Theatre worker to raise money for disabled children

By Chloe Hewitt

An artistic director from a theatre group is to take on a number of challenges next year to raise money for young people with disabilities.

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Christopher Davies has set himself three mammoth fundraising challenges

Bamboozle Theatre Company was founded in 1994 by Christopher Davies and Sue Pyecroft and since then has provided a magical, memorable, multi-sensory experience for children and young people with moderate to profound learning difficulties as well as those with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Christopher is to take on the Three Peaks Challenge, cycle the Pyrenees, and run a marathon – none of which he has done before.

He aims to raise £70,000 for Bamboozle by doing the challenges, to support the work he is doing at the theatre company.

Katriona Brading, an administration assistant for Bamboozle, said: “We are all very proud of Chris for what he is doing. It is truly remarkable.

“The kids here are so incredible and it is clear how much the work that goes on at Bamboozle really does help them. It would be a shame for that to be lost for future generations.

“I have not worked for Bamboozle before but I was welcomed with open arms which made it feel we are all part of a family. As a drama student as well, the opportunities that working here have given me are endless.”

Mr Davies aims to complete the challenge just before his 70th birthday, which is why the target is £70,000 and it has been called the 70Seventy Challenge.

He is looking for people who are willing to sign up and join him in doing the challenge next summer.

The challenge officially gets underway from May 5-7 with the Three Peaks Challenge, followed by the cycle through the Pyrenees (Pau to Lourdes) from May 24-29, finishing up with the marathon around Leicester Racecourse on June 23.

“I really want to take part,” added Katriona. “Unfortunately I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which means I would not be able to keep up with everyone else, or if I did it is possible it would send me into relapse which I do not want to risk.”

Christopher is in Shanghai touring with the Bamboozle Company so was not available for comment.

More fundraising events are to be announced in the New Year.

To find out more about the challenge, to register to take part or sponsor one of the challenges visit: http://www.bamboozletheatre.co.uk/70seventy/.

Leicestershire residents ‘furious’ over planned special school cuts

By Declan Lloyd

Leicestershire residents have reacted angrily to proposed cuts to Maplewell Hall School, in Woodhouse Eaves, put forward by Leicestershire County Council.

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The plans involve closing the residential element of the school which, according to the council, would save just under £300,000 a year.

Maplewell Hall School currently has 183 pupils with special needs including autism, anxiety and other sensory needs.

The residential element of the school allows its pupils to experience living away from home and living independently, with 24 students staying a night.

County councillor Peter Osborne launched a tirade against his fellow Conservative and council leader Nick Rushton over the planned closure at a cabinet meeting.

Mr Osborne said, during the meeting: “You have a chance to stop any further erosion of the rights of the people who are there and their parents by saying you are not going to proceed any further and withdraw this.

“What I would say to you chairman, and let me put it in more personal terms, if I could have your attention, if you had a child who needed special education, and if that child benefited from the residential educational provision, and if you weren’t as wealthy, would you be satisfied going home to your wife and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. We are going to close’.”

A petition to save the schools residential element from closing was put onto change.org and currently has over 10,000 signatures supporting it.

Anne Murray, a signatory of the petition, said: “People from around the area are absolutely furious with this decision.

“I voted for some of the councillors who make some of these awful decisions and I won’t be voting Conservative ever again.

“The cuts that they are inflicting to local communities like this are absolutely disgusting.”

Cillian Jones, another signatory of the petition, said: “What the council plans to do with this school is scandalous.

“I have a friend whose little girl goes to Maplewell, she speaks the world of that place.

“The development of the most vulnerable in our society shouldn’t be given up to save such a small amount of money.

“Either way, when things go wrong, we will probably end up paying more in the long run.”

Intern warns uni students to stay off the booze

By Alexandra Smith

A student representative is campaigning for fellow students to be more aware of the dangers of alcohol during their time at University.

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The journalism and media communications student, Sophie Hamilton, is currently carrying out an internship scheme at De Montfort University that allows her and many others to take part in programmes such as Student Voice.

Student Voice has provided Sophie with opportunities to get involved with events related to the university such as becoming a course representative and running campaigns across the campus.

She is now working on a campaign to make students more aware of the dangers of ingesting too much alcohol and how excessive quantities of alcohol can be damaging.

Along with studying for her course, the second year student has committed herself to eight hours a week collating ideas to educate and inform students about what they are drinking.

Sophie said: “Some of the work we already carry out involves two trained students that are members of Club Crew (the campaign name) going out on a Wednesday night to the local University Club Injunction, to help students that may have had too much to drink or need help getting home etc.

“The team members often have ‘kit bags’ that we hand out to students. These involve lollies to start conversations and leaflets about the effects excessive drinking can have on the body, whether that’s permanent or temporary.”

The Front Runners internship scheme is an experience Sophie would recommend to every student at DMU.

She said: “It opens up different perspectives of the university life I had not thought of or experienced before. It has made me realise the amount of advice and help the university offers to students of their own accord and I am just happy to be a part of that.”

Breakfast show presenter celebrates scooping top radio award

By Emily Barker

A breakfast show presenter is celebrating after winning an award and being presented with it at the O2 venue in London.

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De Montfort University (DMU) third year Media Production student Abi Gibson, 22, has won a Student Radio Award for Best Female Presenter for her breakfast radio show.

Abi said: “It was a big sense of relief when I won. I was the only person nominated from DemonFM and because I took 15 people down there with me, I think I would have felt like I let a lot of people down if I didn’t win.”

Candidates had to create a four-minute demo of their best bits, along with 500 words which was sent to the Student Radio Awards (SRA) where it undergoes two rounds of judging; one round from the SRA and one round from industry officials. Work is submitted in July and the candidates find out if they have been nominated in October. The awards this year were earlier this month.

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In her first year at DMU, Abi was a news reader. In her second year, she became head of news and had her own breakfast show.

Now in her third year, she is station manager for DemonFM.

Abi added: “These awards are a great opportunity for networking, it helps to get our name out there and for someone to have an SRA on their CV, it gives a good impression to the employer.

“I got a lot of email addresses that night. I’m also going to contact the people who judged the awards, when their names or organisations have been released.

“I would love to work in radio in the future, and I feel with student media, you get out what you put in.

“I would love to work at Radio One as it’s every radio presenter’s dream, but I’d also like to work at my local radio station, Key 103, which is based in Manchester.”

You can listen to Abi’s breakfast show on DemonFM on a Tuesday morning from 8am to 10am.

DMU Fashion student seeks to take Leicester to Thailand

By George Picton-Clark

A Fashion Buying student at De Montfort University who as a child helped on projects with orphans in Thailand is urging others to gain their own global experiences.

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Skye Coston, aged 18.

At the fragile age of eight, Skye Coston, now 18, was involved in a “nerve-racking but life-changing” experience travelling with her mother and brother on the trip of a lifetime.

To most eight-year-olds, a dream trip would be to Disneyland, not the other side of the world in the poverty stricken rural villages of Thailand.

“We spent four days in a hostel, it was full of animals which could wander in through the doors, the mosquito nets were broken, but luckily I had my jabs before,” Skye recalled.

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Skye Coston, aged 8, in Thailand.

For anyone, an experience like this would be overwhelming and stressful, so for an eight-year-old, it is something rarely experienced by someone who is so used to the comforts of home.

Skye described the next day as “eye-opening and beautiful”. It shaped her ever-growing compassion towards relief work.

“We visited the local orphanage. As soon as I came off the bus all the young girls ran over taking pictures of me.

“Nobody spoke English but it was beautiful because language wasn’t a barrier, we played games and sang Christian songs all day.”

Now, as a student at De Montfort University, Skye expressed her admiration for the services which are currently in place through the #DMUglobal scheme for world travel opportunities to places such as India and Thailand.

“I think the opportunities are great, it’s really made me feel like I’m at the right place with people who have similar views and ethics as I do,” she said.

“I’d love to get involved with more trips in the future and expand on the existing trips which are made available.”

For more information on future opportunities and updates about volunteering trips visit www.dmuglobal.com or call 0116 257 7613.