50 years: A force for positive change
This year marks 50 years since Leeds Polytechnic was established. From these widely respected foundations, the modern-day Leeds Beckett University has grown and developed.
The polytechnic brought together a number of specialist colleges to meet an increasing demand for professional and technical education in the city. It was the largest Polytechnic in Yorkshire with 3,000 full-time students and 4,000 part-time students with around 450 full-time teaching colleagues.
Today, Leeds Beckett University contributes £624m to the economy and is a community of more than 24,000 students and 3,000 colleagues. Its mission is to ensure that its knowledge and resources are used to make a decisive and positive difference to people, communities and organisations.
It provides academic, professional, vocational and applied learning, which contributes to the social, economic and cultural life of the city and region. Every year, the University’s graduates include the next generation of teachers, nurses, social workers, lawyers and many other front-line workers whose expertise benefits individuals, communities and wider society.
More recently the university has helped to establish, and now leads, a group of large local organisations forming the Leeds Anchors Network. This group is working together to help grow the Leeds economy and to foster inclusive growth, so that everyone can benefit from increasing prosperity.
The University has taken its role as an Anchor institution seriously. 51% of its purchasing spend is invested with Leeds based businesses, and £20m of this spend is with businesses in the top 20% most deprived areas of Leeds*.
Throughout 2020, the university will celebrate this contribution through stories which illustrate the impact on people, communities, business and the difference it will make in shaping the future of Leeds.
*Centre for Local Economic Strategies report 2019
Carnegie School of Sport graduate Emily Scarratt is best known as the player who secured England’s 2014 Women’s World Cup triumph with six minutes left in the game. She was named World Rugby's Women's Player of the Year in November 2019 and became the highest ever Red Roses points scorer in the 2020 Six Nations. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Leeds Beckett University in 2015.
Kadeena Cox, who graduated from Leeds Beckett with a BSc (Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Science, became the first British Paralympian to win Gold in multiple sports at the same Games since 1984. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her global sporting excellence in the face of adversity in 2017.
Professor Paul Gately has dedicated over two decades of work to reshaping attitudes to one of the biggest health crises of our time: obesity. An influential figure in campaigning to end the stigma surrounding obesity, Paul balances his academic role with running MoreLife, a specialist weight management training and services provider he founded at the university in 1999.
Paul has used his own innovative research into obesity ranging from the environmental influences on obesity, to the impact of high protein diets on obese children, to grow MoreLife into one of the largest providers for tackling childhood and adult obesity in Britain.
British Athletics and England Athletics have worked with LBU, London Marathon Events and the Talented Athlete and Scholarship Scheme (TASS) to provide a new performance pathway for athletes that sees LBU and the University of Birmingham as the chosen Talent Hub venues.
A ground-breaking centre to nurture the next generation of elite athletes in the North of England has been launched at Leeds Beckett University. The hub, part of the Carnegie School of Sport, provides a centre of excellence and promotes sport and exercise psychology across the region. Leeds Beckett was selected by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as the base for the project in recognition of the university’s reputation in the field.
Dr Bob Price OBE has campaigned throughout his four-decade career for the equal promotion of disability groups within Paralympics.
A ground-breaking programme to promote physical and mental wellbeing in primary schoolchildren has been officially unveiled. The Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework is the first UK-based whole-school physical activity framework of its kind. Developed with the expertise of 50 regional, national and international stakeholders, the framework has been published in the prestigious International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. Development of the CAS was led by Dr Andy Daly-Smith from the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, working in close partnership with Dan Wilson from the Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Nicola Corrigan from Public Health England, Yorkshire and Humber.
At Leeds Beckett University, we have a long and rich tradition of leading the field in sport education. Sport plays a huge part in many of our lives. The absence of sport for the last three months has made this particularly evident, from playing at the local sports club, to watching elite athletes performing on a world stage.
Collaborations between General Practitioners and Voluntary and Community Sector organisations examined
More needs to be done to encourage collaborations between General Practitioners (GPs) and Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, according to research carried out by Leeds Beckett University. The squeezing of public finances and the growing pressures on GPs – particularly in socio-economic deprived communities – mean the need for collaboration between GPs and VCS organisations is greater than ever.
A recent prison inspectors report on HMP Full Sutton has praised the impact of a Leeds Beckett University initiative which saw students study alongside prisoners.