Social Sport at the University of Leeds

Social Sport basketball

Be part of more than just a game. Join hundreds of students and staff taking part in our fun social sport programme.

  • 40 weeks of social sport played per academic year
  • 95 hours of social sport played per semester
  • 94 social league teams per semester
  • 714 players per semester
  • Played at three different sport locations using more than six different courts/pitches

Here at the University of Leeds we offer a varied social sport programme, with the chance to participate in both social leagues or the more relaxed “turn up and play” sessions. Currently, over 700 students and staff take part in social sport and it is a wonderful way to be involved in non-competitive sports both on campus at The Edge or at one of our many other fantastic sports facilities including Sports Park Weetwood and Bodington Playing Fields, the home of the world class Brownlee Cycle Circuit.

Currently, we have a partnership with the FA (Football Association) and BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) which provides support and funding for our social sports programme.

Rachel Harrison, Social Sport and Coach Education Coordinator said;

“Social Sport at the University of Leeds is a wonderful programme for both students and staff. It’s a fantastic opportunity to take part in a sport you love or to try something new, alongside friends both old and new. Social sport offers you the chance to have fun and friendly competition, whilst experiencing the pride and passion of team sports”.

Social Leagues

Leagues are run on a semester-to-semester basis, culminating in play-off games at the end of each semester to decide the overall winner. At the end of the year, the final winner of the play-offs get the opportunity to represent the University of Leeds against rivals Leeds Beckett in the Social Varsity tournament in May.

There are five social league programmes available to take part in;

  1. 5-a-side football (un-officiated, male and female)
  2. 5-a-side football (officiated, male)
  3. 7-a-side football (officiated, male)
  4. 11-a-side football (male)
  5. 7-a-side netball (male and female)

Each social league team needs a captain and they are treated in the same way as any other club captain. By taking on this role, students learn vital leadership skills and gain confidence which puts them in a great position for life after University.

Turn Up and Play

The general social sessions (often referred to as “turn up and play”) require no weekly commitment and players can partake as often as they like, fitting sessions around their University timetables and social lives. They are aimed at everyone, no matter your age, gender or ability and are a great chance to have fun and blow off some steam.

If you are interested in playing social sport at the University of Leeds, or simply want to find out more, please take a look the information on our website



Leeds Sports Awards Winners Announced

boat and netball club at the leeds sports awards
On Thursday 28th February, sport at all levels across Leeds was celebrated at a glittering ceremony at the First Direct Arena.

The 16th Leeds Sports Awards saw 22 awards handed out in front of more than 800 people, including the likes of boxing World Champion, Josh Warrington, and Olympic and Commonwealth medalist, Nile Wilson. The awards celebrate sporting achievements and recognise the contribution of coaches and volunteers from elite performance to grass roots sport.

leeds sports awards

Our Netball club, Boat club and sports scholar Sam Dickinson were shortlisted for awards.

The University of Leeds Netball Club were crowned winners of the Student Sport, Special Contribution category.

Annalisa, Netball Club Captain said:

“All the girls work so hard. It’s incredible that someone has nominated us and recognised all the work we do and the effort they put in. They give up so many other commitments, their social life to volunteer for the club.
People realise that the Netball club are doing things for people, we’re coaching in local primary schools, getting involved in the community and spreading University sport across the whole of Leeds.”

Netball club at the Leeds Sports Awards

The University of Leeds Boat Club were Highly Commended for the Student Sport, Special Contribution Category.

Lydia, Boat Club Captain said:

“This has been one of the best years the Boat Club has seen. We’ve got the highest number of memberships ever, the most novices and the quickest seniors we’ve ever had. Tonight, we’ve been highly commended for Student Sport, Special Contribution and this is largely due to the volunteers that give up so much time to our club.”

“We’re really grateful for all the support we receive from LUU and SPA through Leeds Sport.”

Boat club at the Leeds Sports Awards

Triathlete, Sam Dickinson, was a finalist in the Senior Achievers, Sportsman Category.

A huge congratulations to the Netball Club, Boat Club and Sam. Your achievements over the past year have been outstanding!


BUCS Nationals Round Up

BUCS Nationals

BUCS Nationals is the biggest indoor sporting event of the University calendar. The event took place in Sheffield from the 15th – 17th February and saw over 5000 students take part.
The University of Leeds were well represented, with Athletics, Judo, Karate, Swimming, Climbing, Badminton and Fencing all taking part.

Below are some of the highlights and top results from the weekend.

Indoor Athletics:
Sports Scholar Christina Nick finished 5th in the women’s shot put, whilst on the track, Anna Short and Harvey Stainthorpe were semi-finalists in the 60m and 400m respectively. Not only that, but George the Gryphon ran in the BUCS Mascot race and finished a very respectable 5th place.

athletics bucs

After a tough weekend of fights, Marksims Volkovs finished joint 5th place in the U81kg category (after taking the fight to 3 minutes into golden score on a broken toe!) and Tomas Markinek achieved a bronze medal in the U66kg 2nd kyu and below category.

President and Sports Scholar Amber Brennan finished 3rd place, picking up a bronze medal in the Kumite 55kg category. Read Amber’s blog about her Karate journey here.

karate club at bucs nationals

The women’s climbing team finished 3rd place overall, after some strong individual performances from Yasmin, Holly and Kirsty.

Long Course Swimming: 
The swim team did a great job at Nationals, earning a bronze in the 400m women’s medley B-final and finishing 4th in the 400m mixed medley. The women’s 400m freestyle relay team finished 2nd and broke a University record!

Swimming team at BUCS

All the mixed doubles pairs (Anisha De Silva + Kieran Wong, Jess Walker + Michael Sidwell, Callum + Ashleigh Buck) got to at least the 2nd round, with Callum and Ashleigh Buck qualifying into the main draw.
Tilda Tierney got through to the 2nd round in women’s singles. In the women’s doubles Anisha De Silva + Tilda Tierney got through to the 2nd round. Michael Sidwell got through to the 3rd round of men’s singles and Callum Buck again qualified to the main draw.

Well done to all our athletes that took part, you did the University of Leeds proud.

Funding to grow volunteering programme

volunteers with refugees as part of the football and language refugee programme - posing for a photo
Leeds Sport are delighted to announce that a funding injection from the Footsteps Fund will help us grow our sports volunteering programmes this semester.

Our Gryphons into Schools and Gryphons in the Community programmes will see almost 40 students deployed into local schools and community groups to deliver sport this semester.

students on rowing machines with volunteers encouraging them

The Footsteps Fund uses kind donations from alumni and friends of the University of Leeds to support initiatives that enhance the student experience and have an invaluable impact on individual students as well as the wider community. Students involved in Leeds Sport’s off campus volunteering programmes will develop their own skills and broaden their horizons as well as bring sport to new audiences across the city.

Following the success of last year’s pilot project delivering football and English language tuition at the Leeds Refugee Forum in Harehills, the Footsteps funding will help us to deploy volunteers to support four more community groups through our Gryphons in the Community programme this academic year. Students will get off campus and deliver boxing sessions alongside Unorthobox, after school sports at the LS14 Trust in Seacroft, and table tennis and boxing at the Reginald Centre in Chapeltown. A little closer to home students will also get their hands dirty fixing bikes at the Bike Hub on campus and support various cycling activities up at the Brownlee Centre.

volunteers and refugees outside smiling, playing football

The Footsteps fund will also enable us to deliver a new schools programme alongside the Leeds Rhinos Foundation(LRF). Volunteers from the University of Leeds Netball club will work alongside LRF coaches to deliver netball in primary schools across the city. By working with a qualified coach, students will have the opportunity to develop their coaching skills in a supportive environment as well as share their passion for netball with young people in Leeds. This is a partnership we hope to grow to encompass more sports and schools in the coming years.

The funding will primarily be used to support comprehensive training, giving student’s formal qualifications and a meaningful legacy to their volunteering as well as enhancing their University experience.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport at the University of Leeds said:

We are delighted to have the support of the Footsteps Fund to enhance and grow our volunteering offer. There is a great appetite from both students and local schools and community groups for these types of partnerships and we are really excited about the impact which the Footsteps Funding will have’

Supported by donations to the footsteps fund by alumni and friends of the University of Leeds

More information about the Footsteps Fund can be found here.
More information about Leeds Sport’s volunteering programme can be found here.

University of Leeds at 2019 Leeds Sport Awards

Leeds sport awards 2019 finalists announced

The University of Leeds Netball Club and Boat Club have been made finalists in the Student Sport, Special Contribution Category of the 2019 Leeds Sports Awards.

Netball have increased their outreach work this year and are doing lots for the local community. Seven of their members are working towards coaching qualifications to enable them to coach in local primary schools across Leeds every week. Over ten of the club’s members umpire at social leagues across Leeds, with some working towards their umpiring qualifications too. In addition to this, 2 of their members run a weekly social netball session, open to anyone who wants to try out netball or play in a relaxed environment. On top of all this, the teams are excelling in their BUCS leagues, raising money for charity and trying to increase the profile of netball across the district.

Netball team warming up

Boat Club want rowing to be a part of breaking down barriers to higher and further education. 23 of their members coach in the community as part of an outreach programme where they deliver weekly sessions in local secondary schools. They aim to not only get young people active, but also build their confidence.
Once a term, the club volunteer at the RowLeeds Indoor Champs, where hundreds of school students come together to put their training to the test. The club also work closely with The Gorse Boat Club (TGBC). TGBC was founded in 2016 and is the school boat club for 5 academies and 1 sixth form centre from across Leeds. The two clubs often train together and UoLBC invite TGBC boats to their club regattas at the end of each term.

This year the boat club have also chosen to focus on mental health, working to improve the support they give to their members. In September, their 20 committee members were trained on how to support their members mental health and they’ve introduced a clear signposting system within the club. In October they did a 12 hour ergathon outside LUU to raise money and awareness their chosen charity: Mind.

rowing boat on the water

Sports Scholar Sam Dickinson has also been made a finalist for Sportsman in the Senior Achievers Category.
Sam is a member of the UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class Performance Programme and trains at the Leeds Triathlon Centre. In 2018, he won a silver medal in the U23 event at the ITU World Championships.

Sam Dickinson posing for a photo

In addition to our students being recognised, our Sports Performance Manager, Sarah Robinson, coaches at the City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming Club, who’ve been shortlisted for Young Club/Team in the Young Achievers Category. Sarah coaches the junior team and duet/solos towards the British Championships as well as the England Talent Development Squad 2019.  

The winners will be unveiled at the awards on Thursday 28 February at the First Direct Arena.

Tickets for the event are available here
A full list of the 2019 Leeds Sports Awards nominees is available here

Varsity Cross Country Round-up

Runners at the varsity cross country men's race
The points are shared in the first Varsity event of 2019.

Leeds Beckett men won their race overall, while in the women’s race, the University of Leeds claimed the point.

the men's team runners on the start line at varsity cross country 2019

The men’s race started proceedings, with 43 runners registered from not only the universities, but from local clubs too. The 6.4km course was completed in just 18:07 by Alex Yee from Beckett who claimed first place. Nathan Marsh from the University of Leeds finished third with a time of 19:28. Leeds Beckett took the overall Varsity point; they had 3 runners place in the top 6.

Top 3 finishers in the men's race posing with Sago the pony at varsity cross country 2019

The women’s race started just after the men had set off with 21 runners on the start line, again, entries were not only from the universities, but local clubs too. The course was completed in 22:10 by Bronwen Owen from Beckett who finished first. University of Leeds sports scholar Kate Waugh finished in third place with a time of 22:42. Overall, the University of Leeds won the point, with 3 runners finishing in the top 6.

top 3 finishers in the women's cross country varsity race 2019 posing with sago the pony

In total there were 63 runners, who provided some entertaining racing and raised just over £240 for local charity, Hope Pastures. They brought Sago the pony along to the event to see the runners and supporters.

A big thank you to all the volunteers that helped make the event possible, including the course erectors/dismantlers, timekeepers, recorders, entry desk, raffle ticket sellers, marshals and supporters.

This leaves the overall varsity score poised at 1-1.

A full list of results is available here.

Varsity Cross Country Preview

Beckett and University of Leeds students at the start line, with the words 'let the games begin' overlaying the image

After being crowned 2018 Varsity Winners, we are determined and ready to retain the Varsity title. The Cross Country Club are the first to take on the challenge, with the Varsity Cross Country Race kicking off the 2019 campaign.

This year marks the 10th Varsity Cross Country event and it is taking place this Saturday, the 12th January.

University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University cross country runners

The races are a little different this year, with the most notable change being that the women’s and men’s race are the same distance (6.4km) and they will be starting at the same time. There are two varsity points up for grabs. The first 6 women and first 12 men to finish from each University will count towards the two separate team event scores.

This is a highly anticipated event, as it’s the opening event for Varsity 2019. We’re hopeful for a win to kick-start our title defence!

As well as being a rival competition, the day is also about giving to charity. The entry fee of £3 goes towards local charity ‘Hope Pastures’, their goal is to prevent suffering and to improve and save the lives of animals. With your donations they rescue, rehabilitate and rehome horses, ponies and donkeys in need.  On the day of the race they are even bringing one of their Shetland ponies along, keeping our supporters’ company.

Cross country runners posing for a photo with a white shetland pony

The event is open to anyone who would like to take part. All entries take place on the day, simply turn up at 10:30 at the Leeds Beckett Track Pavilion (LS6 3QT) with your £3 entry fee to get your race number. It’s that simple to get involved.

If you’re a bit overwhelmed from exams and revision, this could be a great way to unwind and de-stress.

Runner smiling with his thumbs up

For more information check out the Facebook event here.


Tom de Glanville named in England U20s Elite Player Squad

University of Leeds sports scholar Tom de Glanville has been named in the 32 man England U20s Elite Player Squad.

The announcement was made by England Rugby on Friday 4th January.

Tom de Glanville head shot

Tom studies Biology at the University of Leeds, whilst also playing for Bath Rugby A. Tom is a sports scholar here at the University which allows him to study for a world class degree and play sport at the highest level.

Tom has previously represented his country at Under 18 level, where he featured in test matches against France and Wales.

The squad will compete in the 2019 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. They open their Six Nations campaign against Ireland on Friday 1 February. The side then take on France on Saturday 9 February live on Sky Sports.

The U20s next face Wales on Friday 22 February, live on S4C, before a second home fixture of the tournament with the side playing against Italy on Friday 8 March live on Sky Sports. Their final fixture of the Six Nations will be against Scotland on Friday 15 March live on Sky Sports.

The 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship will be held in May/June.

Tickets for the England under 20 fixtures can be found here.

Tom de Glanville kicking a rugby ball

Full Squad


Olly Adkins (Gloucester), Josh Basham (Durham University), Will Capon (Bristol Bears), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), James Dun (Bristol Bears), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints), Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Willis (Wasps).


Tom De Glanville (Bath), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors), Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Gus Warr (Sale Sharks), Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks).

Fundraising with the Women’s Hockey Club

Picture of the women's hockey committee
This semester, the University of Leeds Women’s Hockey Club have been very busy with lots of charity events and they don’t intend to stop!

Raffle Prizes

They started off the term with Race Night, the annual fundraiser hosted by the women’s hockey club. It’s a night of horse races, a raffle and lots of fun to raise money for SUDEP ACTION (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). The hockey club puts a lot of effort into giving to this charity, as tragically they lost a member of the club Emily Sumaria, to epilepsy 5 years ago.

There was lots of support for the event, with the men’s hockey club attending to help raise money.  Local companies were very generous, donating a wide range of amazing raffle prizes. The Community Secretary even donated her house in Portugal for a week! Loads of people were vying for the coveted raffle tickets, resulting in lots of happy winners.

The evening, held at Grovesnor Casino, was a huge success and the club managed to raise over £1000. This was a great event to kick-start the fundraising for the year. Shortly after this, they completed the annual Channel Swim Challenge. This is a challenge where the club swims the length of the channel collectively, at The Edge swimming pool. With 27 girls taking part this year, they managed to swim the equivalent of 2 and a half channel swims. One of the girls, Sadie Abel, swam the whole distance of the channel on her own, which was a tremendous achievement!

members of the hockey club in the swimming pool holding a SUDEP charity banner

Throughout the term, all 8 women’s hockey teams held Macmillan Coffee mornings. Getting the teams together with lots of cake was definitely a welcome idea and they managed to raise over £500. The last charity event of the semester is the ‘Hockey Hot Pot’. This is where each person puts in £3 and the teams have to cook a meal for their squad using as little money as possible. Whatever is left over is then donated to charity.

So far, the total raised is £4216. Their target for the year is £17,000, we’re sure they’ll achieve this and beat last years total of £16,687!

Girls hockey team with cakes

If you would like to help the club reach their target and donate to a very worthwhile cause click here.

Brownlee Centre Festival of Running

Brownlee centre festival of running text with a pair of trainers

Entry for the event has now closed as all places have been filled.

Come join us on the 3 of March 2019 for a fun festival of running, for all ages and abilities, at our fantastic Brownlee Centre at the University of Leeds.

Our unique event takes place on our closed-road 1-mile cycle circuit and offers runners a multitude of different events to enter – from a 1 mile race all the way to 20 laps of our circuit in the 20 mile event. You can race and run where current and next generation Olympic champions train!

The Event

On the day, there will be music and performances to provide the fun festival atmosphere. There will also be a marketplace with food and drink available, as well as pop-up shops for all your running needs. The closed-road circuit provides a unique opportunity for those PB hunters and those preparing for a spring marathon.

The event also caters for those who wish to do something a little shorter with races at 5 and 10km. You can even take it steady with a 1-mile race and spend more time cheering on competitors and unwinding.  

All finishers will receive a goody bag and a commemorative medal. There will be prizes in all distances, and hopefully a few PB’s to be found along the way!Cycle circut with brownlee centre building behind

The event will also support an international sports development programme, Gryphons Abroad – supported by the Bambisanani Partnership. A contribution from your race fee will go to the project which changes the lives of young people in South Africa, in particular through the purchase of bikes, bike equipment and educational materials.

You can find out more about this amazing programme here.

Date: Sunday 3rd March

Time: 11am start (First event off)

Venue: The Brownlee Centre – Bodington Playing Fields

Information and entry fees

Sunday 3rd March, 11:001 Mile. Age: 4+ (children must run with a parent/guardian)£8.00 affiliated, £10.00 non-affiliatedEnter here
Sunday 3rd March, 11:155 km. Age: 11+£10.00 affiliated, £12.00 non-affiliatedEnter here
Sunday 3rd March, 11:15 10 km. Age: 15+£17.00 affiliated, £19.00 non-affiliatedEnter here
Sunday 3rd March, 12:30 Half Marathon. Age: 17+ £22.00 affiliated, £24.00 non-affiliatedEnter here
Sunday 3rd March, 12:30 20 Miles. Age: 17+£27.00 affiliated, £29.00 non-affiliatedEnter here