Highlights of the Week – Friday 28 April
A look at the announcements, our favourite events, things we have learned and general stuff we like in the past week. Let us know what we missed!
4. Live At Leeds Festival 2017
This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Live at Leeds Festival – a name inspired by the seminal gig at the Refectory by the Who – is the largest metropolitan festival in the north and showcases the some of the best up and coming bands, along with a number of established acts, from the local music scene and around the world.
15 of the best bars and venues – including our iconic music and events venue, the Refectory – in Leeds play host to an amazing line-up, which includes local indie heroes the Pigeon Detectives, post-punkers White Lies and Brit Awards Critic’s Choice Award winner Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.
We have our tickets at the ready and can’t wait for another excellent festival!
3. Safety First
The Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) spring conference took place on 25 – 27 April at the Hilton City Hotel, Leeds. The association which promotes the safety, health and wellbeing of students, higher education staff and visitors.
USHA has been operating since 1972 and represents 98% of universities in the UK, as well as many overseas institutions.
We had a wonderful time hosting the delegates and making the Great Hall look even grander than usual!
Our chefs cooked up a lip-smacking menu, kicked off with a Harrogate Smoked Salmon Salad, then onto a Celebration of Yorkshire Beef – a mouth-watering combo of Roast Fillet of Beef, Braised Beef Croquette and a Baby Cottage Pie – finished off with a Wakefield Rhubarb Parfait with Roasted Rhubarb. As with all of the catering at the university, which is prepared by or friends Great Food at Leeds, we take care to source as many of our ingredients as possible from local and sustainable suppliers.
We hope everyone had a fantastic time at the event and we hope to welcome USHA back to Leeds in the future.
2. Brownlees Launch New Triathlon & Cycling Facility
A new £5m University of Leeds sports facility launches this week, named after its most successful sporting alumni.
The Brownlee Centre, chosen in honour of Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny, sits alongside a new 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country – at the University’s Bodington Playing Fields in north Leeds.
The brothers will officially launch the centre and cycle circuit on Friday 28 April. The facilities, open to sports enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, will be available to use and book from Tuesday 2 May and include changing rooms and a café.
The circuit has a full programme of activity including “pay and pedal”, HSBC UK Breeze Rides for women and girls and special training sessions for elite athletes, University and local clubs. Bikes for children and adults are available to hire, along with hand cycles, trikes and tandems for use by riders with disabilities.
Alistair said: “This day marks a great day for cycling in Yorkshire. The start of the Tour de Yorkshire builds on a fantastic legacy and, thanks to these new facilities, Leeds continues to be a real centre for excellence when it comes to cycling and triathlon.”
Alistair studied sports science and physiology at Leeds and won gold in the triathlon competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
His brother Jonny, a Leeds history graduate who took silver in August, added: “A big thanks to the University and all of the supporters, because this centre and circuit will inspire everyone, from beginners through to elite athletes.”
The new facility helps mark some significant weeks for cycling and triathlon in the region: the Tour de Yorkshire takes place across the coming weekend, while the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds returns to the city in June.
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “We are very proud of the Brownlee brothers’ achievements and it’s an honour to have these brand new facilities named after two of our most successful sporting alumni.
“The Brownlee Centre and the new cycle circuit offers students, staff and the wider cycling and triathlon community a truly inspiring, world-class training facility.
”It rightly puts the University of Leeds at the forefront of providing one of the best sport and physical activity environments in the UK.
“It also builds on the excellent cycling legacy provided by Welcome to Yorkshire’s leadership in securing the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in 2014.”
The University is one of the UK’s leading sports institutions, with the Brownlees following in the footsteps of a number of Olympic champions.
At last year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, four University of Leeds alumni were part of the TeamGB squad. All three of the men’s triathlon team were Leeds alumni, with Gordon Benson joining the Brownlee brothers.
The Bodington Playing Fields have hosted numerous national standard cross country competitions. Its running routes are also used weekly by Leeds Triathlon Centre’s elite training squad, which includes the Brownlees.
1. Fantastic Weather for Ducklings!
Every morning on the way to the MEETinLEEDS office we pass the pond that stands outside the brutalist monolith that is the Roger Stevens Building – which has 25 lecture theatres available to book for conferences and events – and grab a coffee from the Waterside Café to warm our cockles.
We know that spring is in full swing when the ducks, who return to us every year, waddle onto campus. This year one of the females has had a clutch of ducklings and we are quackers about them!
Donella Fernyhough, Coffee Bar Retail Manager for Great Food at Leeds and our local ornithology expert gives us the lowdown on our feathered new delegates:
“They are wild mallard ducks, the brown one is the mother and the colourful green velvet looking ones with dark heads are the males, or drakes. They have been around for years, as ducks usually return to the same place every year to raise their young. This year has been a bit of a bonanza as we have 10 ducklings waddling between the hedgerow and the pond in front of the café for swimming lessons!
The male will act as a decoy if predators get too near the nest and the ducklings and will try and draw the predator away. At the moment he can be seen basking in the sun, recuperating, in the hope that he can find another female to mate with in the late summer.
Looking after them is a group effort, our Sustainability team provided the duck house and the Waterside Café staff keep a very close eye on them. We love that people to take an interest, but we urge you not to feed them or disturb the nest. This could lead to the mother taking the ducklings elsewhere, and we have tried to create as safe an environment for them as possible so they can grow up to be fit and healthy.
Food gets brought in from various people: this year sustainability has agreed to donate some that the café staff will top up as necessary. We also try to get some cauliflower and broccoli trimmings from the kitchen as they love their greens!
They normally stay until around the end of August, but they have been known to hang around until October – they must love the hospitality they get at the University of Leeds!”
The latest sighting of the ducks was heading down towards the river Aire, as the mother gives them advanced swimming lessons.