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Too many students, not enough housing
The Manchester students being asked to live as far away as Liverpool
Dear Millers — for many students who are starting university this month, it’s their first time living away from home. However, some of this year’s batch of Manchester freshers are facing an additional challenge: being asked to live in other cities because of a shortage of student accommodation. We take a look at what’s happening.
We also have a list of things to do this week, including a community memorial for much-loved tour guide Danny Collins, some Northern Soul in the city centre and a chance to meet the “King of Manc Noir” David Nolan, whose latest book is about a gruesome murder and vigilantes in Oldham.
At the weekend, we published a piece on how Manchester responded to the death of the Queen. We visited a football pub in Stretford to hear how its landlady and punters reacted to the news.“Everybody just stopped,” says landlady Jackie Cosgrave. “Everybody stood up. People were crying, including men.”
Coming up this week, Mill members will hear from the Financial Times’ former assistant editor Brian Groom, who used to write royal obituaries for the newspaper and gives us an insight into how the press prepares for moments like this. We also have a tasty report about local politics and an update on the city’s response to homelessness. If you’d like to get those in your inbox, hit the button below.
This week’s weather ⛅
Our local weatherman Martin Miles is taking a break, so this week’s forecast comes from the Met Office.
The big story: What’s driving the student accommodation crisis?
Top line: The University of Manchester says 75 freshers are still waiting to be placed in university accommodation. It comes after reports of students having to live in Liverpool. Over at MMU, students have been offered money to live in Huddersfield — a 40-minute commute by train — because of a lack of space.
Students living outside of the city have been offered £100 a week for commuting costs, while the university tries to get alternative accommodation in the city ready. They say it is likely displaced students will be able to move into halls in the next few months.
On top of that, they have offered students within commuting distance £2,500 to stay at home in order to free up space.
Accommodation at MMU is also oversubscribed, after “more offer-holders” accepted places than anticipated.
An interesting report in yesterday’s Observer explains the factors driving the problem — which is happening at other universities outside of Manchester too:
Universities have long been expecting the demographic surge in the number of 18-year-olds that is now under way, but Manchester points out that they weren’t prepared for the pandemic and three years in which far more students achieved the high A-level marks they ask for. Pressure from record results last year meant many students deferred their places to this year.
Airbnb: Campaigners and universities say the situation is worsened by landlords pulling their properties out of the student accommodation market and turning them into Airbnb holiday lets.
Bottom line: Experts say students that commute have a worse university experience and are more likely to drop out, mostly because of the importance of social networks at university. Parents are also concerned about what their children will miss out on.
“There are all these fantastic activities in freshers’ week. I don’t want her worrying about how to get home afterwards,” one mother told the Observer about her daughter who is living in Liverpool. “University is about getting to know people and how can she do that if she’s not even in Manchester?”
Home of the week
This eye-catching three-bedroom cottage in Saddleworth is a bit like a Dr Who’s TARDIS: at a glance looks small, but is deceptively large on the inside. It’s on the market for £300,000.
Your Mill news briefing
A man arrested last week in connection with the 1996 Manchester Bomb has been released without charge. He was held on suspicion of terrorism at Birmingham Airport last Thursday. In a statement, Andrew Meeks, head of investigations at Policing North West said: ”We remain determined to hold those responsible for this attack to account regardless of the time passed." There have been no charges over the attack on 15 June 1996.
It was Manchester’s proclamation of King Charles III's accession to the throne yesterday. Lorraine Worsley, the High Sheriff of Manchester, read the proclamation in front of a packed St Peter's Square. The ceremony was attended by Andy Burnham, Bev Craig and Manchester's Lord Mayor Donna Ludford. Burnham said he was “ready now to build on the strong bonds of friendship we have formed with our new King over the years”.
A mental health hospital in Bury has been rated inadequate and placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission. On visiting the Cygnet Bury Hudson in June, inspectors found patients who felt unsafe on wards and said they were being "bullied and abused by peers and staff members".
A sixth man has been charged in relation to the murder of 20-year-old Javell Morgan in Moss Side last month. Morgan, from West Yorkshire, was found critically injured in the early hours of the 15th of August and later died in hospital. Bryon Goodhall, a 22-year-old from Huddersfield, has been charged with his murder.
Our favourite reads
The heartfelt story of first Ugandan Asian family in Bury — The Bury Times
In August 1972, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin ordered the country’s Asian minority to leave, after allegedly having a dream in which God told him to expel them. In Bury, the Majothi family were the first Ugandan Asians to settle here and were featured on the front page of the Bury Times in February 1973. Of 30,000 Ugandan Asian families who came to Britain, three of them started a new life in Bury. “We were sent to school at Holy Trinity in Bury and I remember having extra English lessons in an upstairs room and being given sweets as a reward for good work,” remembers Naushad Majothi, who was six at the time.
The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Manchester's Off Licences — Manchester’s Finest
This is a great article about the fortunes of Manchester’s off licences, with some nice portraits, too. Emma Davidson writes that these shops became an “accessible career path” for immigrant families who arrived in Britain in the 1950s, but that came with risks. “One local Manchester off licence that recently bid its final farewell after 40 years in business was the target of racist attacks, alongside protection racketeers, robbers and arson,” she writes.
Man-Made Magic — Manchester Special Collections
We enjoyed reading about some of the intriguing exhibitions Manchester hosted during the 19th century. “Long before the days of cinema, television, computer games and mobile phones, visual culture was an important form of popular entertainment in Manchester,” writes Julie Ramwell. For one such exhibition in 1899, the ballroom inside Lewis’s department store (now Primark) on Market Street was home to a working model of the Saratoga Gold Mine in Colorado. It featured gold quartz and took about five years to build — and admission to see it cost 1p.
Our to do list
❤ There will be a community memorial for Danny Collins, who was the first homeless tour guide for Invisible Manchester, which runs walking tours of the city led by people affected by homelessness. Free to attend. Starts 5pm. Info here.
🎶 Band on the Wall is holding its Soundcamp Showcase. For the past 12 weeks, musicians aged 18-25 have been mentored by Youth Music Charity and will get the chance to show off their work. Free entry. Starts 7pm. Book here.
📚 The “King of Manc Noir”, author David Nolan, will be at Oldham Library to talk about his latest book, The Ballad of Hanging Lees. “In Oldham, vigilantes are setting traps online to expose sexual predators…” Starts at 6.30pm. Book here.
😂 Stand-up comedy event Comedy for Hot People is on at the Fitzgerald in the Northern Quarter. Doors open from 7.30pm. Book here.
🎞 HOME is showing Hatching, a horror film about 12-year-old Tinja, whose “image-obsessed” mother runs a popular blog that details her family’s idyllic existence. One day Tinja finds an egg in the woods and brings it home…and the strange creature that emerges becomes a nightmare. Time TBC. Info here.
🕺 YES is hosting Deptford Northern Soul Club, who are duo Will Foot and Lewis Henderson — previous tracks they’ve DJ’d include Marvin Gaye’s This Love Starved Heart Of Mine and Now You’ve Got the Upper Hand by Candi Station. Starts 11pm. Info here.
Letters to the editor
I have always been a Republican by instinct and was frequently heard issuing invective against 'the lot of them' until I saw The Crown on TV. What occurred to me then, as never had before, was that this woman had literally devoted her entire life post-accession to this country. Yes, she lived a life of unimaginable privilege, but is that enough compensation for what she did? I find myself strangely moved as I cannot say I have ever felt for any person outside of my family upon hearing of her death. Caroline
Everyone has a valid reaction and core belief at this time, which really is the end of an era, which you have respected in your writing ('Everybody just stopped. Everybody stood up. People were crying'). No doubt everyone will have differing views on the monarchy, but I feel this as a personal loss of a great lady who has been a calm, steady and reliable figurehead throughout my life. Liz
I have mixed feelings about the Queen really. On the one hand, she has been such a presence in all our lives, and stands out as a respected and principled figure in contrast to the chaos of governments we've had recently. I particularly remember the speech she gave in the first lockdown which was comforting and kind, and the spotlight she gave to people doing good across the country and the world throughout her reign. But equally, I dislike the monarchy and what it stands for, particularly in these times when their 'subjects' are facing poverty and a fuel crisis over the winter, and when there has been so much pain and suffering around the world due to colonialism and institutional racism. And at the same time, on a human level losing the Queen reminds me of losing both my grandmas in recent years, which brings up all sorts of grief-related feelings. Stella