Leeds Disability Sport News – November 2016

In Leeds

  • Voting has opened for Leeds Sports Awards 2017. A new voting system is in operation for senior achievers, with a standard nomination process for the other categories. Check out the website now for further information about this and how to purchase your tickets. Nominations close at midnight Wednesday 14th
  • Para-Swimming Come and Try Session is taking place at Morley Leisure Centre on Saturday 17th December, 3.30pm to 5.30pm. If you fancy yourself as the next Paralympic swimmer then come along to the event- this is suitable for all ages and impairment groups, for swimmers who are comfortable completing 25m unaided. Please register in advance by completing the form via the link or by e-mailing by Friday 9th December: bibby@leeds.gov.uk

Outside Leeds

  • England Rugby with IMAS have developed a simple promotional guide to help explain the concept of Mixed Ability Rugby to potential clubs and committees, players (support services and carers), coaches and ‘Champions’ who have the drive to instigate and develop Mixed Ability Rugby Teams.
  • British Cycling National Paracycling Classification Assessment Day is taking place in Manchester on 26th January 2017, for bicycle, trike, and handcycle riders. All those planning to compete as a Paracyclist in 2017 who have not previously attended an assessment are required to take this opportunity in order to ease their passage to participate in next year’s domestic Paracycling competition programme. Contact Paul West for an appointment slot and more details before 10th January: paulwest@britishcycling.org.uk

Leeds Disability Sport News – August 2016

As an exciting summer of sport continues with the start of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games less than two weeks away, please see below for the latest local disability sport news:

In Leeds

  • Leeds 2 Rio- Disability Sport Day is taking place on Saturday 10th September on Millennium Square. Come along to try out a range of Paralympic sports for free and watch live big screen Paralympic Games action! If you can’t make it there is also an opportunity to try disability sports from Monday 12th to Friday 16th September from 5pm to 7pm again on Millennium Square.
  • Walk, Guide, Run gives a real life experience of guide running in Leeds and how you can get involved too.
  • Leeds Disability Sport Forum is next taking place on Monday 26th September at the John Charles Centre for Sport. To attend or for further information about the forum please contact me on: bibby@leeds.gov.uk
  • Carers Leeds Bat & Chat sessions are taking place every Friday from 11am to 1pm at Carers Leeds. Table tennis can be enjoyed by individuals of any age; it is a low impact exercise and good for fitness. Recreational games take place, which provide the opportunity to meet new people for some banter and rallies. No skill or previous experience necessary. Bat and Chat is open to carers and the person they care for, and also takes place across 16 other community settings in the city.


Outside Leeds

  • National Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Championships are being held once again at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton from Saturday 15 to Sunday 16 October.  Players must have competed in a minimum of one regional tournament in 2016 in order to enter (wild cards may be issued at the tournament organiser’s discretion). The National Visually Impaired Tennis Awards have also been launched. The awards are a way of celebrating the game of VI tennis for those who are blind or partially sighted and the people who help drive this game forward – volunteers, coaches and contributors to the game.
  • Push2Podium is the new drive from the Tennis Foundation to discover the future stars of wheelchair tennis and get more people playing the game.


Finally, we wish all the Great Britain Paralympic athletes (especially those from Leeds and Yorkshire) the best of luck in the Paralympic Games which begin on Wednesday 7th September in Rio!

Rothwell Go Tri & Junior Races

Leeds City Council, Run Leeds and British Triathlon partnered up to deliver a fantastic Triathlon event in Rothwell…

Now in its second year the Rothwell Triathlon proved an overwhelming success with the sun shining and smiles on the faces of many young people and adults taking part in Triathlon, for the very first time . Having experienced the elite racers with the likes of the Brownlee Brothers (Leeds) and Jessica Learmonth (Leeds) all competing in the World Series in June around the streets of Leeds, it was a great chance to try the sport in a fun, safe, environment locally.

The event (Triathlon) funded in part by Leeds City Councils Community committee (Outer South) saw three quality races on the day split into three age categories-

  • 7 – 10 years – 50m Swim – 800m Cycle – 400m Run
  • 10 – 14 years – 100m Swim – 3k Cycle – 1k Run
  • 14 years plus and adults (GO – Tri) – 200m Swim – 5k Cycle – 3k Run

Impressive is an understatement for some of the performances on the day, with some real potential on show with guts and determination all round to get the course completed, on what turn out to be a very hot day in Leeds.  A special mention goes to Abigail Harvey who won both the small Triathlon and the Junior Triathlon (amazing stuff!). In the GO TRI event Rob O’brien broke the course record to finish in an impressive 31m 12secs which was made even more remarkable by the fact he had a mechanical issue on the bike course.

Ben Fraser from Run Leeds commented,

“The youngsters dedicated themselves to all 3 parts of the Triathlon and didn’t let up trying their best at any point. With the run being the last challenge there was always the risk of the runners tiring but the youngsters maintained the big smiles on their faces and powered through – it was great to see so much enjoyment was clearly had!”


Race results are below:

Small Triathlon

Position Name Time Age
1 Abigail Harvey 6m 21secs 9
2 George Harvey 7mins 32secs 8
3 Charlie Pettigrew 7mins 54secs 10
4 George Painter 8mins 08secs 9
5 Martha Marjoram 8m 10secs 8
6 Finlay McNamara 8m 12secs 8
7 Rowan Lunn 8m 13secs 8
8 Nick Fish 8m 45secs 8
9 Amy Painter 8m 50secs 9
10 Daisy McNamara 8m 52secs 10
11 Josh Turton 9m 16secs 9
12 Abigail Hickman 10m 1secs 8
13 Oliver Mooney 10m 44secs 9
14 Bronwen Mansfield 11m 03secs 8
15 George Kilner 11m 55secs 9
16 Eliza Marjoram 12m 41secs 8


Junior Triathlon

Position Name Time Age
1 Abigail Harvey 15m 05secs 9
2 Martha Marjoram 19m 58secs 8
3 Liam Wilson 20m 30secs 10
4 Blossom Tolhurst 20m 55secs 10
5 Morgan Farquharson 21m 21secs 10
6 Jamie Farquaharson 21m 23secs 9
7 George Kilner 23m 37 secs 10


Go Tri Race

Position Name Time Age
1 Rob Obrien 31m 12secs  
2 Richard Middleton 36m 32secs  
3 Robert Greaves 36m 39secs  
4 Colin Render 36m 56secs  
5 Bianca Mooney 38m 43secs  

As part of the Triathlon project we run a Satellite Triathlon training group that meets each and every Tuesday at Rothwell Leisure Centre at 3.30pm and incorporates a Run, Studio Cycle and Pool based swim.

We also run the GO TRI project which introduces adults 14 plus to Triathlon more details here –  http://active.leeds.gov.uk/communitysport/Pages/Triathlon.aspx

Any enquiries about this blog should be directed to Neil Jones, Active Sports Officer – 0113 395 0186, neil.jones@leeds.gov.uk

Community Games 2016

Be inspired by this summer’s Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and bring your community together this year with a festival of sporting and cultural activities.

Community Games

We want to help communities across West Yorkshire organise their own celebratory Community Games events in 2016 and beyond. We have awards to support your idea for new events or improving regular ones where everyone has the opportunity to get active.

We also have an award this summer for Community Games events to deliver weekly sport sessions related to their Community Games events to bring the local community together, especially family activities.

Key Principles of the Community Games –

  • Led by a community
  • Sporting and cultural activity
  • Opening and/or a closing ceremony
  • Community Games Grant Scheme

Awards of up to £800 are available. For more information and to apply please visit http://www.wysport.co.uk/programmes-services/community-games/

Leeds Let’s Get Active in the Park has arrived this summer!

Leeds Let’s Get Active in the Park

Get ready to get active this summer in Leeds! Summer 2016 sees the launch of Leeds Let’s Get Active in the Park, expanding the already hugely popular Leeds Let’s Get Active programme. Since it began in September 2013, the Leeds Let’s Get Active project has provided thousands of people right across Leeds the opportunity to access free gym and swim sessions in the Council’s leisure centres. In order to continue to build on the success of the past three years, the project is growing to include free activity across three parks this summer. Armley, East End and Middleton parks will play host to a variety of different activities, including: rounders, tennis, running, multi-sport, cycling, table tennis, orienteering and more!

The Parks

As part of the Leeds Let’s Get Active in the Park programme, there has been investment into some of the facilities in each of the parks. All three have had a permanent, brand new stainless steel table tennis table installed while the tennis courts have also seen refurbishment by way of new nets and re-lining. Added to the excellent existing facilities such as playgrounds and bowling greens and topped off by the huge areas of green space available to use – these new additions have made these parks the place to get active this summer!

So how do I get involved?

It’s simple! Firstly check out the weekly timetables to decide which of the activities you would like to have a go at. You can find these in the Leeds Let’s Get Active section of the Active Leeds website or by following this link:


There’s no limit to how many sessions you attend so you can give everything a try if you wish (And did I already mention….it’s completely FREE!).  Once you’ve decided what you fancy trying out, just turn up to the session ready to go! There’s no need to book in advance, come wearing comfortable clothing/trainers and bring along a drink of water as well.

For more information about Leeds Gets Active in the Park please contact: Rich.Sadler@yorkshiresport.org

Julie’s Story

My name is Julie and I am 53 years old. In 2004 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

I have always carried a lot of weight from being very young and had suffered bullying at school. I spent a lot of my younger years attending dieting classes – my first class was when I was 9. I can remember taking my piece of fruit and going with my younger sister who was 6 at the time. That’s was the start of some horrendous years.

In my early twenties I lost 7 stone on the Slimming World diet and was one of ten people in the country invited to go to a hotel to celebrate our weight loss, but I could never keep it off.  My weight yo-yoed up and down through my twenties, then at age 28 my son Luke came along and I put on 4 stone. In 1993 I had my daughter Eve by Caesarean and had been warned then that I was susceptible to Diabetes as I had developed Gestational Diabetes. After Eve was born things went back to normal; I guess I just put it out of my mind and continued on the same path of dieting then putting the weight back on. I think at my largest I weighed about 20 stone.

In 2004 I had an emergency back operation as two discs were sticking into my spinal cord and I was told I might end up in a wheelchair. I spent 6 months off work and had to learn to walk again but I bounced back and went back to work. However in 2007 the same thing happened again and two discs at the same level on the other side crumbled. I had a 7 hour operation to put 6 bolts and titanium caging in my back and again I had 6 months off work and had to learn to walk again, so I have faced some difficult times which had made me a bit sedentary.

As time has gone on at each diabetic appointment I have lost some weight, got a reprieve, then put some back on. In November 2015 the nurse told me that I was heading towards insulin so I lost a bit of weight again but then over the next few months it gradually crept back on. In January 2016 I was just under 17 stone. I felt totally lost and became very depressed, disillusioned and not sure what to do. I was put on antidepressants.

Sometime in January 2016 I went home one day to find a letter from my GP practice offering me an eight week Weight Management Course. I knew this was my lifeline so I rang up and asked to do the course. I was advised that the course was a discussion with a dietician and then exercise at one of a number of venues, however a few dieticians had left so I was asked if I still wanted to continue. To be honest the exercise was what I needed so I confirmed I wanted to go ahead and that I would like to attend the gym at John Smeaton Leisure Centre. I was given Carole’s telephone number and worked out a start date of the 5 February 2016. I discussed leaving work early on Friday’s with my Manager, who was very supportive and agreed. In conjunction with the weight management course I also received a letter offering me assistance from a dietician; I now see Jon at Halton Clinic every six weeks.

I felt so much better as I knew I had made the first step towards a change in my life.

Julie_good news story

I have now finished the eight weeks and I’m feeling on top of the world! I have lost around a stone in weight but more importantly I feel so much healthier. I have joined Bodyline and use the gym three times a week. In between gym visits I have a Wii which I use to top up my exercise. For Mother’s Day my family bought me a Fitbit which tells me how many steps, miles and calories I have done each day. At the beginning I only did about 6000 steps but I am now on 27,000 steps a day, which is 14 miles a day. I try to do this most days, which can be hard as I work in an office so I’m at my desk all day, but I am determined to keep this up as I feel so much fitter. I now also have a grandson and he spurs me on as I want to see him grow up and be able to play with him. Next week I start Zumba classes with Carole too.

My life has changed immeasurably and this has impacted on my work life too as I feel so much better in myself; I volunteer for things I would never have done before, such as joining a group in our office who are doing a step challenge set by Leeds Beckett University. When I told my Manager (our team leader) how many steps I was doing a day he actually said he was glad I was on his team which made me feel fantastic – I thought I might be the weak link but I’m actually doing more steps than quite a few other people!

My life is changing for the better and having had my latest diabetic appointment, which was going to be a discussion about me going on insulin, I have now been given a reprieve for three months as the nurse could see I had lost weight.

All of this change could not have happened had it not been for the letter that arrived and the help I have had from Carole, who has really been my saviour. She has been so patient with me and without her guidance and knowledge I could not have done this, she has given me the confidence I needed to walk into a gym on my own and not worry about what other people think of me and for this I cannot thank her enough. I am really looking forward to doing Zumba with her.

I would also like to thank Tzon at John Smeaton too as he wrote me a full exercise programme and talked me through the various equipment. This has really helped me as I would never have envisaged that I would be leaving work to call at the gym on my way home – I was a bit of a couch potato. My energy levels are now so high and I am always planning in my head what I can do next and how I will fit my exercise in and make the most of my Bodyline membership.

I still have a long way to go but my determination has never been so high and my Manager who has known me 28 years says he has never seen me so focused. My friend even asked what I had done with Julie!

I would recommend the Weigh Ahead programme to anyone who is offered it as it’s a lifeline to better quality of life…

Thank you to Carole, Jon (Dietician) and Tzon.



Gemma’s Story

Have you ever got to that point where enough is enough and you know something has to change? I got to that point at the start of last year. I have been overweight all my life and I have struggled to find a way to manage it effectively. I had recently started a new job and I was fed up of having to make excuses as to why I couldn’t take the stairs or keep up with people when going to meetings. I decided to go to my doctor and ask to be referred to weight management. At the same time I was given a blood test and told that I was extremely close to a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. That scared me as I knew it runs in the family and it is something I really wanted to avoid.

Walking into my first Weigh Ahead session at the John Charles Centre for Sport was the best decision I ever made. I was supported from day 1 and I was actually fearful of what would happen after I had completed my 8 week classroom and gym sessions. I was worried I would slip into old habits like I had done before. I was so relieved when I heard about the Moving On programme, knowing that the support wouldn’t  just disappear.

Gemma_good news story

Over this last year I have worked really hard and I can’t believe how far I have come. I now go to the gym at least 3 days a week and aqua aerobics once a week. I can keep up with friends and don’t feel like I am holding others back any more. In fact I am usually the one saying we should take the stairs instead of the lift.

Physically my health is much better. I have lost a total of 6st 2lb in just 12 months. I have also had a recent blood test and I am back in the normal ranges, meaning I am no longer at immediate risk of Type 2 Diabetes, although I will still have to have annual checks to monitor this. I feel like I have been given a new shot at life.

For those of you who have been following my progress you will know I did a 10km charity walk back in August. Now I want to push myself further and feel it only fitting that Diabetes UK should be my charity of choice. I have seen loved ones battle with this disease, both type 1 and type 2. There isn’t a day goes by that you can forget you are Diabetic, yet they never let it hold them back. They are my inspiration and help push me forward.

Because of this I have set myself a huge challenge, both personal and financial. On Saturday 7th May I will be completing a 50km challenge at the John  Charles Centre for Sport, where it all began for me. Over the course of between 3 and 4 hours I will cycle and use the crosstrainer to complete a distance further than a marathon. Never did I think I would be excited of that prospect, but I am.

To show your support please visit my just giving page at www.justgiving.com/gemma4diabetesuk or text GEMB62 and your donation amount to 70070. Every penny means more to me than you will know, as I never thought a year ago I could, or I would, ever be able to do something like this. Now I believe anything is possible.

Thank you each and every one of you for your support, financial and emotional. It is this that helps push me further, to become a better, lighter and healthier me.