1. Help me get the career I want

We want our students to learn, develop new skills and bring out their secret and not-so-secret talents. The first theme of our strategic plan set out to make that happen by providing amazing new experiences.

Now we’re three quarters of the way there, we can look back and start to admire the view. We can see how we’ve equipped thousands of students for their futures, sending them on to build careers for themselves with the kinds of expertise they could never have imagined having.

We did it!


During the last three years, we’ve given 6,114 students a helping hand up the career ladder through part-time work, rep roles, volunteering experience and committee membership.

“The students’ union is incredible. The opportunities available are great and I would advise everyone to get involved in as many as they can.”


In the summer of 2013, 1,200 students had their Union achievements recognised on their official graduation documents.


462 students told us that thanks to working in the Union, they felt more employable.


We supported and trained volunteers to donate 6,559 hours of their time to great causes across Leeds.


Last year, we paid out an impressive £632,000 in Joblink wages – that’s money in the pockets of our students.

2. Be there when I need you

Making student life easier is what we’re all about. Over the past three years, we’ve been busy providing support wherever it’s needed. And when we say busy, we really do mean busy; since the start of our plan, our Student Advice Centre has seen a 41 % increase in students seeking help with everything from housing to money to health and well-being. Our ‘Space to Relax’ during exams was so popular, we ran it again - and an extra 11% of people showed up to use it!

We’ve also been doing more in the community than ever before. Our students volunteered an incredible £45,450 worth of hours to community projects.

We did it!


Since the start of our plan, the number of students that received money related advice and support through our advice centre has soared by a massive 506%.

“Thanks for all your help and support. I honestly don’t know what I’d have done if it wasn’t for you. I will be forever grateful.

Thank you!”


Along with Victim Support, we recruited 30 student volunteers to support victims of crime in Leeds. This is the first project of its kind in the country and is now being used as a model nationwide!


We opened the Love Leeds Charity Shop for students to donate reusable items and buy affordable second hand goods. This little venture generated just over £4,000 for our charity.


500 students attended our Cuts Forum to have their say on the Council’s austerity measures. Their views fed into the Council’s recommendations and we were presented with a nice award for being a great partner.


Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. The good news is, when a problem does come up, 80% of students said that help from us was easy to find.

3. Show me the money

Students told us they wanted more for their money. We listened. To make their Union membership go further, we brought in a whole new range of offers and discounts, and upped our game to deliver even better customer service.

We also publicised how students’ money was being reinvested through an innovative animated screen, broadcasting friendly thank you messages relevant to the time of year.

We did it!


To send a clear message out to our members, we put a very simple thank you message on our most popular product – the meal deal. So, 410,516 people had a great value lunch AND a great big thank you!

“There’s such a friendly atmosphere at the Union, and the food and drink is gorgeous!”


Essentials, our student supermarket, teamed up with our Student Advice Centre to hand out emergency food parcels with 7 days worth of grub to struggling students and families. This was so good, we even got an award.


Last year, we acted on student feedback and opened our very own healthy food outlet, The Salad Box. So far, over 10,000 members have walked through its doors.


We really impressed our mystery shoppers - our shops and services achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 89%. What’s more, 85% of students said the staff in the Union are friendly and helpful.


5,468 freshers were personally welcomed by our Student Exec, who explained to them how our charity is funded and how our money is reinvested into services to support them.

4. Student Power

From day one of the strategic plan, we’ve been committed to working even closer with our members, developing The Partnership with the University and collaborating with the city of Leeds to bring about the changes that students want to see.

Every change has been communicated, making it easier than ever for students to learn about the impact they’re having and access the tools they need to bring about further change. As a result, 92% of our members believe that students are effective in creating change in their Union.

We did it!


In 2013 we smashed our target (not to mention the UK record) when a whopping 11,343 voted in our Leadership Race – over 1,000 more than we originally aimed for!

“Thanks to my student rep and all her tireless hard work and enthusiasm, my school is a better place.”


Our fantastic student representatives implemented over 100 changes in partnership with University colleagues to make students’ lives better.


240 members sat on student forums to pass 30 individual pieces of new policy, keeping our Student Exec on their toes.


We recruited over 800 dynamic course, school, hall, activities and community reps to work with us and represent our 30,000 members.


300 of our members marched in London supporting the NUS Demo 2012 – on the day, 10,000 people delivered a clear message to government that students want and deserve a better deal.

5. Help me have fun

It’s no secret just how important having fun is to our members, which is why we work night and day to make it happen – li terally!

We have over 280 clubs and societies that cover all manner of interests, from skydiving to chess. Last year, over 18,000 students joined! We’re particularly proud of our sports teams – this year, our BUCS programme was declared the largest in the North of England, and a record 11,337 students attended the Varsity rugby final to cheer on our club.

We did it!


We’ve invested £1,369,771 in student activities over the past three years to make sure students can do something they love!

“The Union will bend over backwards to make sure you have a great time at Leeds.”


Over 28,000 students have taken part in a club or society ‘Give It A Go’ session, giving them an opportunity to meet friends and try new activities.


We invested £71,197 in sport this year, and consulted with students on a brand new strategy to make sure sport at Leeds is right for them.


Our high flying Jiu Jitsu society became BUCS Atemi Champions and The Jitsu Foundation number one Club of the Year, beating competition from 115 other clubs.


Five societies, including Sailing and Skydiving, secured £41,000 from the University’s Footsteps Fund to support their activities.

6. The people at the Union are great

We pride ourselves on having a culture of positivity and high performance. But there’s so much more to working at the Union than that - o ur staff are our family. Each and every one of them truly believes in the vision that all our members will love their time at Leeds.

Whether you’re a member of staff working behind the scenes or someone working in one of our shops, clubs or bars, we set out to make sure the Union is a great place to come to work.

We did it!


In 2012 we were delighted to achieve a placing of 17th in the Sunday Times list of the 100 Best Not for Profit Organisations to Work For.

“I recommend applying for a job with the Union - they are great employers and it’s like working with your best friends every day.”


95% of our wonderful staff enjoy their job - we think this is great! Additionally, 91% of our staff told us they are managed effectively.


We invested in developing the second wave of our emerging leaders, bringing the total of those benefiting from the programme to 25.


We’ve employed 544 students to work in our shops, clubs, bars and offices.


We’ve delivered over 100 hours of leadership training to our managers.

7. Here for the long term

When we created our plan, we were looking to the future and wanted to ensure our services were sustainable. Over the last three years we focused on growing our income but reducing our carbon footprint.

We carefully managed our impact on the environment (for example, reducing our carbon emissions from transport mileage by 17%) but we’ve also worked hard to embrace new thinking to make sure we continue to grow, adapt and evolve. As part of this evolution, we recently welcomed new trustees and new committee members to strengthen our governance.

We did it!


Over the last three years we invested a massive £9.1m in our student services. Demand has continued to rise and we’ve continued to increase levels of quality and provision.

“The Union has loads of great societies and projects working towards a sustainable future.”


Student led volunteering project Leave Leeds Tidy diverted 13.5 tonnes of waste destined for landfill, helping to keep the streets of Leeds clean.


We reduced our water consumption by 7% - that’s just short of an Olympic sized swimming pool. We also reduced our electricity consumption by 2%.


We were considered the number one students’ union in the country for environmental management – we also picked up an NUS Green Impact Special Award for Sustainable Procurement and one for International Development for our RAG Uganda Project.


We introduced a new recycling system that reduced our general waste production by 43%. We also adopted Vegware packaging in our bars and cafes that is 100% compostable.

8. Help me meet new people

Our students are a friendly bunch. They often tell us how important it is to make friends through the Union and meet up with them in our building. So we’ve developed our spaces over the past three years to facilitate students’ debates, rehearsals, socials, study groups, conversations, performances and parties.

We’ve grown into a hub of buzzing activity right at the heart of campus and university life - th e diversity of our space really reflects that. We’re so popular, we had to launch a brand new system to let members book spaces in our building more easily, resulting in fewer clashes!

We did it!


In year one of our big plan, we invested an impressive £1.2m in renovating the foyer, the Terrace bar and the Lounge, giving these spaces a much needed facelift.

“The Union is fantastic and has allowed me to make friends for life.”


We developed a Facebook following of over 19,000, not to mention a further 13,000 on Twitter.


Our homepage received more visitors than ever before, receiving an average of 60,000 visits per month.


We ran a research campaign called Slate Your Building, letting students be honest about our facilities – over 1,000 took part and a multi-million pound redevelopment of our building is now a priority on the University’s capital programme.


The hashtag #leadluu was used a total of 10,573 times during the Leadership Race, at one point trending within the top ten most popular discussions in the entire United Kingdom.

9. Do stuff for me too

Over the last three years we’ve made a very real commitment to represent all our members regardless of background, course type or circumstances.

We’ve made every effort to be there for mature, part-time, and postgraduate students, as well as students with dependants. We also wanted to improve our support for international students, so we were overjoyed to win the Internationalised Student Union of the Year award and rank top of the Russell Group universities in the International Student Barometer. We also increased satisfaction with students registered through the Lifelong Learning Centre to 66%.

We did it!


Under 70% of postgraduates used to claim the Union positively contributed to their University experience – this figure has grown to a terrific 86%!

“Thanks to inclusive events, my young son and niece already talk about what they want to do when they go to university. I’m so grateful to have been able to involve them in my experience.”


The amount of part-time students who voted in the Leadership Race increased by 300%.


Since last year, the attendance at our popular Global Cafe has grown by 2,000 people.


We held a national Three Minute Thesis event that allowed postgraduates to talk about their research to 100 students.


For the second year in a row, we scored 90% for satisfaction with our graduates in the National Student Survey.

We raised £10,093,737. We gave back £10,323,250. We took £229,513 out of our reserves so we could still deliver all our services in a challenging year.

Thank you

Just a few nice words for the people who have helped us...

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that made our many impacts possible.

We couldn’t have achieved anything in the last three years without our Student Exec, our staff, our trustees, our University colleagues, our committee members, our community partners and our supporting organisations.

We’d also like to thank the University of Leeds, NUS, Unipol, NUSSL, Leeds City Council, John Spencer Properties, our advertisers and sponsors, our tenants and the other students’ unions in Leeds.

Last but not least, our members. Every single one of you have helped us make it this far. You’re why we’re here.

Thank you.


Best Bar None - Silver - Old Bar, Terrace, Stylus, Pulse & Mine - NUS Awards 2013

Green Impact Union of the year - NUS Green Impact Awards 2013

Innovative Activity Award – Food Parcels – NASMA Student Money Advice Awards 2013

Internationalised Student Union of the Year – NUS 2013

Leeds City Council Strategy & Resources Directorate Partner of the Year Award for Excellence

Weekly Free Newspaper of the Year – Leeds Student – O2 Media Awards 2013

Special Award for International Development – NUS Green Impact Awards 2013

Special Award for Sustainable Procurement – Hidden Cafe – NUS Green Impact Awards 2013

Simpson-King Students’ Union Staff Member of the Year – Diane Pedder – NUS Awards 2013