Alumni deliver helping hand

Alumni deliver helping hand

As two-time British champions the Lions can be thankful for having had a great season, but they can also look back and be more than grateful for a number of much-acclaimed additions to their season’s success: touring to France and participating in (and winning) the first Euro-British club game for women; experiencing exponential growth for a second consecutive year; being the first tackle club to enter a second team into competition to name but a few, but when all is said and done, fundamentally speaking, much of this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the University of Birmingham Alumni and their Hands Up campaign.

Designed to give Birmingham’s teams and societies a literal helping ‘hand up’ the Lions applied for funds to purchase much needed helmets and shoulder pads and were delighted, when in November last year, they were told they were successful in their bid. “The support from the alumni has been critical to our success” added Club Captain, Jo Kilby “…without the new gear we wouldn’t have been able to kit out our rookies and get them training from the word go – the Hands Up funds definitely helped us maximise our kitted-training time together and as such helped us to reach our potential.”

The University’s Women’s team successfully and rather uniquely consists of students, staff and alumni from Birmingham University as well as members from other FE organisations and non-students from the community. Birmingham alumni James Branagh, a 2006 MSci Maths and Computer Science graduate, is the team’s Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach, “…it’s imperative we get our players ready for contact as soon as possible and whilst we spend some time unkitted to ensure we go through fundamentals, the fact that we had kit ready, early, was a massive plus for us in getting our players kitted, engaged, safe and ready to play ahead of time.”

Supporting the endeavour Head of Supporter Engagement, Claire O’Sullivan has been impressed with the Lions approach and success: “We were thrilled to be able to fund additional specialist kit for the Lions’ Women’s American Football team. The team’s focus on welcoming women into the game, many who are taking part in a team sport for the first time, and their desire to welcome staff, students and alumni from across the University along with local community members was considered a great example of how University sport can make a positive impact on a cross section of individuals. The values of the team: friendship, community, and inclusivity perfectly mirror the ethos of the Hands Up! fund and the reasons why many alumni and friends choose to support the University.”

For more news and information on Birmingham University’s Alumni visit

Evie Harrison and Helen Gent Hands Up