You’ve got to admire their front! Winners revealed for the 2021 magazine cover prize

A stylish magazine which would shine on the nation’s newsstands is the winner of the 2021 cover prize for Journalism students at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Escape is an elegant health and lifestyle mag with a design to grace any coffee table. The one-off publication, which was created by DMU students Izzi Rix, Matthew Childs and Abbie Wilkinson as part of the final year of their Journalism degree, beat off strong challenges by rival titles to claim the annual award.

The prize was judged this year by Joe Brewin, deputy editor of the biggest football magazine in the world, FourFourTwo, who said he was “genuinely really impressed” with the standard of the magazines on the shortlist.

But it was Escape, with its serene cover image created by up-and-coming young illustrator Liv Phillips, that really caught his eye. He said: “I immediately know what I’m getting with it: the ‘health, style, culture, society’ line leaves you with no doubt about the kind of stories you’re going to be reading about, and they’ve managed to cleverly cram some 14 cover lines on there without it looking cramped.

“Chances are, anyone could pick that up off the shelf and be drawn to at least one story they’d be interested in reading. So it’s functional. But then there’s the newsstand appeal: each one of the mags up for judging did a good job of including a striking image on there (particularly MMXX, which I enjoyed), but I liked the cleanliness of Escape as a full package – it’d definitely stand out in a sea of other titles at Smiths, for example, which is so important.”

Escape editor Izzi said: “I’m delighted Escape won the cover prize! We really thought about every aspect of what makes a great cover and essentially designed what we would love to see on a newsstand. Liv created an illustration that perfectly encapsulates the magazine’s essence and we can’t thank her enough. It’s incredibly rewarding to have our time and effort acknowledged. Thank you!” 

The story on the announcement of the shortlist has become the best-read article in the history of Leicestershire Press. A just-for-fun poll asking readers to vote for their own favourite cover attracted more than 20,000 votes. Rivo magazine, created by Isatou Ndure, Rhys Bailey, Victoria Kingsley and Omar Qavi, was the clear victor there, with Horizon in second place.

Students on both the single- and joint-honours Journalism programme at DMU create magazines and websites as part of their final year studies. DMU Journalism graduates have gone on to work on magazine titles including Mixmag and Clash.

The team behind Escape will share the £200 prize.

Rapid testing home kits available to more people in Leicester

By Kira Gibson

Rapid home testing kids for Covid-19 are now available to those in universities and working professionals unable to get some through their work or university.

Previously the tests were mainly for school and college pupils and those living with them or in their social or childcare bubble.

The tests come in packs of seven and can be collected from a number of pharmacies, and from rapid testing sites.

Leicester’s rapid sites include the Adult Education Centre in Belvoir Street, the Fosse Neighbourhood Centre in Mantle Road and Coleman Neighbourhood Centre in Rowlatts Hill.

However, you can also collect tests from pharmacies such as Boots in Gallowtree Gate and in Highcross, as well as Pharmasite Ltd in London Road.

To find the nearest place to collect free tests, go to or to order them online, go to

People urged to help name Leicester’s eco-buses

By Kira Gibson

Leicester City Council has asked the public on its social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) to name the city’s new eco-friendly buses.

The council is urging people to suggest names for its 11 new carbon-emission electric buses by Friday (APR23).

These buses will be out on the streets from May 24 onwards, and each one will be bright green to advertise the more carbon-efficient way they will travel.

Each one will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy as a way to bring cleaner travel to Leicester.

Some of the suggestions already left as comments on the social media posts suggest names including The Lineker, The Attenborough, The Hawkins and Busie McBusface.

The buses are a part of the new plans to change the transport habits of Leicester in the coming year.

The entire scheme includes the development of new bus routes and the building of a new Park-and-Ride location in Beaumont Leys which will incorporate current services to the city centre from outerlying neighbourhoods and suburbs.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said: “Changing our transport habits is the kind of action we need to take to help address the urgent climate emergency we are all facing.”

To give your name ideas to Leicester City Council, please go to:

To find out more about the Beaumont Leys Park-and-Ride development plans, please go to:

Annual celebration of creative teaching at DMU continues until March 25

By Kira Gibson

A celebration of teaching began yesterday (MON,MAR15) and is expected to continue until March 25 in an online event highlighting the challenges of the changes brought because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

De Montfort University said it prides itself on providing quality teaching that ensures students can fulfil their goals and make a difference to their area.

This year, although different and challenging, has proven to be no different. 

Students have adjusted to a blended learning environment (both online and in person teaching styles) and this event showcases how students and staff have adjusted to this big change. 

Some events have already passed, with the launch event entitled ‘Teaching Excellence and Social Impact’ happening yesterday. 

However, there are plenty of other events happening throughout the week. 

The next event is from 6 to 7pm tonight (MAR16) entitled ‘From Microbiology to Computing, and everything in between: A personal journey.’ 

To find out more about this event, please go to

To see the full calendar for this ten-day event, please go to

Leicester charity Baby Basics raises more than £2,700 for families in need

By Thomas Carter

Volunteers at Baby Basics Leicester, a charity that supports families with young children, have raised more than £2,700 for their cause through an online donation drive.

The campaign, which has reached 92 per cent of its target amount on Crowdfunder, will help families by providing useful baby items such as cots and cleaning products.

Laura Hutchinson, a volunteer at Baby Basics Leicester, said: “We set up in the autumn of 2017 after realising that there wasn’t anything similar to help vulnerable families. 

“In the last three and a half years we have supported over 1,250 families with baby essentials and equipment they need. 

“We work with health professionals and other agencies who make a referral for the family they work with.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity has continued to receive donations, following safe protocols to ensure families in need can be reached.

Baby Basics Leicester volunteers celebrate reaching 1,000 referrals.

Last year the charity celebrated its 1,000th referral, and is now on the search for a bigger location to run its operations from.

Laura added: “It means a lot to our volunteers that we can try to help as many families as we can. It must be heartbreaking to be in a situation where you are not able to provide for your children.

“Many families we help are isolated and are in very difficult circumstances and knowing the children have clothes, toys and books as well as a safe place to sleep because we can help makes all the difference.

“Other donations (financial and second hand good quality baby items) are always essential to keep our charity going and we have had an amazing response over the last year.”

Baby Basics issues ‘wish lists’ every few weeks requesting items it is short on, and you can find out how to get involved here: