Saturday, 30 March 2013

Kent Summer Ball 2013 line-up revealed

Labrinth will be the headline act for this year’s Kent Summer Ball, it has been announced.
At midnight this evening at The Venue on the Canterbury Campus, Kent Union made the announcement for this year’s summer party, which will take place on Saturday June 1 and has been renamed “Party in the Car Park”.
Other acts confirmed to play include Chase & Status, I Am the Giant, The Trinity Band and Alex Blood and The Diggers.
Early bird tickets for the event will go on sale today at 9am, costing £30, with general sale tickets from May 1 at £37.50, making a £9.50 drop on last year’s price.
24-year-old Labrinth, real name Timothy McKenzie has had a string of successful hits over the last year with ‘Earthquake’ featuring Tinie Tempah, ‘Let the Sun Shine’ and his duet with Emile Sande, ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’, which reached number one last November.
The headline act follows disappointing acts in previous years. Last year’s ball was headlined by Noah and the Whale and The Saturdays, with the latter band arriving 30 minutes late and being booed by students when they finally arrived on stage.
Reacting to the news, Journalism student Lydia Hamilton said: “I’d definitely go to the summer ball this year.
“I was a bit disappointed last year with the quality of the acts, and so to have Labrinth would be amazing.”
For information on the ball or to pre book tickets, visit or follow the Ball on Twitter: @kentsummerball

Details for forthcoming Medway Summer Party announced

The Medway Campus Summer Party will return to Coopers this year with a promise that it will be “bigger and better”, The Medwire can exclusively reveal.
Last year’s event was held at Coopers and featured live music, food and plenty of sunshine.
It was also widely heralded asa success by students from all three universities on the Medway Campus.
Looking to succeed on last year’s event, Coopers manager Gareth Gay, music student and Kent Union Vice President (Activities) candidate Jack McDonnell and Activities Officer Clarissa Place will be organising the festivities.
Talking about the plans for this year’s party, Clarissa Place said: “We are hoping to make the event bigger and better than the previous year, hopefully with more societies able to take part.
“The event is for students from all the universities on campus to celebrate the end of term and hopefully they’ll come down whatever the weather.”
The summer party is expected to take place on Saturday, May 18 and will include 12 hours of live bands and DJs throughout the day.
The theme is set to be “Exam Buster”to celebrate the end of exams.New additions to the party this year will include a planned marquee allowing for bands to play outside, as well as various showcases and displays from the campus’societies.
The popular Coopers BBQ and cocktail bar will also return, with a range of drinks deals to be revealed closer to the event.
Coopers will also be hoping to provide a range of summer themed refreshments, including ice cream.
A motion to charge students to go to the event has, however been scrapped, The Medwire understands.
A consultation meeting for the Summer Party is scheduled to take place later this month, with more details to be released in the coming weeks.

Allergic reaction at club leads to investigation

Management at Canterbury’s Venue nightclub have launched an investigation after alleged delays in getting an ambulance when a student suffered a “severe” allergic reaction.
Liam Hewitt, who made the claims on Facebook, raised concerns when his friend, Jack, fell ill at the club’s SOAP St. Patrick’s Day event on Saturday, March 16.
He claimed his friend experienced “facial swelling and an increasing inability to breathe” after drinking part of a friend’s drink who had eaten nuts earlier that day.
Though Liam praised the door staff as “compassionate” and “understanding of the situation”, he claimed staff at Venue “failed to understand the severity of the incident”.
Although Liam admits him and his friend were “inebriated” at the time, he says that staff should have been quicker to react.
Liam said: “I feel it could have had much more serious consequences had Jack consumed higher amounts of nuts.”
Liam did however praise the help of security staff at the nightclub, who assisted the boys with skipping the queue at Essentials, the campus shop, and giving the boys money to pay for antihistamine tablets.
“The bouncer staff handled the situation impeccably”, Liam said. “They were faultless.”
Colum McGuire, vice president for welfare at Kent Union, said: “We take all complaints seriously and following an incident in the Venue on Saturday night, our Licensed Trade senior management are currently investigating the complaint.
“It is therefore inappropriate to comment until these investigations have concluded.”

Kent Union Election coverage 2013

I was thrilled to attend the hustings at both the Medway and Canterbury campuses for this year's Kent Union elections on behalf of The Medwire, Medway's student news group. The election saw more than 30 students stand for five sabbatical roles. My coverage for The Medwire involved profiling all the candidates, giving details about their manifesto pledges and telling students a little bit more about their candidates.

For the full coverage, visit The Medwire's Election page here.

Info on how to vote in the elections.

Info on President candidates 2013.

Info on VP Activities candidates 2013.

Info on VP Welfare candidates 2013.

Info on VP Education candidates 2013.

Info on VP Sports candidates 2013.

The new sabbatical officers for Kent Union 2013 are Chelsea Moore (President), Amy Gilchrist (Activities), Megan Wells (Welfare), Alex Murray (Education) and Chris Bull (Sports). I was thrilled to attend and cover the event on behalf of The Medwire.

Just under 100 students voted from the Medway campus.

I'm looking forward to reporting (or maybe even standing, who knows) next year!

Plans unveiled for Paramount Studios London

“Britain’s largest post-Olympic regeneration opportunity” was promised by the project leader behind London Paramount, students at the University of Kent were told recently.
Speaking at a talk arranged by the Kent Business School, Tony Sefton, the project leader behind plans to build a £2bn theme park and entertainment resort in Kent, unveiled details ahead of a public consultation in June this year.
The project by London Resort Company Holdings, which if granted planning permission would open in 2018, includes a number of plans to develop “a new world-class entertainment destination.”
Unveiling the “Master Plan” for the park, which was code-named Project C to avoid leaks, Mr Sefton told students that the park would merge hotels, rides, event space and restaurants together to “utilise facilities” in order to create “the largest entertainment complex in the world.”
London Paramount will be situated on the Swanscombe Peninsular, and will consist of an entertainment district at the centre of the park, with rides, attractions and a water park spread around the entertainment plaza.
The theme park will be based on themes from different films, including romance & drama, comedy, family and action & adventure.
Speaking about the theme park, Mr Sefton said: “The park will have more rides and shows per hour than any other studio park in the world.”
“There will be five first class rollercoaster’s,” he added.
Films from Paramount Pictures that will feature as attractions include Mission Impossible, Tomb Raider, Titanic and Star Trek.
The theme park brand and theme has yet to be unveiled, however it is likely the park will feature heavily on British themes. Mr Sefton confirmed that the British Film Institute would be working with the project, with other partners to be announced in the future.
The main entertainment plaza of the park, which will be accessible to guests for just £5, will feature an array of attractions. This includes nine world-class experiences, a spectacular evening show, plaza shows every half hour, a daily carnival and two amazing play areas.
Other areas of the park planned include a Techno Expo, which Mr Sefton called “our version of Epcot”, which “will consist of 10,000 sq m of high tech attractions based around the best technology in the world.”
A 1,500 bed hotel, 150 food outlets and 10,000sq m of retail space will cater for more than 26,000 guests on peak days, with 7,000 staff on hand to manage facilities.
Guests will also benefit from “75% of the operating area being undercover” to cope with the British weather, as well as a revolutionary new queuing system which will ensure guests are not wasting their time in queues for their favourite rides.
Mr Sefton went on to confirm that the park would open all year round. “Business won’t be seasonal, there will be full time jobs”, he confirmed.
With “infrastructure key” to the project, Mr Sefton confirmed that lobbying was underway to extend Crossrail to the site to improve transport links into the city.
The park will be accessible by the current HS1 line, with trains taking just 17 minutes to travel into central London from Ebbsfleet International Station.
The station will also allow for visitors from further afield in Europe to travel to the park, which will open slightly later then most parks to avoid congestion on roads like the M25.
“Every customer is an entertainment customer”, Mr Sefton said as he stressed the importance of local communities and families to the project. The park has the backing of local MPs and councillors in Kent.
Talking specifically to students from the University of Kent, Mr Sefton said: “There are serious job prospects here for students, with hundreds of jobs available in many departments.”
Public consultation on London Paramount will begin in June. Although the scheme has not officially been given the go-ahead, Mr Sefton said he was “quite confident that it will go ahead.”
If planning is approved, the 872 acre park will start construction in 2015.
Tony Sefton, the project leader behind the plans, also unveiled that the project had come together as a result of a night-out in South Korea. When asked by one of the Kent Business Students how the project had been brought about, Mr Sefton said: “The ideas came together at a karaoke bar in South Korea four years ago”.

Writers wanted for Medway Law Journal

One of Medway’s newest societies is appealing for writers to provide legal news, academic work, analysis and court reports for their website.
The Medway Law Journal, which was the idea of third year journalist student Jemma Rogers, is an online academic journal similar to the National Law Journal and hopes to rival Cambridge and Harvard.
Already live and just a click away, Jemma has had help from other students including Harriet Lythgo- Smith and Anthony Toma in setting up the website, and is now hoping that other students will get involved and start to write and post content.
Talking about what the journal will offer to students, Jemma said: “It is primarily for people who are interested in really beefing up their CV, as writing for a law journal is highly recognised by employers in any sphere.”
Although the journal has not yet applied to UMSA to become a society, it is hoped to be approved in the near future.
You can find out more by visiting  the group’s Facebook page, or visiting their website. Anyone interested in writing for the journal should email

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Medway students to meet man behind new theme park plans

Students on the Medway Campus will get to meet the man behind Kent’s answer to Disneyland in March.
Project leader Tony Sefton will be talking about the £2 billion project which could create up to 27,000 jobs in the local area.
Under plans unveiled last October, London Resort Company Holdings wish to build a “Disneyland rival” on the Swanscombe Peninsular, near Dartford in Kent.
The company were successfully granted a license from Paramount Pictures to use their name for the entertainment resort, which would include Europe’s largest indoor water park, live music venues and hotels.
The park, which if built would be the fourth biggest resort in the world, would be right next to Ebbsfleet Station, which is on the London St Pancras line from Gillingham.
Mr Sefton will be talking about the impact the park will have in the local community, as well as the difficulty in developing and planning a resort.
Kent Business School, who have organised the event, said on their Facebook page: “This event would also be a great chance to network with the project leader regarding the 27,000 jobs this development is estimated to create, to help get your foot in the door early.”
The talk by Tony Sefton is from 4pm to 5.30pm on Monday, March 4 2013 at Kent Business School on the Medway Campus (Room M3-04), and is open to all students. To attend, email or attend through the Facebook event.

A crazy little thing called love!

A new internet scam is wrecking your chance of love online; Kieran Watkins looks more into the problems facing online dating sites (article written for The University of Kent Centre for Journalism)

Depressed, lonely and empty; just some of the feelings many single people will be feeling this Valentines. As we cry into our pillows, devour our way through the chocolate aisle of Asda and contemplate reaching for a kitchen knife, one simple solution to our desolate lifestyles is just a few clicks away.
Yes, internet dating. In the last ten years the virtual Blind Date has become so popular that it is believed to generate up to £2billion to the global economy. With one in five relationships being formed online, sites such as and have proved popular for single Brits as we search for the perfect guy or girl to fall in love with.
But behind your loved-up computer screen lies a growing international problem, one which threatens to ruin any romance you thought you might have, and take your money and possessions with it.
The rise of online scammers on internet dating sites has sparked fresh concerns about the dangers of using internet chat rooms online, as more people become victims to online scammers.
“I’ve lost everything”, says Amy Champion, 33, from Winchester, Hampshire. She lost all her money when she was targeted by a scammer through a dating site.
“He, if it was ever a he, posed as a businessman living in London. His photo was of a dark, handsome man in a suit. I guess you could say it was love at first sight.
“We hit it off instantly, and chatted all the time. We messaged privately and on Facebook, he never gave me his number.
“After a few weeks, we arranged to meet up, but he said he had no money at the moment because he had just invested in a new business.
“Despite only knowing him for a short while, I felt like I could trust him, so sent my bank details over to him so that he could book a train ticket to visit me.”
For Amy, it was the last time she heard from Michael, 42, who described himself as ‘a relaxed, funny guy looking to start a relationship.’ But although Amy failed to hear from Mark, he left a lasting memory that will haunt her life forever.
“He took my bank details and transferred all my money over to his account. Everything was gone. I went from being madly in love to broken-hearted and penniless.”
Amy’s story is not uncommon. Research by Leicester University in 2012 estimated that 230,000 Britons had been targeted by conmen, who target vulnerable adults in to giving them their bank details.
The conmen are usually based overseas, and start by targeting their victim by posing as an innocent single man or woman, usually using an alias formed around a picture of somebody else and taken from a social-networking site.
They then start talking to victims, usually through private messaging services, forming a relationship with the online dater over several weeks before flying over to meet the loved one. At this point, they then make up a story about being denied a visa, requesting that money and the person’s bank details be sent over so they can finally meet.
But you never do meet each other. In fact, whilst you queue up at arrivals in Heathrow, the potential love of your life is splashing your cash at your expense.
And it’s an expensive game. More than £37 billion is estimated to have been stolen by online scammers in the UK alone, and with police unable to prevent or track down the scammers, the problem is one which is deteriorating rapidly.
“Scammers come in droves, and they’re very aggressive”, explains internet consultant Mark Brooks, from Online Personals Watch.
“I would strongly advise talking to someone on the phone before meeting them.”
One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, lost £50,000 to £60,000 after sending her personal bank details to her lover, whom she had been in contact with for more than a year.
But despite losing the money, she says that she “forgives him” for what he has done.
“I’ve formed a relationship with him, even if it is online. I love him and I can’t wait to finally meet him one day.”
In the majority of cases, police and the dating websites are unable to locate the villains behind the crime, meaning many of the victims are without justice as well as no money.
Despite the concerns, the Office of National Statistics has recently added online dating to its basket of goods and services to calculate UK inflation rates.
But some councils in England remain unconvinced about the benefits of online dating, and have taken it on themselves to warn the public about being misled online.
Medway Council has launched a new campaign to coincide with Valentines’ Day, to help raise awareness about the growing problem with online scammers.
The council’s Trading Standards team have provided a set of guidelines for members of the public to read and follow when setting up their own profiles online, which include warnings to never give out personal details and be suspicious of a request for financial help.
Councillor Mike O’Brien, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact said: “Locally we have probably a minimum of a dozen reports a year from people who have been conned via dating agencies.
“These range from bogus dating agencies who promise ‘matches’ and then disappear without any introductions with the memberships fees to the extreme detailed in the press release of people handing over thousands of pounds to bogus people who they believe they are in love with.
“It really is pernicious and as usual exploits people at their weakest point, in this case emotionally.”
So as you mop up your tears and watch yet another Richard Curtis film this Valentines, think to yourself; maybe it is better to be single, because signing yourself up to an online dating site could ruin your life forever.
Medway Council’s Trading Standards teams’ six steps to staying safe:
  1. Only use well-known, reputable online dating agencies
  2. Always be sceptical and if you are asked for any type of financial help be extremely suspicious
  3. Be careful when going on a date and always try and meet someone who lives locally
  4. Never give out any personal details
  5. Be extra careful of anyone using PO Box addresses or telephone numbers that are never answered
  6. If your online date only ever talks about themselves and never actually answers your questions it could be because they are only sending a standard email to hundreds of other people