Article by Volleyball England Foundation

“Tell us a bit about your club, history, achievement over the years.

Although the Leeds Volleyball Club was established in 1973, four years ago, the Leeds Volleyball Club was extremely excited and honored to call the Ruth Gorse Academy ‘home’. And so, began a close working relationship with the school to develop a volleyball legacy. The school (driven by Sir John Townsley) wished to honour the PE teacher and volleyball player, Ruth Gorse nee Nicholls, for which the school is named, and we have since then strived to do the same. Ruth was a greatly respected player in the Women’s first team, a good friend (to us slightly older members) and a passionate volleyball ambassador and junior coach.

As we are now partnered with the Gorse Academies Trust, a full time Volleyball Coach, Elaine Brown, has been appointed to teach, coach and promote volleyball across all primaries, secondaries and the college. This is probably one of the most exciting developments we could have hoped for. Ruth’s father Keith Nicholls very kindly provided many of the schools with the equipment they needed to get started and has continued to do so as volleyball was introduced into the primaries this year. Coach Brown has developed a cohesive junior programme both across the Trust schools and within the Leeds club and Yorkshire Juniors to offer as many chances as possible for youngsters to play volleyball and has even arranged for a Gorse Volleyball League to commence once it is safe to resume play. From being an adult only club, we now have teams across all age groups, an extremely popular community social night and even an U11s beginner session.

Our adult teams have been flourishing as well! Our Women’s 1st team won Volleyball England’s Shield Competition and gained promotion to Division One in the 2018-2019 season. This year, our Men’s 1st team dominated Division One and were duly promoted to the Superleague. We really hope this team gets to play next season as some of the players are students from Leeds University who Coach Dave Speers has nurtured for the last 4 years to this level – a dream that they have all aspired to.

In order to continue to be inclusive of all players and keep up with the club’s growth, we plan to add an additional men’s and women’s team into the National League as well as a sitting volleyball programme in collaboration with the Gorse Academies Trust.”