Empty stalls suffer crisis at local Leicester market in post lockdown

by Azim Saiyed

Local market trade is on the decline post-lockdown due to retiring and self-isolating traders in the Leicester market.  

 A high number of stalls can be seen empty and abandoned following the end of lockdown due to self-isolating traders which some fear is portraying the market’s image as a dying institution.

Paul Abbot, 56, a grocer with 34 years of experience in the trade, said: “If it stays like this, it’s going to hurt us.”

The increasing number of corner shops and the dominance of large supermarket chains are also preventing the local market of Leicester from thriving.

A high number of stall can be seen empty and market is also unpopulated

 Mr Abbott, also known as Bud, described it as the “heartbeat of Leicester” but said it is no longer the same as before. 

“Not only the fruit and vegetable trade stalls have been hit by this adversity but the dry goods stalls such as clothing and toys have been badly affected,” said Mr Abbott. 

He believes the availability of the lockdown business grants from the government have resulted in many new local businesses opening which has impacted the market stalls negatively. 

The good fortune of home-grown produce has meant that there have been no consequences of a lack of foreign export trade especially in the current crisis of HGV driver shortages. 

“Trade is slower towards the winter,” said Mr Abbott. The market traders will have to prepare themselves to face this hardship. The issue is magnified with the additional problem of language barriers between traders and customers who come from ethnic minority customers. 

56 years-old Paul Abbott applying his speciality skills in the market trade.

Mr Abbott’s busy work schedule consists of buying and collecting produce from Leicester’s wholesale market in the morning at 4am, then tirelessly selling the produce throughout the day at the local market. 

Bud’s stall contains a variety of produce, more specifically a maximum of up to 70 different types of produce. 

Originally, he started with selling fruit but then due to customer demand also started to sell vegetables as well. 

Mr Abbott said: “We can only pray for better times”, as lockdown has ended but the fight against covid-19 is still very much alive which means the market trade remains unstable and un-secure. 

VIDEO: Pakistani cultural ball to be held in Leicester

By Emily Barker

A cultural ball is set to be held in Leicester at the end of March.

De Montfort University’s (DMU) Pakistani Society will be holding a ball called Zindagi, at The Platinum Suite in Cobden Street, just off Humberstone Road, on Thursday, March 28.

Zain Afzal, 22, is studying a Graduate Degree in Law, after graduating from a Politics degree at DMU. He is also the Health and Safety Officer for the Pakistani Society.

Zain said: “This event is open to anyone, society member or not. We are really keen to make this a public event.

“We are having live music and hosting a three-course meal, consisting of traditional Pakistani delicacy; tandoori chicken, samosas, biryani and also gulab jamun, which is a dessert. Tea will also be served.”

DMU’s Pakistani Society at their Qawwali Night in February (SOURCE: Zain Afzal)

The event will be ticketed at £35 for standard tickets and £45 for VIP, with the dress code being traditional Asian dress or formal clothing.

It will be promoted on the society’s social media pages and around campus, with people handing leaflets and posters out every day to students, staff and the public.

The society is also looking to advertise with and get sponsorship from Leicester businesses.

Zain continued: “We wanted to keep the now-annual tradition going, and this will be our third event.

“The past two years have been a major success and we want this event to be the same.

“In 2017, I think we had around 300 people attend, and then last year it was more like 500 or 600 people.

“We want to create a memorable night where people can socialise and make new friends.

“During Ramadan, the society are also helping out with the prayer room on campus, for Iftar (the evening meal after sunset), as 300 people are expected to attend.”

De Montfort University aims to give free reusable cups to students

 

The Vijay Patel building epitomises DMU’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

By Conor de Smith

De Montfort University is aiming to give students a free, sustainable cup to reduce the amount of plastic used on campus.

The Leicester-based university said it already recycles 90 per cent of its waste and is intending to eliminate the use of plastic bottles in its food outlets.

DMU wishes to distribute 25,000 reusable coffee cups at the start of the next academic year at an estimated cost of between £70,000 and £80,000.

Students will be given 22,000 of these cups with the other 3,000 going to staff. Using them will result in a 20p reduction in the cost of hot drinks at all restaurants and coffee outlets on campus.

Discussions with catering partner Chartwells are ongoing to ensure these cups are also on sale for around £3 or £4 and that crockery alternatives will be available if people forget their cups.

The university is also exploring the possibility of importing hygienic water fountains from Japan to use across campus to allow students to fill containers or simply have a drink.

A formal announcement regarding the initiative, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, is expected to take place on 6 June at a United Nations conference in New York.

Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard said: “We have to start somewhere and I just feel that it’s incumbent now on any individual who is concerned about the future of our planet to make some small change which is cognising with some of the things we’re doing.

“It’s not too late but it’s getting pretty late. How will this reduce the excessive figure of disposable plastics? In a very small way but I think every action counts.”

An estimated total of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK and MPs recently called for a 25p tax on every one used.

Departments faculty team first to take trophy home in DMU competition

By Muhsin Cabdi

Six faculties faced off in a series of contests in the first week of De Montfort University’s Faculty Championship.

The contest, which is taking place over the course of the year, involves a series of events where the teams go head-to-head for the trophy, with the team that held it for the longest time being crowned Faculty Champions.

The teams are open to all students, with the departments team consisting of staff and DMU sports society members.

The first event was held last week, with the Departments faculty becoming the first team to take the trophy home.

Mollie Footitt, the Students’ Union’s deputy president of education took part in the event last week as a member of the departments team.

She said: “There were eight or nine different events that night. There was a quiz, a hungry hippos game and an eating contest.”

Last week’s events also featured a dodgeball contest between the faculties.

Derrick Mensah, the DMU student union’s vice president of activities also said: “Next week there is going to be a talent show.”

Mollie also said: “We won the last round. I think DMU Sport has the trophy, I think it’s in their office.”

Derrick said that he was still waiting on the final score.

Departments won against the faculties of health and life sciences, business and law, technology, arts and humanities and educational partners to be the first team to claim the trophy.

In the coming weeks, the other teams will have the chance to win the trophy back from them in other weekly contests.

Orionid meteor shower to light up Leicester skies

By Conor de Smith.

The Orionid meteor shower is set to light up the skies above Leicestershire this weekend.

The shower is an annual event that occurs due to debris from the famous Halley’s Comet hitting Earth’s atmosphere.

As many as 30 meteors per hour are expected to be on view and this weekend – notably Sunday at 3am BST – is prime time for star gazers.

The showers will continue until 7 November and are seen best when away from light pollution.

Heavy rain is forecast for Leicester this weekend which might obstruct the views of the falling meteorites.

Halley’s Comet is the only comet visible to the people of Earth without the need for telescopes or binoculars, and comes into view once every 75 years.

As it travels throughout the solar system, the Sun hits it and particles subsequently fall away. These are what will be seen hurtling towards our planet at speeds of 148,000mph.

There is no need to rush to the observatory at the University of Leicester, though, with Astronomer Tom Kerss adamant that eyes will be the only tool the public will need.

“There’s no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope,” he said. “Your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors.

“So, relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded.”