DMU Hip Hop supporters raise money for breast cancer charity Make 2nds Count

By Kira Gibson

As part of Raise and Give (RAG) week at the Students’ Union in De Montfort University (DMU), the DMU Hip Hop society was asked to do a charity stall.

They chose to raise money for Make 2nds Count – a charity dedicated to helping those with secondary breast cancer.

Secondary breast cancer is a cancer that has spread from the breast to other areas of the body, also known as stage IV (four) breast cancer.

A member of the Hip Hop Society, Caitlin Hamit, was running the stall on Tuesday (Nov23).

She said: “The charity was chosen as it was an under-represented charity and one of her close family members had been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and this charity helped her family with it.”

The week is arranged by the SU to raise awareness and money for a variety of charities. RAG week will be running until 4pm tomorrow (FRI, NOV26), with various societies raising money for their chosen charities.

The stalls are filled with fun games and things to do, where only a donation or a small amount is asked for to play along.

DMU Hip Hop’s stall decided they would have a chocolate toss.

The aim of the game was to land a pound coin on your desired chocolate bar and if you managed it, then you would win the chocolate bar in question.

They catered for all in this, with normal Dairy Milk bars, vegan and dairy free options for those who couldn’t have Dairy Milk.

The stalls also have a donation box on there with the charity details on in case you’d just like to donate without playing the game.

To find out more about RAG week, please go to:

To find out more about Make 2nds Count and how to raise money for their charity, please go to:

Mum dedicates Christmas event to bereaved families in Leicester

By Sarah Danquah

A mother whose child died two days after being born is organising a Christmas fundraiser for the second year in a row to support other families who suffer baby loss.

Holly Stottor’s son Harrison was a premature baby and was born on 12th January 2019. Two days later he died of oxygen deficiency at Leicester Royal Infirmary just weighing 4lb 14oz. 

In December 2020, the 28-year-old decided to set up a charity called Harrison’s Hope, based in Thurmaston, to support Leicester Hospital’s Maternity and Neonatal Unit.

“The nurses took pictures of these moments I spent with Harrison, so that I could keep them safely in a box and show him off to the world when I was ready,” Holly said in an Interview with

“I’m thankful for the nurses and doctors that gave me the chance to be a first time mum…these memories will always stay alive with me.

She also committed herself to supporting bereaved families who have suffered the loss of a baby and provides services in her local community and surroundings.

This winter, Harrison’s Hope is to host a Christmas Charity Fun Day on Saturday, December 11, from 11am to 5pm at Thurmaston Working Men’s Club, 805 Melton Road, Leicester LE4 8EE. 

The charity will help to raise money for Harrison’s Hope to create comfort boxes for bereaved families and Leicester’s hospital Neonatal unit quiet room.

Food and drinks will be served during the day while Santa and Elsa give away gifts to the children. There will be an opportunity to win prizes on a raffle stall.

For a second year running, Holly is also setting up a Christmas tree of angels in her front garden in Church Hill Road, Thurmaston. The tree will be part of a range of Christmas fundraising projects this year and is decorated with pink and blue baubles dedicated to babies who were stillborn or died young.

“It was my partner Ashley’s idea. We’ve got the glass baubles and the ones for girls will be filled with pink snow and the ones for boys with blue snow and each will have the baby’s name on it,” she told the Leicester Mercury last year.

Harrison’s Hope is still looking for donations towards its Christmas tree of angles and raffle stall. Donations can be made by visiting the Harrison’s Hope facebook page.

Further information about their ongoing Christmas fundraising projects can also be found on the page. 

Community Football Academy to cycle 300 miles from London to Paris for mental health awareness

Pictured: The charitable cyclists raising money for the mental health pandemic

By Jessica Smith

The Leicestershire based Community football academy training children and adults, is taking part in a huge 300-mile cycle to raise money for Mental Health Awareness this summer.

The ‘CFA Ride for The Future II’ is set to take place from August 12th – 15th, as volunteers and coaches from the academy plan to cycle from London Trafalgar Square to Paris, a mammoth distance of 300 miles in 48 hours.

Imran Govaria, 42, the academy’s volunteer social media and marketing correspondent, said: “Our charity work is not done for fame or fortune – CFA have a platform and we aim to use our influence in the community to raise awareness on the issue.

“Mental health affects everyone; and so many people still don’t feel comfortable speaking out, especially in the BAME community. That’s why we’re hoping by doing this challenge we’re able to raise money to educate the community to address this issue. We’ll be surviving on a minimum of 5 or 6 hours sleep, but it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make to raise awareness for mental health.”

The academy aims to raise around £25, 000 with the donations to its GoFundMe page, as its 15-20 volunteers take part in the difficult cycle this summer, with support from local charity Rahma Mercy, which support refugees, giving a sizeable donation and increasing the charity’s reach.

The institute hopes to reopen their doors gradually from March 29th, with 300 children enrolled returning for training, which for some is the vital lifeline they need to stay off the streets. 

 “The academy offers an escape, and it’s amazing to see children smile and be themselves in a safe environment.

“There was nothing like this when I was a child, so it’s so important that they feel comfortable to approach coaches – safeguarding is key for us.

“Rain or shine, our volunteers are there for the children, because we care genuinely care about their futures,” added the father of four.

The academy has raised money in the past for many local causes; a 136-mile cycle last summer raised £20, 000 for Leicester General Hospital’s Neonatal unit, where most of the club’s members were born, a trip to Albania in 2019 to help local orphans, and a further fundraising challenge raised money for Help the Homeless Leicester.

“Charity starts at home, and that’s why we raise money for local charities. We’re a small academy trying to do a good thing for our community – this is just the beginning for us.”

Donations can be made at the GoFundMe page:

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: or Do It at:   

‘Hello again, my dear wife – it’s been a long 20 years…’

The story of how a Zimbabwean family reunited – after nearly two decades apart. Pythias Makonese tells his story.

It is not easy to sustain a marriage when the husband and wife live thousands of miles apart for almost two decades.

A lot marriages would collapsed under these circumstances. Somehow – thanks to the patience of my wife, Nomia, and the help of the Leicester branch of the British Red Cross – we managed to not only keep strong but to re-unite. This is our story.

Nomia Vongai Makonese, 58, a mother of five children landed at Heathrow airport, accompanied by her youngest daughter, Florence, 22, on December 5, 2020. I was there to meet them. At long last, we were together.

This is a story that goes back a long way.

After my teaching qualification, I started work as a teacher in 1978 at a primary school and taught for seven years before I got married. I married Nomia in a Civil Court at Mvuma, Zimbabwe in May 1985. We settled down and raised five children – one boy and four girls.

For 17 years, we lived together and looked after our family. I worked as a teacher. Life was good.

In 1980, there was a change of government in our country as the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) took over from Rhodesian Front (R.F.) headed by Ian Douglas Smith.  

An opposition political party, Movement for Democratic Change, was formed in 1999 led by Morgen Tsvangirai. Most teachers were aligned to the opposition party and were considered enemies of the then-ruling ZANU. This is allowed in England. It’s the nature of politics in a democracy. It wasn’t in my home country.

Many teachers became political victims. The pressure was so great I felt I had to leave my job, my home, family and move to England. This was 2002 and I had been accused of supporting the MDC when I invited the local parliament (MDC) to an annual general meeting of a School Development Association. 

My story for fear of political persecution was not believed by the Home Office when I applied for refugee protection in the United Kingdom. It took 10 years for the UK to believe me, when I finally won my appeal case.

When I gained refuge protection, I used my news status to try to bring about a family reunion – to bring over my wife and my youngest daughter.

This was refused in 2018. But I was determined and appealed again. This time, I was successful.

Still, it took a whole year – red tape, forms, officials – before we could get the travel documents.

The date was set. April 4, 2020. They were all set to board the plane – and the flight was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic.

The reunion was put back another eight months.

It was the end of a tough chapter for Nomia, raising the couple’s children single-handedly.

“I was just thrilled to meet my husband,” she said. ” I last met him in October 2002 back in Zimbabwe.”

Its as also a joyous day for Florence. “I was only four year old when my father left me and had only a faint idea on how he looks,” she said. “I am very happy to meet him and will be the happiest child on earth to stay with him unlike in the past when I used to talk to him over the phone.”

Florence is now 22, and aims to further her education, and hopes her siblings can join her one day.

It’s been a long and difficult process to get this far. But the lesson here is that no matter how tough it has been, people want to be with the ones they love the most.

If you have that – and the help of the Leicester branch of the Rad Cross – then anything is possible.