GO TRI Leeds Celebration Event

Inspired by the World Triathlon Series, grassroots triathlon has grown considerably over the last few years in Leeds. Participation opportunities exist all across the city for all ages to get involved in the sport and people from all communities in Leeds have been able to give it a try as a result.

These opportunities have been supported by a number of fantastic coaches and volunteers who have all given many hours of their time to help develop the project and allow more people in Leeds to experience triathlon.


It is very important to take the time to highlight some of the brilliant stories and achievements of these individuals – and what better way to do this than to have a party?! The food was ordered and prosecco put on ice for a celebration event to be held at Leeds Urban Bike Park.

A number of the coaches and volunteers were officially recognised as GO TRI Leeds ambassadors as a way of saying thank you for all the hard work they have put in which has made the project such a success so far. Special guests for the evening, GB triathlete Jess Learmonth and Councillor Rafique from Leeds City Council, were on hand to present the hoodies and certificates. Adam Pope from BBC Radio Leeds compared the evening and did a fantastic job of bringing all of the stories to life and highlighting just what a great job all those involved in the project have done.

There were also some individual awards presented on the evening.

Coach of the year was awarded to the coaching team of the junior triathlon session at Armley Leisure Centre. Howard, Chrys, Bret and Claire have all done a fantastic job establishing the session and building a relationship with the young people. They have helped them to develop their skills and encouraged them to put them into practice at local events.

Event organiser of the year went to Michael who has been organising the GO TRI events at Temple Newsam over the last 12 months. These events are always very popular and very well thought of. Never afraid to experiment, Michael has recently delivered a Halloween themed fancy dress race as well as the very first GO TRI team relay race in Leeds.

Volunteer of the year was awarded to Paul. His involvement with the project began 18 months ago, delivering a GO TRI couch to 5k running programme from Morley Leisure Centre. Such was the success of this that Paul created Morley Running Club which now regularly attracts 70+ runners a week! The club is looking at establishing a triathlon section in 2019. Paul has also helps volunteer regularly at numerous GO TRI events as well as coaching young members of Leeds and Bradford Triathlon Club.

All the ambassadors and award winners are thoroughly deserving of their accolades and will hopefully continue to support the project to become even bigger and better in the coming months.

Alongside all of this, the evening also marked the official launch of the volunteer programme for World Triathlon Series Leeds 2019. The WTS is a world class event and volunteers are an integral part of making it a success. Find out more about how you can volunteer by visiting: https://leeds.triathlon.org/volunteer/

Go Tri image 2


Mayor of Dortmund visits Active Leeds!

This weekend the Mayor of our German partner cities of Dortmund and Siegen joined civic dignitaries and thousands of Leeds residents to mark 100 years since the Armistice, and to remember those who died in the 1st and 2nd world wars.

Mayor Mues of Siegen and Mayor Sierau of Dortmund both laid wreaths at the civic ceremony, alongside the Lord Mayor of Leeds and the Leeds Children’s Mayor.

Earlier in the weekend, Mayor Sierau visited John Charles Centre for Sport to learn about our inclusive sport provision, particularly our “This Girl Can” campaign and our extensive disability sports programme.

Mayor of Dortmund

He was then joined by Mayor Mues at The Tetley contemporary art gallery where they began a tour of Leeds South Bank, sharing experiences of city centre regeneration, the importance of multi-modal transport infrastructure and lots of discussion around the opportunities for waterfront regeneration.

Me and Mayor of Dortmund

Active Leeds charity fundraising effort- In aid of the special baby unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Last Friday Active Leeds held a very special event at John Charles Centre for Sport, to kick start their fundraising efforts for the Special Baby Unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Colleagues from across the service came together to take part in a variety of team challenges including both physical and mental tasks. Six teams competed to be crowned the first Active Leeds Team Challenge Champions. Challenges included Mastermind, Sumo Sprint, Leaky Pipe and Ski OLand.

Charity Fundraiser image One

A huge thanks goes to all of our colleagues and partners who assisted on the day including Breeze Leeds and Leeds Rhinos, Leeds United, John Lewis and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation for their generous donations. Special thanks also goes to the team at the John Charles Centre.

Active Leeds Partnership Manager and organiser of the event, Neil Jones commented on the fundraiser:

“The event itself was hotly contested as you would expect from the most active department within Leeds City Council, but at the end of the day it was all about raising funds and awareness around Neonatal Care.”

Active Leeds Fundraiser Image 3

Fundraising is set to continue with events and activities planned to maximise charitable donations. the final challenge will be a 100 mile foot race along Hadrian’s Wall in May 2019. Competing will be Neil our partnership manager who has personally been touched by the care and attentions of the staff at the Neonatal Unit.

The events have a target of raising 20k before the end of May, providing the unit with a much needed incubator to enhance the already wonderful care they offer families with premature infants.

To Donate: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/neil-jones58

Charity fundraiser Image 2

Active Leeds: Fit 4 Peak a Roaring Success at John Lewis Leeds

The Active Leeds team delivered a health and well-being experience for partners employed at the John Lewis head office (Victoria) in Leeds this week. Active Leeds have created a strong partnership with John Lewis and have been working hard to tackle inactivity and raise the overall health and well-being of partners within the business. Following on from the recent logistics driver’s intervention the “Fit4Peak” project looks to raise awareness around health and well-being. In store activities promoting being more physically active via engagement events, promoting the range and depth of opportunities that exist across the City. Programming a series of interventions within the store- Like Mindfulness Mondays, Store Yoga and Wake Up Shake up mornings.

On the day Active Leeds carried out a large number of health checks with partners and ran a series of motivational interviewing sessions. Partners at John Lewis were offered a 15 minute consultation with a health professional, allowing individuals the opportunity to talk in confidence with a professional Health Coach. Throughout the day a consultation was delivered around getting more physically active in Leeds.  Active Leeds asked “how we could work together to make Leeds the best City to be active in”.  Alongside the consultation a pledge scheme was launched running from now until Christmas which encourages partners to pledge and make a commitment to become more active.

John Lewis Image

Additionally on the day the team engaged John Lewis partners in a range of activities including Boxing, Indoor Tennis and PING. Information regarding projects such as Leeds Girls Can, Go Tri (our Triathlon project), and details about local swim and gym opportunities were hugely popular. A number of John Lewis partners took the opportunity to activate a free 7 day pass and start their journey immediately.

Sam Blevins (John Lewis Clinical Lead) commented: “We have worked in partnership with Active Leeds for over a year now and the support and enthusiasm is infectious, they have supported us with after work activities, updated us on city wide initiatives and attended well-being events engaging with our partners in a friendly and supportive way. What really makes them stand out to us is their can do attitude and the feeling that they really do care about the health and wellbeing of our Partners, looking forward to many more collaborations in the future keep up the good work”

Neil Jones (Partnership Manager) Active Leeds stated – “Our partnership with the team at John Lewis has flourished over the last 12 months and we have supported a large number of John Lewis partners to get active. The organisation is passionate as we are about supporting people and communities to thrive and employee health and wellbeing is taken very seriously. The positive and swift manner that the team at John Lewis have acted upon our recommendations has been refreshing and we are looking forward to working in partnership for many years to come. Collaboration is key for Active Leeds as we strive to make Leeds the best City to be active in.



Leeds Girls Can Clubbercise

LGC clubbercise

Despite the snow we enjoyed a successful International Women’s Day in Leeds! Our main event was the Leeds Girls Can Clubbercise session which took place in the middle of the Trinity Centre (yes that’s right, surrounded by shoppers and commuters) in the evening. Leeds Girls Can ran two hours of Clubbercise for anybody who wanted to take part. It was fantastic to see women and men joining in with the International Women’s Day celebrations. We had all ages amongst our ranks, the youngest and arguably the cutest being Sienna, age 4. She was definitely the best out of us all, she didn’t want to stop. Hopefully she will remember the event as she gets older, going through life knowing that girls can do anything. That is why we exist, to show people that they can achieve anything, even when it’s out of their comfort zone.

You may think that we looked like a bunch of crazy people dancing in the middle of a shopping centre but there was a very important purpose for it. We like to show that the women of Leeds are resilient, no matter how many eyes were on us it didn’t matter! We were having fun, getting a good workout in and proving that Leeds Girls Can.

Made in Leeds TV even came to cover the event and much to my horror I was interviewed as a participant. I tried very hard not to try too hard at the ‘clubbericising’ because I didn’t want to be out of breath to speak to the camera, I think I pulled it off… see for yourself and watch it here: Made in Leeds TV Clubbercise I hope you all had a fab International Women’s Day! Comment below with what you got up to! Em x Instagram: active.em.blog Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador

Leeds Sports Awards 2018

LGC leeds sports awards

The Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors were very lucky and grateful to be invited to the Leeds Sports Awards 2018. It was a rare occasion in more than one way, we swapped our trainers for heels, the only problem was that we hardly recognised each other in all our finery away from a muddy park or sweaty spin studio. Held at the First Direct Arena, this was a highly prestigious event, just to give you a sense of the scale of the awards, it was sponsored by Leeds Bid, Banana Kick, The University of Leeds, ImageCo, Blacks Solicitors, First Direct Bank, Leeds Bradford Airport, Sport Leeds, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Resource, SWPix, Leeds Sports Federation, Leeds City Council and the Yorkshire Evening Post. Quite a mouthful.

It was a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of all sorts of people involved in sports in Leeds, with young, senior and special contributions awards, it was an extremely diverse line up. As Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors we were very interested in the female winners, celebrating their strength and determination in their respective sports. We were lucky enough to get to meet some of them, accidentally photo bombing Izzy Palmer’s family photo – sorry Izzy. Izzy won the Young Sportswoman – Disability Award for her amazing efforts and achievements as a para dressage rider. I’m actually quite terrified of horses so I’m in awe of her for even going near one but at age 17 with a list of achievements that would take up this entire blog post, she really is the perfect example of a Leeds Girl proving that she can.

We also met Charlotte Booth, winner of the Student Sport – Individual Award. Charlotte is also the first female rugby league player to receive the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) from Sport England. Charlotte plays for the Leeds Rhinos and has played on the England Squad. Now I don’t know that much about rugby but you don’t need to be an expert to realise that she is an absolutely phenomenal player, fantastic role model and literally #quadgoals. Charlotte is also a student at Leeds Trinity and we bonded over the joy that is Temple Donuts and Coffee (if you haven’t been you need to go, it’s on Kirkstall Road – have a cheeky Google). It just shows, if a pro rugby player says it’s fine to eat donuts, it’s 100% fine to eat donuts.

Another amazing female athlete that we met was Boxing Coach Sam Smith, Sam and her fellow coach Graham Mattison won the Coach – Participation Award. It was wonderful to hear about the positive impact their club (Alliance Boxing) has on the Leeds community. A highlight of the evening was when some younger club members started doing a demonstration of their boxing techniques on stage (not on each other, don’t worry). As much as the children entertained us, it was obvious to see that this confidence was a direct product of their experiences at the club. Sport doesn’t just keep us fit, it gives us confidence in day to day life.

We also got to meet Hannah Cockcroft MBE winner of the Sportswoman – Disability Award, an absolute legend. Her numerous successes include her multiple Gold medal wins at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in wheelchair racing. She was lovely and so happy to have a picture with us as Leeds Girls Can. It really struck me how all of the athletes that we met were so happy to talk to us. It felt like they were instantly part of the Leeds Girls Can and wider This Girl Can community, because we were all there for the same reason. To show our support for the achievements and efforts for men and women in sports, regardless of gender or age, everybody equally deserved their awards.

Thank you to Banana Kick for inviting us! We had a great time representing Leeds Girls Can amongst such a vibrant, energetic and fun Leeds sporting community.

Em x

Insta: @active.em.blog

Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador

Twitter: @active_em_blog

Pilates with Oov for International Women’s Day 2018

LGC pilates photo

As you might already know, Leeds Girls Can had a very successful International Women’s Day on 8th March. Unfortunately, because of the snow some of our sessions were cancelled but Headingley Pilates were extremely kind and rescheduled for us. Myself and my friend Molly (shout out to Molly) went along to find out what on earth Oov Pilates is!

You can see us holding our Oovs in the group photo. When I first saw it I honestly thought it looked like some sort of foam Loch Ness monster. Seriously, how were we going to incorporate that into our Pilates?! Jenny our instructor was very informative and lovely, she quickly showed and explained to us what it was for. Taken from the Oov website, an Oov:

‘… works by activating the user’s core stabilising muscles while also gently extending the spine to stimulate healthy intervertebral disc lubrication. This active response in the user helps achieve ‘neutral spine’, a widely used concept in the treatment and assessment of spinal conditions.’

It was fun trying to get onto the Oov, I’ll tell you that, but the difference that it made to how your back feels was really incredible. It sort of supports you in a way that means you can stretch better and further. It also challenges you to keep your core steady in a different way which made the moves that little bit harder. We also used it for balance practise, standing on it on one foot whilst raising our other leg. I am surprised that I didn’t fall off but it really helped me work on my balance, something that has gone a little bit out of the window since I don’t practise Karate regularly anymore. By the end of the class I felt like I had used my muscles properly, engaging them as best as possible, nicely stretched and ready for the day ahead.

We had a fab session and I would strongly recommend that you give Oov Pilates a go!

Thank you to Headingley Pilates and Jenny for looking after us so well and for introducing us to the wonderful world of the Oov.

Em x Headingley Pilates: Headingley Pilates Website

Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador Instagram: @active.em.blog Twitter: @active_em_blog