Rosa Quintana on Parkinson steps

National Cleaning Operative of the Year award for Leeds’ Rosa Quintana

Rosa Quintana – whose recent exhibition ‘Unobtrusive Impact’ at Leeds University Union won widespread acclaim – has been named Cleaning Operative of the Year by the British Association of Cleaning in Higher Education (BACHE). 

The award acknowledges those who have performed their role to a high degree of professionalism throughout the year, and who may have shown initiative in contributing to the student experience and outside the normal requirements of their role.

Rosa said:

“I’m very happy to receive this award and want to thank Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, for nominating me and for all her support.

“Mostly though, I want to say thank you to my colleagues in the cleaning team who let me photograph them and tell their stories. I wanted to show students, staff and visitors what we do and how essential we are to the success of the University.

“I also wanted to shine a spotlight on these amazing individuals from all over the world who are often quite ‘invisible’ – their lives, their hopes and fears.”

Professional photographer Rosa started work at the University in 2017 after coming to Leeds with her son from Spain, when he started at university in the city.

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services – part of the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds – said:

“Like all our cleaning team, Rosa brings skill and commitment to her work and thoroughly deserves this award.

“I was so pleased when she came to me with the idea of the exhibition, which highlights the essential role of cleaning teams everywhere.

“This was very evident during the pandemic when Rosa’s photographs were taken.  The essential functions of the University continued and my team – and many others in the Facilities Directorate – had to keep going, adapting to new guidelines.”

The award ceremony took place last night at Manchester Metropolitan University, organised by BACHE.

Praise for ‘Unobtrusive Impact’

People across the University took to email and social media to praise the exhibition:

“Really lovely work, and I particularly liked reading about some of the people in the pictures.”

(Gareth Dant, Head of Media Relations)

“I am so very proud of Rosa and what she has done for the cleaning industry….She really put us on the map. Well done to Rosa she is a really inspirational member of staff. She is very valued in our team and throughout cleaning services.”

(Theresa Fahy, Operations Team Leader, Cleaning Services)

 “This is amazing…awesome shift of perspectives, the crucial work of our cleaning colleagues.”

(Harriet Boatwright, Learning & Development Adviser)

 

Find out more about Rosa’s exhibition

The William Henry Bragg Building exterior at night

Official opening for Sir William Henry Bragg Building

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building had its official opening on Monday 6 June 2022.

Marked by a series of events as part of the opening ceremony, the building is home to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and a state-of-the-art integrated teaching and research facility, designed to help the University achieve its strategic aim of making a positive difference in the world.

Open for use in October last year, it has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. The light-filled atrium provides social breakout and collaboration space for staff and students, including the 1915 Café.

How ‘The Bragg’ was built

Work began in May 2017 with the clearance of an office building, plumbing and locking workshops and an old boiler house.

The Portland stone façade of the Grade II listed Old Mining Building, built in 1930, was retained and incorporated into the design, blending the past with the present.

Behind it, a walkway connects a new seven-storey glass and steel complex with teaching rooms and laboratories.

At the heart of the design is a desire to break down traditional boundaries. In robotics, for example, the new space will allow computer science experts to work with colleagues from electronic, electrical and mechanical engineering.

This theme is reflected in a sculpture by artist Sara Barker on an exterior wall called ‘The Worlds of If’, a reference to the possibilities unlocked when experts share ideas.

Cutting-edge facilities

When finalised, the building will house:

  • A mock operating theatre where engineers can work with clinicians on robots for medicine and healthcare.
  • The Wolfson Imaging Facility which will enable scientists to see molecules interacting in real time in more detail than ever before.
  • Work in the Bragg Centre for Materials Research will help establish the UK as a centre for the design and manufacture of new advanced materials to solve some of the big problems facing the world.
  • The University is a founding partner of the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, and the Institute’s work at Leeds will be co-located in the building with the Bragg Centre for Materials Research. Work will focus on manipulating and developing materials at the scale of individual atoms.

About the Braggs

The Braggs were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 for their pioneering research at Leeds. Their work involved the proposal of an equation that allowed the position of atoms within crystals to be determined from X-ray photographs.

Take a look at the Bragg Building in action…

Find out more about the construction of The Sir William Henry Bragg Building.

Flood management group photo in front of sign

University flood management scheme is first in UK

A natural flood management facility at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre, University of Leeds, has now completed.

The first of its kind in the UK, it will reduce flood risk in the area and make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Some of the measures include the planting of 5,000 trees, creating leaky barriers, installing a balancing pond and wetland areas, and improving site drainage which help to slow the flow of water and increase flood resilience in the area.

James Wright from Estates and Facilities, whose team supported the construction and planting phases, liaising with academic colleagues to coordinate soil sampling, said:

“As well as helping to reduce flood risk, this fantastic new development provides a ‘living lab’ for research and teaching at the University of Leeds and contributes to the understanding of flood management at a national level.

“The trees act as a shield to stop and slow rainfall before it reaches the ground and increase carbon capture and storage capacity, providing valuable habitats for local wildlife.

“The University is working towards a Net Zero by 2030 campus.”

Colleagues from Sport & Physical Activity also supported the construction of the project.

Michael Howroyd, Sustainability Projects Officer at the University of Leeds, added:

“The site at Bodington Fields will be invaluable to academics and students, providing hands on research opportunities and data, whilst also providing benefits for local residents, biodiversity and climate.

“The project is a fantastic example of how collaboration across stakeholders can make use of University land for world class research and teaching, which will have an impact across the wider city region and beyond.”

Flood management woodland sign

Partnership working

The project has been delivered through a collaboration between the University of Leeds, the Environment Agency, and Leeds City Council and is the second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme which aims to better protect 1,048 homes and 474 businesses from flooding along the River Aire.

Studies are being carried out by the University of Leeds on how to optimise tree densities and to better understand how to improve the survival of young trees as they develop into mature woodland.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Natural Flood Management Project is funded by Leeds City Council and aims to deliver natural flood management measures across the Upper Aire Catchment to help slow and store the flow of heavy rainfall and flood waters.

Find out more about Bodington Fields and the natural flood management work conducted by the University of Leeds

Rosa Quintana standing on the University precinct

New exhibition shows cleaning staff in pandemic

An exhibition of photographs by one of the University cleaning team shows her colleagues working on campus during the pandemic.

Rosa Quintana’s striking images depict staff – often appearing alone – from 2020 to 2021, when many people were working from home.

Like many others, particularly in the Facilities Directorate – including those working in Estates and Facilities, Catering Services and Residential Services – the cleaning team kept the campus running, responding at short notice to changing guidelines.

Rosa’s inspiration

Rosa is a professional photographer from Spain who has lived in Leeds for six years. She said:

“I wanted to show the quiet impact of the team, working in every building doing essential work. This felt particularly acute during the pandemic but we do important work every day.

“We cover morning, afternoon and evening shifts, seven days a week, and I wanted to put on record the different types of jobs we do, particularly as they relate to the different functions of the spaces we clean.

“Although in some of my photographs the architecture of the buildings and the locations dominate the image, the most import aspect is the person you can find if you look closely. These are the cleaners, who make our spaces clean, safe and more comfortable.

Getting to know the team

One of Rosa’s objectives was to get to know her colleagues better and to allow us, as viewers, to do the same. Her captions tell of her colleagues’ lives outside work, their hobbies and their hopes for the future.

Some also talk about previous jobs – seamstress, carpenter, physiotherapist – and about their dreams: owning their own business, studying to be a nurse, teaching in the classroom they are cleaning.

The cleaning team comprises over 350 people, covering all academic buildings on the main University campus. They are essential to the smooth running of the University and to the staff and student experience, providing a professional service to create an attractive and hygenic space for us all.

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, said:

“I’m very proud of my hard-working team. Our work helps to enable the University to be one of the best in the country yet we are often unseen, working away in the background. Rosa’s photographs highlight this beautifully.”

 

Cleaner cleaning window ledge with a view of the Leeds cityscape

‘Unobtrusive Impact’ opens in Leeds University Union

‘Unobtrusive Impact’ is in the Leeds University Union Building, next to the Refectory, from 23 May.

Find out more about Rosa Quintana or visit her Facebook page.

Let us know if you get a chance to visit by sharing your thoughts on social media, using the hashtag #FDImpact.

 

Please note, this exhibition has now finished. Thanks for your support.

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Bodington Football Hub reaches milestone

Construction works have reached the halfway point at Bodington Football Hub, a major new facility at the University that will support grassroots sport in the city.

Representatives from the University, the Football Foundation and Sewell Construction gathered last week to mark the development’s four-team changing pavilion reaching its ‘topping out’ phase.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said:

“This is an important milestone in the creation of this key sports facility for the people of Leeds, including our students.

“We are grateful to our partners and excited that it is another step towards inspiring our community to become more active and involved in sport.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“This site at Bodington is a great example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, the FA, Government and Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”

Community sport a core focus for new build

Made possible thanks to investment from the University and a £4.2m grant from the Premier League, the Football Association and the Football Foundation, the site will feature three full-size LED floodlit football turf pitches, a pavilion with community café, and extensive parking.

Chris Soper, Joint Managing Director for Sewell Construction added:

“It was great to see such progress on site, especially with the pavilion taking shape and the final pieces of structure being laid to the highest point.

“This facility is going to be such a welcome boost to both grassroots sport in Leeds, and the wider community, and I know I’m speaking on behalf of the whole team when we say we’re proud to be the ones bringing a sports development of this scale to fruition.

“Once complete, it will support community engagement and wellbeing, and we can’t wait for our partners and end-users to see it all come together over the next few months.”

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Left to right: Dave Major – Project Manager, Sewell Construction; Brian Ford – Head of Capital Development, University of Leeds; Will Wallace – Football Foundation; Ella Williams – LUUWAFC Captain & LUU Sports Rep; Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg – Outdoor Operations Manager, University of Leeds; Chris Soper – Joint Managing Director, Sewell Construction; Steve Grime – Head of Football, University of Leeds; Carl Hurdus – Site Manager, Sewell Construction

The Bodington Playing Fields site is located three miles north of the main University campus, and is also home to the Brownlee Centre – the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre – and Bodington Cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Once completed later this year, the new site will be home to partner clubs from across the city.

Find out more about Bodington Football Hub.

Camera filming grounds team at Sports Park Westwood

Grounds Week 2022

As Grounds Week 2022 kicks off, research by the the Grounds Management Association (GMA) shows that 77% of outdoor workers feel rewarded and a strong sense of achievement, compared to 47% of people working behind a desk.

Work-life balance

Katie Stott is an Apprentice Sports Turf Operative, at Sports Park Weetwood, part of the University of Leeds. She finds that her role has improved her work-life balance.

“I’ve always loved gardening and being outdoors. After my degree in Events Management at Leeds Met I wasn’t sure which path to take, but after volunteering as a gardener in Churwell, I realised that grounds and garden work was really rewarding.

“I find it great for my wellbeing too. When I get home at the end of the working day, I’m ready for my evening rather than feeling tired from being indoors at a desk all day.”

Katie is studying for a Level 2 in Sports Turf Operative alongside her work to help build her career.

Katie Stott

University Grounds and Gardens team

The University has an extensive and highly skilled Grounds and Gardens team who are responsible for the management and maintenance of the green estate.

This includes sports ground maintenance, managing the tree stock, maintaining campus landscaping, and much more.

Technology

Dave Thackray is a Groundsman in the team. He has seen many changes in the way that grounds are maintained.

“The job is very varied, and like many other professions, technology has made a huge difference.

“We now use a robot for line marking the pitches, for example. It can be programmed for whatever size and configuration you need, and left to do its job. We can then get on with other tasks.”

Grounds Week 2022

Grounds Week shines a light on the work of those in the profession who work with skill and dedication to produce quality surfaces for sports and recreational spaces all year round.

Sometimes labelled the ‘hidden profession’, the GMA is helping young people and those outside of the sector to understand what the involves, and how to get into the sector.

The GMA’s polling of 352 people who work indoors and 100 people who work outdoors, was carried out between January 2022 and February 2022, in partnership with Censuswide. The research seeks to understand how fulfilled people feel in their current career/role, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this.

A separate survey was carried out by the Grounds Management Association, between January 2022 and February 2022. During this period, 318 grounds staff and volunteers were polled.

Find out more about Grounds Week 2022.

Photo of electric refuse collection vehicle and the waste management team of six people pictured outside the Ziff Buildong at University of Leeds

New electric vehicle for waste collection

One of the first electric refuse collection vehicles to be used in Yorkshire has started work on the University of Leeds’ campus.

The University’s Waste and Environment team led by Courtney McAuley (pictured third from right above) started using the vehicle this year, working with supplier Associated Waste Management (AWM.)

AWM’s vehicle enables zero carbon emission waste collections and is charged using a renewable energy source.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estates & Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“Moving towards Net Zero carbon emissions is central to the University of Leeds’ recently-published Climate Plan, and we are making very significant investments to realise this by 2030.

“Among many different commitments, the Facilities team has invested in electric vehicles to replace other forms of transport in use around the campus for essential maintenance, and we are very pleased that AWM are making similar adjustments.”

Around half of the vehicles in use by teams at the University including including Security and Grounds and Gardens have recently been upgraded: last summer five diesel vehicles were replaced with three zero emission electric vehicles.

This change will deliver a significant reduction in fleet emissions and the aim is to remove more diesel vehicles from the fleet over the next 12 months.

Read the University of Leeds Climate Plan.

 

Working in library

Lost property goes digital

The Security team at the University has introduced a new online system to help reunite campus users with their lost possessions.

Using hubs around the campus, the system logs found items and stores them locally. It searches for property and keeps users notified of progress by email.

Replacing a system that was based solely in the Security team’s office, hubs are being introduced around the campus, and are currently in use at the Print Copy Bureau at the Roger Stevens Building, Laidlaw Library, Brotherton Library, and Edward Boyle Library.

Steve Sloan, Change Manager for Campus Support Services at the University of Leeds said:

“We all know how inconvenient and even upsetting it can be to lose property. We hope that the new system – supplied by Notlost.com – will speed up the process and provide reassurance to those who use our campus.”

The more hubs for lost property there are around the University, the more effective the system, and Security are recruiting new locations for hubs. Support is provided by the Security team.

Log an item of lost property and find out more information.

For enquiries about the new system, please contact security@leeds.ac.uk.

Brotherton library corridor

Build complete for new Special Collections Research Centre

The building of innovative new study areas to complement the Special Collections Research Centre in the Brotherton Library has completed.

The new Brotherton Research Centre and John Bedford Room will now be furnished and ready to use in late February, with state-of-the art audio-visual equipment being added by June.

The Centre has been designed as a comfortable space to take a break from intensive study and enjoy displays of highlights from the collections. It will be a hub for collaborative work, with interactive group space designed for users to congregate and discuss collection items.

Silent study space is still available, and will be soundproofed for the first time.

The John Bedford Room will be used for teaching and research, equipped with high tech visualisers that enable those in the room and online to examine documents with a curator at the same time.

Researchers can book appointments to view documents virtually rather than on site – especially useful for international researchers. The room holds up to 40 people and has a moveable partition.

There are small private meeting spaces for curatorial staff to meet and undertake ‘virtual’ consultations.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estates and Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“Working with the Libraries team and our contractors we consulted with academic colleagues about what they needed from this space. They told us that there is a new focus on collaborative research, both in person and online.

“As a result there is now more space for group and individual work, with a mezzanine floor added, as well as better lighting and comfort, and the ergonomics of the space which came up in our consultation as an issue have been improved.”

Joanne Fitton, Associate Director, Special Collections and Galleries, University of Leeds said:

“We hope that these new spaces will inspire people at any stage of their research journey, giving them access to the amazing objects in our collections and to get involved in the creation of new knowledge.

“The new audio-visual equipment will allow us to share the treasures in the collections through public lectures, webinars and events, building on the success of our Galleries’ online programme during lockdown. Lecturers who teach with the collections will also be able to reach larger or geographically-dispersed groups.”

John Bedford

John Bedford was an antique dealer and collector who amassed a significant modern book collection on the history of furniture design over a period of 40 years. The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History has been donated to Special Collections for teaching and research.

His generous bequest is supporting the extension and refurbishment of the Special Collections Research Centre.

Further information about the Brotherton Library refurbishment.