Friday, 17 December 2010

Tonight on cardifference

There’s no business like snow business and its snow joke the conditions we are faced with this morning but the cardifference snow – I mean show, must go on.

Last week we were chatting about how to have Christmas on a budget and safety concerns around this time of year, we intend to follow up on those ideas with some games and traditions around this time but the theme for tonight’s show is about how to have a selfless Christmas. Christmas is often associated with consumption and retail but it’s not all about buy buy buying. We are chatting with two charities whose work and worries around this time of year for the vulnerable members they represent increases.

On the show we have Iwan Roberts from Age Cyrmu the largest charity working for elderly people who estimate that one in ten older people in Wales will be left alone this Christmas. The charity is encouraging people to invite someone due to spend Christmas alone to share in your Christmas celebrations.

Eugene Rourke works directly with the Big Issue vendors around Cardiff and tonight he will be talking with us about some of the common misconceptions surrounding Big Issue vendors and the difficulties the homeless face not only during the winter months but also throughout the year.

Please get in touch with the show at if you have any questions for our guests or have some unusual Christmas traditions, games or ways that you have a selfless Christmas that you would like to share.

Be sure to tune into between 4-5pm tonight (Friday 17th December)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Cardiff Rivers Group

Cardiff Rivers Group

On the cardifference show on we hosted an interview with Dave King from Cardiff Rivers Group; this interview will be available to listen to via the site in a little while. However in the meantime Dave and his dedicated group of litter pickers have been hard at work over December and 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”.

Our very own cardifference host Kieran McCann  

“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

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Student Police Initiative

Sam Benyon pictured on the left volunteering with the Student Police Initiative
On the show last week we interviewed Sam Benyon about her experiences volunteering with the Student Police Initiative in Cardiff. Samantha Beynon is a 3rd year student studying Criminology. She is an active member of the Student Police Initiative, the group have been on a series of community walkabouts and giving out safety advice about going home for Christmas which you can find here. We asked Sam to write a guest blog for us to share 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 works in conjunction with Lock it. Hide it. Keep it campaign. You can learn more about that here:

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

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Going home for Christmas?

On tomorrows show we have a volunteer from the Student Police Initiative coming in to speak to us about vital safety messages around this time of year. The message from the Police and is:

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

On this week’s cardifference show (Friday the 10th 4-5pm) we will be talking to a volunteer with the Student Police Initiative to learn more about these campaigns and safety messages so tune in. If you are interested in the Student Police Initiative or perhaps volunteering for them visit:

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Released from chains

Saturday the 27th was the annual Buy Nothing Day a simple idea; ‘spend the day without spending’. How many things do we buy without really thinking about whether we need them? We live in a throwaway society where we buy convenience things and then discard them without a thought.

The trend for ‘throwaway’ fashion means textiles are the fastest growing sector in household waste. Clothing is becoming so cheap the temptation is to buy more than needed and throw the rest away. Apparently we buy 2 million tonnes of clothing each year and with the cheap cost or ‘Primark effect’ the amount of unwanted clothing dumped in landfill is soaring. A small proportion is reused or recycled while the rest ends up in the back of the ‘national wardrobe’.

So this time last year I decided to make a commitment, a Buy Nothing Year on new clothing. I would limit myself to charity shops and recycle what I no longer needed. A donation to charity de-cluttered my wardrobe and started my year. I love the idea that you never know what you'll find in charity shops. When I needed clothing sometimes I didn’t find anything, while other times I could be found doing a little jig finding that perfect item. Highlights included a Tweed jacket £7, a cowboy style shirt £8, a dog print jumper £3 and dinner suit trousers £5. Which I admit makes me sound like the sort of person you cross the street to avoid but I promise I don’t wear these as a whole outfit.

I thought I was going to have to buy new when I was invited on a fancy dress stag-do but my luck was in. I gave the shop a good giggle, as I appeared out of the changing room dressed in a full body penguin outfit – a £10 bargain. Unfortunately the best man organised a Ghostbusters theme; stag as the Marshmallow Man, us in identical licensed outfits, so no make your own.

Desperate not to be defeated I placed ads and scoured the Internet but with limited time I had to resort to buying new. Although I had to buy the Ghostbusters outfit I still feel a sense of achievement. Plus before the wedding my luck was back as I found a dress shirt and cummerbund in a charity shop. During the year many socks have disintegrated, I’ve had to resole a pair of boots and learnt that even gents can accessorise clothing – a few good cravats go a long way. I’ve had a mixture of compliments and criticisms; my favourite was being described as ‘abstract’. With high street fashion looking more and more generic I took that rightly or wrongly as a compliment.

It was the exploring and uniqueness I enjoyed, it’s easy to walk out of a chain store with something you see every other person wearing but it takes a certain amount of patience to hunt around in charity shops. I discovered new parts of Cardiff – Albany Road is an obvious charity shop paradise but Cowbridge Road East, Splott and Penarth are equally exciting.

There is no resentment when charity shops took my money and no after shop slump because you haven’t broken the bank and profits directly benefit charities; not something you can say with your average store. I was introduced to different charities, shops like Shaw Trust who help people with disabilities find employment or Tenovus carries out causes of cancer research. During my explorations I met interesting people, there’s more interaction in charity shops. Often the service was better than any chain. People were friendly and predisposed to helping out. They chat to you like a human being rather a walking pound sign.

I love the volunteers, often elderly but today more than likely its younger people volunteering for the experience. The days when you came out looking a bit twee or out of place are long gone; vintage fashion is seemingly everywhere, the quality has increased, the layouts are savvier and you can pick up clothing bargains. In this current economic climate who wouldn’t want to save money?

Towards the end of the year I was slung into a state of depression when the headlines exclaimed that shoppers have spent more than £1m a day in St David’s 2. Even during these economic times society is over consuming and doesn’t seem any happier. I recently ventured into a store and felt a little ill; £80 for a pair of jeans, ill not just because of the price tag but fashion has further reaching consequences other than vanity; environmentally, ethically and socially.

My year is over but I’m not about to rush back to new. It made me think about what and how much I buy and the effects, not just environmental. Ultimately it’s about consuming less, recycling more and making more local, ethical and environmentally aware consumer choices. As a step on the right direction I would encourage anyone to cut the chains and explore charity shops – you might be surprised what you find.

Kieran McCann, hosts the ‘Cardifference’ Union show ( Fridays 4-5pm at

Over the next couple of weeks we will be talking about saving money during Christmas and how to work towards Christmas on a budget so tune in Fridays 4-5pm at

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

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.

Santa’s ‘litter’ helpers 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:

On this week’s cardifference show (Friday the 10th 4-5pm) we will be talking to a volunteer with the Student Police Initiative to learn more about these campaigns and safety messages so tune in to find out more

Monday, 6 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:

Friday, 3 December 2010

On Friday’s show we had Hannah Waldram from talking with us at the cardifference show. You can listen again to parts of that interview by following this link or via the player below. We will host the whole conversation on the blog soon but in the mean time the transcript of the interview is below where we talk to Hannah about her journalism experiences, advice for all budding journalists out there, the blogosphere and how to connect in.

Hannah also very kindly offered students the opportunity to contact her if you want any advice or want to get involved with through a number of different avenues including guest posts and photography and comments. All the details of how to get in touch are included in the interview below. 

Hannah Waldram at xpress radio on the cardifference show

We are very fortunate to be joined by Hannah Waldram who is a postgraduate from Cardiff and is now the envy of many a student and journalist because she has the auspicious position of being the editor of Guardian Cardiff. Welcome to the studio

Thanks Kieran very much for having me

So I think the burning question that most of our students and journalists would want to know is how did you get involved and what was your student journalism experience

That is a really good question, its what every student journalist wants to know is how do I get on the ladder in journalism and I went to Bristol University and got really involved in the student newspaper there because its something I’ve always wanted to do. I was their art editor and ran around Bristol getting loads of art stories and threw myself into it really and while I was at Bristol University I secured a number of work experience places. So my first one was with the Times which was my real big break I thought at the time and since then applied anywhere and everywhere for work experience and ended up doing work experience at the Telegraph, The Independent then Media Guardian and then realised I needed some regional journalism work experience so I did work at the Bristol Evening Post and Venue magazine and since then I’ve done a number of stints at different papers.

So really threw yourself out there and its essential that our journalists do as much writing to get their words out there

Exactly, and actually I started a Blog when I was at University and have had a number of blogs since. I used to run a dance blog and put all my dance reviews up there and I’ve now got a website which is my name and is a domain name that’s got all my blogs on there

Ok give us that name

Its it’s a way for editors to quickly look at your CV online rather than have to shove it in someone face which I have done before as well

Tom: Hannah if I could just ask, I do journalism at Cardiff and lots of journalism students find its very daunting for people to think that they could just apply to somewhere like the Times or Telegraph, if your first work experience is with the Times that’s a big newspaper to suddenly jump in there, how did you land such a good work experience placement?

At the time, it’s unfortunate because I think they have taken it down but they had an e-mail address to apply for work experience with the Times and I was literally picked out of, I don’t know how many people were applying for work experience, but it was a bit of luck but they might just be looking for someone to fill in two weeks but after that it’s really about networking and building contacts. So I would go to London as often as I could or various conferences, online journalism conferences, and have a little business card and speak to people and build up contacts that way.

But I guess you also got that chance and that work experience because of all the work you had been doing through student newspapers and student journalism and if you didn’t have the back up with the CV throwing yourself out there. So we have obviously got the Gair Rhydd and they were working very hard, I saw them last night on their deadline for the last issue that is out Monday, so throwing yourself into those opportunities through university.

Yes, any editor isn’t going to take you seriously if you are not working for your student newspaper and say you want to be a newspaper journalist and likewise for having a blog you can write online in your own time for free

So what brought you to Cardiff you obviously did that in Bristol so what brought you to Cardiff and the Guardian Blog?

The Cardiff journalism school does a really practical course in journalism and you learn a lot of skills including media law and shorthand which are still very essential to journalism so that was the appeal of coming to Cardiff. After that I went back home to Birmingham which is where I’m from originally and basically started a local website for where I live in Birmingham which was Because I was unemployed I was applying for jobs in journalism at the time and I had all these skills that I wanted to put them to practice so I basically started up this website for this area and started blogging and doing stories about Bournville online.


And then it was after that, that I started getting more job offers because it showed a bit of entrepreneurship and innovation and then I applied for the Guardian Cardiff Beat Blogger role and got that and started that in January this year.

Fantastic, it’s a great blog and one of our favourite blogs, why do you think they are such as powerful tool and actually before I ask that question perhaps explain to someone what a blog is, perhaps they have never read or experienced it and know about the finer details if you like

The Guardian Local project, the idea is to go out into cities, the Guardian is obviously based in London, and it is a chance for the Guardian to connect to some of their readers on a local level, so there is a beat blogger in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds so it’s not just me. So the idea is that we will create rolling news of different stories of stuff going on in Cardiff. A blog is quite malleable because you can do different tones for the blog so of course we have our news stories which is quite hard news journalism, it’s the traditional nuts and blots of journalism so letting people know what’s going on in Cardiff but then we will have some comment pieces and guests posts which is different people contributing to the blog and writing their stories for the blog.

We had Dave King on the show, not too long ago, just a few weeks ago who runs the Cardiff Rivers Group and you give them a lot of good publicity and its great for the community groups because that’s a soundboard that they wouldn’t ever get

Exactly, its one of the aims of the Guardian local project is to really shine a light on some of those community stories that you might not read about in the Echo or might not get as much coverage elsewhere. So we do try and focus on community based stories and we also focus on the Council which might be a bit boring for some but I think people have begun to engage with that a lot more than they would have done. So really looking at how decisions are made in Cardiff, really important decisions that affect a lot of people.

And things like you have got on there ‘fix my street’ so essentially if you have got any issues, and how to connect into your councillors and how to raise any issues which is a great platform that potentially which anyone its making the line of least resistance haven’t you, so it’s there you can connect in very easily.

It’s just another way to engage with the local authority which you might not have been able to do before.

What are some of your favourite Cardiff based blogs?

Gosh, I might annoy a lot of people by not mentioning them but we have got a great blogosphere in Cardiff which has absolutely thrived over the last year as well and we meet up face to face every couple of months and have a Cardiff Bloggers meet up which is really fun because often you are chatting to these people online but once you meet them face to face you are more likely to help them out online if they get stuck or collaborate together on a map or something like that. There are tons I’m not sure I can pick out some because I would probably offend somebody.

Well that is fine, but I think more essentially for our listeners is how to connect in to that, because you use that term the blogosphere but some of that terminology obviously coming through.

Well yes it sounds a bit alien really but essentially the blogosphere is just people blogging in Cardiff and you call it a blogosphere because you are a network and building on that network is part of that meet up because you can call yourself part of the blogosphere but have never met some of these people before. But the idea is to really cement those relationships by meeting up face to face. And I think the way Cardiff Students can get involved, there are tons of ways in terms of online of course you can get in there and start commenting on people’s blog maybe start a blog of your own or follow people on twitter and start engaging with people online and having a conversation and then very welcome to come along to the bloggers meet and what we often do is have a short talk from someone about blogging and different ideas and share some experiences. The very first one we did was how to set up a blog so we do talk about some of the basics as well as the more developed ideas.

And you also hold a surgery where people who have perhaps have no knowledge or a little bit of knowledge can get involved so you had the surgeons and the patients essentially meeting together trying to connect in and helping each other out.

Yes the idea behind the Social Media Surgeries, again probably a bit of an alienating title, but essentially is for people who have absolutely zilch idea of how to get involved with social media and how and to use the internet but if they knew how to use it, it would probably enhance what they do so they tend to be voluntary community groups or those of a generation who haven’t got together with some of these tools and we sit down with them one to one for free and give them that advice.

And I think that is an important term that ‘free’ because it is a platform people can utilise that doesn’t cost anything apart from a bit of time and effort but essentially they can get your real community messages out there you can get your campaigns out there connect in with people writing about issues and concerns in Cardiff and suddenly you have built up this network without having to try that hard.

Once people find out ways that they can use these social media tools they will help them they get so excited because they have been struggling for weeks to try and do something and suddenly they see an online way of doing it and it just sort of works and clicks into place and it’s the Cardiff blogging network that helps out because they understand the social capital of learning how to use blogs.

I think we find it time and time again with our student audience as well, the traditional way of putting up posters and flyering and leaflets, you walk into any student property, you walk into the door and there is just a pile of leaflets, pile of flyers that are ignored and these relatively new social networking ways of getting people involved are really important.

I think sometimes the old ways can still be important but using them at the right time

In conjunction

Working ways to use them with online tools

Tom: Hannah you have a blog but if I can ask are you at all involved in micro blogging such as twitter

Yes I am I tweet all the time, every day so yes I know twitter quite well             

Tom: So you are quite an advocator of the positives that can be used from it

Yes definitely, twitter has grown massively since it started off and journalists need to learn low to use it for them because it’s not right for everything, lots of people use it just like people use facebook it can be used for different things, it’s the same kind of thing   

I have a really interesting point that I’ve got here about twitter, you tweeted about our ‘Christmas Pickers’ and we are going to be talking about this litter pick that we organised last night a little bit later on the show. But you tweeted that and we had a couple of volunteers that specifically saw that tweet and came along to get involved so they came along with their Santa hats and bits and pieces to do some litter picking. I think they are people we would have never been able to reach that something like that not been utilised.

Yes that’s fantastic

So thank you very much for that. So you mentioned that you have the bloggers meeting up and you have one this Tuesday at Pica Pica so essentially what is involved. A lot of this is online but then you meeting face to face and is that quite different and different experience?

Yes it is. On Tuesday it’s a purely social event because we have been meeting up all year and our brains are a bit fried and its Christmas time so we are going to have a social night and have a drink but as I said before we sometimes have speakers talking about different aspects of blogging so we have looked at how to start a blog, blogging for a niche audience and blogging for a campaign as well; we looked at the Save the Vulcan blog and Rachel Thomas came to talk to us about that so we have had different speakers come in and each time we get about forth odd different people and often about two thirds of those are new faces so we are always expanding that network and building on those relationships.

I can heavily recommend any of our listeners to go and get involved in that meeting. I went along to one and they are such an informative platform but also a great way, you were talking about earlier about the importance of forging networks, meeting people around the area and how important that is

And they are free

Although the free drinks and mince pies have sold out but still come along

Defiantly, still come along, it can be a bit daunting for students suddenly coming to an event where it’s full of non students talking about funny things but I think it is well worth coming along and having a look

Yes and that’s Tuesday night from 7pm at Pica Pica

Westgate street

Now we ask a lot of our guests how they make the most out of their time in Cardiff and how they recommend that students make the most out of their time in Cardiff. Have you got any interesting bits of advice?

Well when I was at University I obviously got involved in the paper and that took up lots of time and did lots of things like that but I haven’t seen any students at the Cathays PACT meeting which is partnerships and communities meeting with the police and councillors and there are always residents there complaining about students and it would be great to see some students go and I think that would begin to help to calm down some of the debates that the residents have about how to deal with certain aspects of student life being in Cathays. There is a massive group of residents that live there as well and that’s what I would recommend to students.

For our listeners that Cathays PACT meeting is on Monday and you can look on:

But we also host then at the student union, it’s something we have been doing very recently for exactly that reason, trying to get students engaged and break down some of the perceptions, barriers and some of the myths involved.


Just before we leave then I think a lot of our listeners and perhaps some of our journalist students would be very interested in how they can get involved in some of the entry points. You mentioned that you do guest blog posts.

Yes definitely, there are a number of ways that people can get involved. One of the most obvious is the guest posts so we can have as many as we like and we are really eager to get guests posts on a range of topics so it might be a feature, a review, a news report and basically just e-mail me and its Obviously go in and comment on some of the posts as well. You can also submit your photos to our flickr pool, we are Guardian Cardiff on flickr so if you are a photographer and want to see your Cardiff photographs up there then submit that photo there, you can get involved with us getting hold of some local government data or making a map, there are lots of ways so drop me an e-mail.

I’m sure you’d want students to help with some research, they might have some pressing stories of their own or concerns of their own.

Or do you know what, if they just want to have a chat with me, I totally valued journalists when I was a student just having a chat to have a bit of advice or do a little workshop or show them some tools. So if they want to have a chat then just drop me an e-mail

Well Hannah thank you very much I think there is no greater offer than that so I would encourage our listeners to take you up on that so just give us that e-mail again    

So and the web address for the blog is

And we recommend that everyone goes and has a look at that. Hannah thank you very much for coming into the studio it’s been an absolute pleasure

Thank you for having me



Tonight on cardifference

If you’ve stumbled across us from the site - welcome. Please make yourself at home and take a look around. Be sure to tune into tonight 4-5pm as we’re very excited by the opportunity to welcome the Guardian’s very own Hannah Waldram into the studio. We will be picking her brains about the blog, her thoughts on social networks, insights into Cardiff places and people plus a medley of other questions. Also on the show this evening members from Student Volunteering Cardiff will be talking about how you can get involved in a mixture of volunteering opportunities.

On the blog so far we have information about the show, its themes and underlying principles. A bit about presenting the presenter, an interview with Jane Harding from the Advice and Representation Centre who gave us some vital housing advice to ensure you ‘Make the Smart Move’ an interview and information on Rose Savage who is the welfare, campaigns and communications officer. On the right you can listen to those interviews through the player. Be assured that more is yet to come so we hope you visit us and the website again soon. Feel free to get in touch with the show at

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Rose Savage, Welfare, Campaigns and Communication Officer

Rose Savage is your Welfare, Campaigns and Communication Officer based on the 3rd Floor of the Students Union. She represents you to help create democratic, sustainable and informed welfare services, campaign initiatives and communication systems, by liaising with students, the wider community and stakeholders.
Her door is always open to suggestions. Rose took time out of her schedule to come and talk to cardifference about her work delivering Union services for you. Listen to the interview by clicking on the podcast buttons on the right. Her manifesto proposals are listed below as well as an article that Rose wrote on behalf of Unity news where the universities and student unions of Cardiff can engage the community.
Rose can be contacted via the Union at 029 20781422 or via
·        CLEAN UP CATHAYS. – by consulting, supporting and managing clean up and educational initiatives effectively, Cardiff students, the community and the Council can work to make Cathays a cleaner place to live.
·        STUDENT ACCOMODATION   - variance in quality and suitability needs to be addressed to achieve acceptable standards of living for all students.
·        STUDENT SAFETYproviding advice to maintain personal safety on nights out and within your Student Accommodation.
·        STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH- promote the importance of the Union’s Counselling Service and Nightline need to be highlighted as areas of trained professional support mechanisms for Students.
·        COMPUTERS IN THE UNION a space where there is multiple computers in the union for academic work or just for a Facebook check!
·        INVOLVMENT OF ALL HALLS – To ensure that all Halls are included in University life by the provision of Information Points.
·         HEALTHY LIFESTYLE WEEK a week of tailored information and activities targeting healthy lifestyles on a budget. (Sexual, mental, emotional and physical health) – Also continuing and developing the G.P and GUM Clinic initiatives underway – I want happy healthy students
Getting to know you…
I am Rose Savage, Welfare, Campaigns and Communication Officer at Cardiff Students Union, a bit of a mouthful I know. Cardiff Students Union is placed in a central location making the Union a focal point for many students. Our motto is "Students First" which we adhere to completely. We listen to both students and the community to deliver a service that compliments both, offering important services that manage the difficulties of adjusting to student life and entering into the wider social world.  

I am pleased to say that the start of term has got off to a great start, building student bonds with the community. This can be displayed in our collaborative venture with South Wales Police in October, where I and volunteer students, alongside Cardiff Council, cardiffdigs and University workers, introduced the Union to residents in Cathays, where we received great support and appreciation for what we were doing. We offered safety and community advice to both residents and students which we hope will develop the relationship Cardiff SU has with the community.

 We have also held a Bric a Brac sale in the Union will was extremely well received, highlighting the fact that second hand items are cheaper and of great quality, reducing the waste impact of students here in Cardiff.

I outlined in my manifesto the importance of community relations and also the importance of living in a clean and tidy space, therefore I look forward to expanding and delivering on these promises, in terms of educating students of their waste responsibilities, sound impact and the importance of recycling.

Another target of mine is to increase the awareness and support for students who encounter Mental Health issues during their attendance at University, as in the current economic climate I can only predict that this will increase as a result of tightening purse strings and graduate job prospects. By offering a solid support mechanism, we can increase the volume of students who leave university positive, fresh and raring to enter the job market and general life opportunities.

I look forward to meeting as many students and community residents during my time here at Cardiff SU. Building solid relationships between the two is vital to ensuring sustainable communities here in Cardiff.

Rose Savage.

Christmas Pickers

‘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

In partnership with South Wales Polices’ Student Police Initiative, Keep Wales Tidy, Cardiff Student Union and

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Make The Smart Move - Housing advice week

This week represents 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:

And 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 an interview to talk about some real issues around housing and the key points. You can listen to the interview through the podbean section on the blog entitled Jane Harding interview and here is the transcript with some key advice.

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.        

Presenting the presenter

About us

Kieran McCann is slightly addicted to chocolate soya milk, loves having breakfast for his tea, still gets guilty pleasures from reading comics, has never been to Oceana, can’t pass an open charity shop without going in and is still fending off having a personal profile on facebook. He came to Cardiff via a village near Brighton, then Aberystwyth, back to Brighton and London.

Other jobs include working in a hardware store, second hand bookshop, where he spent most of his wages on books he’d never got round to reading, as an editor for a going out guide and for an art collector. He is the founder of a one stop website for all student housing and living needs and started the cardifference show with high hopes of making a small difference. His favourite radio presenter is Marc Riley and the best live show he has seen was David Bowie headlining Glastonbury specifically The Man Who Sold the World. 

‘cardifference’ the Union Show

Welcome to ‘cardifference’ the Union show broadcasting on Fridays 4-5pm

Cardifference is a student surgery engagement show.

We have some fundamental principles and a philosophy for the show, it’s about:

- Helping you make the most out of your time in Cardiff inside and out of the student bubble
- Help and Advice throughout student life
- Add to a cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and more optimistic city and lifestyle
- Put the Unity in Community  
- Live More Spend Less

Our Philosophy:

Only the Boring Get Bored


We will be talking about various themes in our shows but we want to hear from you. If there is a burning issue or question about Student life then get in touch.

Some ideas will include interviews and advice from and with:

- Union officers
- Societies
- Housing and accommodation
- Tips for shared living
- Environmental issues – encouraging recycling, how to be green
- Money saving advice/budget guide/student loans
- Safety and Security  
- Health and welfare
- Community engagement
- Charity events
- Exploring Cardiff
- Work experience/CV forum  
- What happens when the student bubble bursts – leading up to graduation and beyond

You go forwards we go backwards and somewhere we will meet. So now you know a little bit about the show – the blog is the platform where we can keep you up to date. Listen in live Fridays 4-5pm on
We will make interviews available via the blog and also in conjunction with our website so you can listen again
We want you to get involved so drop us a line at: and make a cardifference