Leicester women’s charity appeals for Crowdfunder donations

By Thomas Carter

New Dawn New Day (NDND), a women’s centre in Leicester, has launched a new donation drive to support those affected by violence and abuse.

The charity works to help women who have left the criminal justice system and are sufferers of domestic abuse, rape, poverty and homelessness, among other issues.

Without a designated fund, NDND is now looking to the public for donations so that it can continue to support women in desperate need of help.

Speaking to Leicestershire Press, Meg Foxall, the business support manager for NDND and a former DMU student, said: “I think the number one thing our service does is make women realise that they are not alone.

“Lots of the women we work with are very socially excluded, so coming to the centre is really helpful for meeting people from similar backgrounds and forming friendships

“The clients we work with have high levels of need, and our rule is that we will never let a woman sleep on the streets.

“That’s what this Crowdfunder is for – to have an ongoing fund for emergencies, supplies and immediate support.”

Meg Foxall (pictured) is leading the new Crowdfunder campaign.

As with many charities, NDND was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and had to change how it provided its services.

Meg added: “We had to adapt very quickly, as before the pandemic we would have a full centre, with clients in every room, one-to-one sessions, and support groups taking place.

“We moved our service online and over the phone, and have continued our blended approach to working, because we found that some women can’t afford bus fares to see us or find child care.”

On the matter of support, a client of NDND (who must remain anonymous), said: “When you walk into the centre it feels like a huge hug. 

“The energy and atmosphere is so lovely, even talking on the phone to staff – it’s a safe space and I can drop my walls.

“Since talking to the charity, I have received non-judgmental support and I didn’t have this before. 

“I had felt that no one cared before coming to NDND but I now feel heard and understood. I now realise my thoughts and feelings are valid.”

The charity, which covers the entirety of Leicestershire, also frequently recruits new volunteers, for which full training and support is provided to aid in its mission of helping those in need.

For more information and to donate to the Crowdfunder, visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-women-affected-by-violence-and-abuse

Safety tips for navigating Leicester at night

By Kira Gibson

Last week I went out for a walk to Tesco at about 11pm at night and was approached by several people, unfortunately all of them men, asking me to do drugs with them, or harassing me about my appearance and demanding I get my kit off for them.

It made me feel so unsafe in the city I have grown to love and feeling like I shouldn’t leave my flat after the moment it turns dark because I live alone, and don’t have people to go meet up with to be safe after dark.

I didn’t know who to turn to, messaging my best friend who lives 60 miles away from me to make myself feel better about everything. But even if something had happened and I wasn’t able to get away from those harassing me, my friends wouldn’t have been able to help much as they were all far away from me.

I’ve decided to write a list of tips to help people with navigating Leicester at night, should they get approached by anyone and begin to feel unsafe, where to go and who to reach out to.

Stay in well-lit areas and on main roads.

It might sound like I’m just stating the obvious here, but if you stay in a well-lit area or on a main road, it’s easier for people to see you and easier to be found if you get into trouble.

Carry hairspray or deodorant in an easy to reach place.

Self-defence spray is expensive and I have yet to come across any in a supermarket or other mainstream shop. But a can of hairspray or deodorant can work as a cheap way to spray someone in the face and give you enough time to run away should you get attacked.

DMU campus at night [Photography by Kira Gibson]

Carry your keys in your pocket or an easy to reach place.

This little tip most girls already know, but if you don’t, carry your keys in an easy to reach place so you can grab them if needs be if you get approached or attacked and use them as a defence weapon. Only use this if it’s 100 per cent necessary though as you don’t want to go over the top and seriously injure someone, or be accused of assault when you’re only using self-defence.

Be on the phone to someone if you begin to feel unsafe.

This won’t always help but being on the phone to someone if you feel unsafe can be an easy way to tell someone exactly where you are and feel a bit better talking to someone if you’re alone.

Don’t be afraid to just ignore them.

Just ignore the people who approach you. Just walk away. Say no.

Go home if you’re close by and feel scared or worried.

It’s okay to just ditch your plans and go home if you’re scared.

If you’re in real trouble being followed or harassed, call the police.

Don’t be afraid to use that power to call the police if you feel unsafe in the city you live in.

Buy a rape whistle or alarm for your keys.

I bought mine years ago, but you can have a rape whistle or alarm on your keys or as a keyring attached to your bag. They come in all shapes and sizes, some as teddy bear keyrings or dolphins, and others can be big and bulky. They’re very loud and very useful to have with you when you go out after dark if you’re scared.

Take a self-defence class.

There are plenty of self-defence classes out there willing to teach you ways to deal with others harassing you and how to handle if you get attacked by anyone.

If you aren’t being left alone and feel you need someone instantly, call 999 and ask for the police. If you feel you can cope for a little while and it’s not urgent, please call 101 and ask for help. But don’t be afraid to use any of the tips I’ve suggested if you are alone and can’t meet up with anyone.

Stay safe out there.

Monkeys and mystery at Twycross Zoo half-term Halloween events

By Luke Williamson

Twycross Zoo is getting ready for nine days of terror with two events celebrating Halloween this October half-term.

Boo at the Zoo and Horrors of the Wild are running through the October Half Term from Saturday(OCT23) until Sunday, October 31.

Adam Kay, the Zoo’s Events, PR and Content Co-Ordinator, said: “We hope that we will see a lot of support from visitors over the half-term and Halloween activities.

“As a large outdoor attraction, we’re a great place for meeting friends and family at this current time, even more so with all of our fun spooky activities.”

Boo at the Zoo is a family friendly event, taking place daily through half-term where guests will be greeted at the front of the zoo by a wicked witch and families can take part in Broomstick Training to learn how to fly around Twycross’ 100-acre park safely.

Witch way to the Tigers? PICTURE. Twycross Zoo

It isn’t all about the fun, though, as the zoo’s discovery and learning rangers will be teaching guests about the real dangers that are faced by the more than 500 animals housed at the zoo in the wild.

Adam added: “The pandemic forced us to close for a prolonged period of time throughout 2020 and 2021 as well as opening with very limited visitor numbers and restrictions.

“For the zoo this meant we lost our biggest source of income and did not receive government funding.

“By providing fun activities that also highlight our mission and purpose, we hope this will encourage people to visit the zoo, support us and learn more about why the work the zoo completes is so important.”

Horrors of the Wild – which was nominated for the Best New Scare Attraction 2020 by Scare Con – is back with a new route and new scares to terrify the visitors.

The evening event takes place between Friday, October 29, and Sunday, October 31, starting at 6pm each night where guests can again learn about the real dangers facing animals in the wild including poaching and deforestation.

Visitors need to take their own torch to see in the pitch-black zoo with a variety of surprises hidden in the darkness.

“We have been warmed by the support we have received from the public during the pandemic and we hope that this support will continue into the future allowing us to keep working towards our goals and purpose and provide great days out for families,” Adam added.

Leicester Cathedral welcomes all to immersive ‘sound and light installation’

by Abigail Beresford

Leicester Cathedral is welcoming visitors this week to an immersive light and sound show, in co-ordination with Journeys Festival International, to allow attendees to connect with the world around them.

‘Where There is Light’ is an interactive experience, where visitors can walk amongst colourful and bright illuminations, whilst listening to the tranquil soundtrack of everyday people, discussing ways in which we can connect with our wider community, in the hope of improving cohesion.

ArtReach, BID Leicester and Leicester Cathedral have worked in conjunction with one another to bring the installation to Leicester.

“Where There is Light offers a beautiful moment, a break in people’s day-to-day lives, a space to look outside of themselves, to come together, and share a sense of connection and hope,” said Lynn Simmonds, General Manager of ArtReach.

“With the pandemic continuing to impact our daily lives, we hope to start to rebuild, reconnect, and transform how communities connect in a time of isolation and loneliness.”

The event is proving to be a popular hub for parents to entertain their children over the October half-term period.

“The kids have enjoyed trying something new and different, rather than being at home sat in front of their iPads all day,” told Logan McNamara, 34, father of two, visiting from Derbyshire.

“I think the concept is a great idea,” he added. “Introducing children to a world where we are all connected with one another is an essential. A life of isolation is all they know because of the pandemic, so encouraging them to get involved with the community around them is a big deal!”

“I’ve loved that my children have enjoyed coming here! It has allowed them to learn more about the world around them, whilst relating it back to our religious background,” said Julia Wright, 40, from Leicestershire.

Leicester is the first destination for the event, running until October 24, before further progressing to Portsmouth and Manchester.

Tickets are offered on a ‘pay what you can’ arrangement, where attendees can choose to make a charitable donation, or attend for free.

To book your ticket, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/where-there-is-light-tickets-169977821239

DSU raises awareness about contract cheating

By Shantelle Gondo

The Students’ Union at De Montfort University is encouraging students to put their money to better use instead of paying for an essay.

DSU handing out free doughnuts, raising awareness about contract cheating (Pic: Shantelle Gondo)

Members of the De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) were handing out free doughnuts to students, raising awareness about contract cheating on Wednesday(OCT20) afternoon.

Contract cheating, commonly known as essay mills or ghost writers, is a form of academic dishonesty, where students pay others to complete their work or essays.

It is not tolerated at DMU and is soon to be made illegal in the UK, as it can be classified as a ‘university crime’.

DSU’s student adviser in the Advice and Wellbeing team, Kayleigh Ware, said: “As a students’ union we are just raising awareness about contract cheating, this is something that students get targeted about, people will usually send them essay mails – where they ask the students to complete their work.

“When it comes to university, what a lot of students don’t realise is that academic offences can be serious.”

Academic offences include:

  • Collusion – people working together on a task that you were instructed to do by yourself.
  • Plagiarism – presenting someone else’s works or ideas as if it were your own.
  • Cheating in exams – having notes, copying, or helping another candidate.
  • Re-use of your own work without reference.

If a student is found guilty of an academic offence, they will be called to an Academic Practice Officers meeting (APO) or in worst case scenario an academic offence panel and could lose their place at DMU.

It can also lead to legal complications, blackmail, fraud, waste of money, personal data theft and employment struggles in the future.

Kayleigh said: “We are trying to raise awareness of the policies and point the students in the right direction as well as familiarise them with an understanding of the procedures of these policies.

“We can help with students’ companions, providing that emotional support and guidance throughout the whole process, because this is something very serious, so students should make themselves more aware of what they need to know.”

For more information about contract cheating or an further information, email: dsuadvice@dmu.ac.uk or visit: https://www.demontfortsu.com/news/article/dsu/Pay-for-a-takeaway-not-an-essay-Contract-Cheating-explained/