Homeless Party calls for support

By Liam Smalley

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A small group of protesters set up camp over the Christmas period in Leicester’s Jubilee Square to raise awareness of rough sleepers dying across the UK.

The self titled ‘Homeless Party’ pitched three tents outside BBC Radio Leicester’s office to create a ‘safe space’ for the homeless of the city.

James Mclean, 38, leader of the protest, said: “People blame the homeless for their problems, but the support services just aren’t there.”

Mr Mclean also said that the protest was to be a peaceful one, and that anybody attempting to cause trouble would be asked to leave.

He said the protest comes off the back of what he claimed has been an increase in the amount of deaths within the homeless community in the UK.

Another member of the group, Gary Clarke, said: “ The council are doing nothing to help us.

“James will give the homeless a spare tent if they have it, it is a safe space for those who have nowhere else to go.”

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The party has been camped in Jubilee Square for the best part of two months.

Mr Mclean said: “We have achieved a hell of a lot more than we wanted.”

He hoped that the issues surrounding homeless people can be resolved, and asked for patience from the public and from local authorities.

“Not everyone wants help, at least not straightaway for more reasons than one, for some it’s a matter of pride,” he said.

 

Football star Fuchs to open new-look student union centre

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By Ethan Gardner

Leicester City and Austria international footballer Christian Fuchs will officially unveil De Montfort University’s new students union centre tomorrow (Wednesday, January 25) following its six-month renovation.

He will be joined by DSU President Dan Winney and university Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard, who will be cutting the ribbon.

Free refreshments will be served from 3pm by ground floor food restaurant Milly Lane’s, aplus there will be entertainment from DMU Steppers and DMU Gospel Choir.

Visitors will also for the first time have the opportunity to look around the long awaited new building.

The DSU sits at the heart of the De Montfort campus as a place for students to chill out with friends and grab a bite to eat or drink, get some work done, or even talk to an advisor.

This is one of many investments made by De Montfort, in a £136million campus transformation plan, including noticeably the new Vijay Patel building, as well as a general revamp of the university, and campus.

Dan Winney, President of DSU, said: “It’s fantastic to finally see our brand new home open to students.

“We may have had a six month stay in the art factory, but this has been the culmination of years of work from many people, as well as officers before me.”

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Milly Lane’s on the ground floor offers hot food, drinks and smoothies, as well as a licenced bar, which will be showing Sky Sports matches on a 50” TV screen.

Also on the ground floor are supply stores, other places to grab a snack from and the main reception.

A grand new centrepiece staircase takes visitors to the first floor, where students have the chance to become more involved in societies, Demon Media, and the DSU offices.

For more information, visit www.demontfortsu.com or alternatively, contact President Dan Winney via email on dan.winney@dmu.ac.uk or tweet him @dsu_pres.

Light at the end of the tunnel as campus transformation nears completion

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By Joanne Ford

Contractors working on the De Montfort University campus transformation predict that the long-running project will be finished in three weeks’ time.

Construction work is still going on at De Montfort University in Leicester, despite the project beginning in September 2014.

The aim of the transformation is to bring the university into the future and provide more areas for students to work and socialise.

However, exterior work is still ongoing, despite originally being expected to finish in February 2016.

World-leading construction company Balfour Beatty was awarded with the £42million contract to redevelop the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.

Balfour Beatty is a well-established higher education construction company and currently delivering over £350million of contracts across the UK.

The new Vijay Patel building was the main focus of the £136million campus transformation project, with another addition to the campus being the Riverside café.

The new café offers vegetarian and vegan food on campus. The café sits on the bank of the River Soar and is said to be a unique extension on campus.

Builders have been slowed down by the weather as there was snow in early January, meaning the work could not be done as quickly.

Nathan Woodward, site manager for SBC Builders, the contractors dealing with all external work, said he expected work to be “done in three weeks”.

Students from De Montfort University have complained about the inconvenience caused by building work on campus.

Mai Bloomfield, a first year Fine Art student, has found getting to university on time a lot more difficult because of the building work.

She explained: “It just takes a lot more time to get to university, I thought it would’ve been finished earlier.”

Busted’s concert at De Montfort Hall is an economic opportunity for the city

By Luke Smith

The upcoming concert of world famous boy band Busted at De Montfort Hall has got lots of fans battling over tickets, but one student believes it could have a positive effect in a different way for the city.img_0246

Ben Bristow, a 19-year-old Media student at De Montfort University believes that the up-coming visit of the much-loved boy band will also provide an economic surge for the city of Leicester.

He said: “I believe that the influx of the band’s fans being directed into the city will help improve the level of business for the local bars and restaurants in Leicester, which will overall help the city grow economically, plus I’m excited to have the chance to see world class music acts at a venue so close to where I live!”

The concert will take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm and tickets are still available.

It is part of their UK headline tour after releasing their first single in over a decade, On What You’re On.

This comes ahead of the eagerly anticipated release of their third album, Night Driver, due to be released on November 11 this year.

Busted, formed in 2000 in Southend-On-Sea, reformed in late 2015 following a break in 2005. The band had a number of hit singles, including Year 3000, Crashed The Wedding and That’s What I Go to School For, and have been signed to a number of hit record labels including Island records, Sony and Warner.

 

Tickets are still available from the De Montfort Hall Website or by phoning the box office on 0116 233 3111.

Protesters tackle homelessness in Leicester

By Dan Nash

homelessnessProtesters against homelessness set up a makeshift camp in Jubilee Square in Leicester last month in order to raise awareness about the issue.

They stayed in the square for just over four weeks, attracting both public and press attention, with many of the protesters being homeless themselves.

James McLean, 38, pictured below, was one of the key members in organising the protest, and stated that his ambition is to end homelessness in the UK, firstly by starting in Leicester and then drifting to other major UK cities.

He described the situation as a ‘nationwide problem’ and ‘not just about Leicester’.

An objective of his was to highlight to the community what he describes as the treatment towards rough sleepers in the city.

McLean suggested that rough sleepers are urinated on and are subject to being kicked and punched.

He set up the camp to provide shelter for local homeless people and to protect them from the cold this winter.

Tents in the makeshift camp displayed messages such as; ‘no drink, no drugs, no aggression, no ifs, no buts’.

The use of alcohol, drugs or aggressive behaviour were not welcome in the camp under supervision of McLean. This was said to make it easier to manage for him and to try to prevent the site being taken away from them.

He seemed moderately satisfied with his actions, saying: “The whole of Leicester is talking about homelessness now, they weren’t doing that four weeks ago, so I think I have achieved my goals.”

He stated that everything that had happened on the site for the duration of their stay will be documented and reported, then sent to both the government and local government in order to reinforce to authorities the lives of homeless people.

The protesters have now left the site in Jubilee Square.