Video: Fast fashion trends boost hand-made knitting sales make a comeback

By Maddy Smith, Vidhathri Matety and Giuliana Ranallo

As the winter weather approaches many of us are on the hunt for a cosy knit jumper to protect ourselves from the bitter cold. But where do the people of Leicester like to shop?

The busy Highcross and town centre have always been a hotspot for Leicester locals to complete their shopping with multiple fashion labels established in the area. However, due to the growing global concern on environmental matters and longing for the ‘good old days’, a new, yet nostalgic, trend is on the horizon; the rise of knitting.

Haberdashery employee, Jeanette Goddard, of Jennie B Handmade, Cank Street, explained her amazement of the influx of active knitters at the store.

Recent studies have demonstrated the increase of old-fashioned habits amongst the younger generation. As a result, many young people are taking up the knitting skill as a cost-effective manner of getting new items of clothing that they feel is sentimental and intimate to them, important factors which are nowadays lost in the industrial world.

However, not everyone has the patience to knit themselves a new scarf meaning that high street shops still remain a popular choice for most people due to the instant availability and fast feeling.

Being green also plays a key role in the interests of the young people, so some people who find they don’t have the time to knit are usually frequent buyers of second hand clothing and visit charity shops.

Sustainable fashion is slowly creeping its way up in everyday life but, only time will tell if this eco-friendly push is a true movement or just another trend.


Video: Homeless voting outreach effort falls flat in Leicester

By Abigail Beresford, Andrew Picknell and Sara Pereira

With the Christmas general election fast approaching, national efforts made to  encouraged the homeless to vote have not seen much traction in Leicester.

With only 2% of the homeless registered to vote, grass roots initiatives in Bristol and Cardiff have been underway to encourage voter registration for those people without fixed accommodation.

On speaking to Leicester locals on the value of the franchise, city businesses seem unaware of their potential for offering proxy registration to those living on the streets or in semi-permanent accommodation.



Outreach worker  Patrick Harris of city-based homeless charity The Bridge acknowledged that they don’t necessarily promote the franchise.

“If people come and ask us, then of course we will help. We ask them to sign a consent form but we also then might get post addressed to them and we must have to then redirect the post, if they do not regularly use the centre”.

Together with such potential practical problems of the proxy address, it seems that the complex problems faced by the homeless themselves will often work against prioritising rightful access to the franchise.

With the election approaching, the irony is that their future will likely be determined by politicians and voters with whom they have little direct contact.






Video: Market traders frozen out by online shopping this Christmas

Report by Luke Williamson, Video by Cara Nott, Assiah Hamed and Holly Kirkpatrick. 

Leicester Market stallholders have been left in the cold this Christmas as more shoppers choose to purchase goods online instead.

Traders have claimed that, as the years have passed, the number of buyers and vendors has decreased as the popularity in online shopping has increased.

The value of e-commerce in the UK would reach €200 billion by the end of 2019, which would be an increase of 14.6 per cent, according to an Ecommerce Foundation report.

Market trader Derrick Lipurd, who runs a clothes stall, said: “Ever since internet shopping came about, it gets worse year on year.

“It’s ruined the place.

“It’s not been busy [at the market] for a couple of months now, there’s just no footfall.”


Leicester Market has “not been busy for a couple of months” according to traders.

Empty stalls make up more than a quarter of the marketplace, and people like Derrick can see this after being prominent figures in the market for decades.

Derrick said: “You look around today, it should be really busy but it’s just not.”

Shops around the marketplace have also been left empty, including in the impressive Highcross Shopping Centre.


More empty stalls are cropping up throughout the Leicester Market

Fruit and veg vendor Jason Lepreux, who has been working on the market for 28 years, said: “[Online shopping] has affected all retail, you only have to look around here to see that the shops are now empty as well.

“There has been decline here on the market since I started working here.”

“Some traders used to struggle to get a stall back in the day, but now you basically get a free choice of where you want to go.”

With just over three weeks until Christmas Day, business in the city’s market is expected to pick up, but the story of the marketplace is one to keep an eye on as we head into the new year.

Video: How can we all be more sustainable this Christmas

By Janice Kusters, Rebecca Russell, Niamh Kirk and Sarah Wood

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also one of the most wasteful.

With presents bought in plastic packaging and wrapping paper, with advent calendars thrown out once they’ve done their job, and with excessive food prepared for Christmas dinner.

In recent years, people have become more and more aware of sustainability, and the role we play in ensuring our world can be maintained as it is.

 Freya Gilbert, co-owner of Leicester shop Crafty Sew and So, gave advice to what consumers can do themselves, including recommending people to shop locally.

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Freya Gilbert in Crafty Sew and So

Research, as reported by GoGreen, shows that shopping locally can have many environmental benefits, as produce has travelled fewer miles to reach the shop. 

When you shop at big chain grocery stores, many of the food items you buy can travel as many as 1,500 miles to reach your local branch. 

While other things like Christmas presents are often even produced in different continents and have to be brought in by plane or container ship. Shopping locally for your Christmas dinner can also ensure fresher produce and help protect local land and wildlife. 

Lauren Welch, founder a zero waste shop in Leicester called NADA, said her store has lots of produce which can be used for Christmas dinner, Christmas Pudding in particular. Last Christmas, she noticed that people do make an effort to be more sustainable.

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Lauren Welch stocks lots of goodies in her NADA zero waste store

Lauren herself makes an effort to make Christmas more sustainable too, wanting to educate her young daughter and set the right example. 

In December, Crafty Sew and So, focuses heavily on Christmas, organising workshops to make things such as stockings and quilts. 

To make Christmas presents more sustainable, Freya recommended taking a fabric-based approach. A fabric advent calendar for example, can be refilled and re-used every year. Freya herself likes to fill them up with chocolates from a Fairtrade shop.

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A little thought goes a long way with sustainable Christmas gifts

Presents can also be wrapped in fabric rather than paper. Once the present is opened, the piece of fabric can be re-used for the same person, or if the gift-receiver is crafty, it can be part of the present and can be made into something else. 

Freya admitted that wrapping presents this way is a little more expensive, but as it can be re-used or can be part of the gift, this does not necessarily have to be a negative. Gift Bags can also be made, just like sleeves for wine bottles, but these are usually a little more time-consuming to produce. 

Christmas ornaments can also be made more sustainable. Whilst in the past ornaments were used year after year, in recent years it has become more common to buy new decorations for the tree, especially tinsel which is often bought cheaply and tossed every year. 

Freya recommended making your own ornaments. Not only will they hold more sentimental value, but they will also be more durable.

Video: Francis Bacon’s painting could be sold from New Walk Museum to fund council housing

By Ben Sanderson, Luke Wilson, Elliot Worthing and Amber Mitchell-Hanna

Francis Bacon’s painting Lying Figure No 1 should be sold from the New Walk Museum, according to Leicester Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Porter.


“Lying Figure No 1” by Francis Bacon

Cllr Porter believes the painting, worth about £20 million, would create funds which could be better spent on social housing.

“The plan was to build new council housing to the highest environmental standards,” he said.

He said the council’s head of housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, opposes this idea, saying people in Leicester might not be able to operate the houses at the highest environmental standards.

Cllr Cutkelvin is the daughter of Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who has rejected the idea of selling the painting.

Cllr Porter said: “He is dismissing it as paying out of the council budget is not allowed, but selling assets is. If the painting is worth a few million pounds, it can fund council housing, which Leicester is crying out for.

“People desperately need modern council housing. You need to weigh things up and decide what the priorities are.

“Modern art worth millions would be at the bottom for most.”

Andrew Cilipsham, a museum assistant for the New Walk Museum, disagreed: “We cannot sell the collection. Our job is to look after it.

“We have got rid of things in the past and then realised how valuable it was.”

He said the work was “not necessarily financially important but socially important”, adding: “Art isn’t about money. It’s about art.


“There are other things in the museum worth much, much more than [Lying Figure No 1], but where do we stop?”

Cllr Porter said there was the potential to build 100 social houses with the money raised, if Bacon’s painting is sold.

David, a visitor to the museum, said: “There are going to be other ways you can raise money, instead of selling off paint that everyone should be able to see.”

Casey Freely, a De Montfort University student, said: “100 social houses sounds like a good cause. It would benefit the community.”

The Bacon dilemma has raised significant questions over whether the art or housing is worth more.


New Walk Museum outside

On one side people are arguing that places to live are worth far more than art people look at for a few minutes, but others say it would be sad to sell creativity for the sake of another tower block.

We would love to hear your opinions in the comments section below. Tell us what you think!