Glavin tells us about her volunteering experiences in Australia.


After recording an online interview, Suzanne was selected for a place on the Press Operations Team. Here she helped look after the photographers at the triathlon and various cycling events at the Commonwealth Games this year.

She said:

“I feel like the luckiest Games Shaper! I managed to go to three amazing outdoor venues with some super sport. This included Southport Broadwater Parklands, where I worked on triathlon events. It was a super to see – from the photographers’ position at the finish – Jess Learmonth, one of our Leeds Triathlon Centre athletes, medal.”


Jess was England’s first medallist of the Games consequently bagging a silver. Unfortunately, the Brownlee brothers – Jonny and Alistair – failed to medal in the men’s tri event, finishing seventh and 10th respectively. Fellow Leeds Alumni, Tom Bishop, came home in 19th while second year Sport Science and Physiology student, Tyler Smith, competing as the flag-bearer for Bermuda, was 21st.

But, the action didn’t end there for Suzanne. She also had the opportunity to work with the photographers for the para triathlon and mixed relays. Here she saw the Brownlee brothers win a silver medal as well as Tyler Smith competing in the mixed relay.

Suzanne then headed to Currumbin…

 “… a beautiful, idyllic part of coastline with an amazing nature sanctuary set just behind. Here, I was supporting the Race Walk. It’s was a 5am start! I also went to help out with cycle time-trial and then again for all the cycle road races. To finish my most incredible journey I headed back to the Southport Broadwater Parklands to volunteer on the marathon!”

Suzanne’s adventures across Australia really proved the benefits of volunteering in sport. Not only can you travel world but you can also make a difference. Through contributing, collaborating and working as a team the experience of volunteering is priceless and well worth the hard work.

Suzanne finished by telling us about the impact of the games and her experience:

Suzanne on the ‘grassy knoll’ at the race walk event

“It’s relaxed, fun, friendly and exciting, with lots of people carrying their country’s flag with them. The locals, in particular, were so proud of their athletes and their homeland. The world coming to visit  genuinely pleased the residents. The Commonwealth Games are known as the friendly games and this one was no exception.”