Leicester’s ‘Stabby’ park leaves students fearing for their safety

By Daniel Bellamy

Leicester students are fearing for their safety after sharing concerns over lighting around a popular park route through Bede Park.

An image of the green space Bede Park
An overview look on the popular open green space, Bede Park located in Westcotes

The calls for lighting improvements followed a previous initiative shared by the city council in which they aimed to turn Leicester street lights ‘greener’ by using LED alternatives.

Bede Park is the route for many students to and from campus and, more importantly, the route for students to social events at night.

Students and many users of the park nicknamed the space ‘Stabby’ Park referring to knife crimes and other anti-social behaviour that occurs across the park typically when darkness overcasts the area.

On several occasions, including September 24 last year, police cars were parked at the end and sides of the park, not only this, on a couple of mornings police have been spotted at the entrance of the park near a weapon detector gate.

Police were seen around these gates speaking to members of the public in a general manner.

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: “The lighting provided is in line with permitted lighting levels for public green spaces to ensure a compromise is met between user safety and wildlife/biodiversity on the site, in particular minimal impact on bats.

‘”The site is regularly patrolled by parks wardens. Where there are repeat criminal offences recorded, this creates a profile with local police who then align police patrols in order of need, public safety.”

According to Leicestershire Police crime map data there were 17 reported incidents in September last year when students began arriving, which was a high number for that year.

One student said: “I feel anxious any time my friends ask me out, knowing I have to cross the park as my way to get there.”

The park is set to have CCTV surveillance installed in the future, with additional monitoring making it a safer place.

The city council spokesperson added: “In summary, safety in any site is dependent upon both the common sense informed decisions made by users, together with the provisions and maintenance incorporated into the location. Amalgamated, they contribute to designing out crime and anti-social behaviour wherever reasonably possible within the resources available.”

DMU and UoL teams on countdown to Varsity 2022 contests

By Rian Fearnehough

The sports teams of De Montfort University (DMU) are preparing themselves for Varsity for the first time in two years after Covid cancellations caused a hiatus.  

Varsity will feature 47 fixtures between the sports teams of DMU and the University of Leicester (UoL) as well a celebration event, allowing performance-based societies such as bhangra and dance to be involved in the event.

Varsity preview

Varsity is a full week of sport beginning on Tuesday(MARCH22) and finishing on Tuesday, March 29, and is a real celebration of university sport, allowing students to compete in front of their peers.

Fiona Dick, Head of Sport at DMU, said: “Discussions for Varsity start in September as both DMU and UoL realign the vision and values of what Varsity is.” 

Varsity requires a lot of planning to ensure the event works for everyone as it needs to be a celebration of the sports teams and allow them to show off the work they have put in across the year. 

Fiona added: “Varsity provides a culmination of endeavours and allows students to experience playing with bigger crowds.

“The teams are a mixture of nervous and excited but are ready to play and want to win.”

The extra support could help DMU win Varsity overall for the first time which would help promote the sporting opportunities available at the university. As well as an overall trophy, every fixture will also be for a trophy, giving every team something to play for.

DMU is providing transport for students to attend fixtures to ensure that the fixtures have the biggest crowds possible to make some great memories for the students involved. 

To get updates on when the fixtures are taking place, follow DMU sport on Instagram or check out the varsity page https://www.dmu.ac.uk/current-students/sport/varsity/index.aspx.

Leicester’s New Work Festival returns to Curve this weekend

By Jayden Whitworth

RETRO: Teddy Hinde (left) and Barry O’Reilly pictured performing in ‘Is He Musical’. Photo credit: Ana Webb-Sanchez

Emerging actors, dancers, musicians and the cream of the Midlands’ creative artists will be converging on Leicester’s annual New Work Festival at the Curve Theatre this weekend. 

The festival begins on Thursday(MARCH10) with Carol Leeming’s The Dreadful Dance of Ms Iniquity and closes on Sunday with Dance Dhamaka returning after a two-year absence. 

More than 25 artists and arts organisations are set to showcase their talents over the course of the four-day festival.

The line-up will bring a variety of different performances, including plays, music, dance, and readings. 

The festival will bring the Notnow Collective’s Pepper and Honey (March 10) to the Curve alongside Nicole Acquah’s Sankofa (March 12) and Katie Arnstein’s highly acclaimed Sticky Door (March 12), among others.

‘Is He Musical?’ is a new musical comedy that is loosely inspired by real stories of LGBTQ+ people from 1930s London and is set to hit the Curve this Friday.

Jude Taylor, composer, lyricist, and writer of ‘Is He Musical?’, said: “We’ve had three exciting opportunities to present the show in different forms over the past month – digitally as a live-stream, in person in a full production and then in person again in London as a semi-staged concert. 

“It’s been great to bring this story to a range of audiences both locally and in London, and to highlight this often-neglected era of LGBTQ+ history. 

“Despite a few challenges (including Storm Eunice, of course), we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved, and the team have been fantastic to work with.”

With COVID restrictions in place for most of the last two years, Curve has been unable to present Leicester’s annual New Work Festival. 

Jude said: “It’s been fantastic to be back in front of live audiences once more.

“After the uncertainty, anxiety and many overwhelming challenges presented to us all in the last few years, there’s something wonderful about the magical way in which the experience of live theatre can unite us and bring so much joy to people.”

For ticket details visit: https://www.curveonline.co.uk

Leicestershire firefighters climb mountain for charity

By Kira Gibson

Firefighters from the Kibworth fire station in Leicestershire climbed the second highest peak in the United Kingdom last Friday(OCT8) for charity.

The fire station raised money for The Fire Fighters Charity and ‘The Well’ by climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales.

The Well works by running food banks, charity shops, cafés and more in and around Kibworth, whereas The Fire Fighters Charity works to support firefighters and their families with mental or physical help should they need it.

The fundraising target was £1,085 and the charity walk managed to raise almost triple – with the end total amounting to £3,271.06.

Fundraising is still open towards the walk that has been completed, and this is open until October 31. To contribute towards this charity walk please go to https://www.peoplesfundraising.com/fundraising/MountSnowdonCharityWalk

Half-term hell forecast as work starts on busy Leicester roads

By Luke Williamson.

Work will begin on two of Leicester’s busiest roads during next week’s October half term.

Stoughton Road will be fully closed from the junction on London Road to the junction at Kingsway Road, while Uppingham Road will see work in the section between Coleman Road and Overton Road with a one-way system introduced from this Saturday(OCT16).

The work on the former will be carried out in stages, aiming to minimise the impact the local residents and businesses will face says Leicester City Council.

Similarly, on the less busy Lamborne Road, Knighton, there are works to replace concrete sections that have broken over the year – but this is set to last five weeks.

It has been timed to coincide with the school holidays due to fewer cars on the road, leading to less disruption.

Affected residents will be informed of the work in advance.