Is Grassroots Football slowly dying?

Hebburn Town is struggling to survive in the Northern League.

The North East can proudly bolster having seven of the last eight  FA Vase winning sides coming from the region.

However, among this success many clubs  are struggling to survive.

Last week, Northern League side Hebburn Town released a statement begging for support to save their beloved club.

With rising costs, diminishing spectators and limited funds, many non-league Football clubs are finding it extremely difficult to survive. So, Is Grassroots Football slowly dying?

Hebburn Town, also known as ‘The Hornets’, released a heartfelt statement via their website in which they admitted that they are currently playing to falling gates and have barely enough money to survive.

In the club’s statement they issued a wake-up message to the people of Hebburn.

The statement said:“If you want to help us keep the club alive, now is the time to act.”

Not going down without a fight: Hebburn Town squad photo 2016/17.

The news of Hebburn Town’s struggle comes just weeks after fellow Northern League club, Norton and Stockton Ancients announced their withdrawal from the league with immediate effect.

The club said it had become no longer viable to carry on and that the cost of running the team was not affordable due to diminishing spectators and limited funds.

Having been founded in 1889, the Northern League is the oldest surviving  league in the world after the Football League.

If ‘The Hornets’ were to follow the Ancients and kick their final ball, could that open the door to more clubs bowing out?

Chairman of fellow Northern League Football Club Whickham, Paul Taylor said: “We find it difficult to keep the club running throughout every season.”

“We are fortunate that we have a fantastic committee that supports the overall running of the club.

“We also have several sponsorship deals with businesses and their money is invaluable to our existence.”

“To keep our heads above the water, we always look at ways to generate money.

“Events including a booze cruise and talk- ins with former footballers have been successful in raising money for the club.

“Everyone’s help is vital.

“We know roughly what income is needed to keep us going but you can never plan for the unexpected.

“Things crop up and it means additional money must be raised.

“This could be costs such as be good cup runs, buses and general repairs to the ground.

“You can’t run week to week and expect to be successful.

“We rely on all income. Every penny counts, especially in these days.

“At the start of the season, the money is generated from the booze cruise we run every July and also sponsors.

“We then get income from the advertising boards from around the ground.

“Throughout the season we also have the income from our home games, gate receipts, raffles, programmes, and the café.

“If we didn’t have volunteers within the club or league, we all wouldn’t have a club or league, it’s as simple as that.”

Standing Strong: Whickham FC’s volunteer committee.

Despite the constant battle to stay afloat for some, fellow Northern League Side South Shields  are  a completely different story.

Remarkably, when Hebburn played Shields away from home three seasons ago, the Town came out victorious, winning 1-0 with ‘The Hornets’ having as many fans in the crowd as Shields.

Since then, the teams have clearly gone in different directions.

Shields went on to sign former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Julio Arca.

GOAL: South Shields players celebrate scoring.

‘The Mariners’ as they are also known as, went on to win Division Two last season and are currently competing at the top of Division One with their local rivals North Shields.

They are now roared on by a capacity crowd of over 1,100 at many home games – an astonishing figure for ninth-tier clashes.

Shields also have an FA Vase Semi-Final to look forward to against Coleshill Town in the coming weeks, with the winner heading to the home of English Football – Wembley.

In spite of the incredible achievements and heights ‘The Mariners’ are reaching, the grass is not as green for many other teams.

Several fellow Northern League sides including Hebburn Town are battling a tough challenge to guarantee literal survival.

A just giving page has been set up by ‘Hornets’ supporter Mick Laffey in the hopes that the page will raise money to aid the push for survival of the club. A target of £5,000 has been set.

You can help support Hebburn Town FC by donating via

The North-East lives and breathes Football.

One thing that is for sure is that the clubs in our region will not go down without a passionate, devoted, and vigorous fight!

from Tside

Would you marry your best friend?

Many people fantasise about meeting that one person who can always tell exactly what you need, when you need it, but is marrying your best friend really all it’s cracked up to be?

If you met them during university, there’s no doubt that they’ve seen you at your worst, your best, and let’s face it – every possible stage in between.

Whether you’re bawling your eyes out an hour before a deadline, or passed out drunk on a football pitch, they can field your mood swings like a pro.

Nobody knows you better, and you both know it.

You could have met them a few months ago, or you could have known them your entire life, either way, the moment your best friend entered your life, things have never been the same.

But is that enough?

Though the idea of marrying your best friend is nothing short of a fairy-tale to some, it’s also become a bit of a clichéd idea – one that is constantly exploited throughout social media to the point where it no longer means what it used to.

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed is filled to the brim on the daily with pictures of couples gushing “I get to marry my best friend.”

Despite this being a charming concept, it’s still questionable whether or not these people are actually marrying their best friends or just want to be included within the clichéd subculture created by people who feel the whole world needs to know about their infatuation with their partner.

This insane need for the approval of people we barely know, this need to boast about how good our relationship is, is the main reason for “marrying your best friend” becoming as big of a cliché as it is.

People are no longer marrying for love as they once were, but are now marrying for the security that comes with being with someone who knows you better than you know yourself, essentially someone who can look after you.

Katherine, 22, says of her six year relationship that the only theoretical downside to marrying the man who was her best friend of eight years before they dated would be that “he knows me too well, sometimes we run out of things to talk about.” If only that were the problem we all had.

Mike, 26, has been married for two years, but his outlook on things is that because his wife was his best friend at university before they were married, they are closer now than before, and it has “maybe even kept us together in the rough periods.”

Of course, this could be more to do with the fact that marriages are more likely to end in divorce by their 20th Anniversary, which people who are in their early to mid-twenties haven’t actually reached yet.

There are case studies that suggest that it is beneficial to marry your best friend, for instance, Dr’s Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz – considered to be “America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts” have discovered over a 30 year research period that: “Loving someone is not enough. If your partner is not your best friend, your relationship will not pass the test of time.

The Dr’s Schmitz suggest that: “Best friends provide each other with total trust, loyalty, mutual respect, admiration, encouragement, support, care and much more.” All things that are pivotal if one desires a successful marriage.

Should you marry your best friend?

As a rebuttal, there are of course people who believe you don’t need to be best friends with your significant other to have a successful relationship.

Monica Mendez Leahy, an experienced marriage counsellor does indeed claim that what she calls the ‘Friendship Factor’ is at the root of all long-lasting, happy marriages.

However, she said: “If a couple strives to be best friends, they’re aiming too low. The relationship between spouses is special, sacred even.

So to Leahy, best friends are too lax in their attitudes towards their relationship with their partner, and they need to aim higher.

But really, despite the fact that marriages seem to end in divorce more often than not, it seems to be a unanimous point that there needs to be friendship within a marriage to work.

Whether you want to call it the ‘Friendship Factor’ or just know you were besties before one of you popped the question, you should probably like your partner as a person before you decide you want to spend your life with them.

from Tside

As a student dealing with bereavement do you know how to seek support?

After a her father died Bryony didn’t know where to turn to for help.

Would you know how to cope with loss if it happened to you?

Nothing prepares you for the loss of someone close to you, the shock can be intense and we should understand how to take care of a grieving student.

Learning how to cope with grief isn’t something that’s normally spoken about before heading off to university.

We don’t set ourselves up for these life challenges, but it’s important to have some insight in case you ever need guidance.

Bereavement isn’t something you expect to happen when you attend university, alongside meeting new people, rolling in at 4am and working all night in the library.

If it happens to you, it can be a horrible and isolating time – especially if you’re now living away from home.

Universities don’t tend to provide bereavement counsellors, but will offer support if you look for it.

Teachers and tutors may feel more comforting to talk to if you wish or they may refer you to outside services such as Cruse.

Students are vulnerable when dealing with bereavement as it can lead to mental health problems which can interfere with exams, assessments and deadlines.

In England, 630 young people are bereaved of a parent each week (Childhood bereavement network) and as a student, this can have a hugh impact  on our studies and lifestyle at university.

You may feel like you cannot cope, but explaining what has happened to your teachers is key as they need to know and you may gain extensions or more time.

I lost my dad just before attending university – he had some health problems for a while and the shock of his death was unlike anything I’d experienced.

I was left feeling heartbroken and depressed, not really sure on how to look after myself. I refused to seek help from counsellors as I was in denial and didn’t want to admit I needed help.

After months, I decided to see my doctor who referred me to counsellors which had six week waits for appointments and  that made me give up on the process.

I felt more hopeless than ever and becoming a full time student was in sight – I then looked to services like Cruse for support.

I’ve grown to identify the key factors in which we should understand when someone close to us passes away.

Grieving is a pretty low time, not one which can be done overnight and everybody deals with it in their own way.

For some it might mean keeping busy, trying not to think about the situation or you might feel you want to talk about it openly and seek guidance.

You should take care of yourself by eating properly, surrounding yourself with other people and keeping focused.

Allowing yourself to express emotion and seeking advice is an important part of staying strong and keeping a steady mind-set.

Don’t feel embarrassed to explore your emotions with friends either, they might need to come to you for the same support one day.

When faced with bereavement, you may feel you might not want to seek advice but it doesn’t harm you to try. You’d be surprised by how much it can help you.

Bereaved students are challenged with a hard battle of juggling emotions and academic work.

Bryony Dobinson, 19, a student from County Durham had the same issues when her dad died while she was taking exams.

She said: “I was tackling the worst experience of my life and exams were pushed to the back of my mind.”

“I was alone and didn’t try to gain support from my friends as nobody could understand what was happening to me.

“I felt like I was burdening my family when coming to them with my emotions – as they were also grieving.”

Bryony had a very common experience to other students and wasn’t sure where she could turn too.


Annabel Phelps from Cruse Bereavement said: “It is very challenging going through university when you have experienced the death of someone close to you.”

“A good starting point is for students to contact their local area. There are ones in Middlesbrough and Darlington.”

You can use their website to find out information or use the helplines to ring whenever you want to talk on 0808 808 1677

If you have been effected by someone through suicide, there are websites such as: Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide 

If you experience anything like this, don’t hesitate to talk to someone.

from Tside

Has the FA Cup lost its magic?

Manchester United won the FA Cup in 2016

Over the past few years experts and newspapers have questioned the famous FA Cup, saying how it’s lost its touch and that the light is starting to go out. However others argue that the cup is as brilliant as ever, with the rising talents from the academies been given valuable game time and the underdogs eliminating the giant clubs.

The winners of the FA Cup receive £1.8 million, however in the modern day of football this amount of money is miniscule. If you look at it this way Manchester United star Paul Pogba is worth approximately 45 times as much as the FA Cup.

What could the FA do to make the competition more ‘appealing?’

The Football Association’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said: “I would love to see a Champions League spot for the winners of the FA Cup.”

“We’re always open to evolve the competition, keep it relevant, make it attractive.”

Is it time the FA alter the competition or should it not be tampered with?

The 5th round of this year’s FA Cup saw Lincoln City beat Premier League side Burnley to become the first non-league team to reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 103 years. Results like these can be described as “football miracles” which give the FA Cup that sense of magic that it’s brought to English football.

Lincoln celebrating their FA Cup progress

However non-league side Sutton United who are currently sat 17th in the National League, saw their magnificent cup run come to end against Premier League giants Arsenal.

The lowest ranked team in the 5th round can hold their heads up high with their magnificent achievement, but the FA Cup didn’t end for them after their defeat to Arsenal.

According to, Arsenal made an “amazing gesture” to Sutton United after their FA Cup game.

Manager of Sutton United, Paul Doswell, explained in his post-match interview how the Gunners have promised to donate £50,000 towards two new classrooms for the club.

Stories like this demonstrate the special  nature of the  FA Cup.

David Farebrother, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Sutton United, believes the FA Cup is still magical especially for the lower league clubs.

He said: “It disappoints me when big clubs field understrength sides but I think fans still look forward to a trip to Wembley and in the earlier rounds all fans and players look forward to the opportunity of a giant killing or simply progressing to play against one of the big clubs.”

“The cup is certainly important to non-league clubs because of the potential financial benefits and only one  team can win a league but everyone could do well in the cup.”

What do students from Teesside University think about the FA Cup?

Tom Dawson, 19, studying Sports Science said: “I think the FA Cup is becoming more and more magical each year. I love to see clubs from the lower divisions doing well and beating the bigger teams as it lets us see new teams that most of us wouldn’t have ever watched in the past.”

Tom Wing, 20, studying Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation said: “Yeah I think it has lost its magic. Every team should start at round 1 and offer a Champions League place to the winners.”

Melissa Hunter, 18, studying Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation said: “I think prior to this year it started to lose its magic, but this year it seems like the magic may have come back with low-league teams and underdogs beating big teams.”

An  article from the Daily Mail suggested that the FA Cup is “under threat as clubs continue to treat it like a second-rate trophy.”

Experts such as Harry Redknapp and Alan Shearer have voiced their opinions on Premier League managers making too many changes in their teams and not taking the competition seriously.

Harry Redknapp criticised Premier League managers who “weaken” their squad when playing against lower league opposition.

The former Spurs and Portsmouth manager said: “You know at the start of the year there are five or six teams who can win the Premier League.”

“You know it’s the same teams every year, so you’ve got one chance to win a cup, so surely you’ve got to go for the FA Cup?”

Clubs that are making all these changes to their squads are “cheating fans” according to BBC pundit Alan Shearer.

In the fourth round the 13 Premier League teams that were left had made 98 changes to their line-ups, an average of 7.5 per team.

“Clubs care about money while fans care about trophies. That’s very unfortunate,” Shearer told BBC Sport.

The rotation of players in the cup competition proved a talking point as Liverpool made nine changes and were beaten at Anfield by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Match of the Day pundit Phil Neville believes the changes are “making the FA Cup better”.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to see the upsets.”

We are now at the semi-final stage of this year’s FA Cup with Arsenal; Tottenham; Manchester City and Chelsea left in the competition.

It seems that despite the ‘big boys’ not playing full strength teams at times they’ve still managed to get to Wembley.









from Tside

Female Sports participation levels on the rise in the UK, with help from This Girl Can

For many years male sports has dominated coverage in the media.  However female sports participation is now on the rise in the United Kingdom, so what has been put in place to see female sport increase and why are women now becoming more active?

Figures, published by a Sport England survey found that female sports participation is increasing with statistics reaching an all time high, with 7.21 million females now participating in sport.

With the Sport England survey showing that there is now a difference of just 1.5 million between males and female playing sport.

A new female sports campaign, #ThisGirlCan was formed in 2014 and then relaunched in 2017.

This Girl Can logo

The campaign resulted in a range of advertising material being published including a television advert to attract more females into sport.

Figures released from the Active People Survey by Sport England, found the number of female sports participants has increased by 250,000 since the campaign was introduced, with 2.8 million women doing some or more activity in sport because of the campaign.

Kate Dale, Head of Brand and Digital Strategy at Sport England said: “Sport England recognize that more men were regularly taking part in sport and activity than women, yet 75% of women told us they wanted to be more active.”

“We drilled into the research and identified a range of emotional barriers that lay behind the practical reasons people often give up sport. These could be around appearance, ability or conflicting priorities.

“Our campaign tackled these fears by celebrating the fabulous but everyday women who were managing their own fears. We street cast relatable women and photographed them doing the activities they normally do.

Example of one of the This Girl Can, advertising posters. Sport England ©

“They shared their stories and we used humour, attitude and authenticity to connect with the target audience. They related to the women we showcased and thought if they can do it, I can too.

“We also celebrated the women who were a bit rubbish at sport ‘like me’ as well as the ones who were rather good. It’s more important to us that you are doing it rather than that you are constantly smashing your personal best.”

Universities across the United Kingdom have backed the campaign with an aim of attracting more females into sport, Teesside University being one of the universities involved.

Teesside University women’s football team who currently have 22 females in their squad.

Pip Bell, Sports Development Officer for Participation at Teesside University said: “I think lots of females are now getting into sports because of Sport England’s campaign, #ThisGirlCan.”

“It’s now massively present on TV and radio and really is out there to attract females to get into sport.

“I think the campaign is fantastic as it shows that any female can just get involved in sport no matter how much they contribute.

“It’s not just about how you look when taking part in sport and the campaign has been really successful in showing the every day female, it’s just fantastic.”

£130 million has been invested into sports participation by Sport England with £3.1 million going towards #ThisGirlCan.

Teesside University is one of the many universities across the country to have received funding for female sport.

Pip  said: “We’ve received lots of funding guided to getting more females into sport here at Teesside.”

“Through the funding we’ve managed to be able to offer a lot more free female sports sessions for students, including, yoga and zumba which is aimed at females who currently aren’t participating in our BUCS teams or not linked to a club but may have the time to spare half an hour to participate in sport.”

Lisa Mae a Journalism graduate from London, who was inspired by the This Girl Can campaign, said: “I had bought some running shoes before the original advert came out but I hadn’t found the courage to actually get outside and start running.”

“The advert made me realise that I shouldn’t care what people think; in fact, people tend to admire those trying to get fit more than those who are effortlessly healthy.

“Knowing that there are other women above a size 10 who were pounding the pavements was a big help when I eventually left my front door and started running around the city.”

Clara Biu from London said: “I saw the This Girl Can advert on a rainy weekend morning, where I could easily have curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea.”

“Seeing the ad reminded me of how rewarding and enjoyable exercise can be, and why I’d be disappointed if I took the lazy option.

“The reason the campaign strikes a chord is because it doesn’t come from a place of self-loathing; it doesn’t stipulate an unattainable end goal, which if you fail to achieve renders you ‘not good enough’. It’s about the sweat, pain and joy of being active – without any judgement.”

Click Here to find more about female sports.

from Tside

What now for the Labour Party?

It has been a rough few months for the Labour Party, from Brexit to the loss at Copeland, to more recently the debate over Scottish Nationalism in which leader Jeremy Corbyn caused some offence.

Some say the media has played a large part in tearing down the Labour Party with articles sprouted every few days about its failures, loss of support or whatever Corbyn has said that they disagree with.

Alex Wallace, Chairman of the East Bedlington Parish Council, agreed: “Jeremy Corbyn, probably more than any other leader has been vilified by the media since his election the first time round as leader.”

As an example, the Daily Record reported: “Labour are dead.”

The loss at Copeland is what drives their article to be so dramatic, calling it: “A final blow” for the party, which many other media outlets seem to agree with (such as The Guardian)

The people of Copeland made their decision and Trudy Harrison was elected as the constituency’s first Tory MP by 13,748 votes to 11,601.

But why was the seat filled by a Tory when it had been red since 1983?

Some blame the media:

Some blame ‘Blairites’:

And others blame Corbyn himself:

New MP for Copeland Trudy Harrison said in her victory speech: “They want a party which is on the side of ordinary working people, which will respect the way we voted in the referendum and which will build a country which represents everyone.”

She makes a good point here as the Tories have swept in to take over Labour’s weak spots, with emphasis on Corbyn’s strange strategy and indecisiveness for dealing with Brexit.

But is that more important for the constituency than saving their NHS?

It is clear from the Labour website that the most important thing to the party is the NHS, and they do not think that the Tories can or will do anything to improve it.

The website says: “Under the Tories our NHS is underfunded and understaffed.”

  • Around 3.9 million people on waiting lists
  • 8 million people wait four hours or more in A&E
  • One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see their GP

Copeland’s healthcare, in particular the maternity services, are crumbling.

According to a new report from the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), dangerously low staffing levels mean that half of women (50%) experience at least one red-flag event during childbirth.


Whilst this is happening, women being directed from the West Cumberland Hospital’s maternity ward to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle will be heading to another hospital that “requires improvement”, according to the NHS’s website.

Mr Wallace said: “In addition, Jeremy has been so anti-nuclear in the past and Copeland depends so much on that industry.”

“Yet Labour policy is to support the nuclear industry and in addition the NHS.

So with all of this happening in Copeland, why was the support for Labour so low?

Alex Cunningham MP (Stockton North) said: “It is no good having a range of policies addressing the needs of our people if no-one knows about them.”

“I would love to see more of those members working together on the streets with me, taking those messages to the voters, listening to what they have to say and taking their views on board.”

If the only thing Labour do in their campaigning is send members of the party to door-knock or get involved with phone-banks, it isn’t so surprising that people feel they do not know the truth about their policies.

But what Labour supporters have to remember are the policies that Corbyn has stood for this entire time.

Mr Cunningham  said: “We have seen the Labour Party membership more than double in recent times – with people from very different backgrounds and views but all because they believe in social justice and the need for a labour Government to address the inequality in our society.”

But what do you think, people from Middlesbrough and beyond?

Tside handed out a survey to people in the area to find out what they thought about Labour:


The number of people who support Labour currently as opposed to those who would not or are unsure.


We asked them what party they followed, would they support Labour, what they thought of Corbyn and what Labour could do to improve.

A large majority of the people said they wanted Corbyn out.

One person said: “Very poor. Lack of cohesiveness. Inability to listen to different points of view within the party.”

“Lose Jeremy as leader. He’s a vote winner for the conservatives. Get a cohesive message and show that they can represent the whole of British society.”


So with Brexit now on the cards and  a possible second Scottish referendum in the future – what now for Labour?


from Tside

Is the Government persecuting a minority with new smoking regulations?

Are smokers being persecuted?

In an attempt to stub out the addiction of smoking new tobacco laws have being gradually filtered into UK society throughout the course of the last year.

As of May 2017 any companies not abiding by these laws could be subject to large fines or worse.

But in an age that promotes equality and freedom of expression, are these Government laws just persecuting a minority? Has this whole thing gone too far?

For many people, having a smoke is as important as the other necessities of life, such as sleeping and eating.

New standardised packaging will be in all shops as of May 2017.

Eat, sleep, smoke, repeat, right?

As hard as it may be for non-smokers to understand, most smokers have a love-hate relationship with their habit.

There’s no doubt it’s an addiction, but is it an addiction some people are happy to have?

One of the major changes coming to the UK is the introduction of standardised packaging.

No longer will big brands such as Marlboro offer a range of colourful cigarette boxes.

Instead, all cigarette boxes will be sold in the same colour, known as ‘opaque couche’, a muddy green which has been described as the world’s ugliest colour.

Why? Because the Government’s main aim is to cut the number of people taking up smoking by making it less appealing to children and young people.

According to Cancer Research, two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 – the beginning of an addiction which will kill up to two in three long-term smokers.

Whether or not the new law will work remains to be seen, but think about it this way…

From hiding behind the bike sheds at school, trying not to cough as one of the Year 11 kids offered you your first ‘one off’, to hastily spraying your hands with cheap deodorant to stop your parents sniffing out your bad habit.

At that age we are all aware of the bad stigma around smoking, and we know it’s wrong. So we must think, if that cigarette we were offered had come from plain packaging, would we have refused it?

It’s been 13 years since smoking was banned inside public places, which is fair enough.

I mean, smoking is a choice, you shouldn’t be forced to sit amidst other people’s smoke and bad habits. In turn, outside smoking areas have become a breeding ground for social interaction.

Some of the best nights out evolve around been sat on the alcohol swilled pavement outside a club talking to your new best friend for two hours.  I would never have met my wife-to-be if it wasn’t for a chance-happening like this.

But how are these newer changes affecting adult smokers? Many of whom enjoy the pleasure of a social smoke, whether it be in the comfort of their own home or a busy pub’s smoking area?

From now on, smokers will only be able to purchase a 30g pouch of tobacco at least, and ten packs will be taken off the market completely. In many people’s eyes, this will result in them smoking and spending more.

Of course, every argument has two opposing sides, so I contacted some of the UK’s leading smoking organisations.

Amanda Sandford of ASH, (action on smoking and health), said: “ASH is anti-smoking but not anti-smoker. We sympathise with smokers who regret ever starting and wish to stop smoking.”

“We believe that the Government has a duty to do all it can to help smokers to quit and to discourage young people from ever starting.

“It also makes economic sense as smoking imposes a huge cost burden on society.”

ASH‘s website supports this statement, not only does smoking remain one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the UK, but it also costs the NHS an estimated 2 billion pounds a year.

However, this still doesn’t seem to stop people from picking up a cigarette. There’s no wonder there’s such a high death toll, with approximately 1.1 billion smokers in the world, and 4000 chemicals per cigarette, well, you do the maths!

Simon Clarke, director of the pro-smokers group Forest, said: “Standardised packaging is incredibly patronising.”

“It treats adults like children and children like idiots. It’s an attempt to denormalise a legal product and, by association, the consumer, the overwhelming majority of whom are well aware of the health risks of smoking.”

“The suggestion that people start smoking because they’re attracted by the packaging is not born out by evidence. The reason most people start is because of peer pressure or the influence of close family members.

“Standardised packaging is a major attack on the consumer. It will almost certainly fuel illicit trade across Europe because consumers will be driven to buy the cheapest brands, including counterfeit cigarettes.”

Well, there we have it. It’s been proven that 100% of people that smoke die, yet it’s also been proven that 100% of people that don’t smoke die too. The choice is yours, or is it?

Organisation ASH agree with the new laws.

Gaynor, 45, Teacher.
“I think its a promotion rather than a deterrent.”

Gary, 53, Joiner.
“I think it’s a good thing. I mean, it can’t hurt to want to save lives.”

Natalie, 28, Care Assistant.
“I don’t think that it will do much good, most people I know smoked due to peer pressure.”

Dave, 44, Property Manager.
“I smoked 40 a day for 25 years. I loved it, but my lungs didn’t. Plain packaging wouldn’t have stopped me.”

Jack, 24, Plasterer.
“I’m a smoker, but I wish something would have stopped me from starting. But I see both sides of the argument, it’s a choice.”









Above: Forest are campaigning against these changes.














from Tside

Is Social Networking taking over your Life?

Have you updated your status today? Social networking is seen as a part of everyday life for us all now, a place to publish our achievements and check up on our exes. But with more time being spent Snapchatting a gig experience than actually listening to the band, is the impact social networking is having on our lives going too far?

Facebook first hit our screens in 2004 and paved the way for more social networking sites to launch.

Twitter – 2006, Instagram – 2010 and Snapchat – 2011. Surely that’s enough? But no we want more.

Research carried out by Ofcom in 2016 showed that 74% of 16-24 year olds using the internet in the UK used social networking sites.

The introduction of live streaming via Facebook and Snapchatting has meant that in 2014 internet users over the age of 16 spent over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week.

The optimism of what the internet and social networks can bring to our generation is mixed with a serious doubt of moving us even further away from real life.

Blogger, Lois Marie Hamilton

Blogging has had rising success due to increasing popularity of online platforms with vloggers such as Zoella releasing her own book and a beauty range in high-street drug stores.

Teesside beauty blogger, Lois Marie Hamilton was inspired to set up her own blog after starting her first blog as part of a final project at college.

She said: “I mainly use Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I use them the majority of my day if I’m honest.”

“I’m always in two minds about social media.

“I think it’s amazing and opens up a whole new way of living and staying in touch.

“But at the same time, I think it can be very poisonous and people can be horrible online because you can stay anonymous.”

“I can see how it can influence someone’s mental health massively as so many of our lives online now.”

Think about it. How often have you been somewhere; a gig, night club or restaurant and someone has used their phone to take a video or photo for Snapchat?

A study called ‘Clicks and Cravings’ which took place in 2012 found that 47% of 18-34 year olds taking part in the survey use social media during meals instead of talking with family and friends.

Ever updated your Snapchat story at a gig?

Even more surprisingly a survey on electronic review site, Retrevo found that 10% of under 25’s admitted to responding to social media or text messages during sex.

Dr. David Beer, a reader in Sociology at the University of York, said: “There is a lot to be said about memory and social media.”

“What we display on social media is a filtered version of our lives, displaying a managed persona.”

“New features like ‘memories’ on Snapchat mean more than ever we are archiving our lives.

“We use social media now with an eye on the future and thinking about exactly how we would like to remember our memories.”


What do Teesside University students think?

  • Hannah Scott, 19 from Teesside: “I use Twitter and Facebook so many times a day. You can connect and talk to friends and different people so easily.”
  • Kristian Powers, 18 from Stockton: “I rarely post stuff on Facebook but I do look to see how many likes it gets if I do. People compare how many likes they get to how many other people get and it can affect your self-esteem.”


Yes, we’re the online generation but is this really anything to be ashamed of?

Information is easier than ever to find and we can connect with long lost friends in the click of a button.

Reportedly, internet users over the age of 16 spend over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week

I’ve found that social networks are a very useful tool to help find out what is happening in your community as well as helping to raise awareness of issues or projects you’re working on.

A report by The National School Boards Association found that 59% of American students with access to the internet use social networking sites to discuss educational topics.

Even the political landscape is benefiting from social networking, in 2010 the student protests over rising tuition fees were organised through Twitter and Facebook and the recent Anti-Trump protests that are taking part all over the UK have been correlated through Facebook events.

Blogger, Lois said: “It’s so much easier to teach yourself about things, whether it’s what’s happening around the world or social issues.”

“As someone with a blog I find social networks useful to promote my blog and I find it helpful when it comes to trying to be creative as anything can influence you.”

“Social media is a really big platform in our everyday lives now.”

Whether you love it or hate it, social networking is here to stay as part of your life.




from Tside

Why does stereotyping children still happen in today’s society ?

The Early Learning Centre has been criticised recently in a sexism row over an advertising campaign showing girls dressed as princesses and boys as doctors.

The Early Learning Centre was accused of unfair ‘gender stereotyping’ when showcasing the store’s fancy dress range.

As well as this there is another sexist advertising campaign in the toy section of their website where the girls are modelling with  dolls houses while the boys model with the Bosch tools and cars.

Diane Levin, Ph.D, a Professor of Education at Wheelock College,  said: “Preschoolers pick up gender clues from older siblings, teachers, and, perhaps most insidiously, the media.”

“The action figures for boys advertised on TV and seen in TV shows almost invariably have big muscles and are depicted as powerful and active.

“The dolls marketed to girls are pretty, sweet, and sexy. Preschoolers are drawn to these extremes.”

In addition research by Welsh organisation, Chwarae Teg shows that children already have very clear ideas about the jobs that are suitable for boys and girls.

Girls toys are based around glamour and beauty which put a worrying emphasis on outward appearance.

Stereotyped attitudes about boys are equally harmful.

The constant assumption reinforced in toy advertising and packaging that boys are inevitably rough, dirty, rowdy, interested only in action and violence tells calmer, more sensitive or more creative boys that they’re getting this whole ‘boy’ thing a bit wrong, and feeds low expectations of boys that undermine their performance at school.

This is why it is important for retailers to not advertise a product for a specific gender.

They are subconsciously showing children are supposed to act which is then reinforced by their old siblings and parents.

The Let Toys be Toys website was set up to change attitudes towards gender stereotyping.

A spokesperson for Let Toys be Toys said: “Play is absolutely fundamental to children’s learning and development, and putting limits on what kind of play is permitted is putting limits on children’s development.”

Boys section in Smuggle showing the stereotypical colours

“They’re trying to learn how to be a grown up, and ‘Boys don’t play with dolls’ will be understood by them in just the same way as ‘Hitting is wrong’ – they can’t understand the difference between those kinds of social rules.

“More than ever, toys and games are marketed as being ‘for’ one gender or the other – dolls and ovens are for girls and trucks and construction toys are for boys.

“Even things like colouring books are promoted as being for one gender or the other and feature completely different content.

” We all know that men can cook and women can drive – and yet we seem determined to keep these facts from our children.

“When we give boys the idea that they’re not to play with dolls or dressing up we’re taking away opportunities to develop their abilities to nurture, empathise and be creative.

“Failing to offer girls chances to build and construct means they miss out the chance to hone their spatial skills and build and reinforce the stereotype that girls are weaker in technical subjects.”

Most parents  I spoke to think that boys and girls should play with anything they want with only one person saying that boys should play with cars.

One parent said: “stereotyping happens because of society’s influence and teachings of what’s considered as the “norm” for each gender.”

“Most parents, however, think that gender stereotyping happens because of old traditional values that have been passed through generations.

“In the toy industry, it is boys that are demonised. It is starting to become normal to see girls in male-dominated professions but it is not the same for boys.”

The Let Toys Be Toys spokesperson said: “Why has the label “tomboy” lost its ability to insult but “sissy” hasn’t?”

“Why does the sight of a boy playing with a baby doll bring forth a range of indignant complaints of the “It’s political correctness gone mad!”

The Let Toys Be Toys website has now produced a Let Books Be Books campaign where it asked children’s publishers to take the ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ labels off books and allow children the real free choice in the kinds of stories and activity books that interest them.

The campaign has had success with publishers and retailers like Usborne , Parragon, and Paperchase, and seen support from prominent authors.

They have done this because research showed that 18% of boys and 12% of girls think that reading is more for girls than boys, while 19% of boys said they would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading.

Sign up to their petition at:



from Tside

Gifts for £10 and Under: Perfect For Mothers Day

With Mothers Day fast approaching you may be struggling for some prezzie ideas.

Everyone wants to give their mother the best but how do you do that on a student budget?

Well here are some wonderful gifts  all under £10 to surprise your mother on March 26.

With a variety of  products to customise with images and themes there will be something to suite everyone’s mam.

Here are the top picks from Photobox.

Photo Magnets: Coming in three sizes and priced between £4.00 and £5.00 it allows for a cute keepsake. A collage that can be added to and changed. or Instore

Everyone likes to be pampered once in awhile but many gift sets contains products that not may not get used. It can be cheaper and more economical to select a variety of products that are  your mam’s favourites .

Boots usually have offers on full size bath creams and soaps. With Imperial Leather and Radox currently at £1 each, Garnier Moisture Bomb 99p, 7th Heaven Face Mask £1 and a Boots Body Polisher £1.99 to finish off.

A custom made beauty gift bag comes out at just £5.98, if you want to flash it up have a search around for a nice gift bag or even a reusable cosmetics bag. or Instore

Most mums love watching the latest drama unfolding in the soaps so it comes with no surprise that Coronation Street has popped in the latest trend of adult colouring books.

With characters from the very first episode aired and many of the old favourites it is a perfect gift at £7.99 (was £10)

For the mum that loves to cook Not On The High Street seller Auntie Mims has personalised wooden spoons on offer for £6 with the options to pick an image and include text.

Postage is just 95p and has a quick delivery time, so at just £6.95 in total it would make a nice addition to any kitchen as well as adding a touch of love to the bakes.

ASDA Supermarket

Flowers are always a good option for Mother’s Day, to brighten up the home and welcome Spring, a beautiful bouquet of flowers don’t need to cost a lot. ASDA has a variety of flowers available for £10 and under. Teamed with a box of chocolates its a classic Mothers Day gift. With this bunch of Chrysanthemums £3.00 and a Cadbury Milk Tray £3.00

With the summer heading our way soon, many will be setting of on holiday or even having a holiday at home. Everyone likes to have a drink by the pool so why not a drink in the pool with these handy drink floats. Choose from fruit or donuts and both come as a set of 3 for £9.99. ASOS also offers 10% student discount and  free postage.



from Tside