Beaumont Leys park and ride site delayed indefinitely

By Em Brooks

The planned Beaumont Leys Park and Ride scheme which was scheduled to be completed for summer this year has been delayed indefinitely due to a lack of interest.

The £1.4 million site was planned for launching in Summer 2022 with an aim to bring more people to the Beaumont Leys area. 

However, the pandemic saw a massive decline in users and numbers still have not recovered to their pre-lockdown statistics.

Andrew Gibbons, the Programme Manager for Buses at Leicester City Council, said: “The site is currently on hold pending a review of the business case for P&R post-Covid.

“The other three sites remain at 35 per cent of pre-covid use.”

Before these statistics were released, Deputy City Mayor Adam Clarke had described the site as “a great asset to the city.”

The original plan for the park and ride site was not revamping or changing the original bus service, just extending the routes to involve the site which would have worked the same as the other three sites currently in the Beaumont Leys area which offer free parking.

The site was planned to offer 300 spaces and proposed to see 30,000 passengers a year as well as 118,000 km of car travel saved per year through people using the site instead of driving to the shopping centre.

The Park and Ride scheme was a part of the city council’s climate emergency action plan which planned to reduce emissions through use of electric buses like those seen at St Margaret’s bus station as well as the completed plans to establish e-bike hiring stations around the city.

The proposed site

DMU students concerned for their health as Covid-19 cases start rising

By Liv Slomka

BUSY: the DMU campus filled by students after the summer break

Life has come back to the DMU campus but it has also raised concerns among students as Covid-19 cases are on the rise again. 

Students are worried for their health being back in university with full classes and no online lessons.

One student, Will Drury, said: “I was going out almost every day during freshers and every year I end up with the same freshers’ flu. Most of my friends have the freshers’ flu which could be Covid-19 but no-one is getting tested because testing isn’t free any more.”

Another student, Katie, who did not want to be fully named, said: “I know people that went to class once last week healthy and are now stuck in bed struggling; they didn’t even go out for freshers so it’s already spreading in classrooms.’’

Based on the data from the coronavirus database, between the 27th of September and the 3rd of October 2022, 123 people went to university hospitals of Leicester infected with coronavirus. This is an 11.8 per cent increase compared to the 7 days before. There were 130 patients in hospitals in Leicester with Covid-19 on the 5th of October 2022. 

Wearing face masks is optional but should help with slowing down the spread of Covid-19 and freshers’ flu during the flu season.

Active Oadby and Wigston has post-Covid vision to improve community wellbeing with physical activities 

By Lara Alsaid

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on how important social life and exercise are for people´s physical and mental health, according to an activities group in Leicester. 

Active Oadby and Wigston is an organisation that aims to deliver programmes to get residents within the borough to improve their health and wellbeing. 

Ross Levy, Community Health and Improvement Officer for Active Oadby and Wigston, said: “A group walk for an hour around the park with the sun shining, reduces isolation and improves mental and physical wellbeing. It is fantastic to have that opportunity.” 

Group walks are one of their programmes

Seven district councils in Leicester have similar teams to Active Oadby and Wigston and share the same inspiration to increase activity for their residents.  

The organisation has a close partnership with the NHS (National Health Service) and operates a lot on the module of social prescribing, which is basically a prescription by medical practitioners to someone to do an activity. 

Mr Levy continued: “It is brilliant for people in our programme that have been referred because of low mood or bereavement etc.”  

The group walk is a growing concept within the organisation that has a powerful sense of community and commitment.  

Mr Levy added: “It is lovely how something as accessible as walking can have such a significant difference to people’s lives who participate.” 

After the Covid isolation, people have been excited to get back out and enjoy gentle exercise and have a chat with people from different walks of life. 

Mr Levy believes people have learned from Covid isolation and social exclusion that it is important to raise awareness of this organisation and for people to know their opportunities and what is available to them in their communities. 

Within the programme, participants have a close community with WhatsApp group chats where they inspire and cheer each other on.  

Most of Active Oadby and Wigston’s programmes are free of charge or incredibly low cost.  

Most activities have an age limit of 18 but they do more targeted activities for families, for example during February half term 2022 they organised family activity days in some of the social housing properties within the borough. 

There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer for students as well. The organisation is always looking for volunteers and urged students across De Montfort University (DMU) to contact Active Oadby and Wigston. 

For more information visit its website https://www.activeoadbywigston.org.uk 

Leicester residents urged to get booster jab amid Omicron fears

By Thomas Carter

Fear has gripped the nation this week amid concerns of a new Covid-19 variant that could bring tighter restrictions leading up to Christmas.

Coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 (now labelled Omicron) was recently discovered by South African scientists, with 22 cases already confirmed in the UK.

As a result, the government has made the third ‘booster’ Covid-19 vaccine available for all adults, in the hope it will lead to a larger percentage of the country to be protected against the latest variant.

Similarly to the initial vaccine rollout, adults will become eligible for their booster jab in grouped age bands, with the gap between vaccinations being reduced from six months to three.

Philippa Blakeley, 21, an International Relations MA student at De Montfort University, said: “I will be having a booster jab as soon as I am able to.

“For me personally, getting a booster jab is the best way to keep any form of normality within the country, enabling us to see friends and family.

“Speaking as someone who is enjoying the return to ‘more like normal’, my mental health could not cope with another lockdown. 

“Similarly, I think the wider impacts of the lockdowns on people’s mental health and also on their education is something we have failed to fully try and understand throughout the course of the pandemic.”

KEEPING TRACK: Leicester residents are continually urged to get tested for Covid-19

As with all Covid-19 variants, there is the danger of mutation that results in a strain evading the current vaccines, which would pose major problems in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

In addition to making the booster jab more widely available, the government has reintroduced mandatory face covering rules for indoor settings including retail shops, secondary schools and on public transport.

Philippa continued: “I definitely feel safer when wearing a face mask, and while numbers are high, or with the risk of the new variant, I am more than happy to wear one if it means I am able to continue doing the things I enjoy.”

As of Sunday (NOV28), vaccine uptake records show that 89 per cent of the population have received their first dose, 81 per cent have received their second dose, and 31 per cent have had the third booster jab.

Latest government data also shows that in the last 24 hours the UK recorded 39,716 positive cases and 159 deaths (statistics correct as of NOV30).

For advice on the new Omicron variant and to book a vaccination visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Leicester students encouraged to get coronavirus vaccine at pop-up clinics

by Abigail Beresford

People across Leicestershire are being encouraged to have the coronavirus vaccine, to protect them from the virus, as cases rise again across the county.

More than 1,300 cases were recorded in Leicester, the week commencing November 8, and 185 positive cases recorded on November 15.

There are worries in the community that cases are set to further rise again in December, with events occurring during the run up to Christmas.

Pop-up vaccination centres are being put in place across the county, to provide residents a place in which they can have easy access to the vaccine and contribute towards the fight against coronavirus.

Residents are able to receive their first dose, second dose and booster of the vaccine at the drop-in centres.

Last week, DMU students and staff were encouraged to attend a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centre that was being held at the King Power Stadium.

The pop-up centre at the stadium ran from November 12-14, to give people time to make the decision to come down and visit. 

The stadium had queues of people waiting to receive either their first, second, or booster vaccine to protect themselves from the virus.

“I’m petrified of needles, but I knew that I needed to have the vaccine to make myself feel a bit safer as the cases are rising and to protect those around me,” said Charlie Atkinson, a third-year Textiles student at De Montfort University.

“After receiving my second dose, it felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders.”

Over 68 per cent of the UK population are now fully vaccinated, with 110 million doses having been administered.

“There’s a lot of fake news that was surrounding the vaccine, which really made me worry. However, after speaking with a GP I felt much more reassured about it,” said Mitchell Ryan, a second-year Photography student at De Montfort University.

To find out details about other pop-up clinics taking place across Leicestershire, visit https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine/.

Data provided by Leicester City Council – Graph designed by Abigail Beresford