Leeds universities invite residents to be part of Leeds Varsity 2023


Children and young people can take part in free sports sessions while community organisations benefit from student volunteers as Leeds' largest universities celebrate their annual Varsity competition.

Varsity is the annual inter-university sports event between the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. Taking place from Monday 1 May to Wednesday 3 May, this year’s event will see 60 sports teams from both universities competing for the right to be crowned Varsity champions.

The majority of fixtures will take place across both universities’ campuses during the day on Wednesday 3 May, before the event comes to its epic climax at Headingley Stadium for the Rugby Finale, where fans can watch both the men’s and women’s first teams in action.

Our ambition is that this work will inspire future generations to get active and see how involvement in sport can benefit their communities.

Doug Muzawazi, LUU

Alongside the event, the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and both students’ unions are working together to make sure local communities feel a positive impact of the city’s largest sporting competition.

University of Leeds students are signing up for volunteering opportunities through our Gryphons in the Community initiative, which uses the power of sport to bring communities together.

University of Leeds’ students will also be on hand at the upcoming Leeds Marathon in volunteering roles to help support the event, and its competitors, as part of the initiative.

The Leeds Varsity Community Open Day on Saturday 6 May offers free sports sessions at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus to children and young people. They’ll get the chance to try out sports including tennis, athletics and American football in sessions delivered by fully qualified student coaches from Leeds Beckett University. The university’s student coaches work regularly with children through the university’s Carnegie Junior Sports Academy initiative. Families must sign up via this online form in advance.

Leeds Beckett University, the Leeds Beckett Students’ Union, University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have joined forces, alongside Leeds Rhinos and West Yorkshire Police, to ensure the event offers plenty of support for the local community during the event. Competing teams have once again committed to a joint community pledge around positive behaviour, while litter-picking teams will clear the streets surrounding Headingley Stadium during the finale and again the following morning. 

Community benefit

Doug Muzawazi, co-organiser from Leeds University Union, said: “Sport is a great way of bringing people together, and creating a sense of community. This is why every year we look forward to hosting Varsity and celebrating the impact students make on the community in Leeds.

“We are proud to offer opportunities for students to give back to the community through activities like litter picking and engaging with schools to take part in the Varsity experience. Our ambition is that this work will inspire future generations to get active and see how involvement in sport can benefit their communities.” 

Jo Mannion, co-organiser of Leeds Varsity from Leeds Beckett University, added: “Varsity is a fantastic sporting spectacle played in the spirit of friendly rivalry. Last year’s community event proved really popular, with many local families getting a taster of sports they might not usually try. We are sure families will enjoy the experience and we hope it will help inspire some of our younger participants to become Leeds Varsity athletes of the future.”

Further information:

Picture credit: Simon and Simon Photography. 

To find out more about Varsity this year, please visit the LUU website.

For more information, please contact Corporate Communications Officer, Rebecca Hurrey on r.hurrey@leeds.ac.uk