Leicester nightclub and venue receives funding after being closed for months during COVID-19 lockdown

by Molly Kerridge

A local Leicestershire music venue was granted money from the Government as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund last week, meaning it can hopefully open its doors again in 2021.

The front entrance of The Shed in Yeoman Street, which has been closed for months.

Elisabeth Carley-Leonard, venue owner at The Shed in Yeoman Street, applied for the fund after struggling to pay staff and bills to keep the music venue and nightclub running during the lockdown months this year.

Watch the full video interview here:

She said: “Getting the Cultural Recovery Fund has been such a huge, huge relief for me.

“Everything, absolutely everything was weighing on this application, I think we were down to the last 50 quid in our bank account, and I still had staff and bills to pay.”

The Cultural Recovery Fund is a £1.57 billion sum that has been funded through the Government and Arts Council England to help music venues, from small grass root locations such as The Shed, to venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

Before the application was accepted, Elisabeth decided to sell old furniture, clothes and other items from the club to make some extra money to help her and her family survive until the venue could safely open again.

She continued: “You had to go through the most convoluted application process ever, so I spent a week literally sobbing at my computer because I was so stressed.

“I found out last week that we’d finally got it, which meant everything. We originally applied for 65,000 and was awarded 50,000 which is still a huge amount of money, which means we can safely survive the winter, and be able to open in the spring next year.”

During the application process, Elisabeth had to gather comments from people explaining why they should get the funding for the venue. She put out a post on Facebook, which accumulated a huge amount of comments from regulars and people in the community.

She said: “I thought we’d get maybe 20 or 30 comments, but we got over 200 comments from people saying how much this place means to them.

“It’s not just a place where you go and see your mates’ band anymore, it’s a second home to some people, it’s so much more than four walls and a PA.”

People have also offered to work for free behind the bar, or on the sound system when the venue opens again, to make the process easier.

Elisabeth said: “This place means so much to so many people, and yes, this year has been shitty, yes, this virus is an asshole but what it has given me is a new found love, respect and admiration for this venue and the people who come. It hardly seems like a business anymore, it’s my whole heart.”

While The Shed stays closed currently due to current Coronavirus restrictions, Elisabeth remains hopeful that they will be able to open safely in the spring next year.

Video: Loughborough uni student excels in Bhangra Dancing

Samraj Singh showcasing his Bhangra dancing in India

by Khrista Davis

Loughborough University student Samraj Singh is not like any ordinary 18-year-old, alongside studying Chemistry he began Bhangra dancing which has taken him to new heights.

Bhangra is a spirited, folk dance and music form that originated from Punjab in India and as time has gone on, the Bhangra has been used in Punjabi weddings or festivals.

Samraj managed to find friends who are also Sikh and Punjabi at a predominantly white University. He then joined the Loughborough Bhangra society at a fresher’s fair in September.  

Bhangra started out as a fun hobby for Samraj but he didn’t know he would progress so much in it.

Samraj said: “I taught a class recently and it was so much fun to teach people Bhangra so they can experience the fun feeling and adrenaline that we all have when we dance Bhangra.

“I have been Bhangra dancing since the day I was born, it was common in my culture and in my household, everyone was aware of it also.

“I have never learnt Bhangra, I’ve just seen my family members dancing and copied, this is also the same with Punjabi songs as well. I just fell in love with it and the feeling hasn’t left me since.”

After excelling far in Bhangra dancing in such a short space of time, he was asked to join them in competing next year.

He added: “I’m thinking to compete next year in February at one of the most famous Bhangra competitions in the UK where different universities compete against each other and I’ll be aiming to start training very soon.”

Samraj is excited for his future in his team.

To join or if you are just interested to see, you can follow their Instagram page to see more of Loughborough Bhangra Society https://instagram.com/lborobhangrasoc?igshid=p9i767hdqgc0 .

Leicester City 4-0 Aston Villa: Emphatic

By Ben Sanderson

Video courtesy of Mark Charles: Jamie Vardy scores a penalty to make it 2-0

It took the worst defence in the league for Leicester City to finally break through, but the Foxes are back among the goals.

Aston Villa, the team ranked bottom of the league for goals conceded, shots faced and defensive errors, were thumped 4-0 at the King Power Stadium.

Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy, who ended a 9-game goal drought tonight, bagged a brace each as the Foxes secured their first league win since January.

Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Leicester prepare to take a throw-in
Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Caglar Soyuncu waiting for the pressue he relishes

They should have made it even more too, as the first half saw fabulous chances for City wasted.

In the tenth minute, Jonny Evans should have scored as he took advantage of Villa’s poor man-marking to run into the near post, but he headed straight at Pepe Reina, who parried away.

Kelechi Iheanacho once again missed a glaring chance, heading wide from a Ricardo Pereira cross when all he had to do was guide it in a little.

An error from Reina eventually allowed the Foxes to get an opener, as the Spaniard came off his line too early and was made light work of by Barnes as he rounded the ‘keeper to finish.

Photo courtesy of Matk Charles: Caglar Soyuncu passes out from the back
Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Kasper Schmeichel dusts himself up after dealing with Aston Villa

Vardy was substituted on in the 59th minute, and four minutes later he was on the scoresheet.

Tyrone Mings dived to head away a Barnes cross which catastrophically hit his shoulder and referee Michael Oliver had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Vardy shot low into the right-hand side of the goal, sending Reina the wrong way, to end a long goal drought and reclaim his place at the top of the Premier League’s scoring charts.

Vardy made it three, dribbling in along the left side of the pitch and having a cross blocked by Frédéric Guilbert, before slotting home low inside the near post.

A lovely Leicester move completed the rout, as James Maddison’s pass to Youri Tielemans was fed through by the Belgian to Marc Albrighton, whose cross made it to Barnes, who chipped in to the middle of the goal as Reina dived low.

Maddison shot narrowly over from long range and Albrighton did the same from closer in as he missed the opportunity to make it five against his former club.

Leicester were in control of most of the game as they finally won a game and made the most of their chances after a couple of early errors.

The main worry for the Foxes is going to be keeping up this form, and hoping that Vardy can stay on form like he was in tonight.

Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Leicester get ready to kick off the match

Video: DMU’s pancake-flipping champion talks advice and glory – and winning drunk!

By Ben Sanderson

De Montfort University’s Students’ Union will host its annual Injunction Pancake Toss Competition tomorrow(WedFEB19).

It kicks off at 11pm and will take place on the main stage in the Function Room inside the Students’ Union Building and has attracted a lot of interest on social media.

Last year’s winner, Joseph Collins, talked of his victory: “I won by 10 pancakes!

“There were 2 other people and it took place on the stage of the Function Room.

“I won by ten pancakes, because I built up a bit of rhythm after being drunk at first, and then got into it!”

Joseph Collins

He said that being drunk during the competition was actually a blessing in disguise, despite the fact that he dropped his pancake at the start of the contest.

“I was quite drunk on stage, which helped me relax, and I have good hand-eye co-ordination, so that helped too.

“You need to go on stage a bit drunk, so you’re not worried about what everyone else is thinking, get rid and relax the nerves a little, and then if you drop it, just shake it off and just try and build a bit of rhythm, just keep going from there.”

The competition was part of four which Joseph and his housemate won over the course of last year: “The first one was a hot dog eating [contest] and I have a big mouth so I took really big bites.

“My flatmate won a spicy wings contest, which is amazing because he doesn’t like spicy food, but he was drunk so he went for it!

“The third one was the pancake-flipping.

“Then my mate won a hot dog eating contest and he’s got a big mouth too so he used that.”

He regrets not eating his pancake, though: “I wish I did eat the pancake, but no, I threw it into the crowd! I just got a bit excited.”

Joseph says he may still take part in this year’s competition to defend his title, but does not know.

Joseph being congratulated
Joseph flipping a pancake
Joseph working hard on the pancakes

Video: Students unhappy about planned strike action take a stand

By George Boyd

Staff from 74 academic institutions across England and Wales are set to go on 14 days of strikes over equal pay and working conditions.

De Montfort University, Leicester 

The strikes, organised by The University and College Union (UCC) begin on Thursday (FEB20) and will continue over a set schedule that has been released to the public, with the last date being March 17.

There has been an uproar from students whose studies are being impacted, with some petitioning to claim back the tuition costs for the period affected.

DMU student Olivia Wallace, 19, stated: “I don’t think the strikes are impacting my course, but I have friends who are being affected and I think that people like him should get their money back.

“This is exam period, and the strikes are just adding extra stress to already stressed out students.”

Numerous emails have been sent out to students within the institutions affected, one email from De Montfort University stating: “We would like to reassure you we are working hard to avoid or minimise disruptions to your studies as much as possible.”

But some say it’s still not enough.

Olivia added: “I know that uni tutors are already on a fair amount of money and in terms of equal pay, everyone should get the same.”