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Will the rise in tuition fees affect applications?

UBSU elections 2012 Make your vote count

It’s the right time to quit smoking

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Why should you look for an internship?

Mar-Apr’12

Students’ Union Magazine

the BLEND

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CONTENTS REPRESENTATION 3 MESSAGE FROM VP EDUCATION Welcoming students and updating on assignment feedback 4 MAIN ELECTION 2012: CANDIDATES Choose your representative! 6 STUDENT COUNCILS - YOU SAID! WE DID! Tell us what is going wrong! 8 UBSU ANNUAL STUDENT SURVEY Thank you from the Union for your feedback TELL US WHAT YOU THINK! The National Student Survey SOCIETIES 10 MAKE A CHANGE/BE THE CHANGE! Join SIFE society 11 INFORMAL CARERS PROJECT The launch of informal carers’ magazine EDUCATION 12 DOES A DEGREE BRING INSTANT SUCCESS? Is higher educution a ticket to a better life?

CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR Marat Hakimov WRITERS Ram Rallapalli, Rebecca Heard, Matt McCaffery, Anna Konova, Kaputo Mwamba, Zaherah Saghir, Emily Durham, Louise Tadiar, Paula Mayes, Nick Asgill, Chris Allison, Karen Dunkley, Ella Domeki, Tabitha Langley, Sue Glenister, and Lewis Fowler PROOFREADERS Jon Stanley and Louise Tadiar PHOTOGRAPHER Gbenga Lawson DESIGN & LAYOUT Marat Hakimov, Liesbeth Boeckx, Mir Aabid, Lewis Fowler, and Monika Ciapala If you would like to join our database of student writers & contributors please e-mail marats.hakimovs@beds.ac.uk

13 TUITION FEES RISE, APPLICATIONS DROP Will the rise affect applications. WELFARE AND ADVICE 14 BREAKING ALL RECORDS 15 DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE 17 TAKE THE LEAP STUDENTS’ CORNER 18 MISSING LECTURES? IT COULD COST YOU 19 IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO STUDY 20 LIFE AFTER GRADUATION ARTS & ARCHITECTURE

EDITORIAL We welcome any content in the form of pictures, letters and articles, however we reserve the right to edit everything that is submitted. If there are any issues with the content please take this directly to the Editor Marat Hakimov

22 Postgraduate & CPD Centre, Featured Artist, and Exhibitions FILM 24 GROWING PAINS Students’ Film Festival JOB 25 STUDENTS WITHOUT WORK EXPERIENCE Tips on finding an internship SPORT 26 SECONDS VS THIRDS REPORT 27 START LIMBERING UP WITH THE UoB FOR SPORT RELIEF Sport Relief is coming to Bedford

Contact

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Advertisement BAM: 0845 1300 667 Do you have something to say about The Blend Magazine? E-mail: marats.hakimovs@beds.ac.uk Address: UBSU - Campus Centre Park Square, Luton LU1 3JU


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A WORD FROM YOUR VP Education Ram Rallapalli

Good luck

with your assignments and have fun during Easter vacation. Adios

Design: Mir Aabid

I welcome all the students who have just started this February. International students must be having a tough time adjusting with this cold climatic condition. Hope you guys have settled down now. Try to keep yourself warm and wrap up well. Well coming back to the actual purpose behind writing this article – Feedback and Assessment. I hope everyone [except students from Applied Social Studies (excluding Social Work), Criminology (excluding criminology and sociology), Operating Department Practice, Child Nursing, Mental health Nursing and English Language] is getting their assessment feedback within 15 working days after submission of your assignment. Well if you don’t know how to access this feedback, I would strongly recommend you to visit http://www.ubsu.co.uk/yourunion/content/790173/ feed_back/ If you have not received feedback in 15 working days from date of submission then please email me about it. My email address is ram.rallapalli@beds. ac.uk. Don’t forget to cast your vote in the upcoming elections.


REPRESENTATION

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Main Election 2012: Candidates

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he Students’ Union seeks to be a democratic, member led organisation, and thus we have an election process which gives every student the chance to vote for the officers who will represent the student body for a year. All elected students are there to represent you, the student, and your needs and views. Below are all the candidates for the Sabbatical Officer positions for the 2012-13 academic year. A sabbatical officer works full time for the Union and acts as an UBSU Trustee and sits on the Board of Trustees with overall responsibility for the activities of UBSU. They also ensure the student voice and opinion is feed back into the University structure. They are also here to guide the Union and help the Student Officers who are volunteers. We asked all this year’s candidates to answer 3 questions: 1 An interesting fact about yourself 2 One thing you want to achieve in office 3 One reason people should vote for you

3 I aim to ensure that every student has the most positive, fulfilling and enjoyable experience they can possibly have whilst at University.

SABBATICAL OFFICERS

VP EDUCATION Takes the lead on UBSU input to all educational, academic and learning issues within the University and partner colleges

PRESIDENT Provide leadership and vision for UBSU, driving and developing strategy, vision, policy, campaigns and innovation Rohit Chherti

1 I’m decisive, creative, persistent, positive, punctual, straight forward and a linguist. 2 Is to break all the barriers between international students and home students and integrating them in to the same team. 3 I believe in bringing modifications despite the fact, what previous presidents did and I’m ready to go that extra mile to achieve this. Luke Cresswell 1 Before University I spent a year travelling Australia busking. 2 To organise events with acts people may have heard off and may even want to see! Get a student bar at Bedford campus. 3 I will be in the corner of the students challenging the University when they are not delivering and supporting the University when they are. Lisa Hayhoe

1 I won female captain of the year in 2011. 2 I believe I can achieve a better relationship between campuses, along with giving students a much needed voice. 3 I’m hard working, honest and approachable. I’ve been a leader for many years and can fulfil this role to the best of my ability.

Daniel Login 1 I once was an extra in an American TV show. 2 I will endeavour to do all in my power to assure that the student voice is heard, represented and seen as a partner to the University.

Nusrat Al Azad 1 I cannot scream at somebody even when I feel like. 2 Behave like a professional from every aspect of the role. Ready to go that extra mile help students in the best way possible. 3 I guarantee change where needed. My passion for this role will help me go a step further. Vote for me to enhance education for us! Adil Hassan 1 I can move one hand in clockwise and other anticlockwise direction at once 2 I want to open up new opportunities for students where they can build their skills and become ready for the job before they graduate. 3 People should vote for me

because I am very enthusiastic, motivated and hardworking. I am course and faculty representative. I am doing my job very well. Katie Ross 1 Every sports team I participate in I am a Captain. 2 My main priority is to improve the overall communications between the university and the students, to enhance the all round education experience. 3 Im honest, hardworking and approachable, I live in Luton, study in Bedford which makes me ideally placed to be Vp of Education for both campusses. Deepti Tewari

1 The best from me comes out during the worst conditions. 2 Achievement in terms of ‘Empathy’, I want my dedication and efforts to make me recognised among the students during my tenure in the office. 3 The grounded and realistic issues raised by me pertaining to employment, communication gap, lacking in competency, which I have also faced and observed.


5 Robyn Sach 1 I once met Johnny Depp! 2 I want to be there for the students and listen to their academicissues and help them as much as I can. 3 I have a lot of passion for the SU and really think I could make a difference!

VP DEMOCRACY AND DIVERSITY Takes the lead on all democracy, diversity and equality issues within UBSU and in relations with the University and wider community Ben Cottee

1 My favourite piece of clothing is a pair of socks. 2 I hope to help students find their voice, have their opinions known and find ways they can express it. 3 Because I am passionate about hearing opinions of the students and the student experience as a whole.

Anisur Pavel 1 I can fit into multiple cultures and I know five different languages. 2 Improving the relationship between the students from different ethnic backgrounds and encourage them to participate in all UBSU activities, learn value diversity in the process. 3 I will bring dynamic change in all campuses in order to support the students and act as your voice. I have enough motivation to make real changes. Rabiaa (Rabs) Rahman 1 I’m working at the London Olympics and Paralympics this summer. 2 To champion the use of online social networking and foster the communication of democracy and diversity issues on a daily basis, leaving no student unrepresented. 3 I always work hard to help others, will ensure to represent all concerns and raise a voice for those who feel theirs has not been heard.

VP UNION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Takes the lead on UBSU relationships with the wider community and drive continual development, improvement and innovation within UBSU Kristian Browne 1 I did a bungee jump in New Zealand when I was 12 2 To increase development in sports of competitive and recreational forms such as inter mural leagues in Luton 3 Because what’s on my manifesto, will happen, I will never shy away from any challenge

Gayle Darlington-Shaw 1 I sang on TV with Stockport Youth Choir in 2004. 2 Raise awareness of the UBSU services, activities and events. To create a more fun and inclusive union for students on ALL courses and Campuses. 3 Students of UoB should vote for me as I pledge to fulfil my manifesto promises and go the extra mile to create a great UBSU.

Thilina Dissanayake 1 I’m a friendly person, who likes to share knowledge. 2 I’ll improve the Social Entertainment Space by organising more events and create more opportunities for students to participate; I also want to achieve SUEI silver. 3 I believe I have experience, knowledge and skills needed to represent students and identify what they need from the university to make their experience unforgettable. Sam Figg 1 Apparently I look like Santino off WWE. 2 I would like to improving all sports facilities at the university, and to improve relations with influential figures with in the local communities. 3 Because I will be there for you, to make your opinions heard

For more information about the candidates please go to www. ubsu.co.uk/stand where you can read their manifestos and watch their election videos. The website also contains all the information about your student officer candidates as well. Finally, don’t forget to vote at Luton Park Square and Mezzanine Bar areas and the Bedford Hub Area from Monday 5thThursday 8th March 10am-5pm and Friday 9th March from 10am-2pm. Come along to the Election results party at the Mezzanine Bar Luton from 7.30pm Friday 9th March (transport from Bedford will be provided).


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REPRESENTATION

YOU SAID! WE DID! STUDENT COUNCILS Once a month UBSU holds a Student Council where students can come forward and tell us what is going wrong (and sometimes even what is right). This is not just about problems within the Union but also within the University. So far we have been busy dealing with the tasks given to us from last term. So what has come up so far?

LIBRARY COMPUTERS Computers being used during exam time causes many problems for those trying to get their

BUSES WI-FI The WI-FI signal can be a little bit well…. poor. Students raised this at the November AGM and at the Students Councils on both campuses. The problems exist because of the number of portable devices both staff and students bring into uni these days. All those mobile phones, iPads and laptops being connected to the WI-FI network (according to the university it works out at 2.8 devices per person) and thus overloading the system during peak times. To combat this, the University is now looking at how to boost the signal and we should see an improvement over the next term.

In Bedford the shuttle bus that ferries students to and from the university and the town centre can get pretty crowded during peak times – quite stressful if you are trying to get to a lecture! After the Sabbatical Team raised concerns, the University agreed to look at the provision of a second bus during these periods. A longer term solution is being looked at by UBSU – more news on this to follow…. Putteridge Bury buses are also being looked at, including the problem of students not being able to get a space on the bus at the right time of day. We are now piloting a new scheme here and extra buses are now working to help ensure you get your lectures. Let us know how these are working on these campuses.

assignments and dissertations written up. We are now working on various solutions to this and will update soon.

LIBRARY NOISE We have all been there…. trying to work in the quiet area of the library and there is always someone who wants to make a lot of noise. The University is on the constant look out for offenders on this and we are still working on a solution to resolve the issue. At the moment, we suggest if you are being disturbed please report this to staff.


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MEDIA STUDENT DEPOSITS

STUDENT BEHAVIOUR IN LECTURES Students talking in your lecture? It is disrupting to all students and the lecturer and it is surprising how your whispered conversations can really affect others in the room. So, rather than asking those not to, we are looking at procedures with the university to allow students and staff to deal with this in the future.

SUCCESS!!!!! Yes, due to students raising this at Student Council the Union has managed to get the University to streamline their procedures with your deposits for media equipment. We have now been informed refunds to students are complete!

PRAYER ROOM SPACE Bedford Seed Beds, for those who do not know, are tucked away in a small port-a-cabin. There is not enough space to be used as a prayer room and with the nearest mosques, temples and even churches a good 30 minutes away we are currently on the case to try and improve the space here and will continue to update with how this is going. This campaign needs your support – if you have prayer/faith needs in Bedford come to talk to us or Cass Howes.

STUDENT PARENTS BRINGING KIDS IN LIBRARY POLICY The library is a study area and this did cause problems with student parents trying to get the facilities from

printing to picking up reserved books. The policy is that no children under 14 are allowed. However, there are ways student parents can get access to the library services. All library staff can help you get the books or even print for you in these circumstances. Please let us know if you are student parent and still face problems with gaining access to these and any other services.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION LIST

APPLICATIONS FOR PARKING PERMITS BEING LOOKED INTO IN BEDFORD

This affects all students but international students are the ones that brought this up with us. There is a list of alternative accommodation being made for international students for when there is no room in the halls or residence. We are also looking at alternatives and will again update further on this issue in due course.

If you are on the Bedford Campus and want to get a parking permit on the campus to save you from the continued searching for the right change for the machines you can get these from Facilities over in H Block. We are also looking at the possibility of a change machine and again will keep you updated with this over the next few months.

And Finally As you can see we have dealt with a wide range of issues that we only found out about due to students attending Student Council. So thank you to those for attending and helping us fight for your students rights here at the University. We are still working on some of these issues and we are confident that we can get the outcomes you want.


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REPRESENTATION

UBSU Annual Student Survey wanted to implement going forward. We wanted to say goodbye to the “Union Knows Best” attitude of the

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his year has seen some big challenges for the Union and has heralded the biggest change on how the Union is run for many years. At the beginning of our term of office, John Perkins (UBSU President) and myself (Matt The Hat – UBSU VP Union and Community Development), took on the challenge of a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning review. This process began with last year’s team and we needed to ensure we used all the information gathered from the focus groups and previous survey was fed in. The aim is to have the Strategic Plan and Communications Plan ready for launch by the end of term. There are a few things we

past and bring in as many students into the process as possible to help decide exactly what the Union’s priorities should be and where we should be setting our sights for the next 3-5 years. With 24,000 students this was going to be a big task and we tackled it head on.

The beginning of January saw us probably annoying many of you as we went on the hunt for people to give a few minutes of their time and fill out our survey. We managed to get 2,000 students to fill these out across our campuses and are now in the process of going through the data and putting it to use. The survey asked how you, our members, feel about your union and the services we offer. Have we made an impact on your student life? What words would you use to describe your ideal Union? The latter was used to form a word cloud that contained the most common words used by students. Your views have been critical to the development of the Union’s plan for the future. Your feedback has been actively used to shape our new values, vision and mission statements using the very words you used. Your voice is being heard across the whole Union. We could not have done it without you and from all of us at UBSU a big thank

you in shaping the Union for the future.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

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he National Student Survey asks final year undergraduates to provide feedback on their student experience. The survey is nationwide, completely anonymous and really easy to complete. Your feedback is really important as the results are compared to other Universities to help prospective students make informed choices of where and what to study. The information is also used internally to facilitate best practice and enhance the student learning experience. So, how do you fill it in?

You can: • Look out for NSS presentations at lecturers • Check your email to fill in the survey from there • Clink on the link any time to complete online wherever you are http://www.thestudentsurvey.com/ The quicker you fill it in the better as Ipsos MORI-The company in charge of the survey will start calling you to fill it in! Take part and you could win one of these amazing prizes!

• A free trip to China • A cheque for £500 • A graduation package including free robes, guest tickets and photography It’s really important that you encourage others on your course to fill the survey in too, this is because not only do we want to hear all your feedback, the survey results only get published if the majority of a cohort fill it in. So don’t delay, make sure you and your course peers have your say today! Thank you


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SOCIETIES

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/ E G N A H C A E K A M E G N A H C BE the

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re you lively, motivated, and confident? Do you have the ability to thrive under pressure, the creativity and problem solving skills to face challenges? You think you have the skills and want to express them? Do you want...? • A chance to shine in the presence of hundreds of employers • A chance to build a solid future in this economic climate • A chance to participate in a high profile national competition (don’t know about you but that’s epic!) Be a change in the world of today, stand out from the crowd. SIFE is an international and non-profit organisation active in more than 1,500 universities across 40 countries. In each university, students from all years of study and disciplines join a team and develop community projects that will improve the quality of life for people in need. The team considers these five basic elements of the project as core guidelines. • Identifying a need • Triple bottom line – social, environmental, economic factors

• Empowerment • Teaching/Knowledge Transfer of business skills • Measurable & sustainable impact SIFE Bedfordshire is currently working with NOAH Enterprise, a Lutonbased charity, which offers hope and support to people struggling against homelessness and exclusion; a well deserving organisation in need of our help. Oddly enough, we take little things like shelter, food and clothing lightly, but these are the core fundamentals of what people need to survive. We even take love for granted; either love of a parent or friend or “special friend”; most of these people haven’t got that and need to know they are important, they need to feel wanted and they need to be empowered to do something (s). Like the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. So far, we have had interesting meetings with the CEO and Operations Director of NOAH Enterprise in order to find out what problems this organisation faces and how our students can become

ARE YOU LIVELY, MOTIVATED, AND CONFIDENT?

a bridge in creating a better live opportunities for the homeless people. WE are looking forward to more meetings as time goes by. SIFE Bedfordshire has fundraised at ASDA Wigmore Lane, on the 25th of January 2012, but has plans of also fundraising there again on the 4th of April, so you are welcome to shop and donate :). Or join the team to help. Recognition for the students’ hard work is found at annual National Competitions, where they present the impact they have achieved through their projects to judging panels of business executives. The winning team gets to represent the UK in the international SIFE World Cup event! Competitions also serve to share best practice and inspire the teams to improve the impact and sustainability of their programmes. Follow us on Facebook (http://www. facebook.com/SIFEBedfordshire) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/ Sife_Beds). If you would like to join SIFE Bedfordshire or get more information, contact Esther using mainaji. solomon@study.beds.ac.uk. Or Kelly using qinyue3021@yahoo.co.uk and we will try to get back to you within 24hours.


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INFORMAL CARERS PROJECT The Informal Carers Project is being developed by members of Student In Free Enterprise, SIFE, University of Bedfordshire, which is composed of myself and ten other individuals. The main aim of the project is to give informal carers a platform to speak through means of a magazine. This magazine will essentially be a voice for and a voice of informal carers, as it will allow for insight information in a life of an informal carer.

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ave you ever been in a position where you have had to care for someone, who wouldn’t otherwise manage on their own? Are you doing this independent of anyone? Is the time you spend caring for the individual unpaid? Well, if you have answered yes to all these questions, you are a carer; an Informal Carer. An Informal Carer is an individual who undertakes caring for their loved ones who are going through difficulties, such as those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or those that have been made frail by old age. But of course most persons in such circumstances don’t realise that they’re in fact a carer. They merely see it as their moral duty to take care of the affected person, solely on the basis that they have a close relationship with them. And as such, don’t do it gain recognition, but rather because they truly care. This is indeed in itself very commendable. And they do all of this without payment. Although they have taken up this role of caring for unable loved ones by their own whim, these individuals still deserve to be acknowledged. This is where the Informal Carers Project comes in.

It will be a voice for informal carers. It intends to highlight their roles more specifically. It will also be informing this type of carer of their legal rights that they should be aware of, if already not aware. And any new policies that may be of aid, or could be affecting them. It will also provide any health tips and necessary advice. The magazine will be a voice of informal carers in the sense that it will be covering inspirational stories from various carers. A reader’s page will also be included in the magazine to further give the carers a podium were they can speak freely.

The magazine will also have an events, fashion and entertainments page. Based on the fact that when one becomes an informal carer, they fundamentally throw away their social life, as they concentrate all their energies on caring for another. As a result their life’s become somewhat dishevelled. However, with this magazine they will be able to understand that they are not the only ones in this position. And with the mentioned

pages they will be able to resume life of being social, while being further educated on the role they play daily. By Kaputo Mwamba


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SECTION NAME EDUCATION

Does a degree bring instant success? this would be to qualify as a doctor or lawyer. For us to complete our degree with a high grade and obtain a job that pays in the regions of £50 000 +. But is this really success? And does success just depend on your pay cheque? The question that arises here is whether you even need ducation is undoubtedly an education i.e. a degree one of the most important to achieve success in tools in our lives. The difference the corporate world? between being literate or illiterate is The likes of Simon so vast; it could mean the difference Cowell and Bill between life and death. Gates have shown us The eleven compulsory years that that you can be children in Britain must complete is filthy rich and often taken for granted by many of ‘successful’ us. without great grades But what about the higher education or even a standard degree. that many of us embark on post 16; A well known saying by Bill Gates: “I how does that decision shape our lives? And does it give us a greater had a friend that passed all his exams advantage over those who don’t carry and became an engineer. I failed all on with their education in the pitfalls my exams and became the owner of the company.” This may not be of life? the desired statement to encourage individuals to strive hard to pass their On average 2.5 million students exams; but it introduces another continue onto higher education in route other than higher education the UK, and it is commonly stated

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that individuals with a degree have a better chance to have a successful career and a higher wage. But how much of this is true in the modern world where people can become famous and have a

to attain that ‘successful career.’ successful career through reality shows such as X factor and TOWIE; without any discernable talent?

But this then causes some jeopardy in the system. The average medical student, who spends years studying for his degree and then qualifying as a doctor is very unlikely to earn Ultimately this all depends millions. However, can it be correctly stated that he is not as ‘successful’ on what is classified as being ‘successful.’ To many as Mr Cowell because his fortune is abysmally smaller than the formers? of us university students

My point here is success should not be measured in terms of a person’s wealth; rather it should be measured in terms of their achievements in their chosen career. A recent survey was conducted on students and non-students in Luton, regarding in what esteem they hold education. It was found that 60% of participants very strongly agreed that education is significant to them. In addition, only 30% disagreed that gaining a degree has taken a back seat amongst the youth today in the midst of finding instant fame and success through reality shows; rather than forging a career by obtaining a degree. This shows that individuals haven’t completely given up on the idea

that education is one of the best tickets to a brighter future.

Nevertheless, there will always be the assumption that educated individuals uphold society better than those who are uneducated. But in a society such as the one we live in, the majority of people leave school educated and with at least a few qualifications. In the face of modernity, these do not hold a high status. But for the purpose of those who use education to better their lives, success should only be measured in terms of achievements. In this way, a degree does not necessarily bring instant success. But it does give individuals a greater advantage in life to achieve their goals and be somewhat successful; in any big or small way. By Zaherah Saghir


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TUITION FEES RISE, APPLICATIONS DROP.

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ecent figures released show a 9% drop in the number of students who have applied to study at University during the academic year 2012/13.This is within the 5-10% that was previously estimated by educational authorities such as UCAS. However, such a decline in applications is not represented in Non – EU students, as the total number of overseas students applying to study in 2012/13 has actually increased by 13.7%. This demonstrates the continued appeal in UK Universities to those overseas, and how our rise in fees is still cheaper than education that can be obtained in some countries overseas.

by students who have gained a conditional offer from Universities. Also, whether the late surge of applications at the end of January that UCAS is expecting will prove true. NUS (National Union of Students) Vice President Tom Pearce stated that ‘the Government needs to quickly take their concerns on board or else risk those people falling from education for good’ displaying that the new tuition fees are clearly having an impact on the choice teenagers are making about what direction to go in after A-Level or college level education. He also insists that the Government ‘must overhaul their white paper before temporary chaos turns into permanent damage to our educational system’ suggesting that if the Government do not act soon then the state of the educational system could deteriorate quickly. However, we cannot claim that the educational system is in serious trouble just yet, as there will still be an approximate 156,000 students who will fail to secure a place at University. Therefore, there will be no expected decline in students actually studying in 2012/13, just those who have applied. So it’s not as bad as it seems.

If you remove the Non – EU applications then there is an overall 12% drop in student applications, showing a small drop in each age bracket. But with a significant decline in those over 25 and especially the over 40’s age bracket where there is a decline of 28% in applications, showing that the older people are less inclined to return to education at the higher tuition fee. Although these figures have been released, it cannot be said how many students will actually be studying in higher education in 2012/13 as a lot will depend on the grades obtained

Also, we must take into account that applications are not only down in England, but in Scotland and Wales who do not follow the same fee system as England; suggesting that the rise in tuition fees may not be the reason for the drop in student applications, but that the overall appeal of higher education is on the decline. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the increase in fees is at the very least a psychological deterrent not only for the students but for parents too. Our admissions team at UoB has

witnessed that, personally the UoB have received 5 applications for every one place they have available so expect no decline in students studying at the University. But that any help from current students to answer any questions or worries upcoming students may have at the open days held by the University would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping the next year of students then please don’t hesitate to contact the admissions team. By Emily Durham


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Welfare & Advice

Welfare Advice Service - Breaking All Records

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erm 1 was a busy period for UBSU but more so for our Welfare Advice team. The Welfare Advice Service (WAS) offers a free confidential advice to all students of the University Of Bedfordshire. Over the first term we have seen more than 300 new cases from our students needing their help and in only one term have helped students save over ÂŁ28,000. This beats the entire 2010/11 academic year figure of ÂŁ25,000.

has reclaimed

There are four main areas the WAS team can help you with are:

Academic

These include academic offences such as plagiarism. The WAS team have helped students navigate their way through this process which can be a major drain to students who faces such charges. The system for this has now been improved making it simpler and faster to go through making the lives for students better.

Finance

The WAS team have ran a series of workshops to help students budgeting skills and this has helped many to work out how to make their loans last till the end of term.

Housing

There are many cases the WAS team that have dealt with checking over contracts of students to helping to negotiate deposit refunds or maintenance issues

Health and Welfare

Some students have needed help from sexual health issues (free condoms) to rape alarms. With some students needing a friendly face to talk to, providing a safe environment confidential place to allow students get the help they need.

If you need advice from the WAS team they can be found in Luton in G111 in the Campus Centre and over in Bedford in the UBSU office next to The Hub. Or check out the advice pages at www.ubsu.co.uk/advice.


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DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE Some of you will get through Uni very easily: you have good family support, a job so you can make ends meet and you don’t find studying too challenging. However, most of you will feel

stressed or anxious at the very least during your studies for one reason or another. ‘Silently Stressed’, a study by NUS (National Union of Students), Scotland done in 2010 showed that 90.5% of students found exams and assessments very stressful, 83% found time management stressful, and 68% found lack of money caused them severe anxiety. Worryingly a large number of students said they wouldn’t talk to anyone if they were feeling stressed because they thought people were only there to help if there was an extreme mental ill health problem. They didn’t realise that they could talk to personal tutors, Welfare and Advice Services or Mental Health Advisors about anxiety and stress. They also said they didn’t like the stigma attached to the words ‘mental health’. Stress and anxiety can lead to longer-term mental ill health problems including depression.

UBSU wants to be a part of helping you be successful at university and to enjoy it and leave with good memories. We have 2 caseworkers who have qualified in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) which means that, although we are not experienced Mental Health Advisors, we are trained to identify some of the signs of stress and anxiety and other mental ill health symptoms which means we can offer you a choice of where to go for some support. Sometimes just talking through a problem can help and often there will be a solution to it which you may not have thought of because you have been too stressed!

If you have been feeling low, not sleeping or eating properly or have something going round and round in your head that you would like to talk over, please don’t feel embarrassed... just come along to speak to us. There are other people in the University who can help and you really don’t need to feel alone. A problem shared is really a problem halved. Louise Tadiar WAS Manager UBSU and MHFA trained T : 01582 743264 E : Louise.tadiar@beds.ac.uk Info used from NUSS ‘Silently Stressed’


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p a e l e h t e k Ta

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Did you know that No Smoking Day takes place on 14 March 2012? On this day more than one million smokers are expected to make an attempt to quit. Will you be one of them?

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o, what’s your reason to quit? Everybody has their own personal reason. Some people want to get fitter or feel healthier, and some people want to save money. What’s yours?

tobacco causes serious social and economic costs as well as environmental destruction. Child labour is at the heart of this production as it pushes down the price of tobacco; with children as young as 5 picking tobacco leaves. In Malawi alone there is an estimated 80,000 children working in the tobacco fields. Many suffering from a disease called ‘green tobacco sickness’. This is a form of nicotine poisoning resulting in severe headaches, abdominal cramps, muscle weakness, breathing difficulties, diarrhoea and vomiting, high blood pressure and fluctuations in heart rate.

Did you know that if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, in one year you would spend between £2366 and £2621? That’s over half what you would spend on your university accommodation for the academic year. £2621 would also pay for over 100 driving lessons or a luxury holiday for 2 in Mexico or the Maldives. What would you do with the money you saved? If you’ve tried to stop smoking but never quite managed success, or if this is your first time at quitting, you’re not alone. There is plenty of help and support out there. You can get your FREE NHS Quit Kit here http://smokefree. nhs.uk/quit-tools/quit-kit/ The Quit Kit is a box of practical tools and advice developed with experts, smokers and ex-smokers, which have helped thousands of smokers quit successfully.

Smoking Services, the Bedfordshire branch can be reached on 0800 013 0553 / 01525 636927 or via email at stop.smoking@bedfordshire.nhs.uk. You can also get support online with the Smokefree Together program, for more information visit https:// smokefree.nhs.uk/ways-to-quit/ motivational-messages-at-home/. Giving up smoking might not be about saving money or improving your health, for some people there is a moral or ethical reason behind their decision to quit.

100 million workers are involved in all stages of the tobacco production; nearly 90 millions of them are in the developing world. The tobacco industry has been criticized for As well as the quit kit you can also get encouraging tobacco production in help and support from local NHS Stop developing nations. The cultivation of

The children are not permitted to wear any protective clothing, and therefore absorb up to 54 milligrams of nicotine a day. This would be equal to you smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Many children will not be paid for their labour, those who do will only earn around 12 pence a day.

So on the 14th March why not take the leap, have a go at giving up. It might not just be your life that you make a difference to. If you want any further help regarding giving up smoking you can contact the UBSU Welfare and Advice Service on ubsu.advice@beds.ac.uk or call into the advice centers on the Bedford or Luton Campus.

Paula Mayes (Welfare and Advice Caseworker Bedford)


Students’ Corner

18

Missing lectures?

It could cost you.

Y

ou’re probably lying if you can say that during your time at University, you haven’t missed one lecture. Even though the obvious disadvantages for missing a lecture is being put a step behind in your education and course, but how much does this actually cost us financially? With tuition fees currently at just over £3000 and rising to £9000 for next year’s students, is a lie in costing us more than we think? I’m in my first year of Uni, and like everyone, I’m paying around £3000 a year for my time here. My timetable averages out at around 10 hours a week; this includes seminars, lectures and tutorials. The academic year runs for just 30 weeks, so that’s 300 hours of

university in the year. Those mathematicians out there can work out that that’s £10 for every 1 hour of university. Miss 2 hours of uni a week? That’s £600 pounds you’ve just wasted. Fancy a week off? That’s £100. Of course, every person will be different due to the amount of hours they have a week, but that should give you a general idea and make you think twice about sleeping in next time. If it makes you feel any better though, the students next year are likely to be paying 3 times what you are. £30 a lecture? Ouch. By Chris Allison

Image: http://www.123rf.com/photo_2444592_pound-20-burning-concept-wealthymoney-to-burn-wasting-money-money-isnt-everything.html


19

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO STUDY,

I

n 2008, I took a long look at my life. I drove coaches for a living but I decided that it was time for a career change. Then came the realisation, that I was not only coming up to the ripe old age of 50 and held limited qualifications which were probably incapable of supporting my chances of little more than perhaps retail work or choices that did not appeal to me. I knew that if I was to achieve anything I considered rewarding and appealing, that I would have to return to further education in order to improve my chances. I was always interested in a career in the legal sector, as I enjoy helping people. Once I decided which path I wanted to take, I approached the University of Bedfordshire, where I was smoothly guided through my options and the application procedure.

says law graduate Karen On my first day I was devastated when it was obvious that I was the oldest student by far. However, I soon realised that we all had the same common intention and it was on that basis that I enjoyed three years experiencing friendships, working with groups, attending Students’ Union Events and gaining confidence. During the course, I found that we all helped each other whenever we could but always with respect towards plagiarism. I liked the diversity of the University and the additional help that was always at hand. I personally experienced exceptional circumstances during my study which would have had a severe impact on my ability to continue without the support that I received from both the Welfare and Advice department of the Students’ Union and the availability of options available from the Mitigation Team.

It wasn’t all work, as there were plenty of recreational and social/ sports activities available to anyone who wished to take part and being a student enabled me to take advantage of an inexhaustible list of discounts at retailers, restaurants and, fitness centres and night clubs. I now do voluntary work as an OCR trained Mediator which I attained through the University’s Volunteers department and voluntary hours at a Legal Firm in Luton which I attributed to my Law Degree. At my graduation, I was delighted to have achieved what was a dream. I now have the tools and knowledge to change in my career and three years on, I work in the Welfare and Advice Department where I had once been on the other side of the fence. By Karen Dunkley


Students’ Corner

20

University means different things to many different people. In July 2009 when I received my BA in media production at the University of Bedfordshire it meant that I could go forth into the world and basically live my life as a “qualified” adult, or at least so I thought.

L

ittle could have prepared me for the ever changing job market and the world around us. I think the very first thing I learnt was that finding work was like work in itself. Trying the common route of printing CVs and directly going to production houses in London was not really profitable, especially as I was spending more time, money and resources without getting anything tangible. My next option at that point was to be really economical about the whole approach, after all one had no more student loan installments, so I started an Internet job search. There are tons of websites, agencies and jobs, I would strongly disagree with anyone who graduates and then says, “there are no jobs” (too much of an easy cop-out). Typically what I found was that there were several vacancies but the majority of them were not for entry-level applicants, as a result the few available spaces were very quickly filled up. I soon realised that a first degree was a very general qualification and there seemed to be more specialised roles available. Having masters at that point would have made my repertoire much more focused and attractive to prospective employers. Fortunately during study at the university I had involved myself with a lot of freelance work, through which I met a lot of people who were accessible and sometimes within my social groups. Luckily I got a role at a company in Catford London to try out one or two videos. Very soon I was on set shooting, writing concepts, editing,

LIF E

social networking, doing projects that were very exciting to the fringe popular culture at the time. As a young graduate what more could one ask for? Yet as self-gratifying as that felt I soon realised that working on a semi-freelance arrangement was not something for the long term or ideal for setting up life. When the global economy was about to buckle the tremors started affecting the landscape. The company decided to close and relocate to one of the emerging economies in Africa. Once again it was back to the grind of the job market. This time I at least knew the right doors to knock on.

For the majority of tasks, my production and video skills were sufficient, however there were times when we had to work on websites dealing with C++, Html etc and it would have been more ideal if I had knowledge or previous training in these or other specialist areas. Once again the notion of perhaps getting more education seemed an attractive but nonetheless expensive option.

At work the opportunity had come to fly to Sierra Leone to do some production/events management work. On the eve of flying out to Freetown, Sierra Leone, I happened to be on the same train as Professor Les Ebdon after he had been awarded the prestigious VC’s award.

The focus was more on marketing, which meant considerably more time was spent in the office than out shooting. Nonetheless I was still utilizing the degree and building on my experience base.

I went over to say hi, which led to us having a chat about what I had been up to since I left university. I briefed him about what I had been doing and my projects for the future including my plans of doing my masters. He appeared to be very pleasant and supportive of the idea, and advised that I give him a call when I get back if I was still interested in pursuing the masters.

We worked on adverts, live events, TV shows, attended movie premiers etc.

Having that brief encounter with Professor Ebdon made it all a little

I soon started putting my degree to use at a media marketing company near Bermondsey in South East London.


21

after graduation

Twenty-four hours and over sixty thousand miles later I landed in Freetown Sierra Leone, sweating in the Sub-Saharan heat totally away from my comfort zone. I was about to embark on my most challenging project since leaving university. The aim was to hold a youth festival at the country’s national stadium celebrating youth peace and entertainment for over 35,000 people. Our primary tasks were coming up with the radio, TV and press adverts including media buying, hotel bookings, flights and transportation arrangements. We approached the office of the president, national electoral commission and the United Nations as partners. A long way from the Luton campus of the university of Bedfordshire I traced my work path in the two years leading up to the show, as the sound system

blasted and crowds cheered on the acts. I realised what I wanted to specialize in and the next path/course of action. Following the event, Afro Beats Festival was coined the most organized, secure and peaceful concert in the once war torn capital city for over a decade. I landed back in London in the middle of the global economic crisis, which was rocking the Euro zone, and forcing the government to make drastic cuts in certain areas to keep our economy afloat. The company I was working for like many others had to restructure as firms like Woolworths, Bhs etc had The best any student or graduate can gone into administration. do for themselves is to learn as much as you can (knowledge is power) and With little effect on what I plan to do build your experience base, volunteer, or achieve in the years to come, this made me more determined to educate intern, freelance, do something. It’s never too late to keep learning and myself more in as many areas in my educating yourself to keep up with the chosen field. ever-changing world. Most importantly I thank God for the opportunity to have done so much and The longer you do nothing the harder interacted with a range of people. it comes to get a job.

By Nick Asgill

more clear that maybe getting a higher qualification will be very useful in boosting my chances of better jobs and achieving my life career targets.


22

A&A

Artist’s impression: Postgraduate & CPD Centre at Luton

Arts & Architecture

T

his edition I’ll be updating you on the progress of the construction work beside the campus centre in Luton. There is an exhibition at Luton Hoo and featured student work also, but before we get to that lets get to the info about the new centre due to open in 2013!

In case you didn’t know, there’s going to be a new £20million Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) centre in Luton, on Vicarage Street. Kier, who are undertaking the work, are the same company that

built the £40million Fitzroy Court/ student accommodation and the £34millon Campus Centre. The Campus Centre was designed by UK-based international architectural practice RMJM, who’ve no doubt designed a unique and sustainable building once more.


23

Submissions: Now for the art

and I have a UoB student in this edition of the Blend, the featured Artist, Alexandros Ioannou. He has an intimate collection of wonderful work that vary between vibrant colour, using different mediums and monochrome drawings. Delightful pieces! I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing more artwork from Alexandros in the future.

House which lies on the border of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire not far from the UoB. This place is like no other in the home counties. However, you quickly discover that behind the imposing grandeur of Luton Hoo, the atmosphere is very relaxed and welcoming and a walk during spring throughout the 1,000 acres of glorious parkland, meadows, woodlands, lakes, rivers and nature trails would be ideal during Easter (not to mention, Summer when it arrives) in fact any time of year, and it can all be explored for free! So from the 16th – 18th March the Open Art Exhibition furthering its mission to promote this wonderful setting as an inspirational arts centre and creative haven get to Luton Hoo. The theme this year is: ‘GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE INSPIRED’, see you there! The previous project was officially opened in November 2011by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes! Until the Vicarage Street project is complete we can only wonder who will officially open it!

Exhibitions: Luton Hoo will

play host to its third annual open art exhibition from the 16th – 18th March, check it out while you’re there, and why not visit Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, this magnificent facade of the historic Mansion

Artist’s and Designers send in your work, for your chance to be featured in future publications. Send in a clear image and a description of your work to: marats.hakimovs@beds.ac.uk or eshdomeki@live.co.uk. Good Luck! By Ella Domeki


FILM

24

GROWING PAINS Images of Youth in World Cinema

Words by Tabitha Langley Design by Monika Ciapala beds.ac.uk/studentscreen on.fb.me/studentscreen @studentscreen

The university has hosted a film festival organised and run by students passionate about film and eager to offer others the chance to appreciate film from around the world.

more info facebook twitter

Student Screen was set up, and is co-ordinated, by Dr Carlota Larrea, a Senior Lecturer in Media. Over the course of two weeks Student Screen has entertained, educated and informed staff, students and guests at the university. In a showcase of national and international films, youth life and culture in a variety of countries and backdrops was explored.

Introduced by the university’s own lecturer of Animation, Mark Collington, was an Oscar nominated, animated film exploring the 1970s Islamic Revolution: Persepolis. Based on a Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels, the story details the events of a teenage girl who is sent to Europe to escape the perils of the turbulent surroundings in her homeland, Iran.

Guest speakers ranging from lecturers, professors and a screenwriter introduced the films each night and spoke about their views on cinema and the themes that the selected features included. They challenged students to think about the films as more than just an entertainment. The themes explored and presented within the films were common issues that are associated with adolescence and young adulthood; rites of passage, virginity, sexuality, religion, conflict, friendship, relationships, politics and education.

Early work from director Peter Jackson and actress Kate Winslet was also shown in the form of Heavenly Creatures, based on the famous Parker-Hulme murder case which happened in New Zealand in the 1950s. Prior to this film was a seminar by Oxford Brookes University lecturer, Michele Paule, titled: Small Screen Smarts: Narratives and representations of gender and ability in Teen TV.

Successful Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal was on show in Y Tu Mamá También, a film which portrays the story of two young men, and an older woman, on a road trip through Mexico and the things they encounter whilst on it. Dr Debbie Martin, who holds a AHRC Fellowship, from the University of Bath spoke before the film about gender, sexuality and the child in Latin American cinema.

Student Screen was lucky enough to premiere the Chinese film Under The Hawthorn Tree, by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou, a love story set in one of the most brutal periods in Chinese history. The film had never been officially shown in the UK before. Professor Chris Berry, a leading specialist in Chinese media, from Goldsmiths University of London, began the screening talking about the Cultural Revolution, the film’s setting.

French documentary styled film The Class demonstrated the trials and tribulations of education from a teacher’s point of view. With a cast made up of non professional actors, this film was an example of realism in modern cinema. This film was introduced by Professor Martin O’Shaughnessy, a leading specialist in French media from Nottingham Trent University who has written extensively about French cinema.

Comic turned director, Richard Ayoade also got a place in the spotlight as his debut film Submarine was included in the line up as the UK’s offering to the festival theme. Set in Wales, this feature tackles the story of an awkward boy’s desire to lose his virginity before his sixteenth birthday whilst also plotting ways to spice up his own parents’ relationship. Scriptwriter and playwright Jack Thorne, who has experience in writing about adolescence for the screen in the form of Skins and This Is England ’86, introduced this film and also closed the festival with a Q&A session. Whether you enjoy moving, poignant or funny films, the Student Screen film festival had it all wrapped into a fortnight of viewing pleasure with a host of experienced speakers each giving their take on youth culture and the way cinema represents it. ■


JOBS

Students without any work experience have “little or no chance” •The Students’ Union can help students interested in volunteering. They work closely with a large number of organisations and community Some of our recent graduates groups who are able to offer Employers are reporting a 19% have been offered permanent average increase in applications. employment following an internship, voluntary work. Students can giving them a perfect launch pad register their interest through the UBSU website. Those without any work experience for their long term career. www.beds.ac.uk/careers have “little or no chance”, says the A report from High Fliers Research shows that employers are recruiting more graduates but there are record numbers of graduates chasing jobs.

Internships are mainly short-term or work-based project opportunities which give employers the chance to benefit from talent that is available.

report. (Quoted from BBC News, 10th January 2012)

Students interested in finding an internship or summer placement should start looking now. They need to prepare a CV and research potential employers offering work experience.

http://www.graduatesyorkshire.co.uk/graduates/ blog/186

Act now before it’s too late!

Students who have little or no work experience in their chosen career sector may benefit from an internship or summer placement. Internships provide an ideal opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain some experience in their chosen field, and test the water before committing to a specific career.

•Students can visit Careers & Employment Service at Bedford or Luton to see an adviser. •They can search online resources from the careers website under Work Experience •There is a link to JobSavviGrad on BREO. By registering here students can access the Employer Directory of Work Placements and Internships. •Students can also email their CV to hireme@beds.ac.uk We will notify them of any suitable vacancies. •International students can email isis@beds.ac.uk regarding the International Student Internship Scheme.

By Sue Glenister

25


SPORT

26

Wednesday January 25,

SECONDS VS THIRDS REPORT After a feisty 3-3 draw between the Luton campus second and third teams on January 18, the second team mate no secret of their desire to set the record straight. The seconds’ flew out of the blocks, and it wasn’t long before Second’s Captain Kieran Johnson gave his side the lead with a powerful effort from the edge of the area. Striker George Lacey had provided the initial cross, which the thirds failed to clear before Johnson capitalised on the loose ball. It sparked the beginning of a dominant spell for the seconds. Andrew Williams gave the seconds’ some insurance when he audaciously lobbed the goalkeeper from outside the area. The seconds’ were relentless at this point, and sought to put the thirds to the sword. Watt’s shot was blocked and Williams finished well to extend the lead and double his tally. The third team had been shell shocked, and despite a few attempts

to salvage anything from the tie the end product was lacking. Lacey headed home from Tyrone

the fifth goal when the counter attack found Lacey, who opened his body and cooly slotted the ball into the bottom right. The third team threw caution to the wind now, and enjoyed their own spell of pressure. Jay Smart managed to exploit the seconds’ as they eased off their attacking prowess. In an otherwise sporting contest, third

2nd team

Callendar- Edwards superb cross to put the icing on a superb first half performance. Williams and Lacey lead the attack superbly throughout, their link up play with Aaron Watts, Olley Guest and Mark Kirwan epitomised counter attacking at its best. It was this combination which lead to

team captain Lewis Coker was sent off violent conduct, and Jordan Mallett missed a penalty to sum up their side’s day at the office. Second team manager Donal Byrne was ecstatic with his sides performance. He said: “We had training Monday night and a team meeting this morning, I just told the boys to be more focussed in this first half, and obviously we can see the result. It was a great performance by the boys.” Vice Captain Matt Ebsworth shared his manager’s delight. He said: “We dropped off a bit second half but I think in the first half we just killed the game off.” With this win the seconds have overtaken the thirds and Ebsworth was adamant the seconds could go on and win the league: “The league is ours, easily. I believe in my boys, I believe in this Uni, we’ll win the league easy.” Byrne remained more grounded on the subject, he added: “We have to take every game as it comes... if we win three points on a Wednesday afternoon then the table will look after itself. It’s up to us to keep this momentum going now, were unbeaten in 2012 and weve only lost one league game this year, so hopefully we can build on it.” By Lewis Fowler


27

S

port Relief is coming back to Bedford – and the University of Bedfordshire wants YOU to get involved. Organised by the University, in conjunction with Bedford Borough Council’s Sports Development Unit, the Sport Relief Mile is being hosted in Bedford on Sunday, 25 March. Julia Lines, the University’s Sports Development Officer, is asking for both runners and volunteers from the local community to get involved. She said: “From teeny-tots with their mums and dads, to super sprinters up against the clock there’s something for everyone on the big day. Last year, the Bedford Mile had over 450 participants and raised a staggering £14,872.24!

“This year we want to make the day even bigger and better, but we need your help to do that. So come on Bedford - pull up your Sport Relief socks, enter the Mile and do something amazing!”

enter the Bedford mile visit www.sportrelief.com

The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile is back – and it’s coming to Bedford! The town is set to host its second Sainsbury’s Sport Relief The University is busy preparing with its own Mile on Sunday 25th March, and needs local Get into Sport scheme and staff and students people to come together and show their have donned their running shoes to get fit. support by entering now at www.sportrelief. com. As one of the UK’s biggest fundraising The Sport Relief Weekend kicks off on Friday, events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation 23 March when everyone gets active, has fun together to get active, raise cash and change and raises cash at home, at work or at school lives – so it’s time to dust off those trainers before settling down to watch a night of top and enter right now. Sport Relief TV on BBC One. Setting off from the bandstand in Bedford There will be even more BBC radio, online Park the Bedford Mile will circumnavigate and TV coverage throughout the weekend to the beautiful park grounds and is set to be keep the country entertained. By the end of an incredible event. Entrants don’t have to the weekend everyone will be raring to go, be sporty to take part, but can choose to when the whole nation comes together to complete 1, 3 or 6 miles knowing that all the take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile money raised will help to change the lives on Sunday, 25 March. of people living unimaginably tough lives right here on our doorstep, across the rest If you are interested in volunteering on the of the UK and in some the world’s poorest day, email Julia at julia.lines@beds.ac.uk. To countries.

Start limber ing up with the

University of Bedfordshire

for Sport Re lief


SECTION NAME 28

The Blend  

Spring edition

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