Monthly Archives

March 2015

Uni applications on the rise

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Demand for higher education is increasing with young people from across Europe setting their sights on courses in the UK, according to new figures seen by the team at Riverside House student accommodation in Salford.

Statistics released by UCAS reveal a 2% increase in the total number of applicants (592,290) to higher education courses compared to the same point last year.

Although this is the highest number ever recorded at this stage, the increase is smaller than in recent years.

The figures also show a 7% increase in applicants from the EU and a 3% rise from students from outside Europe.

Young people from the most disadvantaged areas across the UK are more likely to apply to higher education than ever before, continuing to close the gap on the most advantaged.

And in total over 90,000 more women have applied than men, according to the new figures.

Demand from young women is increasing faster than from their male counterparts, widening the gap between them. In England young women are now 36% more likely to apply.

Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of UCAS, said: “Demand for UK higher education, notably from younger people and from EU countries, has continued to rise in 2015. It is heartening to see the gap between rich and poor continue to narrow.

“Nevertheless, demand has grown more slowly this year and has fallen for mature students. This perhaps reflects improved employment prospects in the UK.”

One of the big changes to higher education in the past decade was the change in tuition fees in England in 2012.

UCAS says higher fees did reduce demand from young people – but do not seem to have slowed the long term trend of increasing demand.

And the organisation says higher fees did not reduce young people’s chances of entering higher education.

A spokesman said: “When we look at entry rates, particularly those that take into account entry at ages 18 and 19, the proportion of the young population entering higher education has continued to increase steadily as higher fees were introduced.”

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education.

It manages applications from over 700,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at around 370 universities and colleges across the UK.

Meanwhile, the UCAS Manchester higher education convention will take place on Thursday March 12 and Friday March 13 at Manchester Central.

Riverside prices held for ‘early bird’ bookings

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Portergate Property Management has revealed it is holding its prices at Riverside House, the number one accommodation for students in Salford, for ‘early bird’ bookings in 2015.

Students who secure their accommodation at Riverside House early will pay the 2014 rate for the full year. Riverside House also has shorter term contracts available, subject to availability.

The good news comes as demand for its luxury en-suite student apartments, which start from just £125 per week including all bills, continues to grow.

Each en-suite luxury apartment includes fully-furnished living space and fitted kitchen complete with appliances. Bedrooms are also fully furnished and high speed WiFi is available throughout the ultra-modern building.

Riverside House is within walking distance of the University of Salford, just minutes away.

And it is also well-placed for all that Manchester city centre has to offer in amenities and the city’s excellent transport links.

The emerging nightlife scene of Salford’s Greenbank Quarter is on its doorstep, while the vibrant cafes and bars of Manchester’s Cathedral Quarter and Deansgate are also within a 15 minute walk or a short bus journey.

Security and service are paramount at Riverside House. It has a day time house manager, 24-hour concierge and on-site maintenance. For personal security, each floor and all rooms are accessed by swipe card.

Students at Riverside House enjoy boutique hotel-style quality at affordable prices, with no hidden extras. So it is little wonder demand is high.  Riverside House is also an official accredited member of Manchester Student Homes, a free university-led housing service for students.

Steve Walker, Hall Manager at Riverside House, says: “We’re delighted to be able to announce our offer for people making early bookings.

“And once again we are proud to offer what we believe is the best accommodation in Salford at really affordable prices.

“We want to make things as easy, simple and stress-free as possible for our students, it is all part of that Riverside House ethos.

“It is an approach that is paying off as I can report places in Riverside House are filling up fast.”

Viewings are available at any time. For more information call 0844 245 268 or 0161 667 9704.

Donald’s sign points towards a bright new future for Friargate

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For more than a century a Preston family business proudly served the community from a shop on the city’s Friargate.

Now the site of Richard Bamber & Son, one of the city centre’s best known retailers and universally known as Bambers, is beginning an impressive new chapter in Preston’s history.

And Donald Bamber, whose grandfather Richard started the house furnishers business in 1909, returned to the site for a very special presentation to mark the transformation.

Portergate Developments (Preston) Limited, the company building an £18 million mixed-use development on the site as part of the regeneration of Friargate, presented the 76-year-old with the original shop sign.

The closure of the shop in 2009 marked the end of an era for Preston and Donald’s family. Now he’s looking forward to a bright new future for the area where he worked from leaving school to retirement.

Bambers was a true family affair. Over the years, Donald worked in the shop with his grandfather, his father Harry, his elder brother Richard and Richard’s wife Jean and younger sister Helen.

Later on he worked with his wife Dorothy, daughters Gillian and Susan, Richard and Jean’s daughter Sarah, as well as son-in-law David.

Donald, who received the family sign from Portergate chairman Anthony Jackson, was impressed with the new plans for the Friargate and the drive to revive it.

The transformation of the 1.5 acre site, which also includes the old Blitz nightclub, will bring two new retail premises and the creation of a 253 bedroomed building aimed at providing boutique hotel-style accommodation to students at the nearby University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Part of that high-quality accommodation on offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.

Donald, who lives in Fulwood, said: “The area has changed over the years; it used to be one of the prime shopping areas in Preston.

“I also remember the Blitz nightclub when it was Worsley’s Ballroom in the good old days!

“Out of town shopping has really had an impact and, as a result, all city centres have changed. When you look back on it, people only used to go shopping on a Saturday.

“This development is going to bring Friargate back to life, which is fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the new building take shape and the area changing again, for the better.”

Thousands of Prestonians made purchases in Bambers during its long and distinguished history as it offered them quality furnishings, including chairs made by the renowned firm HJ Berry of Chipping.

The shop was open through four Preston Guilds and Donald revealed how his grandfather started out selling second hand furniture, and began his business life pushing a handcart through the streets

He said: “It was a real family business, with my dad, brother and sister all involved. It was also a way of life.

“I worked in the shop for over half a century, from leaving school to when it closed its doors for the last time, apart from National Service, working five and a half days every week you could try here. We really were an institution in Preston, a shop that was open for a century. Everyone knew us.”

Donald missed the “Friargate Brow community” and the loyal customers whose parents and grandparents had dealt with his family over the years.

But he is now enjoying retirement and keeping occupied, with gardening, walking and visiting friends and relatives.

He said: “I’m really grateful to Anthony and his company for presenting me with the sign which was such a part of our family history, although I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it at the moment!”

Anthony said: “We were delighted to invite Donald to come and see the work that is going on here on Friargate and to present him with a true piece of his family history.

“Thousands of Prestonians must have passed under his shop sign as they made their way along Friargate over the years and it has been fascinating listening to Donald’s recollection of the life of the street and his family business.

“We’re now working on the start of what we believe will be an exciting and vibrant new chapter for the area.

“We see our project as a catalyst for regeneration in the area. It is one of the first new developments to come forward in the city for some time and we’re looking forward to the building taking shape over the next few months. These are exciting times.”

Portergate, which already offers hotel-class student accommodation in Salford, has plans to roll its concept out across the North West.

Preston-based Eric Wright Group’s Construction Division is building the new development and demolition work is currently taking place on the site. At the height of the building project around 200 workers will be employed on the Friargate development site.

The shop and apartment complex has been designed around open garden areas while being conveniently in the heart of the city, only a short walk from the university.