Leicester’s e-bikes prove to be ‘wheelie’ good way to get around

by Abigail Beresford

The launch of the new electric bikes in Leicester this January has proved to be a hit with students and residents of Leicester.

The scheme was announced in November 2020, with e-bike provider Ride On pairing with Leicester City Council to install 500 e-bikes up and down the city.

Leicester’s new ‘wheelie’ good way to get around

The bikes have proved to have a positive response, giving people in Leicester a new form of exercise and an affordable way to travel efficiently.

“I’ve found the bikes as a great way to get around town, being so quick and easy. It gives you a new way to see the city and get from A to B in a matter of minutes,” said Toby Green, 20.

The £600,000 scheme aims to encourage people to get around the city in a sustainable way, in a way to reduce carbon emissions to help the environment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in December 2020 the new target in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 68 per cent by 2030.

“Getting ubers all of the time is expensive, especially as a student. Having a new way to get around the city that’s cheap, efficient is amazing,” added Toby.

“Hopefully, when the weather picks up I can travel slightly further distances on them. It’s not particularly pleasant using them in cold, wet weather.”

With warm temperatures expected in early April, the usage of the bikes is expected to increase, with residents of Leicester expected to enjoy the new spring season.

The 500 electric bikes are now available to hire from 50 locations within the city centre.

Leicester doctors surgery offers free food parcels and community support during pandemic

By Zach Saunders

A Leicester NHS doctors surgery is offering free food parcels to anyone who has been financially impacted by the pandemic, in a bid to help and support the community.

Spectrum Health in Oadby, previously known as Severn Surgery, is inviting its patients, as well as non-patients, to apply for food parcels should their financial situation be troubled due to the pandemic.

To date the surgery team have provided 142 food parcels, and offer a large selection including canned drinks and food, pasta, crisps, nuts, cereals and much more.

Spectrum Health offers a wide range of products with its free food parcels.

Shaun Chadwick, the senior executive partner at Spectrum Health, said: “We saw that the pandemic not only has obvious ramifications, it has had a serious effect on people’s mental health, so we decided to take a different stance.”

The surgery staff have also been preparing and distrubuting food parcels for those shielding, alongside collecting medication and essential supplies.

Mr Chadwick said: “People are always so pleased and thank us for their support, they are happy to receive a helping hand at their time of need.”

The surgery has also been holding virtual befriending video calls with patients who are shielding, and even held a virtual games day on Christmas Day to help combat loneliness.

As well as the staff’s befriending video calls, Spectrum Health also has a number of schemes to promote a healthy lifestyle, such as sponsoring several grassroots sports clubs and providing new and existing patients with free Fitbits to promote walking during lockdown.

Mr Chadwick said: “The aim of this being two-fold, to promote a healthy lifestyle and help with mental health during the lockdown.”

Anyone who has been financially impacted by the pandemic who is interested in seeking a free food parcel from Spectrum Health can contact the surgery via its Facebook page, by sending an email to spectrum.health@nhs.net, calling the surgery on 0116 271 9042, or visiting in person at the surgery at 159 Uplands Road, Oadby, LE2 4NW  – but please abstain from unnecessary travel.

Demon TV releases series of DSU election candidate interviews

By Thomas Carter

De Montfort University’s student-run television station, Demon TV, hosted a series of interviews with the candidates standing in this week’s DSU elections.

The virtual interviews were streamed live across YouTube and Facebook, with viewers being able to pose questions to the hopeful Students’ Union candidates.

In addition to set questions from the Demon Media news team, interviewees faced off in direct debate with their counterparts, discussing issues such as student welfare, DSU funding, Covid-19 support and campus life.

Ethan Sandy, Station Manager for Demon TV, said: “The interviews this year went really well. We did five live streams throughout the week and had great engagement from students and between candidates.

“This is important as it allows candidates a space to advertise themselves to potential voters and more importantly for students to get an idea of who to vote for.”

Demon TV hosted live streams interviewing candidates throughout last week (Credit: Demon TV)

Election booths were opened at 9am today (TUES,MAR9) and candidates were keen to win the votes of their peers in what were the final stages of the campaign process.

Positions up for election include the Executive Officer team (Academic Officer, Welfare Officer etc) as well as wider democratic roles, including LGBTQ+ officer and Liberation representatives.

“Students need to vote so that any changes they think need to happen can do,” Ethan added.

“The university and union is there for them, so they need to have their say in how it’s run and the issues it should cover to make their student experience the best it can be.”

Even though Covid-19 restrictions have prevented many students from returning to campus during the campaign period, measures have been relaxed allowing voting booths to be open on campus.

For more information on the DSU elections or to access any of the candidate interviews with Demon Media, go to: https://www.demontfortsu.com/elections/news/

Autistic students in Leicester nervous about returning to universities after lockdown

By Kira Gibson

Several autistic university students at both De Montfort University (DMU) and University of Leicester (UoL) have raised worries about practical courses returning to campus this week (March 8). 

Latest restrictions from the Government regarding Coronavirus state that students and pupils may return to schools and colleges this week, with universities having to choose whether or not their students return to campus fully, or on a part-time basis. 

DMU gave a statement saying that students on several courses in the faculties of Arts, Design and Humanities, plus in Computing, Engineering and Media may return to campus, but they must have two negative Covid-19 lateral flow test results the week they return.

Callie, 18, (who did not want her full name used) at UoL, said: “I’d love to go back in person, but my university isn’t offering it at the moment. I feel that I work so much better when I am at university and not online as I find it easier to concentrate.

“However, I am scared that if we were to go back now then I would need to have a Covid test regularly, which is very stressful.”

This opinion isn’t just being held by those at UoL, students at DMU have also shared their thoughts on the subject, with some suggesting that they’re anxious about returning under the current circumstances, but also preferring the in-person tutorage. 

Second year, Charlie Falkner (21) at DMU, said: “It can be very hard to focus in online classes as I often get distracted by other things on my PC but last year I was too anxious to go to in-person lectures. 

“Personally, I’d be far less inclined to ask questions I might need to as I’m far more confident when messaging (e.g., Blackboard chat). However, if in-person societies were back then the lack of social isolation would do wonders for my mental health, which could definitely improve academic performance as well.”

For the full list of courses allowed back on campus at DMU, please go to: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/your-dmu-safety/campus-eligible-courses-march-8.aspx

Leicester Varsity becomes latest sporting victim to Covid-19

By Luke Williamson.

DMUSports has been dealt another blow after the annual Varsity sporting competition was cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

De Montfort University and University of Leicester students usually go head-to-head in a variety of sports every March, but this year’s event has fallen foul to Covid-19.

Josh Lawrence, Chairman of DMUFC, said: “Varsity is the biggest game of the year for us and everyone, including people who aren’t part of the club who enjoy coming to watch and support the teams.”

The British Universities and Colleges’ Sports [BUCS] leagues were cancelled in January before they even began.

No sports have been played at Beaumont Park since October 2020. PICTURE: Luke Williamson

Josh said: “It’s pretty terrible for all clubs and all their members that we haven’t even got a game this season, let alone Varsity.

“For me, as chairman, I am very disappointed in the fact there is no Varsity this year.

“Winning Varsity as a chairman is one thing you definitely want to achieve but, as a player, it is even more unforgiving to have lost the last two to Covid-19.

“Playing in front of a big crowd as we beat our rivals is a great feeling.”

The football teams did have some friendlies scheduled for November ahead of the upcoming league season, but they were cancelled due to national lockdowns in November and then in January.

While the teams haven’t trained together since October either, Josh, 21, has plans to get some football played before the end of the academic year.

“Currently, due to Covid-19, there is not much we can do but, hopefully when students are all back onto campus, we will try and get social events back on.

“Hopefully, after the Easter break, we will be able to get training sessions back on down at Beaumont Park.”

De Montfort FC can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @DeMontfortFC.