Highlights of the Week – Friday 17 February

The Friday Countdown

In the second part of our new series, we take a look at our favourite events, things we have learned and general stuff we like in the past week. Let us know what we missed by tweeting us @meetinleeds!

  1. Great Food at Leeds Donate Food to Charity

In a demonstration of their dedication to corporate responsibility the catering service at the University of Leeds, Great Food at Leeds, have been working with the HOMED Student Society and the Seacole Scheme in the excellent work they do in helping the homeless in Leeds by donating food that is at the end of its shelf life.

HOMED is a charity which currently works with four hostels within the Leeds area. Student volunteers visit each of these hostels one evening a week to help encourage social interaction and help improve the social and emotional well being of the hostel tenants.

The Seacole scheme provides emergency and medium term accommodation for single homeless young people in need of 24 hrs support. In a safe and secure environment, young people receive personalised assistance to facilitate their successful move to appropriate longer term accommodation.

The first donation was a one off to Seacole before Christmas, which has now been turned into a regular occurrence, with 2 deliveries being sent to the scheme every week.

HOMED, who also work with Seacole and 3 other hostels in Leeds, coordinate Sandwich Runs, giving out hot food and drink to the homeless around Leeds twice a week. The Great Food at Leeds team will be donating some of the provisions for their future runs.

Ian Addy, Catering Operations Manager for Great Food at Leeds said:

“Here at Great Food at Leeds we recognise the importance of the role we play in looking after our environment.”

MEETinLEEDS & GFAL Donate to Seacole Scheme food in car boot

“We provide staff and students here at the university with a wide variety of food choices every day, so as with any catering service you will always have a small amount of good quality food left over at the end of each day, that is past its sale-able date by regulation.

Supporting sustainability at not only a local but a global level is fundamental to what we do. That’s why we are proud to support initiatives such as this.”

  1. Something to Listen to…

Comedian Joe Rogan is one of the heavyweights of podcasting – his show has been running since 2009 and by 2016 was getting 16 million downloads each month. This is both down to Rogan being an amiable (we don’t have to say that but he is a taekwondo black-belt who was once scheduled to take on Wesley Snipes in a cage fight), knowledgeable and genuinely interested host and the fact that he has a wide variety of guests: from Graham Hancock & Randall Carson discussing history, evolution and archaeology or Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto talking about “Maps of Meaning” to standup comedian Bill Burr talking about reptilian speed, you will always find something enlightening, interesting or funny going down.

Even if you don’t like Rogan’s interview style, as long as you like the guest it is worth a listen as he always gives them time to get their ideas across (most episodes run over 3 hours) and isn’t scared to ask a probing or stupid question for the benefit of the audience. Which is good for us as we love asking stupid questions.

Give it a try on your next commute to a conference, then see if you can do all 917 episodes.

The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast Logo
  1. Yoga-t to Give It Up for Harriet

Harriet Boatwright, the Conference Sales Manager at MEETinLEEDS, has been coming in recently with a serene calmness and saying things like:

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.”


“Melting our attachment to self is the most powerful medication for bringing mental and emotional imbalances in check.”

We thought she was having a bit of a funny turn, but as it happens the Eastern flavour in her musings was down to recently taking up yoga.

Harriet has this to say about her new regime:

“As a mum of two, a commuter and a dedicated member of the conference team here at Leeds my time can be stretched pretty thin. Although my daily routine is pretty militant I wanted to find that ominous time for ‘me’. I realized that it wasn’t really about making time but more about efficiency of time.

I started a 30 days of Yoga programme (only 9 days ago so don’t applaud just yet!) and part of the ethos behind the sessions is to engage with the moment, to be ‘present’ and the ever popular notion of ‘mindfulness’.”

Downward facing dog yoga pose

“I spend a lot of time planning (juggling) both at work and home but I am trying (early days!) to really engage with the here and now. Not every minute of every day as I’d never move forward but a 30 minute yoga session once a day helps set up the day or digest the day depending on the time I do it!

From organizing a family to planning a conference there must always be time to reflect.”

So get your yoga mat out and get down to The Edge to increase your strength and flexibility!

  1. Something to Watch…

After loving (and loathing) “Making a Murderer” and “The Jinx” (if you haven’t heard of this you need to give it a try – the first of six episodes is available on Youtube for £1.89 – you will be hooked) we have been waiting for another real-crime documentary to have us on tenterhooks. Our love of the genre (and this is a thread through the office) may be slightly macabre, but our interest is more sympathy for the victim than it is about having a voyeuristic intrigue and being safe in the knowledge it is not happening to us.

Anyway, we are not psychologists or social commenters, but we do know good television, and our film of the week has to be “The Fear of 13”.

We don’t want to give too much away, but it follows the story of Nick Yarris, who was convicted of murder and spent 21 years on Death Row in Pennsylvania, and nothing is quite what it seems…

The Fear Of 13

Emma, our Conference Sales Executive, said:

“Really well told story of a convicted death row inmate with lots of twists and turns. Definitely worth a watch! I really can’t say any more without spoiling it: you are just going to have to trust me with 90 or so minutes of your life!”

Sound intriguing? You can catch it on Netflix and a whole host of other places.

  1. What an Allergic Reaction Equates to

We could probably base every one of our weekly highlights around the work of Geoff Tooley, our Food Safety Training Manager.

This week he took a break from teaching the Great Food at Leeds team and returned to being a student, as he attended the CIEH Level 2 Course in Food Allergens, which was held at the University of Leeds on 15th February in University House.

In this Geoff reaffirmed his knowledge of the 14 major food allergens in Europe (go on, see if you can name them all) which he will be disseminating to the Great Food at Leeds team. But this wasn’t the most interesting part. Over to Geoff:

“During the course the tutor mentioned that people who live near the equator are less likely to be affected by any of the 14 allergens than people from other geographical regions. This is due to the correlation between the historical diet in a region and the number of people who suffer food intolerances and allergic reactions. This is why people born in the UK have among the highest percentage of population with nut allergies: they have been eaten for many generations. This runs counter to what you would think, as you would expect exposure to a food to create a higher tolerance, but this is apparently not the case.

It also reaffirms a discussion I had with Michael, one of the staff members at the Refectory, who was born in Ghana (which geography buffs will know lies just north of the equator). He said that he did not know of anyone that had a gluten intolerance. Though at the time I solely put down to anecdotal evidence, it turns out that it could well be true!

It also explains why a number of our staff members who were born in Spain have a mustard allergy, which is rare in the UK. Your likelihood of having a certain food intolerance or allergy is based upon where you were born.”


The adventures of Geoff are definitely going to become a regular part of the series…

  1. A New Look MEETinLEEDS Office

They say a change is as good as a rest, especially if you are tired of your surroundings. If this is true then the MEETinLEEDS team office needed a radical change of environment: a 3 month sojourn to Peru and have a spiritual experience on Machu Picchu kind of change.

Luckily, there was no need for a team trip to South America (maybe that should be unfortunately) as we got all Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and gave the place a massive clear out – we had Devonshire Hall brochure from 1992 and a VCR Player sat in the cupboard.

The place was given a nice lick of paint, a new carpet put down and we have some fancy new blinds on the way, so there has never been a better time to come and visit us! It is still looking a bit bare, so we would love to hear what you would do to liven up the place. A few plants? A coffee table? A dance floor with disco ball? We are open to any suggestion…

Come on over to the 1st Floor of University House if you want to take a peek and have a chat about your next conference or event – we will get the kettle on!

  1. The New Brownlee Centre

A new £5m University of Leeds sports facility is to be named after its most successful alumni athletes, Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

The Brownlee Centre 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 unique centre, which opens in April 2017, is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base and will provide the first permanent home for the world-class Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Combining a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services, this new development will enhance facilities for both cycling and triathlon in the region.

“This is a real honour,” said Alistair Brownlee. “Having the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon centre in Leeds will ensure that the city continues to be a hub for triathlon. It brings together the facilities top athletes need in one place to create a world class training environment. “

The Brownlee Brothers on site at the new Brownlee Centre

“It is a real boost for both participation and elite sport in the area and will hopefully help the next generation of Leeds athletes on their journey to Olympic success”

We have always had a soft spot for Alistair, especially after he gave up the chance to win the World Triathlon Series in Mexico to help brother Jonny cross the line, so for us it could not have been named any better!

Just so you know, we do not have any association with any of the film and podcast recommendations. The views expressed in these do not represent the views of the University of Leeds.