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The Stop the Cuts sit-in at the University of Sussex ended last Tuesday evening after 24 hours of protests with students declaring this is just the start. Syed Bokhari, one of the protesters, said: “The whole thing is to give management a taster of what’s yet to come, radicalising students, and giving the union’s confidence and we believe we’ve achieved this. It’s the very beginning and there will be more action like this.”

The students had taken over the top floor of Bramber House on the main University Campus in Falmer last Monday evening.  The protests are part of an ongoing campaign against management plans to cut 115 jobs in a bid to save £5 million in 2010-11.

Mr Bokhari said that plans have been in place for this type of action since the start of the year and the student body have been waiting for the results of negotiations between the University and College Union (UCU) and the University management. However, when an agreement could not be reached the students took action.

The Stop the Cuts campaign targeted the conference facilities on the top floor of Bramber house with the intention of disrupting management and keeping disturbance to students to a minimum. However, John Duffy, Registrar and Secretary said: “We were clear from the start of this trespass that this was an unnecessary and disruptive action. I want to thank all staff who worked to minimise the disruption caused.

“This trespass has left damage and caused additional costs to the University which we are assessing. The Conference Suite facilities are now being cleaned and returned to proper use for our staff, students and local community.”

The top floor of Bramber house was open and being used for private conferences the next day and students involved denied that any damage was done. During the sit-in the University did move some seminars to alternative buildings. Mr Bokhari said: “They knew we didn’t want to disrupt lessons and there was no reason for them to relocate them other than they wanted to divide the student population over the political action we’re taking.”

The university has a reputation for activism and some students believe the large number of protests can sometimes overwhelm less politically active students. Mr Bokhari, however, said: “This is an issue that has united the whole student body behind us.”

Larissa Rowe, a politics and sociology student, agreed that the Stop the Cuts protests are particularly important for the student body. She said: “There have been a lot of protests and there will be a lot more. This is the main campaign; it’s the only one I’ve been on for a long time”.

Woody, an economics student, felt that it was typical of University of Sussex. He was aware of the cuts and how it would affect different areas of the university but didn’t feel the action would help. He said: “I wasn’t particularly impressed, it’s more of an irritant than anything else because they’re not really getting anything done.”

Protestors raised more than £250 towards the UCU strike fund and hope to continue these collections. On the campaign’s website one student wrote: “This action is only the beginning and it is part of a wider campaign against management’s cuts at Sussex. We intend to continue to bring the fight to management.”

Mr Bokhari confirmed that these protests and occupations are set to continue: “It will become a feature of student life here. We will do everything we can to support the UCU.”

More information about the Stop the Cuts campaign is available at http://www.defendsussex.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

Eastbourne Tae Kwon Do Club followed-up their impressive display at the recent World Championships by taking a huge haul of medals at the recent South East competition.

Eastbourne came third in the event, held at the K2 in Crawley, with many of the team collecting medals in patterns, individual sparring and team sparring.

Krystel Morgan, Michele Cavallin and Eloise Waterman all won their individual sparring categories, while Alice Ward, Lawrence Rugless Reed, Robert Bliss, Anthony Cartmel, Tom Parker, Audie and Alice Waterman, James Collin and Salwar and Ash Owasil also contributed to the teams success.

Eight-year-old Eloise Waterman has continued to impress after becoming World Champion in yellow and green belt individual sparring at the World Championships held in September. She collected gold in all the events she entered at the K2, including patterns, individual sparring and tag team sparring. Michele Cavallin said, “Eloise is proving to be more and more successful as she trains and competes.”

The team are now back at training and preparing for the British Championships which will be held on 28 November in Telford.

Eastbourne Tae Kwon Do Club train every Tuesday and Friday at Ratton School from 7pm with Master Ken James 5th Dan. The club also hold junior classes. Please contact 07711084513 for further information.

 

After last week’s five try rout of Old Dartfordians, a rejuvenated Eastbourne go into this cup clash with Camberley brimming with confidence.

Head coach Roger Stanley was pleased to see his team firing after sometimes struggling for tries. He said: “Five of the back line scored last week, which is something we haven’t done this season.”

Camberley, who currently sit second in their respective division, will be a tough place to go and win but Stanley believes they have a great chance. He said: “They’re a good side, second in their league. They will be strong but anything can happen in the cup”.

Eastbourne are to make one change in the pack with John Oakley returning at hooker after a one week suspension. In the backs, Stanley will use this cup game as an opportunity to make a few changes. In form half-back pairing of Paul Keen and James Coulthard drop out with Nathan Ring taking over at scrum half and Noel Evans moving from inside centre to fly half. Steve Clark moves to outside centre and Shaun Everett starts on the wing.

Coach Stanley said: “We trained well this week and I’m pleased with the team. This is an opportunity for us to go out and play without having league points to worry about.”

Hailsham Town travel to Ringmer hoping their recent good form continues against a team sitting one place above them in the league.

Manager, Kenny McCreadie said: “It will be a tough game but if we win we will go above them in the league. The boys have been scoring for fun but we need to keep it tight at the back.”

Hailsham have been in spectacular form in recent weeks. They won four of their last five matches, and in that time hit a staggering 18 goals. After a slow start to the season recent consistency in selection couple by solid signings has seen the team move up the table.

Although McCreadie will not want to make many changes from a team who have scoring freely in recent games, Hailsham will be buoyed by the return from suspension of the influential Ashley Jarvis. Simon Catt will also be included for this weekends match.

Former Bexhill player Craig Otley is set to make his début for the club at left back. McCreadie said: “We’ve made another signing in Craig Otley, he plays left back and he’s an actual left-sider so that’s good. He’s coming back from injury but he trained this week and will be straight in on Saturday.”

Hailsham Town have signed 12 new players this season and this policy seems to have paid off as results have improved. McCreadie said: “The players we have signed have improved the club.”

 

Eastbourne United face a daunting challenge this weekend as they travel to second-in-the-table Three Bridges in this Sussex County division one clash.

Manager Paul Daubeney said he expected a very tough game, adding: “They don’t come much tougher than Three Bridges in this league”.

The concern for United remains their dismal defensive record and their propensity to ship goals in the closing stages of matches. Daubeney said: “We need more commitment, particularly in the last 20 minutes. It doesn’t tend to be one we concede, it tends to be two or three”.

United will be looking to play a different system this weekend. They have been trying things out in training and may decide to play one up front with five in midfield. Daubeney is also considering bringing through some reserves, including Michael Ridgeway and Rory Newby, to shore-up midfield and the back-line. He will also hope the return from injury of keeper Grant Fitzgerald will strengthen the team, with current keeper JJ returning to Lewes after his loan spell.

After losing a number senior players at the beginning of the season Daubeney believes it is a lack of experience at this level that is costing his team. He said: “We’re a young team; we’ve got a good bunch wanting to learn but they need some experience around them.”

United are struggling to find players who will be able to make an immediate impact and strengthen the squad. Daubeney said: “We’re still looking to sign players. It’s tough, with no money at the club and propping up the table, to attract players.”

They have just signed Dan Peters from Kingstonians as a left back, but he has been out for about a year and is only likely to feature in the reserves initially.

The South East Tae Kwon Do Sparring Championships saw Eastbourne resident Krystel Morgan take the womens lightweight title only one year into her remarkable return to the sport.

The event held at K2 Crawley, on Sunday 31 October, consisted of three rounds, with the four judges awarding every bout to Krystel on her way to claiming the gold. In the final, the match should have been stopped by the referee as Krystel continued to score highly with kicks to the head which left her opponent bleeding from the nose.

Krystle, 24, who has not competed for 11 years said: “I’m very flexible, it means I can score a lot of head shots, which is really my strength”.

As a junior Krystel competed for six years, achieving black belt aged 11, alongside victories in the British Championship, South East and Welsh sparring competitions.

She returned to the sport this year and has already achieved second place at the World Tae Kwon Do Championships, held in Telford in September, which included victories against members of the Argentinian National Squad before losing to the English World Champion in the final.

Krystle, who works for the Council, trains at Eastbourne Tae Kwon Do Club and achieved her second Dan at the beginning of October.

Despite her success over the last few months Krystel is still focused on continuing her rise in the sport. On 24 November she will be traveling to Telford for the British Championships and is hopeful of adding to her medals following her recent showings in major competitions.

She said: “I like to think I can do well but you never know who you’ll come up against on the day”.

 

It’s 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning and I’m standing in a deserted supermarket car park in Balham. There’s a slight chill in the air but I’m dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, to be precise I’m wearing padded cycling shorts and a t-shirt because I’m about to take part in my first London to Brighton Bike Ride.

I decide to grab a coffee; in the coffee shop I meet up with Kate Brocklebank. Kate has arranged our team entry and organised our sponsorship for the ride. We’ll be cycling under the name the Brockettes, and much like most of our team, Kate has never done the Bike Ride before. I ask what made her decide to do this: “I’ve lived in Brighton for a few years, so I’ve been aware of it for a while, it’s just something that I wanted to do,” she says. “The fact that we are also able to raise money for the British Heart Foundation makes it even more worthwhile”

The British Heart Foundation has been involved with the annual bike ride since 1980 and in that time has raised more than £40million to fund pioneering research, patient care and provide information on prevention and care. This year an estimated 30,000 cyclists will be taking part in the event which covers 54 miles and includes the feared Ditchling Beacon ­­­– a one mile climb with a gradient of 1 in 10 which has to be tackled after 50 miles.

Back in the car park the van has arrived with our bikes and gradually various members of the Brockettes arrive from all corners. Everyone is a little nervous as the realisation dawns on each of them that it is a long way from London to Brighton. However, what is most obvious is the sense of camaraderie that events such as these bring out in people. We carry out our last checks on our bikes and make our way to Clapham Common and the start line.

The sight that greets us at the start is incredible. We’ve opted for the 9.30am start and it seems that so have most of the 30,000 participants. We make our way to the start line, get our cards stamped, and we’re off. It’s slow work as the thousands of people try to make their way through the streets of South London. At this point we’re travelling at such a leisurely pace that it’s difficult to imagine that there could be any challenge involved. I’m cycling next to Simon Green, 29, from Hackney. He’s riding what appears to be a 1980s racer-style bike, which he borrowed from a friend. “I have my own bike”, he tells me, “but it only has one gear. It’s fine for getting me to work but it won’t be much good for the hills we’re going to tackle later”. It’s clear that that Ditchling Beacon is on most people’s minds even at this early stage.

It takes forever to escape the confines of South London and you can sense that competitors feel they have achieved something when we realise we are about to pass under the M25 and cycle bells ring out in the acoustics of the tunnel. However, this joy is short-lived as we realise that we have hit our worst queue yet. I ask Kate whether, in light of these queues, she feels the event is organised well enough. She tells me, “You just have to relax, there’s no point in being stressed about these things. I don’t think that the event is badly organised but there are a lot of people who have started at the same time. In hindsight, we should have started earlier.” This view is reinforced when we meet up with Linda, another of the Brockettes: “I’ve just spoken to my friend in Brighton and she’s seen cyclists already finishing the ride.”

We stopped for lunch at the halfway point. An official rest stop had been created in the car park of a pub which offered a barbeque and cold drinks. Refreshed and rehydrated, The Brockettes exchanged notes on the journey so far. Simon and fellow Londoner Andy Brunskill, were keen to push on and limit stops for the remainder of the journey: “We’ve gone so slowly that we’re going to keep going, we’ll stop just before the Beacon for a rest.” It was agreed that we would meet at the official stop just before the Ditchling Beacon.

As we headed out for the second half of the ride the congestion had eased and it seemed that little, other than the Beacon, stood between us and our journey’s end. There are two things that stood out clearly about the experience of London to Brighton Bike Ride; the moments you find yourself cycling alone with time to reflect and enjoy the countryside, and the accidents. The sight of ambulances squeezing past cyclist on overcrowded lanes is a daunting one. Approaching Turner’s Hill our groups luck ran out as Kate spectacularly crashed. We continued as best we could to the next St John’s Ambulance centre where Kate was checked out by first-aiders. After receiving treatment I asked whether she would be able to continue: “I’ll be fine but I’m not sure I’ll get up the Beacon now. I’m just really disappointed if I can’t, it was something I set out to do.”

As we approach the village of Ditchling and the final stop before the steepest climb of the route I catch up with a few of the Brockettes. Most of the group have gone ahead while we were waiting for Kate to receive treatment. The congestion from earlier in the day has resurfaced as cyclists dismount to take on energy drinks, bananas and breath before the climb. We’ve heard from an earlier group that it is almost impossible to cycle up the Beacon due to the sheer numbers of people walking. We take a deep breath and begin the assent.

I make it about a third of the way up before I’m defeated by my lack of will power. I walk the rest of the way and meet up with the rest of the group. They mostly fall into two categories; those that admit they couldn’t do it and those that claim it was too congested to cycle to the top. There is one exception, our bloodied and bandaged team leader, Kate, has cycled to the top. She’s standing with her brother James when as she tells me she made it. “You just have to keep going,” she says, “It was tough but I was determined to do it.

As we enjoy the final ride into Brighton and bask in the cheers that we receive from sides of the road, I find a moment to talk to James, Kate’s brother: “I’m really proud of Kate getting up that hill, it is amazing really. I just got to a point when it seemed easier and quicker to walk, walkers were overtaking me.” I ask James whether he will do the ride again. He’s cautious in his response: “Maybe, it has been an amazing day, some of the scenery was spectacular, but it’s hard work. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

The Brockettes raised over £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

Article for the Brighton Argus

New powers have been granted to Brighton and Hove City Council in an effort to halt the studentification of residential areas such as Hanover and Elm Grove.

The new legislation follows an extensive consultation that highlighted problems caused by high concentrations of student houses including anti-social behaviour, piles of rubbish and the loss of family homes.

From this week landlords wanting to rent to more than two tenants, who are not related, will require permission from the council.

Brighton and Hove City Council have been inundated with calls from concerned landlords wanting to know how the new regulations will affect their investments.

Councillor Bill Randall, Hanover and Elm Grove, said: “The legislation is long overdue.

“I hope the new law will stop the haemorrhaging of family housing Hanover and Elm Grove has suffered during the last decade.

“Housing is the biggest business sector in Hanover and Elm Grove and should be treated like any other business.

“Converting a family house into flats and bedsits is clearly a change of use.”

Councillor Maria Caulfield, the council’s member for housing, said: “This legislation will not help families in my ward living with the effects of multiple occupation in terms of loss of community or help those on my housing waiting list.

She said: “We will continue to work with landlords to encourage them to let their properties to families and will support the universities in trying to develop more purpose built accommodation.”

Anna Hunter, a campaigner for Podium – a Hanover based group wanting better control of student accommodation, said: “I just hope the new legislation works as it is intended.

“Over half of Hanover Terrace is now student properties and Coleman Street must be 90 per cent.

“Hanover has been almost taken over; a lot of people have to move out because of the noise and issues with students.”

Julie Barker, head of Brighton University’s Residential and Catering Services, said: “Initial indications are that the new legislation should not affect existing student accommodation.

“It is widely recognised that there is a shortage of student accommodation in the city and we have been working with and will continue to work with Brighton and Hove City Council on this problem and on the implications of this new piece of legislation.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) said: “What we have before us is draconian and is quite simply using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“Houses in Multiple Occupation play a vital role in providing much needed housing for students, young professionals and those on low incomes who rely on this type of accommodation.

“In addition we can expect local authority planning departments to be swamped under increasing workloads owing to these new measures.”

I was employed as a freelance blog writer to cover the events live from the JISC10 conference at the QEII centre in Westminster. As well as the live blogs i conducted Vox Pop interviews with the delegates for online content and use in a documentary video for JISC partners. Below are examples of the live blog content i wrote at the event.

JISC10: What is the place of technology in research-led teaching?

As the title suggests the session offered a perspective on active efforts to incorporate new media into learning, at what would normally be traditionally-minded universities and colleges. It also demonstrated that with the growth of distance learning new media platforms can engage and connect students.

Luke Woodham and Chara Balasubramanium, of St George’s, University of London, have been using the virtual world Second Life as a teaching aid for medical and paramedic students. It allows students to experience predefined scenarios and simulated situations where snap decisions have to be made.

The benefit for the students is a shared platform for communication and collaboration in real-time with added context and immersion. According to the students,

“Second life is valuable for revision for my practical exam”

“Communicating with others helped assess the situation……it gave a better understanding”

The advantage of these kinds of platforms was further highlighted by Gilly Salmon who runs the Beyond Distance Research Alliance Team at the University of Leicester.

She also put the emphasis was on the value and challenges of introducing new ways of learning within a traditional university environment. She stressed the importance of not changing everything immediately and experimenting with new technology with existing students.

At the University of Leicester the team has created media zoo, http://www2.le.ac.uk/mediazoo, to  enable technology-based teaching.  Like the team at St George’s, they are experimenting with the use of Second Life as a serious platform for learning.

Sandwiched between these two experiments in the use of social media tools was Neil Chue-Hong, Director of the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute UK. He presented innovative ways that existing research software can be used to ask new questions and he posed the question of how high-end computational tools can be made available to more researchers.

In one example he offered, models have been constructed so variables can be altered to predict reactions to changes. This used to only be possible with super computers but is now available on web servers. With so much technology available that can be used in research, particularly in the fields of social sciences, the barriers seem to be political and social as opposed to technological.

Once again the session came back to social networking tools and this time how trends can be followed using mobile technology and monitoring updates from smart phones and laptops. The example given was mobile twitter feeds giving information on when, where and what individuals are doing.

He stressed the key is how data can be augmented to make leading research available through the right technology:  “The power of data is what you do with it”


JISC10: Business models for sustaining digital resources

The past decade has witnessed a rush to create digital content in the not-for-profit sector but despite the great value of the content being entrusted to a digital format, the business models that will ensure long-term access to and preservation of this material are still unclear.  In this session, Caroline Kimbell from the National Archive and Roei Amit from Institut National de l’Audiovisual (INA), gave a detailed insight into how valuable national resources can be best made accessible and maintained.

Both speakers sold the benefits of presentation of material as a key to the success of the archives. Kimbell described how the National Archive website has evolved to become a user friendly platform that can attract repeat views.

The archive industry has seen massive growth through successful television shows that have attracted more people to explore their family history. This has led the National Archive to change its approach to make the search for people more direct. In the past the system has been convoluted as the National Archive have operated on a system of reference numbers while individuals want to search via names and places. The system now focuses on keywords in a user-friendly format. They have also been able to open up to other media platforms allowing individuals to update info and photograph records to store on Flickr.

They have found that by providing better online information their offices are not flooded by walk-in individuals seeking information. It has allowed them to be innovative and opportunistic which in turn has led to private investment.

In France, the INA has worked on the archiving of television and radio and is exploring how to make these archives into a viable and successful business model. In 1999 it started the digitalisation of its archives, by 2015 it will be the first country to have saved 100% of their audiovisual memory, and this in turn has created business opportunities.

Once again the focus is to create user-friendly platforms that meet the demands of individuals. Mr  Amit pointed out the need for a balance between  meeting public needs and experimenting with sustainability projects.

One area INA has exploited is using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to generate new interest in old material. Taking this further, it allows other websites to take content and create a relevance to the subject matter and therefore maintain a demand for the services it offers. This has  enabled INA to not only permit the free public streaming of television and radio shows but also to sell the physical product (DVDs, CDs) to generate income.

It operates a number of revenue models outside of selling physical products and these include education subscriptions for schools and colleges, website advertising and the development of mobile and television applications.

The message from all speakers is that evolution is at the core of archive projects so they can be available and sustainable. As the session chair, Nancy Maron, put it, “A revenue model should be thought of earlier on and not be tacked on to an existing business.” There is also a need to look beyond grants and treat the project as a business

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/events.aspx

In September this year two adventurous women from Brighton will be walking the famous Inca trail in Peru in a bid to raise £8,000 for cancer treatment and care.

Belinda Knott, 44, from Patcham, and Pauline Graham, 51, from Westdene, have decided to tackle the daunting four-day hike to the ‘Lost City of the Incas’.  Belinda got the idea a few years ago after seeing information about it when taking part in the London Moonwalk for Breast Cancer.

Belinda said: “I’ve been talking about it for a while. Pauline told me to put my money where my mouth is and do the Inca Trail.”

They are raising the money for The Institute of Cancer Research and St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley. Pauline and Belinda’s families have both been affected by cancer in recent years and they are grateful for the care and support they received. Pauline said: “It is not just for the people we have lost; it is also for the people who survived and have been cared for.”

They will be arriving in Peru on the 24th September and after a day’s travel to the trail and a day to get used to the altitude they will start the trek. Belinda said: “What people need to remember is walking the Inca Trail isn’t a holiday. It’s camping and it’s hard work”.

They have spoken with people who have done the walk before and they have been warned how hard it could be. A friend of theirs did it before and said that a lot of people struggled because of the altitude.

Pauline said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge, not knowing how we’ll cope, not being twenty-somethings anymore. Finishing in Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas; it will be an amazing goal to walk to this place.”

Pauline and Belinda will be hosting events over the coming months to raise money and find sponsors. The highlight event will be a Suspiciously Elvis night at Terraces Bar and Grill on the seafront on May 27. The event will include an Elvis impersonator and an auction. They have already received donations from local businesses for the auction and are hoping more will be donated. Tickets for the event cost £10.

They are also organising a charity aerobics session, pub quizzes, family picnic walks, cake bakes, car boot sales and a golf day. Belinda said: “It been amazing how helpful people have been.”

If you want to find out more about their events, buy tickets for the Elvis Night or wish to make a donation please contact Pauline and Belinda at pleasesupportus@hotmail.co.uk.

Alternatively pledges can be made at www.justgiving.com/belinda-knott-justdoingitforICR or http://www.justgiving.com/Pauline-Graham4

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