Volleyball England Awards – 25/07/22

As you may have seen on social media over the weekend, our GORSE coach, Elaine Brown, has been named the 2022 Volleyball England Coach of the Year! This is now the second time she has achieved this honour, and additionally, the partnership with Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club has paid off… Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club, in collaboration with The Gorse Volleyball Club (TGAT’s club) has been named the 2022 Volleyball England Club of the Year!


This national recognition is a result of a collaborative effort between the Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club and The Gorse Academies Trust. Between the two organisations, there are 600 adult and junior members across Leeds. 

By working together, and with Elaine directing the junior programmes across TGAT and Leeds, we have been able to create a successful pathway by introducing volleyball to 7,000 young people ages 7-18, extracurricular clubs, league competitions, VE Grand Prix competitions, adult team play, national league competitions, and even beach volleyball. 

This year, the clubs have produced 24 Yorkshire juniors, 5 England Cadet juniors and have had 3 juniors to on to earn volleyball scholarships at University. 

Additionally, now that Elaine has led the top Leeds womens team to a promotion into Super League, both the Leeds mens and womens top teams will compete at the highest level in England. This will no doubt inspire our students to reach this level and beyond.


As the late Ruth Gorse’s parents are still actively involved in volleyball and The Ruth Nicholls Foundation, it was lovely to receive the following words from Keith Nicholls:

“We watched the livestream of the Volleyball England Awards and were thrilled to see that Elaine Brown was awarded Coach of the year and Leeds Gorse, Club of the year. Both awards were well deserved and stood head and shoulders above the other nominees.

Employing a full time coach was a huge step and ensured development was not solely at TRGA but across enough schools to make internal competitions viable to underpin the interest that has clearly been stimulated. The link with the Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club provides a pathway from the academies to the community helping to make the programme sustainable.


This programme across the Trust is, we think, unique and provides a model that other Trusts should adopt, not just in volleyball but other sports. Participation in sport by young people, especially that which leads to a long-term interest is not at the level the country needs for health, social and sporting reasons. I hope that the Gorse Trust can use its influence to promote this model of support for sport to a wider audience. The Trust deserves to be recognised for its forethought. It is just the sort of initiative our late daughter Ruth would have endorsed and supported wholeheartedly.


It has always been our belief that you can produce all the policies, plans, and programmes you want but they will stay gathering dust on the shelf without people. It is people that make things happen. People from all levels of the Gorse Trust, the academies and the club have made this work. Too many to name without missing out people we do not know. We give our thanks to all in the Trust and the club for their contribution to this wonderful programme.


Judith and I thank you all for what you have achieved so far, and we are sure you will continue in the future. A wonderful way to remember Ruth and her dedication to teaching, to physical education and to volleyball the sport that was such a large part of her life.


Thank you everyone!


Best wishes,

Keith and Judith”