Author Archives: Leanne Hall

Puppies, Laser Quest and a Heap of Exams- De-stressing in Exam Week

Starting last year, The University of Westminster provided students with the only thing that will calm somebody in the middle of exams, dogs. And lots of them.



The University of Westminster Facebook Page


The university has been trying its hardest to ensure their students mental health stays positive during exam season by creating events that students can attend to take their mind off revision, these include: a nap room, a bunny room and a dog room. The sessions were held during the week.

Dan Seamarks, the sabbatical officer for Harrow campus has said “”I think the University has provided a good insight into how to revise and how to stay healthy during the exam period. Today, they’ve released research into this. However, we’re always happy to hear students feedback and ideas to take to the University.”

The students’ Union take student welfare seriously and offer counselling at every campus all year round “”The Students’ Union provides welfare and advice to students daily, as well as through the Exam Period. Officers, Receptionists and the Welfare Team can all point students in the direction of help and support in this tough period. We are steadfast in student welfare being one of our top priorities and our Advice team have been available to support students throughout. We ran a campaign a few weeks ago that was aimed at ensuring students knew about these services in the run up to exams.”

Other universities across the UK have also taken steps to ensure that students are prepared for the exam season. Goldsmith University offered students a free DIY art session in order to help and de-stress students who were sitting exams. Whilst Leicester University also had a puppy room, they also set up a free Laser Quest session. Glasgow University are currently running a two-week programme jam packed with activities such as dodgeball and Bradford University were offering free massages and food for students during their exam week.

The University of Westminster have also released a video on how to cope during the exam period, courtesy of Smoke Media.

6 tips that will definitely not help with exams

With Exam season coming, here are some tips that will definitely help with your revision.


  1. Get drunk. Every day, every night, getting drunk is a fantastic way to procrastinate and spend an unnecessary amount of money.  giphy3
  2. Start a new series. Netflix was made for the exam season, why not try Archer or Orange is The New Black?  With hundreds of hours already on Netflix you can be sure that you won’t even think about starting revision.    giphy2
  3. Create a Pinterest, want to start planning the home you want to buy, or the holiday you won’t be able to afford because you spent too much time browsing the web than studying? Pinterest is the place to go. giphy5
  4. Find out what kitchen appliance you would be. Buzzfeed offer a number of pointless yet entertaining quizzes that are a  sure fire way to de-stress you and waste hours on finding yourself rather than revising.                                                                                  giphy4
  5. Tidy the house. It’s a great way to feel productive whilst still not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing. While you’re at it why don’t you re-arrange your room? After all, a clean space = a clean mind.  giphy6
  6. When you’re really stuck for things to do you have to go to the last resort, phoning your parents. It may not be the most exciting thing and you’ll definitely get moaned at for something, maybe like, not doing your revision? giphy7

Ten things that happen to every student during exam season

It’s that time of year again, where exams are coming at you left, right and centre. Exams are always stressful, but when you’re at university and you have four in a day it can get a bit too much. But don’t worry, you’re not alone, these students are all crying in a corner with you.

When you realise exam season is next week and you’ve done little to no revision.

Knowing you’re going to need all the help you can get, even if your mum does keep sending you links on energy drinks killing you.

Meeting up with your revision buddy and showing them your favourite spots in the library.

Realising your exam is a day away and all you’ve done is get drunk to cope with the stress and forget the pain.

Or when you spend all night revising and forget to function properly. There really is no winning.

You thought looking for Wally was hard? Try looking for Will in exam season.

Walking out of the exam hall like a boss only for it to sink in that you did no revision and will probably fail.

Trying to avoid the reality of exam season for as long as possible.

When it finally sets in and all you can do is go into survival mode.

But realising it’s all going to be okay because your mates are there, failing with you.


Idris Elba slams Tory party for out pricing London

With the news that the government may be banning letting agency fees, Sadiq Khan has revealed new development plans to create 12,000 affordable houses in London, and Idris Elba has something to say about it.


Idris Elba

Idris Elba has recently slammed the Conservative party for abolishing housing benefits for people aged between 18-21. the actor, who has always lived in Hackney, London had some very strong words for the political party. “The government is trying to take away housing allowances from 18-21-year-olds … Seriously man. No one should be homeless it’s f****** b******t. No one should be hungry.”


Sadiq Khan

In an effort to help the housing crisis the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently released plans working with L&Q to invest £8bn into creating 20,000 new homes, and ensuring 60% of them will be affordable housing.

there is no set date on when the ban of letting fees will be put into action, for a brief breakdown of what this could mean for you, check out our previous 60-second breakdown.

You can have your say by looking at the survey about the ban. Additionally, you can also email to

Written responses should be sent to: Housing Standards Team, Better Rented and Leasehold Sector Division, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

When you reply please indicate whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include: – your name, – your position (if applicable), – the name of organisation (if applicable), – an address (including post-code), – an email address, and – a contact telephone number.


Getting stuck in a Bare Trap

Bare Traps have been played on Radio x, radio 6 music and BBC Introducing all over the country. They are the new up and coming indie band that you never thought you needed.


Bare Traps

As their publicity is growing, so is their fan base. With over 1000 likes on their Facebook page and almost 1000 monthly listeners’ on Spotify, they are truly on their way.

The band originally started at the University of Westminster, where they were all music students. But after the first year the bassist and lead singer left and were replaced. Then, in late 2016 the original band mates came back together to reform Bare Traps. And the fans are excited about it.

The band are currently gigging around London, and if luck goes their way they will be performing at The Isle of Wight Festival. If you want to see them live and show the band support you can watch them play at Hoxton Underbelly on Tuesday 04/04/17.

And if you can’t manage to make it here is a small compilation of what they sound like live.

I managed to grab the band before they performed at their latest gig for a quick interview which you can check out below.

The band are extremely excited for their new single All in you, which will also be released as a video, it’s the first video the band have made and it looked like they had a great time.

The music video is due for release next week which the boys can’t wait for. You can keep up to date with Bare Traps on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


The Route of Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is the epitome of British. With his messy ginger hair, beer belly and awkward sarcasm. He’s the kind of guy you find in your local pub awkwardly hovering near the pool table. And yet, he is a worldwide sensation, how the hell did this average guy from Suffolk become a household name?

During the release of his latest album, Divided, Ed Sheeran broke a number of Spotify records including the streaming record, with his album streaming over 68 million times in a day and all 16 tracks from the album sat comfortably in the top 16 songs on Spotify’s top 50 UK chart.

Sheeran’s popularity began to grow in 2011, with the release of his debut album, Plus and the song A Team which earned Sheeran the Ivor Novella Award for best song musically and lyrically. Sheeran later went on to smash the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo artist and British Breakthrough Act in 2012, cementing his place as a star.

Some may have thought with the major success of his first album that he would end up being a one hit wonder, but now, with the release of his highly anticipated third album it’s safe to say he isn’t going anywhere.

His music ranges from acoustic heartbreak to pop, it’s music you wish was around when you were 15 getting drunk in a field. He’s collaborated with numerous artists including: Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift, Elton John and has wrote music for none other than One Direction.


Credit: Heart Ed Sheeran Busking

Part of his charm is the fact that he genuinely had to work to get where he is, his route to stardom began by busking. Then in 2009 he played over 300 gigs and couch surfed to continue to perform. But it isn’t just his musical talent that makes people love him, he also seems to be just a regular, genuine guy.

At the Brit Awards this year Sheeran was seen walking out of an after party bare foot, holding his girlfriend’s heels whilst she trotted behind him wearing his trainers.


Credit: The Daily Mail, Ed Sheehan being a true gent.

If that isn’t a true gentleman I don’t know what is. But his nice guy persona stretches further back than that.

In 2015, Ed Sheehan spoke at the Live Benefit gala in New York and spoke about his stutter struggle. He told the kids “Embrace your weirdness.”


Or that time he decided to give away his entire wardrobe to charity shops in his local city.

And in 2012 when his single the A Team (inspired by his volunteering work with Crisis) reached global charts, he asked all VIPs on the guest list to donate to the cause. But it isn’t just Ed’s big heart that has made everyone fall head over heels for him, he’s actually pretty funny as well.

Like that one time at the GRAMMY’s where he was too drunk to really pay attention to the interview.

Or that time he decided to give life and diet advice, and not in the way anyone was expecting.


And he never takes himself too seriously, especially his dress sense.

It’s safe to say that the guy is your typical English man, and although he is funny, and kind, even being called the nicest guy in pop, we love him purely because he is him. Ed Sheeran, it is true, I fell in love with an English man.


Soup Kitchens and Students- What you can do

In London alone, there are over 8,000 people sleeping rough. The government’s benefit cuts and failing welfare system have seen the number of homeless people in London double over the last five years.

As one of the most expensive cities in the country, Winchester has a growing problem with homelessness as more and more people are pushed out of affordable housing. One person who is trying to help is Connie Ball, a 21-year-old graduate of Winchester University; she decided to start a soup kitchen.

credit: Mag’s Media

“When you walk through the main street in Winchester, there are homeless people sat outside every shop. Seeing such a wealthy city become more expensive and seeing more people turned out onto the streets makes me really angry.” Connie wasn’t sure what she could do to help, but she figured a batch of soup wouldn’t be passed up. “It only takes an hour to make a batch of soup and another hour or so to hand it out, I figured it was worth trying.”

Connie had lived in Winchester for two years before starting the soup kitchen. The pivotal moment that made her start? “I am always in awe when I walk through Winchester, it’s a really beautiful city. It was October time, so it was raining heavily. I realised I was lucky to be living in such a wonderful city but that there were other people who weren’t and I just thought I should be doing something about it.”

Connie spoke to one homeless man and offered him some change, he refused to take her money, so she rolled him a cigarette and had a chat with him. “He wasn’t much older than us, he was telling me about his upbringing. He had an abusive dad and had a drug problem from an early age because of it.” The man was in Southampton with work but was laid off, he made his way to Winchester as people tend to give more money and there is more shelter.


Credit: Wikimedia. Homeless people find shelter in Winchester shop entrances.

Connie has spent the past year organising and funding the soup kitchen herself, she advertised it on the university webpage and within days received over 100 responses from people interested in volunteering. Although the soup kitchen runs like a society, the university have no interest in being apart of the organisation. “The university see it as unsafe so it’s all organised over Facebook, they also don’t seem thrilled with me still being a part of it, but I’m not too fussed.”

People who wish to volunteer can visit the non-profit organisation called The Winchester Hub, which works directly with the university and is used as a point of access for students who want to volunteer. “Lots of people are getting involved, we usually get around five to ten people a week helping to cook the soup and distribute it. Plus, one of the grocers at the market gives me a huge crate of vegetables for £10 so I can make lots of soup. It’s great to see the community helping each other.”


Credit: Wikimedia. 8,000 people sleep rough in London every night.

So, what can you do to help if you live in London? I asked Connie for some key tips on how to help the homeless in such a large city:

  • Safety is so important, safety in numbers. Make sure there are at least four of you.
  • Talk to local food banks, see what they’re already doing.
  • Find out what food you can give out.
  • Join an already formed soup kitchen.
  • If you want to do it yourself, ask your university or soup kitchen if you can use their kitchens once a week.
  • If soup kitchens are already covering days, organise yours on a day they aren’t.

If you find somebody sleeping rough call StreetLink to help them find safety.


Street Link failing to help homeless people?

Feature image from Wikimedia

London is notorious for its homelessness because of the lack of affordable housing. Welfare reforms and benefit cuts are a nation-wide issue, especially in London as people are struggling to pay high rents.

On Wednesday night, pulling into Wembley Park tube station, a man was asleep across the seats. Nothing peculiar at first, but looking closer, his arm was in a cast, his head had been cut open, a can of beer hung loosely from his hand. He was surely not okay.

After attempting to talk to a woman working for TFL, who seemingly did not want to help, the next step was to contact Street Link– a non-profit organisation that apparently helps the homeless. On the phone they ask for his phone number, considering the man didn’t have a place to call home, how would they expect him to have a phone? Alas, they were unable to help, so off we went to get food. Martin began crying. Martin, a 50-year-old man cried, over a burger. This isn’t right.

The growing number of homeless people in London is becoming dangerous. According to Streets of London over 8,000 people slept rough in London throughout 2015-2016. More than doubling over the past five years. Although there are numerous charities and shelters trying to tackle the problem, it seems that they are unable to keep up with the rising demands and the government are unwilling to support them.


Homelessness has more than doubled over the past five years. Credit: Leanne Hall     Source: Crisis

A spokesman from Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people said “The best thing to do would be to ring Street Link who can help find the person shelter.” But what if Street Link can’t help? “They should come out and meet them, but there is a high demand that is difficult to keep up with. We advise people to find other local charities but there isn’t a huge amount that can be done.”

Crisis are currently pushing the Homelessness reduction bill, which has been debated in The House of Lords today, and passed. This means that local councils will have to supports single homeless people, this bill could transform homelessness across the country.

Street Link have responded by saying that there must have been some confusion as they do not require a mobile number for a referral and that the outreach service is not an immediate service due to the number of referrals they receive. However, as the main outreach service in London Street Link have a responsibility to answer every call.

Next week, Connie Ball will reveal how she helps the homeless as a student in Winchester by starting a soup kitchen, and gives advice on how you can too.

UK to disown child refugees

By Leanne Hall

Ministers quietly announce that they will stop lone child migrants entering the UK.

Last Wednesday it was revealed that the UK will no longer be taking in 3000 lone child migrants and instead will only be taking in 350. Former prime minister, David Cameron, accepted the Dubs amendment to settle more child refugees. The plan has cause outcry from MP’s, The Archbishop of Canterbury and celebrities.

The BBC reported that Home Secretary Amber Rudd said this was because ministers feared it was encouraging people traffickers. Ms Rudd has said: “I am clear that when working with my French counterparts they do not want us to indefinitely continue to accept children under the Dubs amendment because they specify, and I agree with them, that it acts as a draw. It acts as a pull. It encourages the people traffickers.”

Lord Dubs, whom the amendment is named after spoke at the House of Lords saying “It wasn’t long ago that I remember that the prime minister when she was home secretary told me the government was prepared to accept the amendment. “It was on the same day that the then immigration minister said to me that the government would accept the letter and the spirit of that amendment.

Celebrities and MP’s took to twitter to express their devastation over the closing down of the Dubs amendment


Lord Dub’s organised a political coup in September 2016, as a child refugee himself Lord Dub’s condemned the government for not promising to take in lone child refugees. As well as not taking in children, the UK government have also released news that they will not be taking in any disabled child refugees as they “cannot keep up with their needs.” The Independent had found out that the Home Office have been rejecting applications from disabled refugees since the beginning of January. Speaking to The Independent, Shantha Barriga, director of Human Rights Watch’s disability rights division, said “It’s an indefensible decision and blatant discrimination. The UK is not simply lacking ‘suitable accommodation’ in this case, but seems to be lacking political will.”