Teesside student by day. Samaritan by night.

2014-02-13 15.20.31

WORKING HARD ON THE NIGHT SHIFT – Paul Barker* talking to a caller and putting his training into practice.

FOUR months ago Paul Barker*, not his real name, was like any other university student.

At 20-year-old, his main concern was balancing his studies alongside his love for partying and staying out until the sun rose.

However the Teesside University student is now one of tens of thousands of volunteers in the UK who have an extraordinary secret.

Paul has spent the past couple of months changing peoples’ lives by voluntarily working as a Samaritan at the local Middlesbrough branch and he wants to encourage fellow students to join the volunteer programme.

He said: “I am the voice at the end of the phone that is there for someone to talk to. Whatever the issue, I am the person that listens to the problems or fears and that feels good because I know that I am helping someone.”

The Samaritans charity has over 20,000 volunteers working in branches across the UK but there is a need for more volunteers to help.

According to The Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2013,  around 21% of people (over 600,000) who contacted the Samaritans in 2011 were expressing suicidal feelings.

The Samaritans are available 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day and the service is completely confidential.

Paul has always wanted to give something back to the community and help others and the Samaritans offered him the opportunity to fulfil this dream.

He unexpectedly found the Samaritans after he applied for other charity work which he found wasn’t suitable for him.

He said: “I was looking to go to Africa to volunteer to build a church but that would cost me £7,500, which I don’t have.

“So then I found Samaritans and I’ve never regretted the decision to volunteer with them.

“Every time I answer the phone, I am helping someone.

“Although, I don’t feel like I’m making a huge difference, I know I am doing something to help others which feels good.”

In the 2012 annual report from The National Office for Suicide Prevention it states from November 2011 to October 2012, 412,167 calls were answered by the Samaritans Helpline.

Although becoming a Samaritan was an easy choice for Paul, there was a course of intense training in order to prepare him for the tasks he would face as a volunteer.

Paul said: “I enjoyed training. I got to meet a lot of people who were all brought together for a common cause, which was really nice.

“It’s interesting to meet fellow volunteers to hear their story, to hear what other charities they have worked for and why they want to become volunteers.

“Although for some people volunteering is a good thing to do but for others it’s quite clearly not for them or they might not be ready for it.”

Samaritans give their time to listen to the callers problems. No matter how little or irrelevant the problem may seem, the volunteers are there to help and talk through a wide range of issues and help to find a way forward.

Paul said: “We can have a range of calls at any time of the day or night.

“Anything from prank calls, to calls where people simply hang up when we answer or you can have calls which are right on the other end of the scale, where  people are on the end of the line and are ready to end their life.

“But we are here to talk to them for as little or as long as they want – from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours.”

Being a volunteer with the Samaritans involves giving a few hours of time each week and this helps to keep the valuable service open.

However as Paul explains, working with the Samaritan’s is not for everyone.

He said: “The calls that are more difficult can affect you, especially when you don’t expect it – but that is part of the job.

“Personally I think that I am fairly emotionally strong and I think that is a good trait for a Samaritan to have.”

There is a continuing need for volunteers to work with the Samaritans to help change and save lives by simply just talking to someone.

If you wish to help the Samaritans and become a volunteer, head to the Samaritans website and fill in the application form.

If you need to speak to someone from the Samaritans team, you can call 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org

Paul said: “It’s different to what I expected. It’s different every time I go in. Every call is different.”

*Due to the confidential nature of Paul’s work, we have protected his identity in this piece.

from Tside

Animex fun returns to Teesside University

AT THE ANIMEX EVENT: speaker Andy Bastable

AT THE ANIMEX EVENT: speaker Andy Bastable


GAMING fans were given the chance to meet and quiz industry experts during the annual Animex Festival in Teesside.

The international festival of animation and computer games was once again held at Teesside University, between February 10 and 14.

The popular event gives students, gaming fans and people aspiring to go into the gaming industry the chance to see the latest products and mingle with people in the industry.

One of the speakers at this years 2014 Animex event was Andy Bastable, a leading game programmer.

The 36-year-old from Portsmouth currently works for an award winning company called Rare, owned by Microsoft games studio.

Andy, who has been giving talks, interviews and meeting students, has been supporting Animex for a while and this is his fourth time attending the event at Teesside University.

He said: “I love coming back up here year after year. It also gives me a chance to catch up with friends that I only get to see at Animex.”

Although he didn’t display any work at the Animex event, Andy is just finishing a project on a motion-based sports game called Kinect Sports Rivals.

The Kinect is a camera that sits under the tv and tracks your motions and moves.

Those motions are then used to put you in the game as an athlete or sports person to compete.

Andy has been involved in the technology scanning side of the project , which involves scanning people who stand in front of the camera, to create a digital likeness of them for the game.

After graduating with a computer science degree from the University of Southampton, Andy spent four years working with games company Codemasters, who specialise in creating football games.

Andy said: “I am really into football and computer games as well, so that was a great job for me.”

He then went to work for a further seven years at Freestyle Games, where he helped to develop popular music games such as Guitar Hero and DJ Hero.

He said: “That was fun. I was doing games I was really proud of – popular games that people play.”

Andy’s love for games started at a young age and making a career in the industry was one of his dreams, which led him to take A levels in maths , further maths , physics and computer science at his City of Portsmouth boys school.

He said: “When I was younger I wanted to become a footballer or computer games programmer, so I am totally doing my dream job.”

During his degree course, Andy took a gap year between his second and third year and did work experience at a company called ICL in Reading.

Andy said: “They must have hated me there because I made a lot of mistakes, but it was good because it was a valuable experience.

“You get to make all your mistakes before you go out into the proper world, where mistakes can be really costly.”

Andy’s advice for anyone wanting to go into the gaming industry, is to show that you can work as part of a team but also be able to stand out and create individual projects as well as being a well rounded person.

He got the chance to speak to the Teesside University students who are looking to go into the gaming industry and see some of the work they have produced.

Andy said: “Its great to see how passionate they are about what they are doing and how they want to get into the industry.”

For more information visit: http://ift.tt/1l6hDHZ


from Tside

The secret behind Spain’s World Cup Dominance

Ernesto Lopez of Spain at the 2012 World Cup.

Ernesto Lopez of Spain at the 2012 World Cup.

IN the last six years Spain have taken over the football landscape with their tiki-taka style of play.

But what has been behind Vicente Del Bosque, the Spanish national football coach, and the team’s resurgence?

It seems to be the same thing that has made Brazil world champions five times – a game called futsal.

The game was developed in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay by Argentinian coach Juan Carlos Ceriani, with the game spreading to Brazil soon after, and the first rules being published in 1936.

It consists of a squad of fourteen players, with five on the court at any one time, a size four ball, a court and a set of goals.

The ball is weighted to give it less bounce, so it is more focused on passes on the ground and players keeping the ball. There are roll on/off substitutes, meaning that there is always a flowing element to the game.

Since it was introduced in the 30s, it has developed and spread worldwide, with World Cups every four years, its own Champions League and leagues in countries across the continents.

FIFA took over the governing body from FIFUSA (International Federation for Futebol de Sala) in 1989, after the sport grew too large to FIFUSA to handle the workload.

The current World Champions are Brazil, who beat Spain 3-2 in extra time – a repeat of the 2008 final, showing the two teams’ dominance in the sport.

Neto was the key man for the samba stars, putting usual superstar Falcao in the shade.

The 36-year-old has played at three World Cups and is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, winning the official accolade in 2004, 2006 and 2011.

In recent years, futsal has spread into universities, with Teesside’s team winning the Premier Northern League, Championship round-robin group and overall Championships in 2011.

Damon Shaw, former head coach of the university team and also Director at Middlesbrough Futsal Club said: “Futsal gives players a good basis for football. It teaches them to keep possession and how to play out of trouble, rather than hit and hope.”

In the past some of football’s finest players have played futsal, with names such as Ronaldinho, Pele, Lionel Messi and Xavi crediting the sport for their success.

Shaw, who is now playing for Ispe el Pilar in Barcelona, whilst completing a training course there, said: “These players were given the foundations that they needed to have great careers, and there is no reason why coaching here couldn’t do the same.”

Some players have started at the university and gone on to play at international level, through their connection with Middlesbrough Futsal Club.

Futsal’s two dominant teams, Brazil and Spain are both installed as favourites to take home the famous Jules Rimet in July, and Shaw believes that this is down to their upbringing with futsal.

He added: “If you look at their style of play and the way that they try to keep it on the floor, it’s clear to see to anybody who watches futsal that this is their style, pass-move, pass-move.”

We have five months to wait to see if the futsal way will win the World Cup, or if another team will prevail.

However the majority of the bookmakers can’t see past Brazil or Spain!

from Tside

Ben cleans up at Dyson : Post from Tees Made


Product Design graduate Ben Russi has been succesful in securing a graduate Design Engineering position working for British inventor, industrial designer and founder of the Dyson company, Sir James Dyson. Dyson is best known as the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation.

On getting the role Ben said:

“Interviewing for a position at Dyson as a Graduate Design Engineer originally made me quite nervous as to be expected. On the day I quickly realised however that this interview was going to be quite different to others, both days where extremely enjoyable based around demonstrating my creativity as a designer and technical understanding and fundamentally my design process and thinking. The Dyson employees where very friendly, answering all of my questions about the role very openly. On getting the position I was understandably very excited, I have not stopped thinking about what I might be doing since and cannot wait to start my new role. The course at Teesside University prepared me greatly for the interview process, I used all of the skills and new ways of thinking I had learnt over the three year course. The product design course also gave me the confidence to apply and push for a role with such an innovative and exciting company. It is a course I would highly recommend to any aspiring Designer or Design Engineer.”

from Tees Made

Tom’s Magic Tips : Post from Tees Made


Teesside ex-student, Tom Crisp, now Design Director at Design Partners in San Fransisco, came back to Teesside last week and wowed Product Design Students with a bundle of stories about life as a designer.

As well as showing his award winning portfolio of work he has done for Wacom ( Cintiq, Bamboo and Intuos), Heinz Ketchup (new squeezy bottle), Intel ( Mobile Metro), Villeroy and Boch, Logitech and Proctor and Gamble, he gave a talk entitled ‘Twenty Things I wish I could have told myself at University. Among his top tips for designers were ‘Make Things Constantly, Experiment and Have Fun‘, ‘Make Friends with Criticism’ and ‘Add Magic. Always’. Students were then treated to a master class in drawing and some feedback about an on-going sledge project.

Tom also invited students to submit their portfolios to him for the possibility of working for Design Partners as an intern. It was a truly inspirational day. Tom has promised to come back to share more of his wisdom next year. See more of Tom and teams work  at http://ift.tt/1hbU3LF.

from Tees Made

A blog is for life, not just for fun

A TEESSIDE woman has become a top lifestyle blogger with her Lifestyle site milkbubbletea.

BECKY HENDY: blogger of milkbubbletea

BECKY HENDY: blogger of milkbubbletea

Becky Hendry, from Ingleby, has been hailed by industry insiders as one to watch after winning Company Magazine’s ’best use of photography’ at the Style Blogger Awards last year.

Now the fashionista has a regular audience of 13,000 readers.

Becky Hendy 23, said: “I originally started blogging to share my photographs with people.

“I discovered an entire online community of girls my age who share a passion for pretty photographs, shopping and make-up.”

With a knack for photography, Becky displays an array of beautiful pictures which give her readers an insight into her life.

MILKBUBBLETEA: Becky's new Dachshund pup, Oscar

MILKBUBBLETEA: Becky’s new Dachshund pup, Oscar

Her posts include what she’s recently bought, delicious recipes she’s tried out and little bits and bobs about her everyday life, including pictures of her adorable dogs.

Becky said: “I think social media is the key to getting you and your blog out there.

“Share your blog posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as it’s a good way to engage with other bloggers too.

“I find it a little crazy that people love my photographs and little snippets into my life and wardrobe that they care enough to follow me and leave such lovely comments on a daily basis.”

MILKBUBBLETEA: what Becky's recently purchased

MILKBUBBLETEA: what Becky’s recently purchased

With a huge fan base and a growing love for what she does, it would seem that Becky’s career as a lifestyle blogger has plenty of room to still grow.

She added: “As for the future, I think I’ll continue to blog, as long as I still enjoy it.

“It’s a fun hobby, with a lovely community and some amazing opportunities and little perks along the way.”

To see more of Becky’s lovely posts, visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.

from Tside

Social Media and peer pressure: Nek Nomination

A MIDDLESBROUGH man was hospitalised with alcohol poisoning after a new social media craze went horribly wrong.

Ivan Brown, 22, who lives on Ainstable Road in Ormesby thought the new drinking game – The NekNomination – sounded like fun when he was challenged on Facebook to down a pint of Vodka and Sambuca.

But seconds later he collapsed and was rushed to James Cook hospital for treatment. He was on a drip for six hours and was treated for concussion after banging his head.

RESULT OF THE NEKNOMINATION: Ivan Brown in hospital after completing his challlenge.

RESULT OF THE NEKNOMINATION: Ivan Brown in hospital after completing his challlenge.

The NekNomination challenge has hit the headlines over the past few weeks, with parents and politicians demanding it be banned following the deaths of two young people.

Ivan, a sales assistant, said: “The aim of the game for everyone is to make it as outrageous as possible.

“Everyone who knows me will know I like a few drinks now and again and there are very few things I enjoy more than a cold Sambuca.

“I decided to mix Sambuca and Vodka in a pint glass and down it whilst recording myself, I think I drank the full lot in about ten seconds.”

The ‘NekNomination’ has been the talk of Facebook with videos of people downing pints of spirits being posted from around the world.

Dublin based DJ, Ross Cummins, 22 and Jonny Byrne, 19, both from originally from Northern Ireland, both lost their lives as a result of the game after downing pints of spirits.

Jonny’s brother, Patrick, put up a message on his Facebook saying: “Stop NekNomination before it’s too late.”

If the nominee doesn’t respond to the challenge within twenty-four hours, they face a forfeit and can face dozens of abusive comments.

Ivan added: “I watched loads of the NekNomination videos before I actually got nominated.

“There are people downing lager, spirits and I’ve even seen a boy mix dog food, Mr Muscle and Vodka and neck it.

“When I got nominated I wanted to do a funny video and take this whole drinking game to a new level.”

Janice Allison, 53, who works at James Cook says binge drinking games are resulting in dozens of young people being hospitalised every week,

She added: “Binge drinking is seen as the in the thing to do by many young people. It’s the fun way of socializing with you’re friends.

“People stay in all week then let their hair down on a weekend and consume their weekly allowance – and more – in one night. The body isn’t designed to consume that much alcohol in such a short space of time. It’s very dangerous.”

Janice said that teenagers as young as 15 are regularly being brought into hospital after taking part in drinking games.

And sometimes the results can be tragic with young people dying of alcohol poisoning.

By the time they reach hospital, the alcohol has taken effect and their body has began to shut down,” she said.

“The amount of lives I have seen lost just for one silly night is just heartbreaking.

“Social media makes it easier to peer pressure individuals into participating. People need to take a step back and remember alcohol is a drug and needs to be consumed responsibly.”

According to the Strategic Health Authority, in the UK the North East is the worst for exceeding the recommended alcohol units per week, 68% of men and 60% of women admitted to consuming more than they are advised.

Ivan now regrets joining these statistics by giving into peer pressure and will never take part in a drinking game again.

He has since stopped drinking after his NekNomination and luckily hasn’t suffered any permanent damage. He now hopes by speaking out he will stop other young people feeling pressured into taking part.

“At the time I did feel under a lot of pressure to do the challenge. I think anyone my age would, it’s hard not to do something when people are commenting on your Facebook,” he said.

“I didn’t for one second think I would end up in hospital. I’m very lucky the only thing I suffered from was a bad headache and my Mam giving me the cold shoulder.

“Now I’ve heard some real horror stories. It was stupid of me and I wish I’d said no.”

ALCOHOL BAN: Ivan Brown, 22, poses with a bottle of vodka. He has banned himself from drinking alcohol. ALCOHOL BAN: Ivan Brown, 22,  posing with a bottle of Vodka. 3

ALCOHOL BAN: Ivan Brown, 22, poses with a bottle of vodka. He has banned himself from drinking alcohol.

“Who are you trying to impress? I thought it would be a good laugh but now looking back I realise that no true friend would nominate another friend to do something as silly.

“I was hospitalised, I could have died. I can’t stress enough how dangerous it is.”

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