DMU pickets pick up the pace with jogging visit from UCU General Secretary

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

Jo Grady, the General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) joined striking staff on the picket line at De Montfort University today (TuesMAR3).

The union leader rallied lecturers at the picket during the morning.

Lecturer and UCU organiser Ben Whitham said: “We’re really pleased that [Jo Grady] supported our strike.

“It’s important that the General Secretary came to support us.”

Jo jogged from The University of Leicester, where she previously served as a lecturer, to join union members at DMU.

The UCU branch at Leicester Uni teamed up with UCU DMU to coax her into jogging between their “let’s’ get physical” pickets.

Union members from The University of Leicester are also striking

The ongoing strike action was voted for by lecturers at 74 universities over a dispute with the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) around pay, workloads, casualisation and the gender pay gap.

These are referred to by the UCU as the “Four Fights”.

After she arrived, Jo and union members from both universities did a lap around campus.

They then cooled down with some yoga.

The UCU said all of the physical exercise serves to send a message to the UCEA: “Listen and work it out to resolve our disputes.”

The first full week of strike action by members of the UCU at DMU began yesterday (Mar 2), following two days of strikes on February 20 and February 21.

Lecturers are set to be trading classrooms for picket lines until March 17.

Lecturers out picketing today (Mar 3)

“We’re hoping to get a better offer, so we don’t have to do the full 14 days,” said Ben Whitham at the Magazine picket on campus.

Cancelled classes have put many students in a tailspin, with deadlines ongoing regardless of the strike.

For student information about the strikes please click here.

Jo was elected as the new leader of the UCU last year.

Leicester family enjoys Gran Canaria Carnival despite Sahara sandstorm scare

By Adam Rear

Las Palmas Gran Canaria Carnival 2020 was enjoyed by a visiting Leicester family despite a horrendous sandstorm.

The catastrophic weather meant many holiday-goers, such as De Montfort University student Carmen Goode, had flights cancelled and were packed into hotels with what they say was very little space.

Despite this, Carmen, 19, said: “The Carnival was amazing! The atmosphere around the island was so surreal and I really felt part of their culture while celebrating.

“Funnily enough we wouldn’t have been going to the festival, but our flight got cancelled so we decided that the carnival would take our minds off of the stress and worry of getting home to Leicester.”

The sandstorm raged on over the course of Carmen’s stay on the island

The Carnival is the largest winter event in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as it takes place during a tourist high season.

The huge line-up of more than 40 acts spans over the course of three weeks to give island-goers a cultural celebration.

The carnival contained multiple acts such as the Drag Queen Gala, singing contests, horseback riding and numerous daytime carnival events.

The carnival even featured a performance by Colombian artist Juanes, who performed on stage at Parque Santa Catalina, the capital of Gran Canaria.

Carmen said: “Whenever I go away on holiday I always like to learn the language and soak in whatever cultural aspects of the country I can.

“Gran Canaria not only had sunny beaches and cheap booze, it had such a variety of cultural backgrounds.

“At the carnival, I especially loved Juanes who sang all of his songs in his native language.

“His performance was a stand-out moment for me as I have always loved the sound of Spanish/Latin-American songs.”

Leicester Diabetes Centre debuts new eLearning course ahead of Ramadan

By Oliver Taylor

The Effective Diabetes Education Now! programme debuted a new eLearning module last week to educate healthcare professionals on issues surrounding the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and diabetes.

Muslims with diabetes are exempt from fasting during Ramadan, but many still participate. This presents an ongoing challenge for healthcare professionals as fasting with diabetes goes against medical advice.

The programme, EDEN, has launched the Safer Ramadan eLearning module with the aim of:

– Increasing healthcare professionals’ knowledge and confidence to support and advise Muslim patients wishing to fast during Ramadan

– Providing a quick-glance guide to help risk stratify patients with diabetes wishing to fast

– Enabling healthcare professionals to tailor advice to individual needs

Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon. As such, the exact days of Ramadan are never the same on a yearly basis.

This year, Ramadan will take place from Thursday, April 23, to Saturday, May 23.

During the holy month, Muslims will not eat or drink during the daylight hours in remembrance of the month the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

Medical risks associated with fasting with diabetes include aggravating poor vision, heart problems and kidney issues, suffering from hypoglycaemia and inducing diabetic ketoacidosis.

After completing the module, a printable certification of completion for official CPD Certification Service accreditation will be available.

EDEN is based in the Leicester Diabetes Centre in Leicester General Hospital. It can be contacted by calling 0116 258 4674 or emailing

More information can be found on the module’s webpage.

What really goes on in Markfield’s Islamic foundation centre?


By Harry Shellard

Markfield’s Islamic Foundation Centre remains much of a mystery to many local residents.

Many residents of the village won’t have had much of an insight into what the centre does for the Islamic community within Markfield and Leicestershire.

The centre was established in 2000 after being inaugurated by Prince Charles, with the aims of promoting understanding between Muslim communities in the west and the pluralistic societies they’re a part of.

On top of this, the institute endeavours to “integrate the richness and high standards of traditional Islamic scholarship with the best Western research techniques, academic rigour and critical inquiry.”

The centre has a higher education institute which supports UK and international students, with fees costing around £4,500 for UK students and £7,500 for international students.

The institute offers a number of BA and MA degrees including Islamic Studies, Muslim Chaplaincy and Islamic banking, finance and management.

The institute has other great resources such as its own Islamic library, which is one of the largest in Europe with over 40,000 volumes, books and journals within it. Students are also permitted to use the libraries of both Leicester University and De Montfort University.

Friday sermons are given in the centre’s own mosque by students and scholars with flocks of the community coming to join in with prayer.

The campus also boasts its own sports facilities and gym which is used for football, volleyball and badminton.

There is some on-site accommodation available for male and female students.

Over the years, around 750 students have graduated from the institute, proving it to be successful at further educating the local and international Islamic community.

DMU launches multi-faith wellbeing scheme

By James Wynn

De Montfort University launched a new multi-faith initiative last week, which aims to recognise links between faith and students’ wellbeing and mental health.

The OpenFaith scheme was launched by Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby and DMU Interim Vice-Chancellor Andy Collop.

Launched as part of the #HealthyDMU initiative, the university said that OpenFaith will “encourage students and staff to access a variety of spiritual facilities including the prayer room, chaplaincy and the Breathing Space.

“OpenFaith encourages students of all faiths and no faith to come together in celebrating diversity and humanitarian values.

“It is open to all regardless of belief and encourages staff and students to be able to explore spirituality, faith, religion and all belief systems in an open and accessible way.”

The launch event included the Mayor receiving a tour of the new facilities.

The Mayor added: “This event represents the very best in Leicester and the very best in DMU

“You not only have a very diverse university but you are in a uniquely diverse city.

“I do not for a moment pretend that everything is perfect, although we do things better than any other city I know.”

The prayer room is located in the lower ground floor of the Portland Building. It is open from 7am-8.30pm on weekdays and 12-8.30pm on weekends.

More specific times and prayer types can be found on the De Montfort University website at