Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Cardiff Rivers Group

Cardiff Rivers Group a dedicated group of litter pickers have been hard at work over December below is some information of their last event. Also included are details of how you can get involved in their last pick of 2010 taking place on Saturday the 18th

Cardiff Rivers Group ventured out in freezing conditions on Sunday to clean-up the River Taff through Hailey Park.

12 volunteers (including 3 new recruits) spent over 2 hours collecting 20 bags of frozen rubbish, traffic cones, road signs, stiff carpets, bikes, railway sleeper, car tyres and various other waste from the banks of the Taff. They even managed to sort 4 bags of recyclable materials (cans and plastic bottles) for collection by Cardiff County Council.

Group Member Louise Tambini, said, “Despite the sub-zero temperatures, 12 volunteers gave up their time to improve the appearance of the riverbanks today. Together they have collected a vast amount of waste and even managed to sort through the rubbish to separate all the recyclables”.

“In the run-up to Christmas, I would like to make plea to the people of Cardiff to ensure they minimise their waste and ensure that whatever waste they do generate, that they dispose of it responsibly. We really hope that the areas we have worked so hard to clean this year are not blighted by flytipping after Christmas”

Cardiff Rivers Group formed last year as part of Keep Wales Tidy’s ‘Tidy Towns’ project, a partnership between Keep Wales Tidy and Welsh local authorities. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government it supports the people of Wales to improve the quality of their local environment.

The last event of 2010 will take place on Saturday 18th December. Volunteers are asked to meet at Llandaff Rowing Club at 9.45am.

Cardiff Rivers Group are always looking for new volunteers, so if you would like to lend a hand, please contact Louise Tambini on 07824 504790 or email
The last event of 2010 will take place Saturday 18th where we will be carrying out a clean-up below Llandaff Weir.

As usual, we will provide equipment and tools, and all volunteers are covered under our insurance. All you have to do is turn up in suitable clothing and wear sturdy footwear or wellies.

Meeting point: Llandaff Rowing Club Car park
Meeting time: 9.45am

Please just let Louise Tambini know you are intending on turning up on 07824 04790

Merry Christmas and a Happy ‘Tidy’ New Year!

More information on Cardiff Rivers Group and their activities can be found on

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Bikes and sustainability

Cycle Training Wales are having a bike sale this Saturday They will have a range of bikes on sale, including ladies, gents, road and mountain bikes all very keenly priced, fully serviced and with a 3 month warranty.

The sale is on this Saturday 11th December, from 10am-12pm at Cardiff Cycle Workshop, Unit 4 Ely Brewery Workshops, Wroughton Place, CF5 4AQ. Check out some of the bikes for sale at:

Learn more about how you can travel around Cardiff more sustainably and information on cycling and bike use in and around the city at:

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Going home for Christmas?

During the year we have been telling you to Lock it. Hide it. Keep it.

This becomes even more important towards the end of term when empty student property becomes a target for burglary. The message from the Police is:

Take any valuables home with you

Ensure all doors and windows are locked when you leave

Clear gardens of items such as bricks/ladders that could be used to force entry

Ask your landlord/letting agent or trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your house during the holidays and ask them to push through any mail left hanging from letter boxes and bring in your bins

So the house appears occupied set up light timers to come on whilst you are away and close curtains in ground floor bedrooms

Remove obvious signs from windows that it’s a student house e.g. posters

Make sure the boiler comes on for a few hours each day to prevent pipes from freezing

When you return don’t make it obvious that Santa has been generous by leaving packaging of expensive presents on display or in bins as burglars know the packaging relates to items worth stealing

Go to a free property protection register for any new electrical items, mobiles, bikes, laptops etc for more safety advice

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas Pickers

Thank you to all the students and residents who became Santa’s little helpers last Thursday.

Over 15 students and residents joined together with the Student Police Initiative to participate in a Christmas Pickers litter pick and a community safety walkabout.

The litter pick targeted areas around Cathays that the community had identified as needing clearing up. Over 12 full bags of rubbish (6 recycling and 6 waste) were cleared from green spaces and surrounding area.

The community safety walkabout ensured that students and non students were informed of key safety messages around this time of year. Reminding people to Lock it. Hide it. Keep it as well as Christmas holiday advice such as taking valuables home for the holidays and ensuring properties don’t become a target for burglary.

The optional choice of wearing red or a Santa’s hat brought Christmas cheer to the event which was organised in partnership with South Wales Polices’ Student Police Initiative, Keep Wales Tidy, Cardiff Student Union and

To learn more about the safety messages and the Student Police Initiative visit:

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cathays PACT

On Monday the 6th the Cathays PACT – Partnerships And Communities Together meeting is being held at the Crwys Rd Methodist Church Hall 7pm

PACT meetings are an opportunity for the community, students and non students included, to have a say on what matters most in their areas, helping paint an accurate picture of what is happening locally.

Some of the priorties being discussed with be around environmental damage and littering, parking issues, skateboarding/cycling/roller skating safety and concerns. It is an open forum where you have the opportunity to express any concerns you are having with the area and the locality and for stakeholders, residents, police and councilors to discuss these concerns and work out ways to tackle the pressing issues that matter most to you

Copies of the latest issue of Unity news where the universities and unions engage the community with some of the positive work students are undertaking will be available and is also available to download here:

You keep informed of dates and times of future meetings visit:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmas Pickers

In partnership with South Wales Polices’ Student Police Initiative, Keep Wales Tidy, Cardiff Student Union and a litter pick ‘Christmas Pickers’ is being held in conjunction with a community safety walkabout by the Student Police Initiative.

Come and be Santa’s little helpers by volunteering for the litter pick:

Thursday the 2nd of December 6pm onwards
(Meet in Cardiff Students Union 3rd Floor by the welfare office)

No experience is required just come wearing red or a Santa’s hat (optional) to join in the Christmas cheer.

All litter picking equipment will be provided. Wear sensible warm clothing and footwear.

Free pizza from Dominos will be provided for all our Christmas Pickers

If you are interested in volunteering or want to find out more contact Kieran on

Monday, 29 November 2010

Housing Advice Week

Today represents the start of Housing Advice Week at Cardiff Student’s Union. A week worth of housing advice to ensure that you; ‘Make the Smart Move’.

One of the keys messages is Don’t Rush – there is more supply than demand for student housing so don’t be pushed into signing an agreement, houses become available all year around. There is no panic so look around and don’t feel threatened into an agreement. Please be aware of agents who insist that all good houses go early.

Cardiffdigs has a section on moving into the private rented accommodation and a list of avoiding the pitfalls:

To coincide with the week the Advice and Representation Centre have launched a new housing booklet to help you find the best accommodation. We caught up with Jane Harding from the Advice and Representation Centre on the third floor of the union who gave us a radio interview to talk about some real issues around housing and the key points. There is the transcript.

Jane thank you for coming

Thank you, it’s good to be here

So tell us a bit about your role in the Advice and Representation Centre (ARC)

I’m a student advisor, I give general advice to students on a range of issues, we give advice on accommodation, housing issues, utility problems, consumer advice and some money advice too. I work in a team with two other advisors and our manager who also provide advice and assistance with any academic issues; academic representation, academic appeals. We can assist students who are going through unfair practice and disciplinary procedures and also if students want assistance with making a complaint against the university then we can also assist with that. My specialism is housing advice.

Housing advice, ok and that’s really what we want to talk about today. So what are the main issues that students face when they are looking for housing?

The main issue is finding something that is a good quality, good standard of accommodation and they have a good landlord or letting agent, and that the contract is sound and I think that if student have those things in place then they will have a very happy and successful tenancy.

So are there some key points that student should look out for, obviously the strap line for housing advice week is ‘Make the Smart Move’. So how do you go about making the smart move?

First off we have a housing advice booklet that gives some very very useful information and just about everything you need to know when you are about start to rent private rented accommodation is included. The housing advice booklet is being distributed, if you haven’t got a copy come into ARC and get one ( It really is a very useful document.

It goes through advice about signing contracts, it’s very important to read a contract carefully, an experienced advisor at ARC can check that contract for you to make sure it’s a good and legal document. We can point out any things we think are not legal, things that we think are unfair, point out any mistakes as sometimes they are standard documents and sometimes there are simple mistakes that need to be removed and generally help you with that. It’s very important thing to realise is that they are joint contracts; so a group of students is legally bound by that contract until its end. So it’s very important to read your contract carefully.

The housing booklet also contains advice about tenancy deposits and the fact they need to be protected. We have a section on bills and council tax and TV licenses, we have a very useful checklist and I would really recommend that students use that checklist when looking for accommodation because if most of the answers on your checklist are YES then you are probably going to get a nice place to rent and everything should be ok. We also have sections on repairs and standards of accommodation.

A really useful booklet that is available at ARC. Where are you based for those students who don’t know?

We are based on the third floor of the Students Union building. We have drop in sessions weekdays daily between 10am and 3pm, expected for on Thursdays when we open at 1pm. You can e-mail us too at

That’s great. Now there are obviously a lot of letting agencies across Cardiff. I think we have somewhere in the region of 110 letting agencies and a lot of them aren’t accredited. So can you run us through some advice about when we are going through a letting agency?

Kieran you are absolutely right – there are a lot of letting agencies across Cardiff. The issue that we have with letting agents in the UK is that anybody can set up a letting agent, you do not have to belong to any accreditation organisation or be monitored in any way. I believe you can also have a criminal record, unfortunately. Yes I think you probably can which makes it very difficult to know you are going to get a good standard of service. Letting agents can be accredited and there are a number of accreditation organisations which does make it a little confusing but Cardiff has a local accreditation organisation called ALMA, Association of Letting and Management Agents. ALMA have a website and you can get a list of their agents, but there are a lot of national organisations; ARLA, RICS, NARLS.

And the message is students really need to look at going with an accredited agency because if there credentials are right, then essentially that filters down into the landlords and the accommodation and the accommodation standard.

Plus you can also make a complaint about an organisation; you have a body to complain to if their standards are not good. Also landlords can be accredited and Cardiff Council does a scheme supporting landlord accreditation.

The Landlord Accreditation Wales (LAW) Scheme that they can get accredited through.

The university have a private sector housing list out in February and they support Landlord Accreditation Wales. So that is a good way of making sure you get a good landlord.

And so Don’t Panic, I know the message is Make the Smart Move but a lot of people get, not hassled, but gently steered into signing the first contract that they see, they rush into a contract that isn’t sensible, the advice is get someone to read through it before you sign it.

Absolutely. Any good letting agent or landlord should give you a copy, not necessarily the actual document but a copy of the document that you will be signing. So you can easily get it checked. If they are not prepared to give you that document to be checked then that raises concerns straight away. We have ten key steps to finding good accommodation and number one in that list is don’t rush. There is plenty of student accommodation out there. I’m still seeing students who are signing contracts in May even June. Like I said before the Universities lists don’t even come out until February so there is time. A couple of things to be mindful of is larger properties do go quickly, there are some ten bed properties if you did decide to go into a larger property like that then it might be a good idea to start your search a little bit sooner. Also there is no harm in looking, there is no harm of getting an idea of what’s out there and if there is a property that is really good and you feel very positive about it there is no problem with signing a contract now as long as you feel that it is a good contract and you would be happy in that accommodation.

And that you are going to be happy with the people that you live with, because essentially you might have only known these people for the last two or three months.


And one of the key steps here is ‘Do good neighbours become good friends’. Essentially you might know these people through halls but living with them is a completely different ball game.

It is a completely different ball game and the one thing we see a lot is student circumstances change. They might have signed a contract now and then in a few months time they might have decided that they don’t want to live with that group of people or that something might have changed in their personal life which means that they can’t carry on with the course. And then students are in a situation where they have to find a replacement because once you are in that joint contract you are bound by that joint contract until it ends the following year.

I think that’s a really important point to get across that this is probably the first main contract that any individual is going to sign, over and above your phone contract this is the first big contract that you will ever sign so the ten key steps which is fantastic advice is things like:

Don’t Rush
Do good neighbours become good friends?
What you see is what you get
Beware of promises
Size does matter; a little bit about licensing
Play it safe
Protecting the bond
And that there is no escape but essentially one of the main points is

Think twice get advice

So if you are not sure of any aspect of looking for your house contact ARC and come and see Jane and her team who do a fantastic job on the 3rd floor just go and see them and they will be happy to answer any questions.

And however small the question or it could be a massive issue or a tiny little concern you have we are absolutely happy to help with anything

Answer any queries and I think the message is also it doesn’t matter what year you are in either.

No it doesn’t. I think housing advice week is targeted at first years because like you say Kieran it is the first contract you are every going to sign and it is a very big decision.

But that doesn’t exclude the second and third years. Come for the advice this week because people may have had bad experiences potentially in the second year and we don’t want that replicated for second and third years.

We do offer students advice throughout the year, we do have students that have problems with things like repairs and problems with getting their tenancy deposits back and problems with sometimes landlord harassment and lots and lots of issues come up throughout the year and we are happy to give advice on any of those matters.

That is a really important point. That ARC isn’t just about housing, it’s about any kind of advice any kind of welfare that you need just drop in and they will be happy to help you engage with the union.

Jane I’m really grateful for you coming in and talking with us.

It’s been great to talk with you Kieran

Good luck with Housing Advice Week.

The message is Make the Smart Move and get advice.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Student Police Initiative

In the second in a series of guest blogs we asked a student from Cardiff to write about their experiences volunteering with the Student Police Initiative in Cardiff. Samantha Beynon (seen above on the left) is a 3rd year student studying Criminology. She is an active member of the Student Police Initiative, the group are on a community walkabout this Friday so we asked Sam to tell us about her experiences…

Hiya guys! My names Samantha and I’m in my 3rd year at Cardiff Uni studying Criminology. I’ve been volunteering with the student initiative in connection to South Wales police for three years now. I never really thought I was the ‘type’ to volunteer but the police initiative seemed like a really appealing idea for me to gain some hands on experience within the police and working in the community. I went along to the meeting and was greeted by the friendly police officers from Cathays station, representatives from various council and community organisations, as well as other like minded students.

After completing an application form –which as it turns out wasn’t too bad – I was part of the team and ready to get involved. As a collective (the students, police officers and council/community representatives) we meet regularly at times that suit us and go out on patrol in the Cathays community. When out on patrol one of the main objectives is to promote the ‘Lock it, Hide it, Keep it’ scheme this involves reminding fellow students to keep an eye out for themselves and those around them by following some basic crime prevention guidelines on how to stay safe within their community. On patrol we go out in pairs armed with walkie-talkies and our South Wales police volunteer uniform and carry out the objectives set for that day such as: take your stuff home in the holidays as an empty student house is an easy target for thieves!
As a student who only lives in Cathays during term-time it is often hard to remember that there are families and individuals who live in the area permanently and we as students can often cause disruption to them, frequently it’s unintentional i.e. making a bit too much noise late at night so we remind fellow students about their social responsibilities and that they aren’t in a student bubble but live within a community.

A key moment that defiantly stands out for me is when we were taking part in an initiative that encourages students to lock their doors – even when their in – and we knocked on a door of a ‘permanent resident’. It was an elderly lady who lived alone – she greeted us at the door and listened cheerfully as I explained the purpose of our visit and that we were student volunteers with South Wales police. She thanked us for passing on the crime-prevention information and calling by and she ended by telling us that we’d really made an impact on her day as the previous night she’d had a person ‘bobby knock’ her door and she was frightened as she lived alone. This elderly lady telling me that I’d made her feel safer and, that there were people in the community who looked out for others really made me feel like I was taking part in something worthwhile. At the end of the day I would love people to be doing what we as the student police initiative are doing in the area where my grandmother lives – just for that extra peace of mind.

Working as part of a team alongside the authorities and those people living and working in the community has really strengthen the confidence inside and strengthened the desire I have to pursue a career as part of the police. I’d recommend this volunteering project to everybody who wants to make a difference to the people around them, gain some invaluable life skills and have something to make your CV stand out from the others!

The student police initiative will be out on patrol this Friday so please give them a warm welcome if you see them.

You can learn more about their work and the Lock it. Hide it. Keep it campaign here:

Students places are still available for those wanting to volunteer and more information can be found here:

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Property Marking and Bike Sale

Property marking to protect your bike and valuables continues tomorrow (10am till 3pm) alongside a second hand bike sale (1pm) on the steps of Cardiff Students Union as part of Sustainability Week which runs from the 8-12 November 2010 to help drive forward the sustainable development agenda.

Security services, the police and partners including cardiffdigs were out on the steps of the Union yesterday helping students and residents mark up their property with the service

Immobilise is a national property register, enabling users to register their bikes and property with the police to help the recovery of stolen goods and catch criminals.

Tomorrow (Thursday 10th) the property marking will continue alongside a second hand bike sale. Cardiff Cycle Workshop who were maintaining and repairing bikes all day yesterday are holding the sale at the Union. A range of second hand bikes will be on sale at affordable rates, including classic retro models. All bikes are fully serviced by trained mechanics. Various makes and sizes will be sold.

Sustainability Week is a week-long event with talks, discussions, film screenings, food co-operatives, pledging, and more open to the whole community. Further details can be found here:

To coincide with Sustainability week at Cardiff University the Make a Cardifference pages on has been launched.

The pages provide advice for students on sustainable travel with the explicit aim of encouraging students to not bring cars into Cardiff and use sustainable methods of transport. Make a cardifference – don’t bring a car into Cardiff.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Cardifference launched

To coincide with Sustainability week at Cardiff University the Make a Cardifference pages on has been launched.

The pages provide advice for students on sustainable travel with the explicit aim of encouraging students to not bring cars into Cardiff and use sustainable methods of transport.
Make a cardifference – don’t bring a car into Cardiff.

Estimates suggest it costs over £2,200 per academic year to bring a car to Cardiff, when you consider insurance, tax, petrol, MOT’s and parking.

Cardiff is easily accessible by bus, taxi, bike or foot that you can leave the car behind when coming to Cardiff to study.

These pages act as one-stop-shop providing information on sustainable travel to make moving around Cardiff easier, trouble-free, greener and more enjoyable.

Please have a look around the website, follow the links, share with friends, and have a wonderful time exploring Cardiff in a sustainable way. Information included:
Cars and Car Sharing, Cycling, Walking, Public Transport, Park and Ride, Make a Move and get Involved and Best Practice. Don't forget to check out our lego lady launch the site with a little dance at:

Sustainability Week runs from the 8-12 November 2010 to help drive forward the sustainable development agenda. It is an opportunity to showcase the University’s world-leading research and teaching in the field of sustainability, it is also a chance for everyone to join in and make a concerted effort to reduce their impact on the planet by becoming more socially, economically, culturally and environmentally aware.

Sustainability Week is a week-long event with talks, discussions, film screenings, food co-operatives, pledging, and more open to the whole community Further details are here:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Latest Edition of Unity news now available

The latest edition of Unity news is now available for download by visiting:

UNITY news is where the universities and student unions of Cardiff can engage the community.

This first issue of the academic year welcomes students back into the city. I believe this year has seen unprecedented partnership working to assist with the transition of students into the community.

Lots of proactive work has been undertaken. My thanks go out to those residents that have assisted with this often contentious time by introducing yourselves to new student neighbours. Everyone can help with this transition and get the message of community out to those who need help and education.

The warmer the welcome, the greater the ownership and respect we will secure from our new student residents.

Kieran McCann; Cardiff Council’s Student Liaison Officer working in partnership with Cardiff, UWIC and Glamorgan Universities and Unions.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Crime Prevention reminder to students

POLICE in Cardiff are reminding students to follow basic crime prevention advice after a number of robberies across the city in recent weeks.

A robbery is when violence, or the threat of violence, is used against a person to gain property.
Items most commonly stolen are mobile phones, wallets and electronic devices such as laptops.

While the city remains a safe place we would ask people to be aware of their personal safety when they are walking alone at night and to be mindful of their surroundings.

We would ask people to follow normal crime prevention advice such as not having valuables on show, to stick to well-lit areas, and if possible to walk with company in the hours of darkness.
We will not tolerate people, who are simply walking home from work or a night out becoming victims of robbery.

Despite recent incidents, robberies in Cardiff have significantly reduced by 32.3 per cent, or 149 fewer offences, compared to the same period last year (July to June 2008/2009 compared to 2009/2010)

Preventing and detecting robberies is a priority for South Wales Police and together we can keep our communities safe.

If you see something suspicious please call 101, or if it is an dial emergency 999.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bric-a-Brac donation

The Lord Mayors Charity, LATCH has received a donation of £439.55 from the proceeds of a Bric-a-Brac sale held at Cardiff Students Union.

Raise and Give in association with the Student Liaison Officer,, Cardiff Self Storage and ‘Get It Out For Cardiff’ helped with the fundraising.

The bric-a-brac items were donated and collected during the ‘Get It Out for Cardiff’ campaign by students leaving at the end of term last year and stored with Cardiff Self Storage over the summer.

The charity idea administered by Kieran McCann, Cardiff Council’s Student Liaison Officer and the Waste Management recycling team meant that Raise and Give were able to sell the items at heavily reduced prices. All donated items that were reusable were sold including kitchen equipment such as saucepans, frying pans, and cutlery and all those essential household items.

Students expressed delight at being able to pick up a bargain, while helping charity at the same time, some others said it meant that they wouldn’t have to raid their parents/guardians cupboards for all the equipment – and that mum would be delighted to still have her kitchen intact.

The event not only offered items at bargain prices but also hopes to encourage students to reduce waste and reuse household items; a financial and environmental winner as people can get their house kitted out without having to purchase new.

Councillor Judith Woodman, Cardiff Council Executive Member for Communities, Housing and Social Justice said: “The sale has completed the recycling circle; what students were prepared to throw out at the end of term is exactly what our returning students need. Storing the donated goods and setting up the sale has helped reduce waste by stopping people having to buy new, saved everyone money, prevented landfill and donated to a very worthwhile charity”

Darryl Light Finance and Commercial Officer for Cardiff Students Union said: "This event is a fantastic opportunity for students to decrease their environmental foot print by donating used items which would otherwise go to a landfill. It also gives students the opportunity to pick up some items they would buy new at a discounted rate, including some oddities. I want to thank RAG and Kieran for the successful running of the event, and hope we can hold another sale soon."

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Reconditioned Bike Sale

This Saturday Cardiff Cycle Workshop is holding a reconditioned bike sale.
23rd October, 1000 – 1200

Cardiff Cycle Workshop
Unit 4 Ely Brewery Workshops
Wroughton Place

A range of secondhand bikes will be on sale at affordable rates, including classic retro models. All bikes are fully serviced by trained mechanics. Various makes and sizes will be sold at between £5 and £60

Also don’t forget – ‘What do you think of cycling in Cardiff?’

The Cardiff Council Cycling Consultation is still underway and today and this Saturday you can give your feedback at 107 Queen Street
21st and 23rd October. 1000-1900 (21st) 1000-1700 (23rd)

Cardiff Council, in association with ARK LAB are asking for your feedback on Cardiff Council's Draft Cycling Network Strategy. This strategy aims to develop and expand the cycling network within Cardiff and encourage more people to choose cycling more often. In addition an online survey has been launched at

On the 23rd from 1pm - 4pm Cardiff Cycle Workshop will be running a Dr Bike and Puncture clinic where you can get some bike maintenance for free, or learn how to fix a puncture.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

From Halls to House

In the first in a series of guest blogs we asked a student from Cardiff to write about their experiences of moving from halls to house and into the community of Cathays. Rachel a 2nd year Maths Student at Cardiff University tells us what was involved….

I lived in Talybont for my first year, and now am living in the student area Cathays. Moving into a privately rented house was really exciting but also a really scary prospect and even more daunting in reality. I don’t think you realise that living in halls is a comfy life when faced with having a home to look after and keep in order. Considerations of moving into my house started way before the actual day I moved; who to live with, what landlord/agent to go with, whether I knew if my contract was legal and if my deposit was safe, the best location in Cathays, what all of us living in the house agreed on as there was a lot that we disagreed on…. As you can see it was a definite learning curve.

When I moved in I realised how the little things in life before this move had passed me by somewhat; when bin days are, the value of knowing people in your neighbourhood, the fact that bills have to be paid and being home alone when the noise outside is pretty intimidating at 3:00am in the morning.

However, the most challenging aspect of having a home to look after have been the bills, a major stumbling block for us as it rather relies on the previous tenants clearing the bills, to ensure a smooth handover for us, this unfortunately was not the case, so we had a bit of chasing to do to resolve it.

Further problems arise when the appliances that you’ve had for a year start to pack in after being used by 7 people in halls for a year, first the toaster then microwave then the kettle, a series of misfortunate events, of which we have had to negotiate as a house of 5 how we will pay for it and whether we are all in the financial position to be able to contribute. This resulted in us setting up a joint bank account for house costs, something that requires great trust and responsibility within a group of people who have only known each other for a year.

Living in a student house is something, however, that I have adjusted to quickly. I have had to, to be able to continue my studies, living in a house is an unavoidable reality of life, taking the step in the big wide world, which I thought I did last year, but seemingly not. This year has definitely been the character builder.

It’s only when you start to write it all down have I realised the massive changes me and the rest of us moving out of halls have had to manage in a short space of time. In short I am looking forward to the rest of the year which I’m sure will bring great challenges and much delight which I am sure will make me a totally different person to who I entered student life as.

If you are interested in writing about your experiences and thoughts on student life then contact me at

For advice and guidance of moving from hall to house visit:

What do you think about cycling in Cardiff?

Come and tell us!

Cardiff Council, in association with ARK LAB are asking for your feedback on Cardiff Council's Draft Cycling Network Plan. This strategy aims to develop and expand the cycling network within Cardiff and encourage more people to choose cycling more often.

On 16th, 21st and 23rd of October we will be taking over 107 Queen Street (opposite the Capitol Shopping Centre) and we would like to invite you to come along and give your opinion.

We will also be running a variety of fun and useful events, here's the programme so far:

• Saturday 16th October - 10am-5pm
11am -12pm & 3pm - 4pm - drop-in cycle accessories craft workshop suitable for supervised children and adults

• Thursday 21st October – 10am – 7pm
11am -12pm & 3pm - 4pm drop-in cycle accessories craft workshop suitable for supervised children and adults
1pm -2pm Lunchtime Event - talks from invited guests and groups

• Saturday 23rd October - 10am-5pm
11am -12pm drop-in cycle accessories craft workshop suitable for supervised children and adults
12pm - 1pm Lunchtime Event - talks from invited guests and groups
1pm -4pm 'Dr. Bike' - bring your bike in and Cycle Training Wales mechanics will diagnose the problem & will take you through basic bike maintenance demonstrations

If you can't make it - don't worry you can still join in; we will launching an online survey later on in the week which we will keep you up to date with.

Keep your eye out for regular updates on the full programme on our facebook page and on Twitter @Cardiffcycling

Friday, 8 October 2010

Student Police Initiative

To create a safer and stronger community in Cardiff, South Wales Police introduced the Student Police initiative aimed at creating partnerships with the police, students and wider community.

Volunteer students and the Student Police initiative are carrying out crime prevention exercises. Yesterday and today volunteer students, South Wales police and cardiffdigs will be out on patrol door knocking around Cathays to welcome students to the area with safety, security and community advice.

The message is welcome to the area, Cardiff is a safe city but around this time of year we see a spike in burglaries so we are asking residents to remain vigilant and to Lock it. Hide it. Keep it. Residents were warned about the risks of opportunist burglaries, given safety advice from the volunteers and a pack containing information about their community and social responsibilities to assist with the move into the area and to encourage good community relations.

This initiative is timed to correspond with the start of term to prevent and reduce all aspects of criminal activity and anti social behaviour. The emphasis was placed on proactive education; prevention and awareness and encouraged residents to introduce themselves to their neighbours. The student police initiative, continually increasing in size and enthusiasm, has already come up with some innovative ideas for the following months. If you haven’t received your free wall planner and freebies or what to get involved then there is still time just go to:

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Don't be a problem parker

From the 5th July 2010, Cardiff Council took over responsibility from the police for enforcing parking and yellow line restrictions throughout the whole of Cardiff using our own enforcement teams.

The police continue to issue tickets to drivers who park on zigzag markings, cause obstructions and park dangerously.

The new scheme aims to bring significant improvements to the city, making it safer for pedestrians, easier for public transport and better for the disabled community.

Information on the new scheme can be found here or you can contact Connect to Cardiff on 029 2087 2087.

Please park considerately, legally and safely at all times. Don't park in areas that are reserved for the use of residents such as those with resident parking bays or "Access Only" streets.

If you live in a street where there are resident parking bays you need to make sure that your car has a valid permit displayed at all times.

Please remember that you can now pay for residential parking permits by credit or debit card. Permits are issued from County Hall or by post and cost:

Number of Permits
Cost1st £5
2nd £30
3rd £45
4th or more (each) £60
Visitor's Permit £5

You'll need to produce evidence that the vehicle is your own and that you reside at the property. For more information on the types of evidence that will be accepted click here.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Advice stand - Penylan Library and Community Centre

On Monday the 11th October from 12.00 cardiffdigs, the Police Student Liaison Officer and Police alongside Trading Standards and waste management will be hosting an information and awareness day at Penylan Library and Community Centre.

Students and residents are invited to talk with us and receive advice.

We will be giving out safety and security advice with some freebies, help people with immobilise advice; we will have the laptop to sign people up to the free service which allows users to register their phone and property with the police to help recovery of stolen handsets and catch criminals.

We have posters and advice to help new neighbours move into the private rented sector and how to help community relations as well as rogue trader information and door step crime avoidance advice.

Plus all the information you and your neighbours will need to ensure they are aware of their waste and recycling responsibilities.

So please come along for the opportunity to learn about how we can help at:

Penylan Library and Community Centre
Penylan Road
CF23 5HW

Monday the 11th October from 12.00

We hope to hold similar advice stands at Cathays Library
so keep a look out for future events.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Cathays PACT meeting (Partnerships And Communities Together)

Due to staff availability the Cathays PACT meeting scheduled for the 25th October has had to be cancelled. It will now take place on 15th November at 7pm at Cardiff Student Union, Park Place.

PACT meetings are an opportunity for the Community to have a say on what matters the most in their areas, helping paint an accurate picture of what is happening locally. Last year some Cathays PACT meetings were held at Cardiff Students Union in an attempt to bridge the gap between residents and students.

It was agreed that further PACT meetings at the union would be productive as they raised many interesting findings.

To find meetings related to different wards of the city please visit:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Student term gets off to a flying start has been working alongside the Police and Waste Management among other services to ensure a positive start to this news term, raising awareness of social responsibilities by providing useful information and practical tips about living in private rented accommodation within a community. The Fresher Fairs have been a great success with advice being disseminated but information (and some free stuff) for you and the community is still available.

'You're in. Now what?'
'You're in. Now what?' poster, which recognises the issues students face and the concerns of the community provides comprehensive information to improve knowledge of social responsibilities, rubbish and recycling and to improve community relations, security, health and safety. You can request a poster for you or your new student neighbors by e-mailing or by downloading a poster here:

Education and introductions

Remember this is often the first time for many moving out of home and taking on such a wide range of responsibilities, it can be very daunting. Everyone can help with this transition and get the message of community out to those who need help and education. We encourage students and the community to introduce themselves to their neighbours, and to respect the fact that not everyone works to a student calendar. The warmer the welcome, the greater the ownership and respect we will secure from everyone. We will be going out on patrol with the welcoming committee in the coming weeks so please give us a warm welcome.

Ground rules podcast

A new podcast which can be imported into any mp3 player or ipod called Ground Rules and Tips for Shared Living has been produced which runs through advice about living in shared housing find it here:

Lock it. Hide it. Keep it

A joint initiative with the police to increase safety and reduce/prevent burglaries is in place to keep communities safe. This Lock it. Hide it. Keep it. campaign is backed by an increase in police presence, a marketing drive which includes door to door safety and community awareness messages delivered by the team of volunteer student police wardens. You can still get hold of a free student wall planner and a free gift such as fridge magnet or stickers at:

The student police volunteer initiative signed up a huge number of volunteers over the fresher fairs but anyone who missed out can still find out more about the scheme, and register their interest with no obligations here:

Waste The Waste education and recycling team have been out and about at the fairs with ensuring that students are aware of their rubbish and recycling responsibilities, giving out calendars and green bags and specifically promoting the new tidy text scheme.

Tidy Text is a free texting service just launched in Cardiff. This easy to use service sends text messages to remind you when your recycling bags and waste are being collected. Find out how to sign up to this free service by visiting
Your collection calendars and rubbish responsibilities advice can be found at:

Thursday, 30 September 2010

EcoTeam-Up event

Want to be greener at home, but don’t want to go it alone?

EcoTeams brings people together to make small changes that make a difference: less
rubbish, cheaper bills, and a healthier environment.

EcoTeam-Up events are fun, interactive and a great way to meet like-minded people.
Feel free to bring along a friend or partner.

When: Saturday 16 October, between 10:30 – 13:00 or 14:30 – 17:00

Where: The Marriot Hotel, Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1EZ

Book your FREE place at:


All attendees will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win one of 28
EcoManagers (wireless appliances designed to help you and your family get a grip on energy usage in the home), each one worth over £50!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Bric-a-brac sale - forgotten some of life’s essentials?

On Wednesday 29th of September Raise and Give in association with, Cardiff Self Storage, Get It Out For Cardiff and the British Heart Foundation will be holding a Bric-a-Brac sale in Solus at Cardiff Students Union.

The event represents the sale of reusable and bric-a-brac items that were donated by students leaving at the end of term last year and stored over the summer collected during the Get It Out For Cardiff campaign.

Raise and Give will have a stall selling the items at heavily reduced prices including kitchen equipment such as saucepans and cutlery and all the donated re-usable items. Any money raised will be donated to the Lord Mayors Charity LATCH which is a voluntary organisation set up to support the special requirements of the children's oncology centre at the Children's Hospital for Wales.

British heart Foundation will also have a stall with a range of PAT tested electrical items such as kettles, toasters, stereo equipment etc.

The sale starts at 10am Wednesday 29th of September students and the community are invited to come along to pick up a bric-a-brac bargain.

The sale not only offers items at bargain prices but also hopes to encourage students to reduce and reuse household items. It is a financial and environmental winner as people can get their house kitted out without having to purchase new.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Take a fresh look at fresher’s week

On Monday come and say hello to at Cardiff’s fresher’s fair. We will be showcasing our new updates and have some information and giveaways.

Last week was represented at UWIC’s fresher’s fair now the attention turns to Cardiff University. We will be bringing along copies of the ‘You’re in. Now what?’ poster to support students in the private rented sector. The poster provides advice and assistance on the four main issues that concern students: Neighbour relations, Rubbish and Recycling responsibilities, Security and Health and Safety. Please come and take a copy, display and distribute to your new flatmates to help make the transition into the private sector a smooth transition; safer, greener, healthier and more socially aware.

We will be working with waste management helping people understand their waste and recycling responsibilities with some freebies on offer and the chance to sign up for tidy text.

We have offers for the OYBike hire scheme – a voucher that entitles you to annual membership for £10 instead of the usual £18.

Free security door chimes

And information on temporary work for the 2011 census

Plus a showcase of some of our new website additions and campaigns including:

Make a ‘cardifference’ – don’t bring a car into Cardiff; providing information on sustainable travel to make moving around Cardiff easier, trouble-free, greener and more enjoyable.

Lock it. Hide it. Keep it. Working in partnership with Cardiffdigs, South Wales Police and Safer Capital a marketing awarenss campaign has been launched to help prevent the spike in opportunist burglaries around the start of term.

Go Green pages to encourage environmental awareness and reduce carbon footprints covering various topics such as recycling, travel, shopping habits, uni life, food and drink and around the home.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Census recruitment of field staff is now open

In order to make sure the March 2011 Census reaches all areas of the community, people from all hard-to-reach groups (which include students as a hard to reach group) are being hired to help with the census.

The census is an estimate of all the people living in the UK. It takes place every 10 years and asks everyone the same questions on the same day to give a complete picture of the nation.

There are a variety of different positions, all ages and walks of life are needed, with different working hours and patterns - something for everyone. Anyone who has good skills, meets the requirements is looking to earn some extra cash and gain experience of working with the Office for National Statistics should apply.

Anyone interested can visit

The posts available include Census questionnaire collectors, census compliance staff and census coverage survey teams. Some of the posts and the type of work is ideally suited to students on a part time or full time basis so if you are interested don’t hesitate.

2011 Census staff will be employed directly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with ONS contractor, Capita, running recruitment, training and payroll services.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Go green with tidy text

Tidy Text is a free texting service just launched in Cardiff. This easy to use service sends text messages to remind you when your recycling bags and waste are being collected.

Students are being encouraged to make full use of this service to help them understand their waste and recycling responsibilities. Sign up is free when you subscribe online at

The new service will raise awareness of being responsible for putting your recycling and waste out on the correct day and week at the correct time. Information will be available in ‘real time' via your mobile phone ensuring that you never forget to put out your recycling and waste again!

Sign up is free when you subscribe online but alternatively, you can register by texting ‘Tidy' with your house number and postcode to 60066. This service is also available in Welsh.

Please note that normal text message charges will apply for your initial sign up text - after that all texts are free depending on your service provider.


With tight finances it’s tempting to find avenues of getting hold of some extra pennies but The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) is warning students in financial difficulties about the dangers of resorting to un-reputable money lenders or loan sharks.

If you turn to loan sharks for credit you can soon find yourself in dire straights as the interest rates are sky high. Some top tips have been released at:

UK students have fallen prey to loan sharks via text or social network sites where they have been offered ‘easy money’. Others have been approached by cold callers at the door offering loans.

WIMLU advise students who are facing a severe cash crisis to contact their University’s Welfare Officer or Finance Officer immediately for advice and support.
Students who turn to loan sharks are likely to:

• Pay extortionate rates of interest
• Have no paperwork or proof of repayments
• Be ordered to make additional payments as the loan shark sees fit
• Suffer from threats or intimidation if they fall behind with payments

Steven Hay, Trading Standards Manager for WIMLU says: “The credit crunch has made students with low incomes very vulnerable making it difficult for them to access affordable loans. Turning to a loan shark will never solve your money problems. They charge very high rates of interest and can often resort to violence and intimidation. They should be avoided at all costs. “

Students who have fallen victim to a loan shark should contact the Wales Illegal

Money Lending Unit 24 hour hotline in confidence on 0300 123 3311.

Email: or text ‘loan shark’ to 60003.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

When the University Bubble Bursts

My thanks to Helen Turner and the Western Mail for publishing my essay on ‘When the University Bubble Bursts’ which can be found by clicking here

The essay is about how Graduates and their Parents are facing an unsettled time. Both are suffering from the end of university life and the return to the family nest. The concern is the ‘stop gap’ of moving home may be lengthening with associated issues.

Below you can find some top tips for families adjusting.

I’ve also written a guide which offers some simple advice for students and parents dealing with this transition of leaving university and the move back home. The guide can be found on and a condensed top tips guide.
Top tips:

Communicate expectations and concerns openly, verbally.

Discuss financial contributions.

Agree house rules; communal cleaning, room cleanliness, having guests to stay and what communication is expected when out of the house.

Respect privacy

Be open about difficulties and future aspirations

Graduates should ask not assume that parents are able to take them back. An open discussion about options is a positive start and face to face dialogue throughout is essential.

Find out how long universities will offer career advice and support after graduation. These services are often open to graduates and offer essential ongoing support.

Discover local area/authority support services

For additional support and advice contact, Parentline: 0808 800 2222 or The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

I would welcome your experiences or methods that have helped deal with this unsettled time:

Kieran McCann, Student Liaison Officer, working in partnership with Cardiff, UWIC and Glamorgan University and Cardiff Council and founder of a one stop website for all student housing and living needs.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Make a cardifference coming soon…. is working on some exciting additions to the website to be launched before the start of term including a section on sustainable travel: Make a cardifference – don’t bring a car into Cardiff.

Cardiff is easily accessible by bus, taxi, bike or foot that you can leave the car behind when coming to Cardiff. These new website pages will act as one-stop-shop providing information on sustainable travel to inform everyone about moving around Cardiff in an easier, trouble-free, greener and more enjoyable way.

Leaving the car behind not only saves money, reduces journey times and helps improve the environment it also takes the hassle and stress out of travelling around in congestion and finding limited expensive parking spaces.
In the meanwhile check out our little lego video we've made:

Great Taff Tidy results

The Great Taff Tidy that happened over the weekend of the 3rd-5th of September has been hailed an environmental success. The Keep Wales Tidy run event heralded the largest clean up of the 52 mile river Taff. Tonnes of rubbish was pulled out from the river and the banks cleared. David King from Cardiff Rivers Group one of over 60 organizations who adopted stretches of the Taff to clear up said:

‘The weekend exceeded expectations, I am very grateful for all the people that volunteered, we had people in waders, in boats, in canoes, in wetsuits and walking along the bank picking up litter and it fills me with optimism that so many people were inspired by this project.

Objects removed from the river included numerous, tyres, shopping trolleys, even a motor bike, various car parts and three safes. Estimates suggested that somewhere in the region of 30 tonnes was collected over the weekend with 20 tonnes from Cardiff based events. The final confirmed total is expected to wildly exceed expectations. Keep Wales Tidy are now working towards Tidy Wales Week on the 20 -26th of September and are appealing for volunteers who missed this weekends opportunity to get involved. Anyone wishing to undertake a clean-up should contact their local KWT project officer, call 029 2072 6994 or email

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Great Taff Tidy and Cardiff Rivers Group

As part of Keep Wales Tidy’s ‘Great Taff Tidy’, Cardiff Rivers Group have 4 events planned next week. All details are listed below and you are welcome to come along to any event you fancy... or all 4 if you like!

As usual, we will provide equipment and tools, and all volunteers are covered under our insurance. All you have to do is turn up in suitable clothing and wear sturdy footwear or wellies. If you have waders or wetsuits please bring them along as we will be going into the water where possible to remove rubbish from the river itself.

Fri 3 Sept
Taffs Mead embankment, opposite Merches Gardens
Litter pick from Tudor Bridge to Penarth Bridge. Work until 11.30am

Fri 3 Sept
Blackweir Footbridge
Join KWT large event to clean bad stretch on east bank. Work until 3.30pm

Sat 4 Sept
Taff embankment, opposite Aber St
Clean from Penarth Bridge to Clarence Road Bridge. Tackle steep bank. Work until 12pm

Sat 4 Sept
Llandaff Rowing Club car park
Join Rowing Club to clean rubbish from river and weir along their waters. Work until 3.30pm

Please just let me know which events you are attending so we can ensure we have enough equipment for everyone.

If the weather is bad we will probably carry on regardless, but obviously will restrict our work to the riverbanks only. If you have any queries please just get in touch. Hopefully see you at some point next week!

Please contact Louise if you are interested in participating

Louise Tambini
Tel: 07824 504790

Help shape the future of cycling in Cardiff

Cardiff Council are working hard to change the way we travel, making it easier, quicker and more fun to travel more actively into and across the city.

Help shape the decision making process and give and insight into your ideas for improved cycling around Cardiff - fill out this short questionnaire:

Hel plan Cardiff's Cycling Network Plan for the future.

For the first part of the Community Engagement Plan (a series of activities to ensure as much public feedback as possible is collected in order to help shape the decision making process) this very short questionnaire will help gain an initial insight into your opinions and ideas....please tell us what you think

There are going to be many other fun and exciting community engagement opportunities on the topic of cycling. Non-cyclists, new cyclists and those recently back in the saddle can get involved.

When you fill out the questionnaire join the Transport Policy mailing list to get involved and keep up to date on all things cycling in Cardiff.

If you have any questions about the market research or community engagement plan please contact Miss Sheena Aikman at Local Transport Projects Ltd at

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Tell us what advice you need

Cardiff Council provides grant funding for advice agencies in the city such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Cardiff Law Centre. We are aware that the type of advice that people need, and the way in which they want to access it, changes over time. We are therefore undertaking a review of advice requirements with the aim of ensuring that future services are both accessible, and meet the needs of the general public.

The first stage of the review process is to invite views about advice requirements in Cardiff using an online questionnaire which is attached below. One lucky person, chosen at random, will win a cash prize of £100.

The closing date for receipt of questionnaires is 17th September 2010.

If you have any queries about the questionnaire please contact Helen Jones on
Tel : 029 2087 3341 or e mail :

Thank you for taking the time to help with this survey. Please feel free to pass on the links to friends and family living in Cardiff so that they can take part.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Get It Out; Donate It Don’t Waste It Charity Campaign is tonnes of success.

Now entering its sixth year, the award winning Get It Out For Cardiff (GIOFC) Campaign is a Keep Cardiff Tidy (KCT) Initiative. This year saw a huge charity push across the city resulting in unprecedented results. This is a scheme where unwanted items are donated by students for charities to collect and sell.

In co-operation with the Salvation Army, British Heart Foundation, FareShare and RAG, ‘Green Zones’ were set up across the city allowing students to donate re-useable items. The results speak for themselves:

Over 3 tonnes of clothing

One tonne of food

244 electrical items were collected (approximately 488Kg) of which 152 passed an electrical test to ensure they were safe for sale, which should raise around £2,000.
Half a tonne of bric-a-brac was donated and saved from landfill.

Working with Cardiff Council’s Student Liaison Officer, Kieran McCann, all 21 student Halls of Residence across the city plus Cardiff Student Union set up ‘Green Zones’ and encouraged their students to participate.

The clothing will be re-sold or recycled by the Salvation Army to help fund beds for the homeless and much more. The food will be used by FareShare to relieve food poverty for the most vulnerable communities in the UK.

A fete at Cardiff Students Union will sell the Bric-a-Brac items such as kitchen equipment, books etc. to students and the community at low cost. The British Heart Foundation will also sell the donated electrical items such as kettles and toasters at the fete and through its shops to assist its aim to beat heart disease.

The fete is open to anyone to attend and will be held on the 29th of September in Cardiff Students Union, it is a financial and environmental winner as students can get their house kitted out without having to purchase new. This initiative was made possible by Cardiff Self Storage who donated a unit to store the items over the summer. Bric-a-brac proceeds will be used to roll out the re-use campaign over the whole academic year and will be donated to RAG (Raise And Give)

Kieran McCann, Student Liaison Officer from Cardiff Council said:

“What can I say, it’s been amazing. It’s heartbreaking to see what re-usable items are sent to landfill every day across our city - initiatives like this offer optimism and fills me with enthusiasm. We have donated.tonnes of items that otherwise would have been disposed of, ensuring a win win situation for all, not least the environment. Everyone involved should be immensely proud. I think this is an example to all and sets a precedent. Thank you to all KCT partners, the halls of residence managers and staff, Cardiff Self Storage, Waste Management, the charities, unions and universities and of course all the students who donated and gave their time to make this work. We already have exciting plans to make this bigger for the coming academic year.

Shaun Moriarty from Liberty Living said:

“The Get It Out For Cardiff Initiative has been a great success and very much mirrors Liberty Living’s attitude to waste management. GIOFC and Liberty Living have achieved a winning outcome for all those who gave and those who receive”

Tim Goodson, Managing Director of Cardiff Self Storage said:

“Having recognised the importance of the campaign, Cardiff Self Storage was enthusiastic to contribute towards such a worthwhile cause. The benefits of helping the student population of Cardiff whilst also supporting local communities and charities was key to our involvement. It is great to see that our storage units have provided the flexible short-term storage solution for the items that have been successfully collected and recycled”.