News stories from across the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds.

University of Leeds Women's Rugby Union team winning at Varsity 2019

Historic Varsity series ends at Headingley Stadium

Leeds Varsity is the annual inter-university sports series between arch rivals University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. It began in January with the cross country and culminated, as it does every year, with the Rugby Union finale held, this time, at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Wednesday 2 October, where over 10,000 students cheered on their teams from the stands.

It was a historic occasion for both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett women’s rugby union teams, as they played at Headingley Stadium for the first time. This has been something both universities have been keen to arrange for a number of years, so it was fantastic to see – especially as the University of Leeds team won 19-12.

University of Leeds club captain Ashley Ross had this to say: “The experience of playing our varsity match with such a huge crowd was incredible, and not one that any of us will forget! It’s a special honour, especially for a university team, and it’s especially significant for us as a women’s team as we often struggle to get the same status as men’s sport. It feels like a massive step forward for gender equality and women in sport – not just playing for our team but every other women’s team who hasn’t had the same opportunity as men. Thanks very much to everyone who came to support us!”

It was a historic occasion for both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett women’s rugby union teams, as they played at Headingley Stadium for the first time.

The men’s rugby union team unfortunately lost their game 25-16. However, they put on a brilliant, battling display they should be proud of.

Congratulations as well to all of the Sport & Physical Activity staff who ensured that all of the venues were ready for the huge numbers of fixtures staged on the final day of Varsity. Without their hard work, the competition wouldn’t be possible.

During Dance Fit at the Flash Mob September 2019

Campaign raises profile of The Edge on campus

There have been two bespoke events on the Precinct designed to showcase what The Edge has to offer right in the middle of campus. The flash mob demonstrated some of the brilliant fitness classes on offer, whilst The Sanctuary was designed to increase The Edge’s visibility and answer any questions staff or students had.

These two events were part of a wider campaign, with the aim of raising The Edge’s perception amongst students especially, making it a place they want to be seen and encouraging them to take advantage of the great facilities right here on campus. On the day figures were very successful, with 24 memberships sold and 43 enquiry cards filled in. Both events gained great social media coverage, with the flash mob especially being shared widely, not only by other University accounts, but students and staff members too.

Grounds and Gardens team accepting an award at Yorkshire in Bloom 2019

Blooming good results for our Grounds and Gardens

The University campus has been awarded a gold accolade for its outstanding grounds and gardens at this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom awards.

The award signifies the comprehensive approach we take to incorporate sustainability, promote wildlife habitats and create a cohesive environment across the campus. The success of the Living Lab projects incorporated with planting and pond schemes was also acknowledged, alongside our innovative approach towards biodiversity.

The award also came at a fitting time for two colleagues in the team, as James Wright, Grounds and Gardens Team Leader explains: “We were delighted to receive this award, it’s incredibly rewarding to have our hard work and commitment acknowledged through Yorkshire in Bloom. We work closely with colleagues in sustainability and other colleagues in Estates to ensure we create great spaces for bringing environmental benefits as well as wellbeing benefits to all users of our campus. The Grounds and Gardens team are made up of colleagues with varied experience in this field. Indeed we have been celebrating two of our colleagues, Sam Robinson who has recently successfully completed his apprenticeship at the University and now has a full time position within the team, and Frank Dods, our longest serving member of the team with over 25 years at the University. It’s a real honour to celebrate this achievement with all the team, who collectively give so much each day to creating a well presented and welcoming campus.”

Help reduce the energy we use by switching off before you leave

Switch off for before you leave for the Bank Holiday

Every University shut down period we ask you to switch off all unnecessary lights and equipment and ensure all windows are closed to help us meet our carbon reduction targets and reduce costs to the University.

On Easter Sunday 2019 the university managed to consume 1,833 kWh less electricity than on Easter Sunday the previous year. That reduction alone is enough energy to power the Parkinson Building for a whole 24 hours on a normal working day!

With the nice weather and another Bank holiday fast approaching, you can help by making sure that windows are not open with the air conditioning running and before you leave for the 4 day bank holiday weekend:

  • Switch off lights and close all windows
  • Ensure that as much lab equipment as possible is turned off before you leave – drying cabinets and incubators etc.
  • Check IT equipment including screens and projectors

How you can help to save energy

We understand that some equipment is required to maintain safety or is being used for research purposes and therefore needs to remain on. However, any equipment that is not affected by this, and can be turned off, will help us meet our carbon reduction targets and reduce costs to the University.

Leaving the air conditioning on in an office for one extra hour a day uses enough energy in a month to power a television continuously for a year! And by opening a window when the air conditioning is already running affects the cooling efficiency and puts additional stress on the machine as the open window lets the warm air inside!

Thank you for your support!

December deal at The Edge

Christmas has come early as The Edge offer three wise deals!

This year The Edge are offering three wise deals to help you get started on that festive fitness, work off Christmas dinner and start your New Year’s resolution early.

  • 5 days of fitness for £5
  • 12 days of fitness for £10
  • Or all through the merry season with our month of December deal for just £20!
    (70p per day – that’s less than you’d spend on a stocking!)

All offers are premium, meaning you can watch your favourite Christmas films on Netflix while you train and attend the gym at all available hours for a silent night or a day of Christmas fun.

So before you hang up that mistletoe, come work on that muscle-tone.

Before you start up with jingle bells, pick up those dumbbells.

And sleigh it at the gym this Christmas.

You’ll wish it was Christmas at the Edge every day!

Already an Edge member?

Don’t forget that any of these offers would make the perfect gift for a friend or a loved one.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Please note: £5 or £10 deals must be taken as 5 or 12 consecutive days. Premium access includes gym, pool and classes (subject to availability).
Deal is only valid during the month of December excluding days of gym closure. Gym will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


Facilities Support Services Charity Away Day

Facilities Support Services recently organised a charity team away day at the Hollybush Conservation Centre in Kirkstall. Five willing volunteers attended for the day working with other conservation volunteers to help construct a flood defence system near Huddersfield.

It was a day of hard work and lots of laughs, the team helped to prevent a country path and nearby fields from flooding. Colleagues had a really great day and commented that they had met some fellow volunteers who were lovely and great to work alongside. On the success of this day, the team is now hoping to hold a charity team away day every few months so the whole team can participate!

To find out more about the Facilities Directorate’s charity work visit our Charity Page.


Defibrillators on Campus

Lifesaving defibrillators installed on Campus

17 new locations have been identified for the installation of lifesaving defibrillators across the University Campus. This is part of the University’s on-going commitment to improve health and safety provision on campus for staff, students and the wider local community, and now takes the provision of defibrillators on campus to 30. The new locations are detailed below and have been added to the campus map (click on the facilities tab) making it easier for anyone to locate their nearest defibrillator location.

  • Reception in CAPE
  • Outside Roger Stevens
  • Outside the Facilities Directorate building
  • Outside the multi-storey car park
  • Outside the Psychology building
  • Outside Pure Café, level 9 in Worsley
  • Miall reception
  • Conference Auditorium
  • In the reception areas of Charles Morris
  • In the reception area of Central Village
  • In the reception area of Devonshire Hall
  • Outside Fairbairn House Clarendon Road
Defibrillators in the following locations will be installed in the coming months.
  • In the courtyard of Clothworkers Court
  • In the reception area of Sir William Henry Bragg Building
  • In the reception area of NEXUS
  • Outside the reception area of Henry Price
  • Sports Park Weetwood to cover pitches and public access areas

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of premature death. SCA occurs because the electrical rhythm that controls the heart is interrupted. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest walls to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation. The quicker the patient can be given shocks in combination with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the greater the chance of successful resuscitation.

Defibrillators are easy to use and are very effective. They are designed to be used by anyone so training is not required. A defibrillator unit will issue verbal instructions and guide the user through its use. The units will not issue a shock unless the heart requires it – therefore they are safe to use and cannot be used on someone who is not experiencing SCA. Additionally, the units themselves require very little routine maintenance.


If you are faced with an emergency follow these steps:

  1. Call the University Security Services Team on 0113 343 2222 and Emergency Services on 999.
  2. Follow their instructions, they will give you the code to open the external Defibrillator cabinet. Internal cabinets have no locks fitted and can be accessed directly in the event of an emergency but Security Services MUST also be called.
  3. Seek help from another person to commence cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while the defibrillator is obtained. If you are alone, commence CPR if confident to do so, and await the arrival of Security Services.
  4. Follow the instructions on how to use the defibrillator, a colleague from Security Services will arrive to assist at the scene.


Dennis Hopper, Director Campus Development said: “Strengthening the provision of defibrillators and increasing their accessibility across campus is a major step forward for the University. They have been located in publicly accessible areas of all large multi-floor buildings, and externally across campus which are easily accessible for all other buildings. They are bright and noticeable which makes them easy to identify in an emergency. I’d advise staff and students, if they see a defibrillator located on campus, to stop a moment and familiarise themselves with the instructions printed on the outside casing.

“We are grateful for the partnership with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who have been highly supportive of our ambition to increase the number of defibrillators across the campus. The Service advised us on how best to proceed in terms of the distribution of the defibrillators across campus to ensure that all areas were covered and that travel times to access a defibrillator were kept to an acceptable reasonable minimum. We have registered the defibrillators on the NHS regional database, which means, when the ambulance service is contacted in an emergency, they are able to immediately inform the caller of the nearest defibrillator unit.”


Learn how to perform CPR and AED

If you are interested in training to perform CPR and use automated defibrillators go along to the Restart a Heart Day event, hosted by Leeds Medical Students, on 10 October outside Leeds University Union.

This is a voluntary group of 40 Leeds medical students who are trained by Yorkshire Ambulance Service as Community First Responders (CFRs). The group aims to have a pair on-call close to 24/7 to then be dispatched to high priority 999 calls in the local area ahead of ambulance crews. The group is also increasingly involved in outreach and education, both on and off campus. At the event, staff and students will be taught how to perform CPR and use an AED

New Facilities management system for Estates

The University has made a substantial investment into a new computer-aided facilities management software system. This system will enable Estates Services to work more efficiently and effectively to deliver improved customer service.

The system, which is computer based, will be used to maintain and improve the condition of the University’s buildings and assets to a standard that meets statutory compliance whilst minimising costs. It will ensure our staff within the DLO (Direct Labour Organisation) can maximise both reactive and planned maintenance. It will also help us improve our processes as we will have a single database that will hold records of the University Estate to enable effective management of University assets – providing an improved service to students and staff, with minimal disruption.

Matthew Tidmarsh, Deputy Director – Operations at the University of Leeds, explains “This system represents a significant business process change for the Facilities Directorate and especially Estates Services at the University of Leeds. It will help transform the way in which we manage and deliver a wide range of our services and its potential impact shouldn’t be underestimated. For our customers this will mean an improved service for maintenance work – the new automated system will allow us to be more reactive to customer needs.”

The benefits of this system will include:

  • Improved Estates Helpdesk Facility
  • Mobile technology to improve reactive maintenance
  • Integrated and improved management of University spaces
  • Improved management information about the campus and other University assets.
  • Estates Service will become more streamlined with operational and maintenance activities.

Next steps

The implementation phase will begin in July with 50 users in the first rollout. They will be members of staff based in Estates, more specifically Maintenance and Operations.

For further details on this project contact:

Russell Allen
CAFM Project Manager

Award-Winning Facilities Team!

Congratulations to all our colleagues in Facilities Support Services who were recently awarded a Best Practice Award at the British Association for Cleaning in Higher Education Awards (BACHE).

As well as cleaning, BACHE includes the general provision of facilities support in higher education. Liz Brittain, Service Manager said: “Over the last 12 months, we have made significant changes to the delivery of services by our Facilities Assistants (porters). This has resulted in the enhancement of service delivery, an increase in financial efficiency and a significant improvement in staff satisfaction.

“This recognition from BACHE showcases the creativity, innovation and teamwork displayed throughout this period in order to achieve our vision. I’d like to thank all of my team for their hard work and commitment towards meeting our service aims of delivering an effective and efficient service whilst also providing excellent customer service.  This award also enables us to assist other members of BACHE through the sharing of good practice. Well done everyone!”

(The FSS supervisory team attended the event – pictured above is Kim Smith, Facilities Team Leader and Nicola Carter, Facilities Supervisor).

Find out more about Facilities Support Services at the University of Leeds.

Students vote Leeds top three in the UK

The Facilities Directorate has helped the University of Leeds rise to third place in the UK in a major survey that asks students about their experience while studying. Leeds is also the highest ranked among the Russell Group of research-intensive universities and scores highly for its campus environment, facilities and extra-curricular activities.

The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey goes beyond the usual measures to ask students about the details of university life that matter to them the most.

Professor Tom Ward, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor: Student Education said: “This position is a wonderful tribute to the staff and students that make Leeds what it is: a University that excels in the quality of its teaching, its research, its international offer and – as this result testifies – in the way it nurtures its students by creating a supportive and friendly environment.

“I’ve been talking to and hearing about staff and students all over the University who consistently go the extra mile to get the most out of their time here and to help others to do the same. I am thrilled for them that Leeds has got this recognition.

“The key is working together. We might have one of the largest campuses in the UK but we foster a small community feel. I think it’s something that we do very well indeed, and it’s great to receive this endorsement from our students.”


Our impact across the Facilities Directorate

Whilst the University came third overall, it came second for its facilities (up one place from last year) and also second for its societal experience (up nine places from last year).

Here are some stand-out success stories from across the Facilities Directorate that have helped make Leeds top 3 for student experience.

Coaching our sports scholars

‘You get a much more rounded education at Leeds’

Second-year History student Harry Brown is a sports scholar who has been mentored by Head of Football, Steve Grimes.

The pair’s paths first crossed eight years ago, when Steve coached Harry at Manchester City Academy. Harry went on to sign for York City, but when his playing career didn’t progress, Steve was there to support him once more, this time encouraging him to apply to study at Leeds.

Harry now coaches several of the senior teams and works with a junior academy to pass on his knowledge to children aged four to 14.

Steve says: “I’ve seen him grow from a young player into a young man. He has been a great success here and I’m very proud to see him progress the way he has.”

Harry is equally full of praise for the support he has received from Steve. He adds: “Coaching has given my confidence a massive boost, and having someone like Steve as a mentor has been a big part of this. I can go to him for advice on anything and my leadership skills have really grown.

“The great thing about being a sports scholar is I’m not just sat in a library scrolling through books all the time. It’s not just about getting a good degree – you get a much more rounded education at Leeds.”

Mentoring and sharing our skills

‘Leeds is perfect for me’

Holly Smith’s dream of becoming a police officer has moved several steps closer since meeting University police officer PC Becky Hurrell.

The second-year Law student decided to do a degree to give herself options and chose Leeds because she could specialise in policing in the third year.

She also wanted to go to a Russell Group university close to where she grew up in West Yorkshire. “Leeds is perfect for me,” she says.

PC Hurrell works with student volunteers such as Holly in the local community.

“Working with Becky has built up my confidence so much, and now I’m applying to be a Special Constable, which will be a great step on the path to becoming a police officer.”

“Mentoring Holly is easy because she’s clever!” says Becky.

Supporting our students with food demonstrations

‘Student support at Leeds is really good’

The International Student Office helped first-year Sustainability and Environmental Management student Felisha Chong to get involved with University life. She signed up to a food demonstration run by the Office and Great Food At Leeds to celebrate Lunar New Year. Felisha said: “I want to understand more about the University and to meet new people. Student support at Leeds is really good.”

“Taking part in events like food demonstrations is fun and a good way to feel a part of what is happening at Leeds.”

Earlier this month, Leeds was also recognised as one of the most international universities in a new ranking – also published by Times Higher Education – which places the institution among the top 50 in the world. Leeds has risen more than 100 places this year to be ranked at 47th place.

Escaping from academic pressures

‘Everyone is so friendly and supportive’

Liberty Anstead credits volunteering as a key part of her student life. She helps out at Rooted – Leeds University Union’s community food project – which supports sustainability and local biodiversity, improves employability skills for students and creates strong links between them, the University and the wider community.

Speaking in the sustainable roof garden greenhouse, Kate Kirkpatrick, a part-time project assistant with Rooted, says: “There is an incredible sense of calm and wellbeing here, which students find really attractive.

“It can be daunting moving away from home to University. You can get stuck in the bubble of student life, but this is the perfect escape from all the academic pressures you can face.”

Liberty, a second year English and Music student, says: “I come here because it’s so relaxing and meditative.”

“I love working with Kate and the rest of the team.Everyone is so friendly and supportive.”

Read more

This year’s overall score is comprised of scores from the past three years, which has seen Leeds rise from sixth place in 2016, fourth in 2017 and now enters the top three for the first time.

Read more about the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey and the University’s ranking here.