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Editor’sComment Welcome to Issue 3 of Soar Community magazine. After a busy summer for the Community Media Hub covering the Special Olympics and broadcasting on Panj Pani radio, we turn our attention to several exciting events. We have received great comments from people who enjoyed what the community media hub did during the Special Olympics. Thank you to all the Citizens Reporters involved. • Older Persons’ Month takes place during September. 150 events are taking place with Senior Eye, the news agency, covering older persons’ issues and playing a lead role in the coverage. • The Community Media Awards will take place November 10th at the Central Lending Library. The eight news agencies managed by Citizens’ Eye Community News Agency will present awards to those involved in community media. • Amplified Leicester is a new DMU project taking place, which involves individuals receiving training in social networking that promotes community cooperation. • The front cover has the winning photo from our digital photography competition. Congratulations to Constance Pringle. Thank you to those involved, photos will be on display in the Central Lending Library throughout September.

TheContents 04 Peter Soulsby MP 05 HATNEWS 06 Special Olympics 07 Libraries 08 Haymarket Youth08 08 Club 09 Children’s Council 10 Community Media 10 Hub Online 10 1 11 Panj Pani Community 11 Radio 12 Action Deafness 13 Senior Eye 14 Hardeep Singh Kohli 15 1 16 Amplified Leicester16 16 16 16 Front page: Photo competition winner Constance Pringle.

I hope you enjoy our latest issue and invite you to become involved in probably the UK’s only true Community News Agency run entirely by volunteers.

John Coster Soar Community Editor The Community Media Hub Learning & Information Library Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AA Tel: 0116 299 5413 Email:

PETER SOULSBY Hollie Sturgess of The2 Young People’s News Agency met with Sir Peter Soulsby, MP for Leicester South, to discuss engaging young people in local politics. Hollie Sturgess: What do you think needs to change in order to engage young people in local politics? Peter Soulsby: All of the people in all of the political parties have a responsibility to welcome young people, but before that, to meet, talk and engage with them about the issues that matter. At the moment, political parties are far too remote and inaccessible to young people. They’ve got to recognise that the young people of today have got a lot to offer and are the voters of tomorrow. HS: Does your role as MP come with any existing guidelines for engaging with young people? PS: To be very frank with you, none at all. When you become an MP you learn the job as you go along. Each MP ends up doing the job differently. From the start, I tried to be involved in talking with young people in my constituency. I had a number of meetings, in particular a very successful event that we held with the council chair at the Town Hall. I’m looking to repeat that as a regular event so young people don’t just have a chance to listen to me, but far more importantly, I have an opportunity to listen to them. HS: What is your personal view on lowering the voting age to get young people involved? PS: I’ve mixed feelings about lowering the age. It was interesting when we discussed this at the Town Hall event. There was a sharp division of opinion from the young people themselves. Some thought that voting was a vital part of becoming part of the democratic process, others felt lowering the

age to sixteen was expecting them to take a level of responsibility that they didn’t feel ready for. It’s up to the young people individually to decide, but there is much more to democracy than voting. What matters is their availability not just to the people who elected them, but also to the young people who are the voters of tomorrow. HS: What do you think of the One Leicester 25 Year vision/strategy? PS: It’s great that the council is trying to get a shared vision for the future of our city. To get all of the community, and particularly young people involved. This is very ambitious and we must realise a lot of people know nothing about it. We must not think that having one big vision is going to be sufficient to make sure that all people feel they are part of society and the community. One big vision isn’t one big answer. People quite rightly are more interested in day to day and tomorrow, than 25 years in the future. HS: What role can/should young people play in the One Leicester strategy? PS: They must be at the heart of developing this strategy because

people like me have looked at the future but we cannot look an entire lifetime ahead in this city. It’s desperately important that young people become involved in shaping the community and the physical fabric of the city because it’s theirs to inherit. It’s for us to help shape it for them. What saddens me is how few young people are involved in the traditional political parties. I joined Labour at sixteen and was elected as a councilor when I was a student. Parties have got to look at ways to involve young people because without them, those parties will die at the grass roots.

HAT News launches website and internet radio show


AT News, the specialist news agency reporting on refugee and asylum seeker issues, has developed two exciting projects that will change the way Community Media is able to reach out to people living both in Leicester and across the globe. Firstly is the launch of the ‘Zimbabwe News Hour’ internet radio show, broadcast live at 3pm on Fridays. The show is broadcast from the Panj Pani radio studios at the Towers Hospital. Elisha Shamba and his team of ‘Citizen Reporters’ discuss all the latest developments in Zimbabwe and receive input from around the world via their website, and also from the popular Facebook group and Twitter site.

Secondly, is the joint initiative with the Geo-POD project which has led to the launch of a ‘Citizens’ Eye’ style website to cover international development issues across the African continent. This latest news agency is to be launched from the Community Media Hub by its founder John Coster. The agency is called ‘EWALIN’ – Enterprise Within Africa; Local & International News. It will enable those interested in international development issues for the first time, to see the news produced by all organisations in this sector in one easy to use location. The best thing? It’s free! Kenneth Mawomo, a citizen reporter working within HAT News has accepted the offer to become

the editor and we look forward to the future developments including weekly news broadcasts via YouTube, regular tweets and images from across the continent on the Flickr photostream.

STOP PRESS Hat News - a short film has been made by volunteers during Refugee Week. To view, please visit:

SPECIAL OLYMPICS The Community Media Hub covered the build up to the Special Olympics by taking photos across the city at events and filming interviews with various people including AD Durnin, who was responsible for volunteers, and Susan Barton, author of the official Special Olympics history. The spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Walkers Stadium was filmed with many people taking the opportunity to see what they missed via the YouTube channel. Live interviews were carried out throughout the week on the Panj Pani Radio Community News show everyday from 12-4pm. On the Thursday, 23 people were interviewed live on air including the Lord Mayor from Abbey Park. We have received many great comments from people who enjoyed what the community media hub was able to do throughout the Special Olympics and let’s hope we are able to build on the whole experience to develop our new ‘networked journalism’ relationship with the Leicester Mercury – ‘the amateur and the professionals working together to report the news’

Please visit: to view more pictures from the successful event

‘A Duty To Involve’

Local Authorities Development Scheme

All local authorities now have a ‘Duty to Involve’ the public in its development of services. Through the development of volunteering opportunities we have recruited Ward Reporters and the 1st volunteers have started to report on the New Parks new library build and LIFT project in Southfields / Eyres Monsell ward. Cllr Andy Connelly, Cabinet Lead responsible for Libraries, took time to visit Panj Pani radio and discuss the importance of Libraries to the diverse communities across the city. These facilities are often viewed as places of equal access for all and where the traditional library services are enhanced by the provision of modern technology, for those interested in the online world. Simon Parker, of Leicester Libraries, has developed several key volunteering opportunities for people of all abilities to get involved in the production and presentation of community media.

This led to the Centre For Excellence compiling a case study on Citizens’ Eye and Leicester Libraries around volunteering. The Community News Agency and its many news agencies covering a range of subjects such as disability and homelessness are helping the libraries to engage with many hard to reach communities. Adrian Wills, Head of Service for Leicester Libraries said: “By helping and supporting Citizens’ Eye they can provide us with another way of reaching out and finding out about the communities. This is invaluable information that we can use to adapt our services.”

Library staff have been acquiring new skills in the use of photographic equipment and developing the confidence to present live to camera for films used on the Community Media Hub YouTube channel. Steve Beverley, Leicester Libraries said: “I was very nervous about public speaking but since working alongside the volunteers I have become confident enough to be involved in several short interviews on YouTube.”

HAYMARKET MyPlace project MyPlace is a multi-million pound government programme to deliver world class places for young people to go. Local authorities are invited to apply for large sums of money to create exciting youth facilities in their areas. Leicester City Council has been successful in their initial application to turn the former Haymarket Theatre in the centre of the City into a multi purpose youth facility. This city centre building is leased by the City Council and has been recently vacated as a theatre, due to the newly-built Curve. The city centre hub will be a highly attractive meeting place for young people 13 to 19 years of age, providing, with many partners, a multi-purpose facility for a full range of integrated youth-focused services and activities. It will be the centrepiece of the citywide approach to Targeted and Integrated Youth Support.

MyPlace will promote cohesion and cross-communities work, operating on a hub and spoke basis with local youth centres in eight neighbourhood areas. This is one of the biggest investments for young people the city has ever seen and central to the application process is the involvement of young people. The new website carries details of the work to take place and also how young people can become involved during the construction phase. There is also a YouTube channel, Flickr photostream and Facebook group.

For more information and the latest details please visit our website:

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE FIRST Leicester Children’s Council are celebrating after gaining the support of First Travel Leicester. The Children’s Council which provides a platform for the voices of 7-13 year-olds across Leicester have recently recruited four mentors who will be paid to support and develop the skills and expertise of the young people involved in Leicester’s Children’s Council. Alan Curtis, one of the Children’s Council’s Participation Officers, wrote to First Leicester on behalf of the organisation to ask for their support in helping to reduce the cost of young people travelling to and from the Children’s Council meetings and events. The Staff and young people were surprised to receive a response from Ady Culpin, the Marketing Manager for the Midlands, who was happy for First to offer their support. Ady said: “The young people of the city are our biggest customers and offering our support to Leicester’s Children’s Council will show our commitment to the great work they do. It’s important for young people to have a voice in the way decisions are made so this is a great project for us to support.” Will Sturgess, a Children’s Council Rep from New Parks said: “It is fantastic that First Buses have offered their support. It means that our mentors can travel

to meetings for free and we are being recognised for what we do as a Children’s Council and that adults think our work is important.”

pleased that First have offered their support. There has been work going on for years campaigning for free travel for young people in the city.”

Will and Hoor, two members of the Children’s Council, and Mu-hamed Pathan, one of the Mentors, made a visit to the First Depot on Abbey Lane, Leicester, to meet Ady and say thank you. Mu-hamed said: “I’m very excited to be a mentor for the Children’s Council and I’m very

As a result of the visit, First have also offered to do some work with the Children’s Council involving incidents that happen throughout the city to build awareness of topics such as vandalism and graffiti.

COMMUNITY MEDIA HUB ONLINE The Community Media Hub have expanded their media streams to several social networking platforms. View a snapshot of the current archive here and log-on to our dedicated pages to keep up to date with our latest Community Media Hub news.

Recent uploads to the Community Media Hub YouTube page. Visit: CommMediaHub

Leicester sets ‘Thriller’ dance World Record outside Curve - 29/8/09

Skyride entertainment took place in Abbey Park - 30/8/09

Philharmonia Orchestra - Special Olympics fanfare - 25/7/09

Team East Midlands enter the Walkers Stadium - 25/7/09

Young Reporter Will explains Wot Box - 08/8/09

Mahogany Carnival Arts- 25/7/09

John Coster, Editor of Citizens’ Eye visits LASS - 05/6/09

Braunstone Carnival promotion event at Leicester Market - 27/6/09

Search for ‘Community Media Hub’ on Facebook and join our group to keep in touch with our news and events.

We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Keep up with our Twitter feed at citizenseye.

CommunityRadio For 28 days over the summer, Leicester’s 87.7fm wave length was filled with the sound of ‘Citizen Reporters’ as Citizens’ Eye and its associated news agencies got involved in bringing local community news to life. Several local community organisations produced their own programmes including Action Deafness and Leicester Secular Society. Sukhdev Singh Aujla has many years experience of radio broadcasting and his leadership was vital in bringing this unique partnership with Panj Pani Radio to life. The modern studio located

at the Towers Hospital is enabling the broadcasting to continue on the internet, with new programmes being added continuously. The NHS Leicestershire Partnership Trust supported the broadcasting with news and several guests for interview including the Chief Executive, Anthony Sheehan. The

Special Olympics dominated the third week with many live interviews on air across the sporting venues including athletes, volunteers, family members and the Lord Mayor. There are plans to broadcast on fm again in January 2010.

Follow our Flickr photostream and our interactive map for a visual guide to your city and communities.


TOP OF THE CLASS! Roshan Cholera,

an 8 year old boy from Leicester has recently passed his Level 1 British Sign Language Course at the ‘top of his class!’ Roshan took the classes at Action Deafness in Leicester, who became a registered charity in 1969 and has been chosen as the local charity of the year by Sainsbury’s Clarendon Park Local Store. Action Deafness offers services designed to empower over 189,000 deaf, deaf-blind and even hardof-hearing communities, but also encourage hearing people to engage with these communities. Roshan attends Waterleys Primary school in Wigston, admitting he wanted to learn sign language so he could communicate with a deaf girl in his class. “I wanted to be able to talk to her and now I can!” Waterleys announced they are starting an after school class enabling others to get involved. Mum, Nisha Cholera, who also took the classes, is proud of her son and finds deaf awareness important within communities. Roshan was presented with his certificate by delighted Craig Crowley CEO who said: “He has worked very hard to

ACTIONDEAFNESS Action Deafness Books is a new Social Enterprise. All the proceeds generated from the sale of books and DVDs are invested back into the business to fund our work in supporting D/ deaf writing, literacy and publishing! Telephone: 0116 257 4800 Text Phone: 0116 257 4850 Fax: 0116 257 4856

Older persons’ month Senior Eye is the Community Media Hub’s news agency that reports on Older Persons’ issues. The volunteer editors have been working on the 2nd issue of their printed newsletter and this will be available during Older Persons’ Month 2009. The idea for an entire month of focused events first started in 2002 and this popular initiative has since become an annual event. The theme this year is ‘Safe, active and independent’ so look out for the directory of events taking place across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The volunteer team will be officially launching the Senior Eye news agency on Tuesday September 15th at 10.30am in Gloria Jeans Coffee Shop, Highcross. We look forward to seeing you there, helping to celebrate Older Persons’ Month.

Upwards & Onwards Action Homeless will be launching a brand new Magazine called Upwards & Onwards this September. The magazine is edited, written and produced exclusively by people who have used Action Homeless’ services, both past and present. Upwards and Onwards will be a voice for important issues to do with homelessness in Leicester. It will also report on other stories of local interest and provide a platform for people affected by homelessness to showcase their talents. Action Homeless has been really grateful to John Coster and everyone at Citizens’ Eye Community News Agency for helping to get the first edition up and running.

Copies of the magazine will be available later this month. Upwards and Onwards will also be available for download via www. If you’ve been affected by homelessness and would like to make a contribution to Upwards and Onwards you can contact the magazine’s editorial team at upwardsandonwards@

Down Not Out


HARDEEP SINGH KOHLI Television personality Hardeep Singh Kohli came to Leicester’s Central Lending Library recently, promoting his new book ‘Indian Takeaway’. The book explores his childhood roots, heritage and the central role that home plays in peoples lives. In fact the word ‘home’ is the very first and last word. The evening was a sell out with over 200 people anticipating his usual mix of humour and social insight. With Hardeep’s family links to Leicester and love of local band Kasabian, forming the central theme. “I enjoy these events because you get to meet the people who really matter in our industry, the audience,” said Hardeep. Hardeep made it clear books played a big part in his childhood years.

“I enjoy these events because you get to meet the people who really matter in our industry, the audience.” “Libraries played a central role in my upbringing especially with a house with three sons. In fact it was the only place to get peace and quiet for doing homework. There is a great physical comfort in being surrounded by books, words and literature; these reading tablets will never really replace books!” We asked Hardeep about the role libraries play in modern society. “Libraries in the UK and cities like Leicester, in particular bring communities together and create a heart for them. Libraries are redefining what communities are and they are changing with the times to reflect that.”

“Libraries in the UK and cities like Leicester in particular, bring communities together and create a heart for them.”


Over 30 young people from schools across Shepshed will be getting a ‘Wot Box’ to spring board the Wot Box Young People’s Media project into the County. They will be attending training sessions from October – March that will result in local youngsters becoming reporters, creating and managing their own magazine full of information for young people and adults across Shepshed. Louise Hunt, Extended Co-ordinator for the Shepshed Cluster said: “This a very exciting project just what the young people want. We have received funding from Find Your Talent and are really excited to be taking part in such a fantastic project.” For more information on how to get involved with Wot Box and other projects please visit their website:

The young people will also be able to link up with young reporters from Wot Box projects within the city and contribute to The2 Children and Young People’s News Agency.

Tea with the Lord Mayor

provides holidays to children across the city that wouldn’t otherwise get a summer holiday. The young people met Clifton the Bear, who is the mascot for the appeal this year, as well as receiving a guided tour by the Lord Mayor, of the Town Hall. This included the Court Room, the Council Chambers and the Cells. The young reporters enjoyed the experience, especially visiting the Council Chambers and being able to have their picture taken in the Lord Mayor’s Chair. Who knows, one day it could be one of them to...


oung Reporters from Playday 2009 received a thank you for all their hard work at this year’s Playday event, which took place at the Town Hall in August, by being invited to have tea with the Lord Mayor. The young people spoke to the Lord Mayor

and the Lady Mayoress about all the findings they gathered from the event and the activities that took place. They also discussed the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which this year is Mablethorpe Children’s Home that

If you would like to find out more about the Children’s Council or any of the other young people’s projects, please contact Tina Barton on 0116 2995413.



Brighten up the winter in an exciting Leicester experiment and learn some 21st century skills. We’re looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? We are looking for people to join Amplified Leicester. Amplified Leicester is a citywide experiment to: • Explore diversity and innovation • Build a network across diverse communities • Create, share and develop new ideas • Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to connect people

WHO? This is an opportunity to work with people you might otherwise never meet and learn how to: • Benefit from Leicester’s huge diversity of people and cultures • Generate lots of new ideas quickly • Think like a futurist and see the bigger picture • Organise and collaborate better • Be persuasive in different social situations • Share and develop creative ideas • Manage the stream of information which bombards us every day • Choose the best people to collaborate with • Make the most of different kinds of resources – social, economic, creative

WHAT DO I NEED? You should be: • Proficient in English • Interested in working and sharing ideas with other people • Willing to try new activities and technologies • Able to take part in the whole programme We’re looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious. You don’t need any formal qualifications to take part.



Most sessions will be held at the new Phoenix Square Media Centre in Leicester’s growing Cultural Quarter. Please get in touch with us to discuss any access or other special requirements.

HOW DO I APPLY? You can download a simple application form at:


amplified leicester


Sessions will take place from 10.00 - 2.00pm every other Thursday from October 2009 to March 2010. Lunch and all materials will be provided.


Soar Community - Issue 03  
Soar Community - Issue 03  

Community news from Leicester