Owner of lost puppy offers £1,000 reward for its return

By Darnell James-Percival

A £1,000 reward is being offered by the owner of a six-month-old puppy called Phantom which went missing near Aylestone Great Central Way on Sunday. 

Missing: a family are distraught at losing their puppy Phantom

Phantom went missing between 5 and 9am but was last seen at 1.30pm, near Aylestone railways. 

Owner Daniel Costelow said he was offering such a high reward because he wanted Phantom’s return urgently as he is concerned for the little puppy’s wellbeing. 

He said the dog means a lot to him and to his family too. He added: “He’s part of the family.

”Phantom has been in our family for a long while and originally won it for my son.”

Mr Costelow posted a message on Facebook, offering a £1,000 reward, and saying: “He’s 6 months old and very very scared so any sightings please don’t hesitate!!!, Answers the name phantom he’s been gone nearly 24 hours he needs to be found!!! Reward for his safe arrival” 

If anyone sees Phantom or knows where he is, they are urged to phone Mr Costelow on 0748 7791655. 

Psychiatrist looks forward to resuming face-to-face sessions and stresses importance of maintaining good mental health

By Chelsea Centkowski

A Leicester-based psychiatrist who is currently having to run sessions via phone cannot wait to get back to face-to-face appointments with his patients.

Will Key, 23, of Narborough Road, Leicester, used to spend his days travelling to several GP surgeries to speak to his patients but, when the pandemic led to the country’s third national lockdown, he had to transfer to phone sessions.

“I go in to work every week because I have to use the surgery phones to speak to the patients, but I find phone sessions difficult because I feel like I can’t give my patients as much support and care as I would like to,” Will explained.

He is looking forward to returning to work and being face-to-face with his patients, which should resume when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

At the moment, however, he can still arrange face-to-face appointments if a patient really wants one.

“When a patient requests a face-to-face, we have to sit two metres apart and both wear masks throughout the session. They usually last between 45 minutes to an hour, and they are really helpful for myself and also my patients as we can address each issue and work through it together.”

He also expressed how important it is for people to focus on their mental wellbeing and to reach out for help when it is needed.

“These lockdowns have made it incredibly hard for everyone to keep their mental health on track and being stuck inside all day and unable to see friends and family makes us feel extremely isolated, which can have a serious impact on our mental health.

“All we can do at the moment is keep in touch with loved ones over the phone and over social media, find things to keep our minds busy, such as picking up new hobbies, or taking our daily exercise outside to get some fresh air.

“However, if it does get to a certain point, reaching out to friends and family or any mental health helpline such as the Samaritans can make a huge difference.”

If you feel like you need help, call Samaritans on 116 132.

Former DMU student volunteering at First Love society can’t wait for fellowship meetings again

By Sarah Danquah

A former DMU student whose Christian society has been restricted to online meetings is looking forward to the lifting of Covid restrictions so he can again actively guide his fellows.

Adony Diboka, 23, graduated with a master’s degree in accounting and finance in 2019 and has been volunteering in a shepherding role at DMU’s First Love society since 2015.

“I’m a caring loving guide to my friends at church and I’m supporting them on their journey to Christianity,” said Mr Diboka, explaining the tasks of a shepherd.

Before the pandemic, the First Love society members attended church meetings starting at 12.30pm every Sunday at Holy Cross Church in Leicester.

The last big event by First Love Church: Leicester’s Boogie King 2020 on February 25th 2020

Patience, who did not want to give her full name, is another shepherd at the society and currently works in a pharmacy.

She said: “The last meeting happened on March 15th 2020 and we didn’t even know it was going to be the last one. I remember talking to my friends about the fast spread of the virus and thinking ‘hopefully this is not going to affect us.’”

However, the society now has a wide-ranging program incuding online meetings, bible studies and games nights on Zoom.

Charles Djabatey, one of the resource people of the First Love society, said: “The prayer, visitation, counselling and interaction are the four pillars of our church work, we currently do all of that online via social media platforms.”

Although the society made many efforts to continue its meetings online, Mr Diboka can’t wait to see his peers in real-life again.

“I really miss the personal gatherings, they were so eventful and included a lot of worshipping, preaching, singing and dancing.”

Lively stage performances were part of the Boogie King 2020 event, held at The Venue on the DMU campus

The easing of lockdown restrictions on March 8 in England allowed religious denominations to reunite again in person but the First Love society chose to continue its meetings online.

“We don’t want our society to be a hotspot for the virus and angry parents coming after us because their kids are infected,” Mr Diboka explained, with an average of more than 100 members regularly attending its meetings.

Beaumont Leys non-profit delivers 71,932 meals to community since start of pandemic

By Madeline Walker

A Beaumont Leys based non-profit group has delivered more than 10,000 food parcels to hundreds of local families in need since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The group, called E2, currently supports 652 families in the area with its food parcels service. 

Guleid Rooble, David Pollard and Jenny Hand

Each parcel includes seven warm meals, meaning 71,932 meals have been distributed to families from the E2 Emergency Food Distribution Centre on 250 Astill Lodge Road so far.  

Project co-ordinator Guleid Rooble said: “The community really pulled together. 

“Our 152 volunteers really are community champions. 

“I feel happy that those people are being helped. Some people have fallen through the net, and it takes the pressure off (the families) which is very satisfying for me personally.” 

Guleid Rooble and Shirdi SaiBaba

At the start of the pandemic, E2 Launched multiple projects in response to their rising concerns about their community.  

These included the emergency food parcel scheme, Street Co-ordinators, and a telephone befriending scheme which hopes to provide ‘help, comfort, (and) support’ through the covid pandemic.  

In a video post on its Facebook page, E2online, a food parcel recipient praises the non-profit organisation for all the support given to them and their family.  

Food parcel recipient, Omnia Hamsa said: “They’ve helped me so much. And also the E2 youth session; they’re so supportive. And with my daughter being off school it’s all she got, she loves going there.” 

Similar praise can be seen throughout the page.  

The telephone befriending scheme was started to help anybody in the community feeling isolated, and the team are currently taking up to 100 calls a day.  

In addition to this its Street Co-ordinators have been going door-to-door keeping residents informed on the help available, including information on the youth support groups available which are aimed at preventing knife crime.  

To get involved and sign up as a volunteer visit Action Leicestershire at: https://valonline.org.uk/ or Do It at: https://doit.life/.