Saturday, July 22, 2017
 photo 05873394-14be-4e3f-b9c7-36ad8e5cfcb0_zpsfytesxay.jpg


Naureen Hafiz

Students and Mental Health

By Naureen Hafiz

With approximately one in four people suffering from a mental illness problem in the space of a year, it’s no wonder we are hearing more and more about it in the media and news outlets.

It is however, especially prominent in the student community. According to a study conducted by The National Union of Students (NUS) they found that 20% of the 1200 students thought they had a mental health issue, with 13% of students having suicidal thoughts.

This however is only part of the problem. Having interviewed many students I found that most of them only knew there was something wrong after their mental health issue had become more developed to the point of interfering with day to day life.

It points to something very troubling, and that is that even though the world is having medical breakthroughs every day, there is still something very lacking when it comes to mental illnesses.

I spoke to one a student who chose to remain anonymous. In 2012 she was medically diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder.

“There isn’t enough education with mental illness. We’re not taught about warning signs, or how to seek help. So we go through our university life thinking that what we’re feeling is either normal, or it’s ‘just uni stress’. But that’s not the case at all. People are developing serious mental illnesses. They are even taking their own lives because they were not getting the help they needed. There needs to be more education on this subject so people no longer suffer in silence”

There seemed to be a very similar train of thought with all the students that I interviewed, so it is obvious that these students, and probably many more, feel that they were not equipped with the right knowledge to understand the complexity that is mental illness.

Another student I spoke to who also chose to remain anonymous said,

“It’s easy to think that what you’re feeling is normal because it’s developed over a long period of time. So if you’re always having panic attacks, for you it’s normal because you’ve felt that way for such a long time. But mentally, I feel, it’s just destroying you to have to feel those things constantly.”

Most of the students that I spoke to explained how their mental illness often interfered with their studies. Some of them saying how they found it difficult to leave their homes to attend lectures, others saying how they would suffer panic attacks during lectures and some who even said they felt they could not continue their degree and had to hold it off.

Whatever the case it is clear to see that the issue of mental health is not being dealt with as well as it should. But I implore anyone who reads that and is worried about their mental health to seek help and speak to someone who you feel will understand your issue and will be able to help you.

Stay safe dear readers.


The first person to visit the area which is now known as New York City was Giovanni da Verrazano who discovered the area in 1524, when he sailed into the area and landed there. The discovery and first settlement of the area occurred in 1609 by Henry Hudson, who found the location while searching for a new route to Asia. The settlement was called New Amsterdam and established as a Dutch trading colony. The name of the settlement would eventually become New York in 1664, when the British took control of the colonies.

New York City became an important city during the Revolutionary War period and for a brief time period, it was Capital of the new United States after the colonies declared their independence. In the 1800’s, with the opening of the Erie Canal providing passage to the Great Lakes, New York became one of the most important sea ports on the Atlantic Ocean, and became a center of trade. This lead to a substantial population growth into the largest city in the United States.

New York City also became a destination for immigrants coming in to the country to begin a new life. In the early 1900’s millions of people came though Ellis Island seeking citizenship in the United States. A vast majority of these immigrants settled in New York City, which today is still one of the most diverse populations in the world.

Over time the city has grown to be a population center in the United States as well as a center for various activities. New York City is known for Broadway, the fabulous skyline, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, top sports venues and teams, and is one of the top destinations for tourists around the world.

On one of the world’s largest natural harbours, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a county of New York State. The five boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island—were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a census-estimated 2013 population of 8,405,837 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. By 2013 census estimates, the New York City metropolitan region remains by a significant margin the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (19.9 million residents).

Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known to the city’s approximately 55 million annual visitors. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconified as “The Crossroads of the World”, is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theatre District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major centre of the world’s entertainment industry. The names of many of the city’s bridges, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. New York City’s financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, has been called the world’s leading financial centre and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies.

The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco, freestyle, Tin Pan Alley, and Jazz in music. New York City has been considered the dance capital of the world. The city is also widely celebrated in popular lore, frequently the setting for books, movies, and television programs.

Forty of the city’s theatres, with more than 500 seats each, are collectively known as Broadway, after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square Theatre District, sometimes referred to as “The Great White Way”.

Aer Lingus Regional banner



Aer Lingus Regional’s service to Dublin ‘takes off’

  • Airline expects to carry 70,000 passengers on new route in 2015.
  • Leeds Bradford key addition to Aer Lingus Regional route network as airline serves 13 major UK cities and are on track to carry 1.31million passengers in 2014.
  • Airline reports strong growth in connections from UK to North America via Dublin Airport
  • Leeds Bradford recorded the highest level of demand for connections to the US (via Dublin) out of all regions served by Aer Lingus Regional last week

Aer Lingus Regional’s new service to Dublin Airport, operated by Stobart Air, has commenced from Leeds Bradford.

The airline will operate two daily return flights between Leeds Bradford and Dublin and expects to carry 70,000 passengers on the route in 2015.

The Leeds Dublin route will be serviced by the airline’s newest aircraft which were delivered brand new in June this year and will operate to and from Dublin’s newest terminal – Aer Lingus’ hub – T2 at Dublin Airport.

This is the first time in 14 years that Aer Lingus will operate a Leeds to Dublin service and the schedule has been designed to accommodate a day return for business and leisure passengers, offering convenient morning and evening flights.

Speaking in Leeds Bradford as the inaugural flight departed for Dublin, Simon Fagan, Chief Commercial Officer, Stobart Air said that bookings have been strong since adding Leeds to the Aer Lingus Regional route network earlier this year.

‘Over 5,000 seats have been sold on the new route and we continue to add key UK destinations like Leeds Bradford to ensure we provide choice, value and convenience for our customers. Aer Lingus Regional serves 13 major UK cities from Ireland and are on track to carry 1.31million passengers this year,’ he said.

This route will provide a link to the US through Dublin for Leeds-based passengers who can conveniently connect to Aer Lingus mainline transatlantic services. This includes flights to New York, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, San Francisco and Toronto.

Last week, Leeds Bradford recorded the highest level of demand for connections to the US (via Dublin) out of all the 13 UK regions served by Aer Lingus Regional.

Dublin Airport provides customs and security pre-clearance for passengers travelling to the US which means they are treated as domestic passengers on arrival and so avoid long delays often associated with security checks in the US.

Dublin and Shannon are the only airports in Europe to offer this service.

‘We’re witnessing a strong growth in passengers travelling from the UK to North America via Dublin and this is a major and growing part of our business. The US security pre-clearance service is a significant benefit and many UK passengers are choosing to fly via Dublin for this reason,’ Mr Fagan said.

John Parkin, Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford International Airport, added: We are delighted to see the return of Aer Lingus services at Leeds Bradford. The convenient schedule allowing for a day return to Dublin is sure to be popular with business travellers. Passengers flying onwards to North America will find the connecting flight schedules alongside security pre clearance at Dublin provides an attractive transatlantic flight option.

‘We’re delighted to see another new route added to our network today which is part of the growth of our airline and reflects the ongoing success of our franchise partnership with Aer Lingus.

‘Leeds Bradford is a popular destination and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board and growing this route further,’ Mr Fagan concluded.

For further information:

Tony Hallwood Leeds Bradford Press Office 07793 709188

Sarah Regan  00353 1 637 1777 / 00353 86 8963312

Fares: One-way fares to Dublin start from as low as €24.99 and £24.99, including taxes and charges and are available to book on

Leeds Bradford International Airport            

Leeds Bradford International Airport is Yorkshire’s international gateway airport and was one of the fastest growing UK airports in 2013. Serving over 70 direct destinations across 24 countries flying with 11 major airlines, LBA supports the growth and development of the Leeds City region, the largest metropolitan region outside London with a population of 3 million.  Leeds the UK’s 3rd largest city and it’s city region is home to the largest financial, legal and professional services cluster outside of London/SE, alongside the well-established manufacturing and food and drink sectors and the fast growing healthcare and digital industries. Leeds Bradford Airport recently completed an £11 million terminal investment and plays an important role delivering air links worldwide for the business and tourism sectors alongside supporting new inward investment opportunities to the region working with a diverse range of regional stakeholders.

About Stobart Air

Stobart Air, a franchise flying specialist, operates over 700 flights per week across 34 routes from 24 departure points throughout the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Ireland.  The airline, which employs 420 people, operates services for Flybe and Aer Lingus under franchise flying agreements. Stobart Air is owned by the Stobart Group along with other investors. Stobart Group’s aviation assets comprise London Southend Airport; Carlisle Lake District Airport; Stobart Air; plus air freight, maintenance and airport services.


Aer Lingus


From left to right – John Parkin Chief Executive LBA, Tony Hallwood, LBA Aviation Development Director, Simon Fagan Chief Commercial Officer Stobart Air celebrate the new service to Dublin with an oversize shamrock cake.





Aer Lingus


From left to right – Tony Hallwood, LBA Aviation Development Director , Julian Carr Managing Director Stobart Air, John Parkin Chief Executive LBA, Simon Fagan Chief Commercial Officer Stobart Air on the apron at LBA before the first departure to Dublin







Aer Lingus


LBA provides a ‘Water Arch’ welcome for the first Aer Lingus arrival from Dublin.








Location: West coast of Maharashtra, Deccan region of India

Area: 603 sq. km

Attractions: Gateway of India, Bombay High Court, Marine Drive, Film City, Chowpatty Beach

Languages Spoken: English, Urdu, Marathi and Hindi

Major Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christians and Zoroastrians

38189398aa55647221b54e4cd53a6ce4Many people travel to Mumbai for many different reasons. Whether you want to experience a cultural cocktail of diversity or visit in the hope of making it as a Bollywood star, Mumbai truly is the city of dreams. The centre of the world’s largest film industry, Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

An estimated population of almost 19 million roam the busy streets on a daily basis making Mumbai the fifth most populous city in the world as well as the entertainment, financial and commercial capital of India.

Bombay in the 19th century was characterized by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India’s independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996.

There has been much debate regarding the original name of the city. Some say the current name of the city Mumbai is the original name; and is an eponym derived from “Mumba”, the name of the local Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, and “Aai”, meaning “mother” in Marathi. Others claim Bombay was an anglicized version of Bom Bahia, a name given by the Portuguese to mean “Beautiful Bay” and later made popular by the British as the name of the Bombay state. The name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995.

Poverty is strife in Mumbai and hundreds of shanty towns are spread all over the city. In saying that, the wealthy are extremely wealthy and many of the world’s richest individuals reside in Mumbai. Successful people such as Mukesh Ambani, Dilip Shanghvi and Pallonji Mistry, who have a combined wealth of over 47 Billion dollars, are all Mumbai based and made much of their fortunes in India.


The Mumbai film industry is one of the largest and oldest film industries in the world. One of India’s greatest exporter, Bollywood has acted as a great ambassador for Mumbai and millions of people from around the world travel to the city in the hope of catching a glimpse of their screen icons. Situated in the suburb of Juhu, the film industry churns out in excess of 400 movies a year and is the home to megastars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai.


Mumbai generally has humid and muggy weather, which is influenced by its proximity to Arabian Sea. This proximity is the main reason for ups and downs of the temperature. The month of May is the warmest one in Mumbai wherein the temperature spins between 32 degree Celsius and 40 degree Celsius. Mumbai is coolest in the month of January as the maximum temperature recorded is around 24 degree Celsius, and the minimum so far has been 18 degree Celsius.


There is no dearth of nightclubs, pubs and bars in Mumbai. As it competes with the rest of the world in terms of being one of the most happening cities, it is doing its best by housing some elite hotels, internationally famous lounge bars and many other establishments which can push it up the ladder of international oomph.


Mumbai is situated on the western coast of India and is surrounded by the magnificent Arabian Sea. For this reason, there are a number of beaches in Mumbai and watching the glorious sunsets from these beaches is indeed a heavenly sight. Chowpatty Beach is one of the most popular beaches situated in Mumbai. Equally beautiful, and one of the most visited beaches in Mumbai, is the Juhu Beach’, which is sited next to a posh locality. Marve Beach is not only a picturesque beach but also serves as the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.



Rather than forking out thousands to top up your tan flying to world renowned destinations such New York, Paris and Barcelona, how about a destination that offers you beautiful weather, breath taking natural scenery and a unique cultural experience. Azad Jammu & Kashmir is very rich in natural beauty with its snow-covered peaks, dense forests, winding rivers, turbulent foaming streams, wheat-scented valleys, velvet green plateaus and climate varying from arctic to tropical. All these ingredients join together to make it an excellent tourist attraction. Valleys like Neelum, Jhelum, Leepa, Rawalakot, Banjosa, and Samahni & Baghser unfold delightful scenic beauty and provide a feast of pleasure to a discerning tourist’s eyes. Azad Jammu & Kashmir is a fascinating land of people, languages & culture and the texture of present population is composed of races claiming their descent from Semitic, Mongoloid, Aryans, Persians, Turks and Arabs. The people of districts Kotli, Mirpur & Bhimber are sturdy, simple, truthful and deeply attached to their land. The culture of this area resembles to that of the adjoining area of Punjab.


The Kashmir dispute is the oldest unresolved international dispute in the world today. Pakistan considers Kashmir as its core political dispute with India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has historically remained independent, except in the anarchical conditions of the late 18th and first half of the 19th century, or when incorporated in the vast empires set up by the Mauryas (3rd century BC), the Mughals (16th to 18th century) and the British (mid-19th to mid-20th century).


The State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has a parliamentary form of Government. The President is the constitutional head of the State, while the Prime Minister, supported by a Council of Ministers, is the Chief Executive. The democratic setup was introduced in 1970 under the presidential system on the basis of adult franchise. For the first time the people of AJ&K and the refugees of Jammu and Kashmir elected the Legislative Assembly as well as President for Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of adult franchise. In 1975, for the first time in the history of AJ&K, a parliamentary system was introduced where the Prime Minister was elected by the majority of the votes of the Legislative Assembly.


The Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan has constructed two small airports at Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot cities in the recent past in order to provide an easy and fast mode of travel (flights presently suspended). The facility is also expected to be extended to the cities of Mirpur and Kotli.

Geographical features

Area – 5134 Square Miles (13297 Square Kilometres)

Topography – Mainly hilly and mountainous with valleys and plains

Climate – Sub-tropical highland type

Temperature – 45.2 degrees Celsius (maximum) -2.5 degrees Celsius (minimum)

Main rivers – Jhelum, Neelum, Poonch



Growing up in the Great Horton area of Bradford in the eighties, Asghar Ali was like many other children. Whilst studying hard to achieve what he wanted in life, he also had the responsibility of helping his mother and father with their family business. Along with his six siblings, they would all take shifts to run the newsagent and restaurant as well as balance their academic obligations.

Today, Asghar Ali is the CEO of one of the soundest brands in northern Britain. As we meet at his office in Bradford, Ali is well-groomed and has subtle shades of veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan with his aeon charm and attire. Calm, collective and attentive, I ask him to take me on his intimate journey from where it all started from…

“I started at my father’s restaurant at the age of ten on weekends and the newsagent on weekdays. I grew up around people and the community so it gave an opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life at a very early age. As time went on, I got more and more involved with the family business and my studies were affected. That was the case with a lot of Pakistani family businesses back then where the guys got involved with the businesses,” he tells me whilst fondly reminiscing his childhood.

As Ali states, many children of immigrants from south Asia in the seventies and eighties were given the added responsibility of entering the family business as well as the high expectations to excel in academics. The pressure to balance the two can either make you or break you but Ali had a vision from a young age and realised that through hard work and determination he could achieve his goals.

“An incident occurred when I was eighteen where I had to go and buy some stock for the newsagent and I vaguely remember it was during Ramadan. I was very hungry and the van that we had at the time was very temperamental. Most times we had to jump start it to get it going. On this occasion it didn’t start and I had to push the van up the hill to get the stock to the shop in time. It was the worst experience I ever had and it is then that I said to myself that I cannot be doing this anymore.”

“Even though my family and loved ones meant well, it was at that point that I knew I had to get away and the only way I could justify leaving my parents and business was education.”

For the next five years Ali travelled to Leicester University to further his studies whilst his siblings continued supporting their parents with the newsagent and restaurant. During this time, the restaurant was sold and the family concentrated on the property business.

Meanwhile in Leicester, Ali took to University life like a “duck to water” and the sense of freedom and independence made him have a clearer outlook on life. But five years later when it was time to come back to Bradford, Ali was in for a major shock.

“When I came back after five years, the first riots had just happened on the weekend I arrived and I remember thinking to myself, wow, this is the place I grew up in. I walked around the affected areas and I kept asking myself why? Why am I in Bradford? Why have I come back to this city that is in so much turmoil? But deep down I knew I had to come back. It was a sense of belonging. This is my city and I want to change it for the better.”

The 1995 the Manningham riot was a pivotal point in many Bradfordians lives. There was a sense of anger and disappointment as well as frustration. Many businesses folded in the process as investment within the city almost came to standstill and the clean-up bill would take the city a further ten years back.

As much as Ali was also going through a pivotal point in his life, he knew that his future would lie in Bradford where he had grown up.

“I didn’t want to be in Bradford at the time. Even though I am very loyal to the city and love it to bits, I felt disorientated. But I had an allegiance towards my family and could not let them down. Whilst in Leicester I would dine out a lot with friends at different restaurants and it gave me a different perspective on the restaurant trade. It was whilst at University that the seed was planted to open a young and cool Asian restaurant in Bradford”.

The seed may have been planted by the ambitious youngster but many south Asian parents sent their children to University to become lawyers, doctors and engineers. How would Ali’s father react to his plans?

“My father looked at me in disgust. He said you have a degree and you want to open a curry house? He didn’t give me his blessings and refused to give me any money to open the restaurant. In hindsight he was right. He told me to get a job, raise my own money and then open a restaurant.”

For the next five years Ali’s dream was on hold as he found a job at a bank. It was not his ideal profession but it allowed him the financial freedom to take care of his home whilst saving every penny to realise his ultimate dream. But things were just about to take a turn for the better.

“In 2003 an opportunity came by to open a restaurant on Great Horton Road. It was called Lahore but not doing any business. My father-in-law wanted to find something for his sons, who were quite young at the time, and asked whether I would come on board with my experience. I jumped at the chance and as my father-in-law put in all the money, along with Shak [my brother-in-law and business partner] and his younger brothers, we took over the restaurant and never looked back.”

In ten years, Asghar Ali along with his father-in-law and brother-in-laws have made a failing business into one of Yorkshire’s most successful food eateries. Vision, tenacity and a never say die attitude contribute to the success of My Lahore, a brand that is today as communal and eminent as any other.

Asghar Ali’s story is what the Urban Echo aims to bring forth. Highlighting an individual from a working class family and humble beginnings to becoming the CEO of a very successful business and brand. We all know the brand but the aim of this feature was to tell the story behind the brand. The struggles, the disagreements, the highs and the lows all contribute to stories of success and achievement. Ali’s story is inspirational and it is down to the youngsters in our region to use him as a role model and an example of what can be achieved in life if you have a vision and are willing to embark on a life journey similar to that of Asghar Ali.

Irfan Ajeeb, Editor – Urban Echo


With your personal trainer Jonny Storton

Ever wondered how to lose that excess weight that just seems to stay there? Maybe you do hundreds of sit ups a day but the waistline still seems to be growing.

There are no secrets about staying in shape. A healthy diet is the first and foremost necessity supported by an active lifestyle all contribute to a healthy body and mind.

This month we look at the most common problem for both men and women… wanting a flat stomach. Your daily diet plays a big part and to start off with you should look at how many calories are consumed on a daily basis. According to leading doctors and nutritionists,within a healthy balanced diet, a man needs around 10,500kJ (2,500kcal) a day to maintain his weight. For a woman, that figure is around 8,400kJ (2,000kcal) a day.

Once your calories intake is under control, you can then plan a weekly workout that you feel comfortable with. Either exercising in the garage, back garden or joining a gym, you can look great and feel great if the willingness or determination is their regardless of age, weight or gender.


A Bradford man aims to jump for the stars in the growing trend of ‘freerunning’…

Jumping from one building rooftop to another whilst doing a front somersault is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some youngsters it is a passion and is fast becoming a growing trend in the UK. For most aspiring sports stars, they grow up hoping to be the next Michael Jordan or Lennox Lewis, but not for 21 year old Dwayne Clarke. Born and raised in Bradford, Clarke is creating quite a scene, nationally with his impressive freerunning, also known as Parkour to the students of this sport.

Parkour (freerunning) is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from A to B in the most effective way possible. They do this by using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves. Parkour can include obstacle courses, running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping and rolling, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation.

Clarke has now been practicing this sport for the last five years and draws his inspiration from acclaimed freerunners Paul ‘Blue’ Joseph and Liverpool based Daniel Ilabaca, who is also one of the founders of the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation.

“Freerunning started in France and I instantly fell in love with it the moment I tried it out four years ago,” he states. “At first my parents were quite hesitant as it can be a dangerous sport and injuries are pretty common but they realized how passionate I was about it and have supported me since. I see it as a career,” he told the Urban Echo.

Training for this sport is unique. Seldom are weights used to build muscle as participants rely more on flexibility and core strength meaning plenty of pull ups, press ups and countless stomach crunches. Not forgetting road work to build stamina and endurance.

Asked about his training schedule, Clarke talks about his own technique. “I practice endlessly by jumping over walls. Big walls, small walls or any other structure that I feel I can use to test my technique. It’s all about the movement, the flow. Knowing your body is very important… what you are natural at and what you need to work on.”

As an active member of the Bradford Gymnastics Club, Clarke aims to become a professional freerunner like his idols and perfect the sport he chosen to purse as a career. He has a humble attitude and ranks himself as no better than his counterparts as he feels they all bring something new to the table with their skills.

He is currently a huge hit on YouTube with his videos and sees himself travelling the world within five years participating in major competitions and competing with the elite of freerunners across the globe.

Freerunning is fast becoming a preferred sport for many youngsters in the UK. Though it is not formally recognized as a sport as of yet, one can also refer to it as an art form. The movement of the human body flowing through the air in different angles jumping over walls, cars, railings and rooftops is a mesmerizing sight. The skill involved is immense and the courage to try this is just as impressive.

For Dwayne Clarke this just the beginning. He realizes the obstacles and hard work he has to endure to reach his goal as one the best freerunners in the UK… then maybe the world. The Urban Echo team wish him all the best.