Free HIV test results available with one ‘Kwik Prick’


By Erik Dawson

A Leicester charity is providing free weekly HIV tests which give results in minutes every Monday for gay and bisexual men.

The LGBTQ charity, Trade Sexual Health, is running the 20-minute ‘Kwik Prick’ test every Monday from its offices, in Bowling Green Street.

It runs from 12-6pm.

Makinder Chahal, Health Promotion Coordinator at Trade Sexual Health, said: “By providing regular HIV testing sessions we can allow people to get tested quicker, in a non-medical setting and then access any further support if required.”

The weekly event has been providing, free, rapid HIV tests and safer sex packs for the male LGBTQ community since 2012.

Leicester was identified as having the highest prevalence of HIV in the East Midlands by a 2019 Public Health England report.

The 2018-2019 statistics showed a record high of 3.96 cases of the virus per 1000 people in the city across the region.

With the advancements in treatment, the future is now looking brighter for people diagnosed early with the virus.

Chahal said: “Someone who is diagnosed as HIV positive and accesses medication as soon as possible can live a healthy life, up to the point where the levels of HIV in their body would get to a point where there is no chance of passing on the virus.”

The charity has noticed that there is still a taboo around HIV, which affects how many cases are diagnosed early.

“The more HIV and the medical advancements in treatment, the more people will come forward and get tested,” said Chahal.

The charity encourages donations in person with cash, or online via Virgin Moneygiving and Facebook.

Papa Frites: Is Leicester’s new chippy a carp above the rest?

By Adam Rear

Everyone loves a good chippy, and Leicester has plenty of them.

Papa Frites is a new chip shop on Granby Street where staff are hoping to cause a buzz with their variety of sauces.

Typically, people have mushy peas, curry sauce or gravy with their chips, but Papa Frites is different.

Customers can choose between normal sauces such as ketchup, barbeque and vinegar.

Or they can try the more unusual flavours such as chocolate sauce, spicy dynamite sauce or mint yoghurt mayonnaise.

The first sauce is free with each purchase and, starting at £2.75 for a small (£3.50 for a medium or £4.50 for a large), the portion sizes make Papa Frites’ chips good value for money.


Driver and passengers escape horrific Markfield crash with only minor injuries

IMG_1147By Harry Shellard

The driver of a black Ford Fiesta walked away unscathed from an incident described as ‘horrific’ in Markfield.

It is thought the driver lost control of the vehicle which mounted the curb and collided with a resident’s fence.

The car which contained five occupants barrel-rolled onto its roof.

They had just left local Indian restaurant Fusion and were headed home when the incident occurred.

All five occupants within the car received cuts and bruises and were lucky to walk away from the crash relatively unharmed.

The passengers were all able to get out of the crashed car quickly although one had to be helped free by a nearby resident.

The police were called within minutes and arrived on the scene around 10 minutes after the crash had occurred.

Callum Willison, one of the passengers, described what happened.

He said: “I was in a state of shock and couldn’t quite believe what had happened, the 10-15 seconds we were stuck in the car for were horrific.

“The shock seemed to increase over time when what had just happened hit me, it could have been much worse.”

The driver was issued with a warning and no further action was taken by the police.

Oadby restaurant Sanctua has closed following the death of its head chef Bindu Patel

by Emily Rooney

Oadby vegan restaurant Sanctua has closed after its head chef, Bindu Patel, also known as Chef Bee last week.

Patel planned to open the restaurant last year in January, but it was delayed due to her becoming ill.

The restaurant eventually opened in April 2019, serving vegan food in the evenings, with a different menu every two weeks.

There was also a smoothie bowl of the day at Sanctua, with £1 of the proceeds going to charity, as well as the set vegan menus, featuring the likes of ‘Jerusalem Hummus with olives, toasted pine nuts and flame grilled pepper chutney on spicy garlic and chilli flatbread.’

Two days ago, however, the Sanctua team released a statement on Twitter saying “to all customers and friends. It is with great sadness that we inform you that Sanctua will no longer be opening. Please all say a prayer for Chef Bee who sadly passed away on the 24th January 2020.”

The restaurant won several awards, including Great Food Club’s Asian Restaurant of the Year award in the East Midlands, as well as the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant at the Asian Curry Awards, hosted by Sadiq Khan.

Neil O’Brien, MP for the Harborough constituency, which also covers Oadby and Wigston, replied to Sanctua’s tweet, saying “Very sorry to hear this. Thoughts and prayers are with Bee’s family and loved ones. Sanctua made a big impact across Oadby in such a short period of time, which was testament to Bee’s incredible food and hard work.”

As well as being vegan, Sanctua was also as sustainable as possible, with Patel sourcing ingredients from as close as possible to the restaurant, and placing an emphasis on the Ayurvedic principles of balance in taste and texture.

Patel had also worked for Michelin starred restaurants, such as Gymkhana and Trishna in Mayfair.

Chinese New Year celebrations hit Leicester

By Mary De-Windgeograph-5295008-by-Mat-Fascione

© Copyright Mat Fascione

Crowds of people gathered in Leicester’s Jubilee Square on Sunday to watch the Chinese New Year procession that was full of performances as well as traditional dragon and lion dances.

The Chinese New Year is a big festival that celebrates the start of new year according to the Chinese calendar.

This festival is referred to as the Spring Festival and marked the start of the Year of the Rat.

Student Vicky Sam, 20, shared her experience as a Chinese student celebrating the new year in Leicester.

“Normally at home I’d be with my family,” said Vicky.

“New Year’s Eve the whole family would come home and have a dinner together. The kids would receive red envelopes called red pockets with “lucky money” inside from parents/aunties & uncles. 

“Sometimes we would go out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant on New Year’s Day. There would be a traditional lion dance and firecrackers.”

Leicester is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in Britain and De Montfort University hosts students from 135 countries including from the EU.

But Vicky said: “Personally I haven’t heard the university do anything for the Chinese New Year.

“I think to make it better they should do an event where a lion dance is showcased, and maybe red pockets are handed out (maybe not with money!) also with traditional food.”

Nevertheless Vicky will be carrying on traditions such as “handing out red pockets, since it’s like a staple during Chinese new year, not cleaning the house on new year’s day (since you’ll clean out the good luck) but yeah, I think that’s it since a lot of Chinese traditions are very outdated.”