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 https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/events/events-calendar/2021/march/from-microbiology-to-computing-and-everything-in-between-a-personal-journey.aspx

To see the full calendar for this ten-day event, please go to https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/events/events-calendar/events-calendar.aspx?eventkeywords=festival+of+teaching

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: www.babybasics.co.uk

Debates to be held over Simon De Montfort’s name in relation to DMU

By Kira Gibson

De Montfort University is holding an online debate regarding the historical context of Simon De Montfort in relation to the university. 

Students have campaigned to get the name of the university changed after it was highlighted that Simon De Montfort, the university’s namesake, had expelled the small Jewish community from Leicester in 1231. 

The campaign was started by De Montfort University Students’ Union (DSU) towards the end of 2020. 

The first event to discuss this will be on March 24 at 2-3pm for students and staff who identify as Jewish. 

The second will take place a day later on March 25 between 5pm and 6.30pm, with DMU stating that this discussion will be the first of many. 

The DMU website says: “The debate panel will consist of a representative of DSU alongside three historians who specialise in heritage, British Jewry and Leicester, in order to provide a range of perspectives and opinions. Each panel member will be given 10 minutes to present their views, followed by questions from staff and students.”

The debate will consist of three topics: the historical context of Simon De Montfort, whether historical context matters in the pursuit for social justice and what the appropriate path is for tackling historical wrongs. 

To book your place onto these events, please email eventsoffice@dmu.ac.uk and you will receive a link to join this event 24 hours prior, so be sure to keep an eye on your email as to not miss out on these debates. 

Harborough Hygiene Bank delivers 40 care packages for struggling mums on Mother’s Day

By Thomas Carter

Volunteers at Leicestershire charity the Harborough Hygiene Bank [part of the national organisation] delivered luxury care packages to 40 mums in a Mother’s Day campaign over the last month.

The charity, which works to provide families who suffer from hygiene poverty with essential health items, ran a donation drive to give struggling mothers luxury items including make-up and hair care products.

Judy Rowley, the co-ordinator for the Harborough Hygiene Bank, said: “The aim of the project is to support people who fall into hygiene poverty, perhaps because they are in low paid irregular work, they lost their job and haven’t yet been able to find another, or they are caring for someone so are unable to work [among other reasons].

“What hygiene poverty means is that people are making choices between paying their rent, buying food for themselves (and their family), paying their utility bills, and paying to keep themselves clean and in good health.

“This leads to much anxiety and stress, as well as loss of self confidence, and may affect a person’s ability to get a job because they can’t afford to make themselves look smart and clean.

“Also it can lead to health issues, and this has become worse with the effects of Covid-19.”

Harborough Hygiene Bank volunteers deliver care packages to those in need.

Since opening in June 2020 the branch has helped many families, delivering 100 care item packages over the Christmas period and more than 70 product bags in the last three months, as well as having now set up an online Crowdfunder for donations.

“People have been extraordinarily generous over the nine months we have been established. Where Crowdfunder comes into this is because we have applied for an Aviva grant, which can give us the funds to enable us to expand and help even more people in need,” Judy added.

For more information and to donate to the great work done by the Harborough Hygiene Bank, go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tackling-hygiene-poverty-in-harborough or find @thbharborough across all social media platforms.

DMU hosts final Digital Open Day of 2020/21 year

By Thomas Carter

Last weekend (MAR13) marked the final Digital Open Day put on by the DMU team for the current academic year.

The event, taking place online just as all previous Open Days have for this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, featured a wide variety of virtual talks, hosted by DMU Student Ambassadors and staff members.

Topics covered in the online forums included information about life in Leicester, specific course-related sessions, and even virtual campus tours which consisted of student-made videos and interactive quizzes.

With national Covid-19 regulations being eased in the coming months, everyone at DMU is looking forward to welcoming prospective students on to campus in the near future.