We know the last 12 months have been hard work – we are all desperate to get back to our gyms, pools, pitches and courts and to be back together again as one big Gryphon family. Sports clubs and societies have done so much to support their members in the last twelve months – from Zoom workouts, to virtual relays and remote fundraising. So we wanted to say a huge thank you to all of our Gryphons! 

The first ever Gryphon Get Together will bring all of our sports clubs and teams together to hear from inspiring speakers, industry experts and most importantly, each other! We want to help reactivate sport and build back better than before so the event is all about inspiration & inclusion. The event will run parallel to our annual Sports Colours Awards as we celebrate all of the great work clubs & societies have done this year and look to the future. Best of all, we are planning to run most of the event in person, on campus so you’ll be able to catch up with teammates in person as well as enjoy the great range of sessions with speakers from across the sport sector.  

Day 1

Day 1 of the Gryphon Get Together will be all about fulfilling your potential and being the best you can be, whatever level of sport you participate at.   

We are delighted to welcome Leeds Alumni Dr Kim Daybell as a guest speaker. Kim is a British Paralympic table tennis player and has competed in two Paralympic Games, and is a Commonwealth and European Silver Medalist. During the pandemic he has been on the frontline of the NHS in a London hospital.  

kim daybell

On day 1 we will also hear from the LUU Women’s Rugby Union Club about how they have dealt with the challenge of the last 12 months – they have taken an innovative approach to engaging their members online and even recorded their own podcast 

If like Kim Daybell, you’re balancing high level sport with academics you won’t want to miss our Q&A with our Sport Scholars and international athletes; Finley Tonner & Joanna Neame. Finley combines studying Economics at Leeds with wheelchair basketball, while Joanna studies Languages, Culture & Film Studies with German alongside her climbing career.  

In our last session on day 1 you can learn more about how sport can help you develop your graduate level skills from specialist recruiters Add-Victor. Research from BUCS suggests that students who participate in sport stand to earn more than their counterparts so find out more about how to sell your sporting experience to future employers.  

Finley Tonner, wheelchair basketball sports scholar

Joanne Neame, climbing sports scholar

Day 2

Day 2 of the Gryphon Get Together is all about wellbeing & inclusion as we believe sport at Leeds is for everyone 

We will be joined by former Leeds Rhinos and super league rugby player Stevie Ward for our keynote on day 2. Since his retirement from competitive rugby following two concussions, Stevie founded ‘Mantality, a mental health support service which aims to empower men to become the best version of themselves.  

Stevie’s keynote will be followed up with specific breakout sessions on Disability Inclusion, Mental Health protocols & supporting injured athletes.  We will be joined by another alumni, Gem Turner, a former member of the LUU exec who is now an award-winning disability consultant and blogger for the session on disability inclusion. This will be followed by a session led by the University of Leeds Boat Club discussing the mental health protocols the club have introduced and how they’re supporting their members psychological wellbeing through rowing. Lastly, we will hear from a group of students setting up a support group for injured student athletes.  

The Gryphon Get Together will then conclude with our annual Sports Colours Awards 

Some of the sessions will take place on Microsoft Teams and links will be sent out nearer the time. In person sessions will take place on campus in the Conference Auditorium (behind The Edge) and you can book your place here. The capacity for in person sessions will be 80 participants. These sessions will be recorded via Lecture Capture and available online after the event.  


Monday 7th JuneWednesday 9th June
Fulfill Your PotentialWellbeing & Inclusion: How to make your club more inclusive. Sports Colours Awards
1-1:45pmDr. Kim Daybell University of Leeds graduate, 2 x Paralympian, European & Commonwealth Silver medalist training as a Junior Doctor will speak about his experiences of sport & medicine during the pandemic ONLINE 1:30-2:15pmStevie Ward Stevie, a former professional rugby player with the Leeds Rhinos & founder of Mantality will speak about the challenges of his career and concussions and the inspiration for founding a mental health support group for men.
1:55-2:25pmWomen’s Rugby Union A reflection on their successes, challenges and takeaways from the last 12 months. IN PERSON 2:35-3:05pmHow to make your club more inclusive of disabled students There are 14 million disabled people in the UK so the likelihood of a disabled student wanting to take part in any club or society is very high, but how do we make sure our clubs are truly welcoming? As a wheelchair using alumni, Gem will be bringing her own experiences to the group as well as facilitating a discussion about disability (both visible and nonvisible), the barriers in society, peoples’ default perceptions and how we can slowly change those for the better. This session will be an open space to talk about what disability actually means and how we can all be more inclusive in our everyday actions. IN PERSON
2:35-3:05pmBalancing elite sport and study A Q&A with elite student-athletes Finley Tonner (GB wheelchair basketball Sport Scholar studying Economics) & Joanna Neame (GB Climbing Sport Scholar studying Languages, Cultures and Film Studies with German ) IN PERSON 3:15-3:45pmMental Health protocols in your club Dan Grant, Head of Rowing and the University of Leeds Boat Club welfare officer will discuss the protocols and procedures the club have successfully introduced to support the mental health and wellbeing of all their members. IN PERSON
3:15-3:45pmSport & Your Career This session with Add-Victor and our leadership team will outline how sport can help you develop graduate level skills. Previous volunteers will also talk about how sport helped them land their dream job straight out of uni. IN PERSON 3:55-4:25pmSupporting injured athletes S&C Coach Emily Dingley will talk about the peer support group she has developed for injured athletes at the University of Leeds. IN PERSON


Can’t wait to see you there!