FD Matters editions

Awards for Security team’s support of students

The Security team at the University of Leeds won the ‘Best use of SafeZone: Study Abroad/ International Travel’ Award at the SafeZone Conference last week.

SafeZone is an app that everyone on campus can use to ask for help. It is there to give extra peace of mind in addition to the other support offered by the University and is linked to the  Security team.

Mark Bownass, Head of Security Services said:

“Our role is to keep our students and staff safe including those on placement or studying abroad. We wanted to use the app to be in contact in the event of a critical incident abroad.”

“Working closely with the International team, it is now strongly recommended to students abroad that they download and register with SafeZone. This means we can let them know if there are potentially dangerous events in their region and they can seek help and advice from the university more easily.”

Danny Malone, Global Customer Success Director presented the award on behalf of Critical Arc and commented that the judges were impressed with how the University of Leeds team had adapted the process to enhance our support of students.

The SafeZone app is free to download and has over 4000 users registered. You can find out more about the app on the Security Services webpage.

Have your say - Employee Engagement Survey

FD Bulletin: February 2023

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Tuesday 28 February.

As we reach the end of February it is heartening to see Spring arriving and flowers coming up all over campus, thanks to the efforts of James Wright and his team. As I walk around and see the sun reflecting on the buildings, I feel a great sense of pride that it is our work in the FD that keeps our campus looking so beautiful.

I hope by now that all of you will be aware of the Employee Engagement Survey. I want to say again how important it is that we all take this opportunity to have our say. With our business plan – Our Way Ahead – now launched, this survey couldn’t have come at a better time, as we consider the future and putting our plan into action.

You are at the heart of the plan: core to our success as a directorate is how we develop our people and continue to create a culture in the FD that makes it a great place to work. You will have plenty of opportunities to have your say through the Staff Voice group that is being developed as part of the People & Culture strand of the business plan, but the staff survey gives us all another platform. It is completely anonymous but the overall findings for our service will be fed back to inform our future working, so please use it – we want to hear the good and the bad!

Opportunities to complete the survey

This was a late addition but there is a drop-in session being held at the LOGIK Centre today until 12:30pm to answer any questions related to completing the survey. If you would like to attend and complete the survey, please bring with you a copy of your recent payslip or have to hand your staff ID (personnel number on your pay slip) and if you have access to a smart phone, the team there say that would be useful too.

There are also now survey stations in the FD building for you to come and fill in the survey, with help on hand in accessing it. If you’d like to use them please just come to Reception – no appointment needed. I know how busy everyone is but I’ve asked the senior team to make sure that everyone is given time to do the survey, so please contact your manager if you’re finding that difficult.

Some of you will already have seen presentations about the business plan in team meetings. The senior team are getting out and about to run through the main points and ask for feedback. I’ve heard plenty of positives and all constructive feedback is welcome. I contacted senior colleagues in the University Executive Group and elsewhere about the plan and have had some very positive comments. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the writing and production of it.

Our next FD social will be on Tuesday 25 April at 9am – 11am in the Refectory, which provides us with another opportunity for discussion. I hope to see you there.

Planon will launch in April and the team are currently engaged in user testing, working with the digital team in Marketing and Communications. There will shortly be workshops for colleagues to learn how they will get to use it in their everyday roles. Self-serve pages built into the website mean that staff will be able to log and monitor their own issues and those across their buildings without having to chase up through the FM service desk. Thank you to Kirsty Gill, Majid Khan, Dave Kellett, Amanda Payne, Adam Maddison, and everyone else involved for their work.

Kirsty and her team would like to remind you that the door of FD building will remain locked for the time being. If you don’t have a fob you’ll need to press the reception intercom button on the post. If you need access after 4pm you’ll need to contact someone inside the building.

Finally, you may have noticed that a new statue arrived outside the Edward Boyle Library last week of Sir Isaac Newton. Christopher Wade, our Architectural Technical Officer, and others in his team have been working with Layla Bloom, curator in the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery on its installation, including on creative aspects such as the lighting design. It looks stunning. Thank you to them for all their work. Another example of the FD enhancing the campus!

Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development
Great Hall aerial view

FD Bulletin: January 2023

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Tuesday 31 January.

Across the FD, we deliver services to students and colleagues. As a highly-skilled and dynamic workforce we are also constantly challenging ourselves and contributing to key projects across the University.

You may be aware that we are shortly launching the FD’s first business plan, the purpose of which is to be clear on our focus for the next three years and what we are realistically able to deliver. Called Our Way Ahead, it builds on your great work in helping the University deliver its Strategic Plan: we all know that we are here to ensure the best possible experience for students and staff.

The plan will be with you all next month and a member of the senior leadership team will be attending meetings across the FD so that you have an opportunity to ask questions and feedback. Details of dates and how to join will be sent out in the next few days. We appreciate that some of you work shifts and some of you will be away from work taking strike action so we are working to give everyone the greatest possible opportunity to attend.

Two things are at the core of the FD’s new plan. Firstly, we must always provide the best possible campus experience and service for our communities. Secondly, I want to help everyone in the FD to collaborate: it will make all our jobs easier and our activity more impactful. To enable that to happen as effectively as possible I am introducing three new senior leadership positions and there will be some re-grouping of services. Most people will be unaffected.

The new Director-level roles will be advertised in February and replace our current interim leadership roles in Estates and Facilities, Commercial, Campus Support and Sustainability. Roles like this take time to fill and any other changes will not happen until after the roles are in place.

I will keep you informed as the recruitment process continues and the senior leadership team will talk through the structure and which service each team will sit in when we run the presentations for the business plan. I’d also encourage you to contact your head of service/line manager with questions.

The new senior management structure will be as follows:

  • Director of Campus Innovation: Masterplanning, Asset Management & Sustainability
  • Director of Campus Innovation: Infrastructure, Construction & Delivery
  • Director of Campus Innovation: Campus Services, Experience & Commercial
  • Director of Residential and Catering (this role is unchanged and not part of the recruitment process.

Another focus of the new business plan is creating opportunities for everyone in the directorate to help shape how we work and have their say. Towards the end of last year the new FD leadership forum was established which is an opportunity for leaders to come together to shape and inform our strategy and activity. In a similar way, I want everyone to have a voice and the next step is to set up a “staff voice” group, bringing colleagues together from all levels. This is in addition to other routes for having your say such as trade unions, line managers or talking directly to HR or senior managers.

Please look out for those opportunities and also for the new, University-wide staff engagement survey which launches in February. I’d like us all to take part in that and encourage others to do the same. This is another great opportunity to have your say and make a difference.

It is a busy time but we must continue to make our campus experience the best it can be for students and our colleagues across the University. Thank you for your continued hard work.

Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

SafeZone app

Great engagement for new initiatives from Security

Two new systems introduced this year to help staff and students are proving very popular.

The SafeZone app – free to download and introduced to give extra piece of mind to all those on campus – is seeing its number of downloads rise rapidly.

Since May, downloads have more than quadrupled – there are now nearly 1000 – and with a concerted marketing focus planned for Welcome Week, it is hoped that the numbers will rise further.

Lost property

The University’s online system for lost property – NotLost – was introduced towards the beginning of the last academic year to speed up the process of reuniting staff and students with their lost items.

Managed by the central Security team but linked to hubs around the University, the system logs found items and stores them locally. It searches for property and keeps users notified of progress by email.

The success of the system depends on the number of local hubs around the University and these have grown from one to 18, with every library and – critically – LUU now on board.

The numbers are growing weekly and marketing effort during Freshers week will help to push up registered users.


Mark Bownass, Head of Security said:

“We are here to keep students and staff safe and it is very encouraging to see that these two new initiatives are working so well. With further activitiy to promote them planned throughout the year, I hope that we will continue to see numbers grow.”

Find out more about security services

Closing ceremony commonwealth games

Alumni make impact at the Commonwealth Games 2022

The 2022 Commonwealth Games took place in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 8 August 2022, marking the third time England has hosted the Commonwealth Games. The Games were the largest ever, with 72 countries participating and ticket sales of over 1.2 million. England achieved its best Games with 176 medals this year, 57 of them gold.  

At University of Leeds, we are extremely proud of all our staff, students and graduates for playing a role in helping to ensure that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were such an amazing success. Our very own Head of Sport Suzanne Glavin volunteered at the games as part of  the media team. She interviewed Paul Blanchard,Chief Executive of Team England and  alumni at the University of Leeds. He talked about his time at Leeds as a student and the important role Universities play in supporting young talented athletes in their sporting careers.

We are here to win medals; we’ve won a lot so far” Paul said. 

Birmingham 2022 saw extraordinary performances from athletes from across the Commonwealth. But nothing delights us more than seeing our staff, students and graduates perform well, and here we have some hometown heroes: 

Sam Dickinson 

Sam Dickinson Triathlete Speaking

Sam justified his selection for team GB  by winning GOLD in the triathlon mixed relay! And not just satisfied in winning team gold he also helped his former Leeds housemate and training partner Alex Yee to gold in the individual event! It was an all-around amazing performance from the Leeds Graduate! 

Sam was cheered on in the crowd from his mum who cares for his grandma with Alzheimer’s. Sam who struggled to contain his emotion at the finish line said: 

“My mum doesn’t get to see me race and to see her in the crowd was stunning, it has been emotional to see her in the grandstand,” 

Jessica Fullager 

It was all gold at the games for Jess Fullager, a recent graduate student and a sports scholar at the University of Leeds as she and Team England teenager Katie Crowhurst claimed a famous victory in the women’s Paratriathlon. Jess Fullager acted as guide for the 18-year-old Katie as they claimed a famous gold at the games. 

Jessica after the race said about Katie 

“I think she’s got so much potential. We’re honest with each other and I think that what made us such a good team today. I’m just so lucky that Katie let me have this opportunity with her, so I’ll be forever grateful.”

Tyler Smith 

Sports scholar and triathlete Tyler is a Bermudan triathlete who frequently trains at The Edge. Tyler achieved a 13th place finish in the triathlon at the Commonwealth Games, hailing the best performance of his career to date. His previous best was 21st.

He said:

 “To go from 21st to 13th has taken four years of hard work and the support of so many people. There is no medal for13th but to come out here and deliver a result is really special to me.”

Tyler suffered a foot injury and then broke his wrist just eight weeks before the Games, making his achievement even more special. We hope to see more from Tyler in future as he an inspiration and we are proud to say he is a University of Leeds Alumnus.


The Edge Refurbishment

The Edge ready for new term with major refurbishment

The Edge’s new facilities – which include a complete upgrade of cardiovascular and resistance equipment – are now complete and ready for use.

The improvements position it as one of the premier health and wellbeing centres in the city.

The new layout of the fitness suite provides more space for strength and resistance training and spin studio has been refurbished with a new layout and bikes. 

Flooring and lighting have been replaced to create a warm and inviting atmosphere and a new sound system to create a better ambiance.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport & Physical Activity, said:

“This major update helps The Edge to stand out from competitors to an even greater extent. It is essential that we cater to the ever-changing needs of our customers, and currently there is a focus in fitness on strength and functional equipment, which we have met by including equipment such as a master centre rig.”

Jon Webster, Site Manager for Sewell Construction said;

“We’re proud to play a part in this development, which will help improve leisure facilities for staff and students at the University of Leeds, as well as the wider community.

“As with all our schemes, sustainability and carbon impact are high on our agenda, and we have ensured that any waste from site has been disposed of in a responsible way. Across all our sites we strive for 96% being diverted from landfill and we hope this will continue to be improved even further.”

Find out more about The Edge and Sport & Physical Activity at the University of Leeds.

Flood Management Team Photo

Flood management scheme is first in the UK

In May, the first natural management facility of its kind in the UK opened at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre.

It will reduce flood risk in the area and make it more resilient to the impact of climate change.

Some of the measures include the planting of 5,000 tress, creating leaky barriers, installing a balancing pond and wetland areas, and improving the drainage which helps to slow the flow of water and increase flood resilience in the area.

James Wright from Estates and Facilities, whose team supported the construction and planting phases, liaising with academic colleagues to coordinate soil sampling, said:

“As well as helping to reduce flood risk, this fantastic new development provides a ‘living lab’ for research and teaching at the University of Leeds and contributes to the understanding of flood management at a national level.”

“The trees act as a shield to stop and slow rainfall before it reaches the ground and increase carbon capture and storage capacity, providing valuable habitats for local wildlife.”

“The University is working towards a Net Zero by 2030 campus.

Michael Howroyd, Sustainability Projects Officer at the University of Leeds, added:

“The site at Bodington Fields will be invaluable to academics and students, providing hands on research opportunities and data, whilst also providing benefits for local residents, biodiversity and climate.”

“The project is a fantastic example of how collaboration across stakeholders can make use of University land for world class research and teaching, which will have an impact across the wider city region and beyond.”

Find out more about the Sustainability service at the University of Leeds.

Receiving an RLA award

Awards for the Residences team!

The Residences team have recently scooped two prestigious awards.

St Marks residences won the purpose-built student accommodation category at the Rate My Landlord Awards held at Leeds University Union on 8 September.

The Rate Your Landlord website aims to allow students to talk about their personal renting experiences and for others to learn from them, helping to keep students safe

Many students are new to the world of private renting, so other people’s opinions can be a useful tool. It allows landlords to respond, and for students to learn about the world of renting.

Rate Your Landlord is a partnership between Leeds University UnionUnipol Student Homes and Warwick Students’ Union.

Student star

Student Penelope Milner was named a College and University Business Officers (CUBO) Residence Life Student Star for her work at Devonshire Hall.

Penelope was shortlisted with other assistants across the UK and was one of only six people to receive the award.

Residence Life Assistants (RLAs) are essential to the successful operation of student accommodation, offering round-the-clock peer support to help make life in halls the absolute best it can be.

Penelope was nominated by the team at Devonshire for making a significant impact in the community and working to promote sustainability by organising weekly litter picks on the grounds.

She has also been working on developing a website about the Society of Old Devonians to celebrate the history of the hall, which first opened its doors to students in 1930.

Penelope said:

“It was an honour to attend the CUBO conference to accept my Student Star Award in recognition of the work I have been doing in my Hall of Residence as the President of the Student Hall Executive in my first year and as a Residence Life Assistant in my second year.”

“During my time at the University of Leeds, I have created a partnership between the North Hyde Park Neighbourhood Association and Leeds Rotaract Club which I established in October 2021. Rotaract is a charity with clubs located across the world and over 200,000 members aged 18-30 who are passionate about volunteering for charitable causes.”

Find out more about Residential Services at the University of Leeds.

Sustainable garden team

Accessible makeover for the Sustainable Garden

Ayesha Fitzwilliam Hall, an apprentice in the Grounds and Gardens team, spotted an opportunity to develop her skills by redesigning and refreshing the Sustainable Garden, a much loved area of campus which had become overgrown following COVID-19 lockdowns.

She has worked with her colleagues and the Sustainability service to redesign the space to improve accessibility and usability. This includes the introduction of raised planting areas, new furniture to support workshops and learning, and establishing new edible planting to ensure that the space is ready to welcome students and staff back to campus in 2022.

Ayesha said:

“The Sustainable Garden is a wonderful area but lockdowns and fewer people on campus had an impact on its usability. I enjoyed leading a team of colleagues on the redesign work to make sure that the space was once again a great place for everyone on campus. The bigger task though, has been restoring the garden in line with the University’s sustainability principles. It’s hard work but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I hope to welcome lots of people to enjoy and volunteer in the space over the next year.”

More improvements will be added over the coming weeks and months, including a wellbeing area, with a view to bringing back regular volunteer gardening sessions for staff and students through this term and beyond.

Find out more about the Sustainability service at the University of Leeds.

Robert Bradley with Weetwood floodlight

New low carbon floodlights latest step to Net Zero by 2030

Low energy LED floodlights recently installed at the Sports Park Weetwood – part of the University of Leeds – are set to reduce carbon emissions by 6.7 tonnes a year.

Their installation is among the latest activity in the work by Estates and Facilities to move the campus towards delivering net zero emissions by 2030, a key commitment of the University Climate Plan. 

The LED floodlights use less electricity than previous equipment and have greater light output, which means fewer fittings need to be installed. They also have a longer life span.

It is estimated the new lights will save 29,879 kWh of energy per year, which equates to a reduction of 6.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development said:

“All the work that we do makes a difference to students and staff however our work to move the campus towards delivering net zero by 2030 is the biggest single project by the Estates and Facilities team to make a difference to our planet and is at the core of the University’s Climate Plan.”

“It includes the targeted refurbishment of buildings, the installation of low carbon technologies and solar panels across the estate – including sports facilities like those at Weetwood – and the electrification of our vehicle fleet.”

“This work builds on activity over many years to save electricity across the breadth of the Leeds campus including installation of LED lighting and working with Faculties to use out campus more effectively.”

Reducing carbon emissions across the University

Other activity to reduce emissions – outlined in the recent Climate Plan quarterly report – includes work to develop a new heating, cooling and ventilation policy to reduce energy use. A shutdown of the steam network over the summer months contributed towards a 15% reduction in emissions between June and August 2022.

University Residences have begun a programme of low energy lighting upgrades, starting at Lupton.

A major project is currently underway to assess the opportunities for building retrofit and heat pump installation across campus to reduce energy demand, alongside identification of opportunities to install further solar panels on University buildings.

Further work has been commissioned including a report into climate resilience on campus, and an analysis of electrical requirements over the next 25 years.

Find out more about Estates & Facilities at the University of Leeds.