My K Teas: The new, different shop in Sawbridgeworth town centre

By Ben Sanderson

An exciting iced tea with a Taiwanese twist has hit Sawbridgeworth after the opening of a new store, My K Teas, serving an international brand, Bubbletea.

Kate Little, 40, manages the store, and described what Bubbletea iced teas are formed of.

Entrepreneurial: Kate Little in her tea shop

“It’s made of tapioca balls, which are like sugar caramel, to make a milky iced tea.

“It’s evolved now so there are fruity teas as well as the original milky tea.

“I used to live in Malaysia, and came back here during lockdown.

“I just knew it was really popular there, because you’d get as many Bubbletea shops as coffee shops, so I started this place.”

My K Tea’s opened up just after the national lockdown enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking of the hardships that the rules made for her, Ms Little said “It was really difficult to work out what we were allowed to do, in terms of masks and COVID rules, which kept changing.

“As my core market are teenagers, this was even harder, as they often flouted the rules.

“Several times, they gathered outside drinking their teas, which the older residents complained about.”

Charming: K Teas shop

Ms Little, who lives in London Road, Sawbridgeworth, wanted to do something different with her shop so that it stood out from the crowd, as there is much competition in the town.

“About the time I opened up, there were other coffee shops opening, like the Workshop and CJ’s.

“Using the Bubbletea allowed me to stand out from the crowd.

“Business is good, and the Sawbridgeworth coffee shop market is growing.

“I expect business will slow down now we are coming into winter.

“Summer was busy but we will struggle too, as not so many people will be drinking iced tea in the cold weather.”

Tempting: Lots on offer

One thing Ms Little is pleased about, though, is that more exciting stores have given a rebirth to the high street in Sawbridgeworth.

“My parents used to run an antiques store, and there were a lot of them in town at the time.

“The core market for antique dealers is other antique dealers and auctions, so it’s hard to get interest from the general public.

“Back when they were running their store, the high street was dead.

“It’s a lot busier now, and stores like {My K Teas] are getting more young people onto the high street.

“The future looks bright for our high street.”

Anti-slavery campaign gets messages out on streets of Leicester

By Ben Stevens

A charity in Leicester has been out and about today(TUE,OCT19) raising awareness of the challenges relating to modern slavery.

Hope for Justice, one of Britain’s leading charities fighting the battle against modern slavery, has a stall set up in the city centre, educating and informing people about signs of modern slavery and how everyone can help to stop it.

There was particular emphasis given on being alert to the signs of slavery in Leicester’s business sector, particularly the garment industry which has been subject to an investigation over the past 12 months.

Shaista Jakhura, a lead community engagement specialist at Hope for Justice, said: “Modern slavery is a big problem in Leicester and the rest of the UK.

“There were over 10,600 cases of modern slavery reported to us in Leicester over the past year but the actual figure is almost certainly much higher than that.

“It’s very important that people know the signs of modern slavery as spotting the signs early can make all the difference.”

Shaista is keen to educate younger people of the dangers of modern slavery in the city and will be speaking at De Montfort University tomorrow.

She said: “Many young people who are in need of money are often exploited in the workplace.

“I want to help younger people find employment that is safe and fair.”

Since being founded in the United Kingdom in 2008, Hope for Justice has expanded and operates in more than 30 locations across the world.

Despite the pandemic, the charity reached more than 190,000 people in 2020 with nearly 5,000 children and adults directly rescued from slavery and given subsequent aftercare.

For more information on Hope for Justice and the work they do visit https://hopeforjustice.org/.

Leicester Restaurant Week kicks off across the city as people flock into The Globe pub

By Jayden Whitworth

Brimming: Customers get a taste of what The Globe has to offer

Pubs and restaurants across Leicester are offering discounted food this week as part of the city’s new scheme ‘Leicester Restaurant Week’.

From yesterday (MON,OCT18) until Sunday, various restaurants across the city are taking part to encourage the people of Leicester to get out and enjoy what the city has to offer.

Thirty restaurants are involved with a selection of different cuisines on offer, ranging from Argentinian food at Sonrisa, Thai Tapas at The Giggling Squid or classic pub food at The Globe pub.

This week will also give these restaurants a fantastic opportunity to bounce back after a difficult couple of years.

Layla Sidat, general manager at The Globe, said: “It’s always good to have new customers try our food and experience The Globe’s unique atmosphere.

“After lockdown I’m sure there will be a bit of hesitation for diners returning back to the centre but hopefully this will encourage them to give us a go.

“Here at The Globe, we are offering two-course and three-course menus with a selection of dishes, some new and some old favourite dishes especially for Leicester Restaurant Week.

“With the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme such a hit nationally last year, it’s nice to be able to offer a deal ourselves and get people back enjoying hospitality.

“Today has been the first day and we have already had a full dining room ordering from the ‘Leicester Restaurant Week’ menu, so I am hoping this trend carries forward throughout the week and hoping for a cracking weekend too!”

To take advantage of any of the offers available over the course of the week, go to leicesterrestaurantweek.co.uk to claim a voucher to be used in one of the restaurants.

Victoria Park hosts Race for Life as fight against cancer continues

By Jayden Whitworth

Pleased: Annabel after finishing her 10k Race for Life

Race for Life arrived in Leicester on Sunday(OCT17) as hundreds of runners embarked on a 5k or 10k run in support of Cancer Research UK.

The 2020 Leicester Race for Life was cancelled as COVID-19 took a grip on the nation, but the event returned on Sunday for the first time since 2019.

Hundreds of runners took part across the day in Victoria Park as times were staggered to adhere to social distancing measures.

Over £50,000 was raised amongst the participants with each runner fundraising prior to the event on Sunday.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against cancer has slightly wavered and these events are important to ensure the battle is not lost.

Annabel Forman, 18, who completed the 10k run in 1 hour and 13 minutes, said: “I really enjoyed the race.

“It was really encouraging being around people with the same goal of raising money for cancer research.

“Events like these are crucial to help fund charities and help spread awareness around signs of cancer.

At last! The home straight at the Race for Life on Sunday.

“It brings hope to all those affected directly or through family and friends that the fight isn’t lost and understanding you are not alone.

“It’s brilliant to have these events once again after the pandemic.

“It felt very safe and seeing on the news how much the pandemic negatively impacted charities it was great to see everyone coming together and raising some money.”

Annabel was running the race in memory of her Nana, who died from cancer, and raised £165 in the process. 

To donate to Cancer Research UK you can go to this website www.cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/donate or alternatively phone 0300 123 0770.

New Leicestershire County Councillor ready to serve the Melton community

By Luke Williamson

Mark Frisby said he will be “fighting the corner of everyone” after he was elected to the Leicestershire County Council for the Melton West Ward.

Conservative Mr Frisby claimed victory with 53.3 percent of the vote, which was 30 percent more than the closest challenger, Labour’s Phillip Allnatt, and was one of 42 victories in the County last Thursday [MAY06].

He said: “I haven’t always had the life ambition of getting into politics, but I have always wanted to serve my community.

The new Melton West representative on the Leicestershire County Council, Mark Frisby. PICTURE: Mark Frisby.

“I don’t have ambitions of getting to Westminster, I am just giving a voice to the people of Melton and making sure we do not get overlooked like most market towns do.

Mr Frisby is a careers guidance specialist, providing training to young people and adults in Melton and decided to enter the world of local politics in 2019, standing as an independent in the Melton Borough Council elections.

“I lost in the Melton Borough Council election by just three votes last time as an independent, but this time was very different,” he said.

“I am not from the typical Tory privilege, I am just a boy from the estate and I want people to come and have a chat with me.

“No issue is too small for me to say ‘I don’t care about that’ and no issue is too big for me to disregard without doing my best at it first.

“Come and speak to me, the kettle is always on – not just as a councillor but as a friend too.”

Several of Mr Frisby’s policies stem from his line of work, including a desire to create more opportunities for young people to remain in the town.

He said: “Melton is a sleeping giant of a town and we need to get the people support that the bigger cities in the area are getting.

“I want us to bring some bigger businesses to Melton and Leicestershire, to make sure our talented young people don’t just leave to go off to university and don’t come back.

“I want people to want to continue their family lines in the town and they need the opportunities here for them to stay.

Mr Frisby wants to see another one or two doctors’ surgeries opening in the town, as there is only one to cover the whole of Melton at the minute.

A large part of the Conservative manifesto for the Leicestershire County Council elections was ‘building a greener future’ and that is something Mr Frisby would also like to achieve in the town.

He added: “Melton has a rich rural food heritage but we wrap it in so much plastic.

“I want Melton to be a trailblazer in plastic-free local produce, which hopefully will also create more jobs in our area.

“Tree planting and additional green space is also really high on my agenda and I have spoken to our Member of Parliament already about that.”

One challenge facing Mr Frisby is proving to the people he is representing that he is the best man for the job, and he says he will not stop trying his hardest for the people of Melton over the next four years.

He said: “If I am taking even a penny of their council tax, I want to give them a pound of value in return.

“People went out on a miserable Thursday and gave me their vote, which meant a lot.

“People tend to feel that they don’t have access to their councillors, but I am 100 per cent committed to bridging the gap between the council and the constituent,” he said.