LUSU are very proud to feature in the Yorkshire Times. Sue Morrison was interviewed by Kate Mallinson, about the LUSU Sports venture and the fantastic support from the Huddersfield based branding company, The Engine Room.
Learning United, Sports Unlimited. Sports Inclusivity In Leeds
LUSU activities in practice On the face of it, it’s a no-brainer - ensure activity and sport is fully-inclusive. But launching a venture that could achieve this vision was actually far from straightforward. In this exclusive feature for the Yorkshire Times, Katie Mallinson speaks to Sue Morrison, one of the women behind the Leeds-based start-up, LUSU.
Having coached young people in sport, leisure and multi-activity skills for over 25 years, Yorkshire-woman Sue Morrison demonstrated a genuine commitment to finding unique ways for everyone to enjoy being active.
With a wealth of experience - not to mention connections throughout the country - she was therefore well-placed to help change the attitudes, techniques and skills of teachers and coaches.
Why shouldn’t sport be fully inclusive, regardless of disability?
To enrich the educational and sporting environment for people with disabilities, she began by developing a range of products that - unlike so many pieces of readily-available equipment - are tactile, stimulating and safe for children with disabilities, impairments and learning difficulties to use.
Sue Morrison and Louise Assioun She also designed a complementary range of structured and intelligent activity cards, to help teachers - without any specialist training - to effectively engage all young people through activity.
And she began working closely with fellow coach Louise Assioun, whose technical understanding of inclusive sport has seen her manage a sports education centre for many years.
The challenge then was to take the concept to market.
“I’d had my fingers burned before when it came to people copying my proposition,” comments Sue. “I was therefore keen to protect my intellectual property. So I spoke to a friend at Huddersfield-based branding consultancy The Engine Room, who highlighted that I needed a brand.”
Keen to lead - and own - this niche space, Sue, Louise and The Engine Room team therefore delved deeper into the sector to further understand the challenges facing teachers and coaches, to decipher the language being used and to truly clarify the market gap.
It soon became clear just how powerful the idea could be.
“We realised that we could add much greater value to the sporting environment,” adds Sue. “Our concept became far more than a bag of activity cards and equipment. We remodelled our business strategy and developed a full offering of products, training and consultancy.
“We refined our product design at the same time as working on our name. The Engine Room came up with LUSU. This was a clever play on the names of Louise and I, with an even more meaningful undertone - Learning United, Sports Unlimited.”
A vibrant, approachable and friendly identity evolved, which was rolled out across everything from the website to the team’s branded clothing.
Armed with the tools they needed to grow their venture, Louise and Sue hit the market. And in a matter of months, the vision is becoming a reality. “We’ve already led a two-day visually impaired tennis camp at Northumberland Tennis Club,” elaborates Sue. “That’s on top of delivering training for the Seashell Trust in Cheshire, travelling to Spain to coach the GB visually impaired tennis team and running an inclusive tennis festival for the Stockport Schools Sports Partnership.”
With word spreading nationally about the mission of these two ambitious Yorkshire women, what’s next for the LUSU duo?
“This is certainly a complex sector, but one that needs to witness change. We all know how important activity is for young people, so we’re ploughing every ounce of passion, experience and knowledge into ensuring there’s an equal platform for everyone to be healthy and inspired.” Learning United, Sports Unlimited. Sports Inclusivity In Leeds, 22nd June 2017, 10:02 AM