Sous vide is a cooking technique that has become very popular in recent years and is often associated with other modernist cooking techniques such as foams and gels and other fancy cooking techniques.

But although investing in a sous vide machine may sound like a bit of a fancy and expensive thing to do for the average home cook and let alone any student, you may be surprised to hear that they are actually a very practical tool to have in the kitchen, particularly if you need to save money or are very busy.

There are actually a few reasons why sous vide is the perfect cooking technique for students, so read on to find out why we think you should consider it.

What exactly is sous vide?

If you’ve never actually heard of sous vide before, you may be wondering what on earth it even is. Essentially, sous vide is a French term which means ‘under vacuum’ and the cooking method involves vacuum packing your food and then immersing it in a temperature-controlled water bath.

The food then cooks to the exact temperature of the water. This means that it is pretty much impossible to overcook anything, and that’s great news if you love steak and hate mushy vegetables.

You will need to sear any meat you cook after cooking it sous vide, as this method can’t give it that brown crust as it isn’t exposed to direct heat, but that will take you mere minutes at the end of your cooking time!

You don’t need to watch over your food

One of the great benefits if you’re a busy student is that when cooking sous vide, you don’t need to stay in the kitchen and watch your food to make sure it cooks properly. You don’t need to stir it or adjust it in any way as you usually do when using a stovetop or grill, you just literally pop it in the water bath and forget about it.

You can even leave your food in for longer than you need to if you decided to do work while it was cooking and got into the swing of something. There’s no danger that your chicken breasts will dry out and become unappealing as the temperature won’t increase from what you’ve set it to.

Unlike a slow cooker, with sous vide cooking food won’t get mushier the longer it’s cooked, but you can still cook it all day or all night if you need to.

It’s great for meal prepping

If you’re really strapped for time, sous vide is a dream come true. You can cook several portions at once and then freeze them for eating later, and you can even season different pouches differently but cook them all at once!

This article from Bon Appetit explains how great sous vide is if you love meal prepping, and it just might change your life.

Less cleanup

There is hardly any cleaning up to do after cooking sous vide, which is great if you are living with a shared kitchen and other people are waiting to use the space. You don’t need to wash up anything except perhaps one pan if you’ve used it to sear at the end, and you simply throw out the plastic bag you’ve cooked in.

If you’re trying to use less plastic and this sounds incredibly wasteful to you, you  can actually buy silicone reusable pouches to use, which we think is a better solution all round anyway.

Whether you’re in your last year of school or you’re mid-way through uni and need a change, a gap year could be the option for you. Not only do they offer a whole host of benefits, but they help you to see the world through different perspectives and take you out of your comfort zone. What’s more, 90% of students who take a gap year return to college with a year, and with gap years continuing to grow in popularity, you’ll be able to meet likeminded people and make memories together. Below, we’ve rounded up just some of the reasons gap years make sense.

You’ll broaden your horizons

Taking a gap year to travel opens up a whole host of opportunities. You may decide that you’re having so much fun in Australia that you want to move there permanently, or you could learn a new skill in the country to take back home and add to your CV. Indeed, many companies now value non-traditional work and experiences, so if you’re fresh back from a gap year with a new outlook on life and you’re full of confidence and free spirit, you’ll pick up employment in no time.

You can earn some good money

There are so many jobs that you can do if you want to take a gap year in Australia, whether you work in a bar, work on promotions, become an au pair or put your experience to the test and get a full-time professional position. Australia pays well – the average household income is $66,820 (around £37,000 / $48,000 US dollars). Before you make the jump, though, you should take the time to get your head around personal income taxes by using an Australian pay calculator.

There’s no language barrier

It’s pretty great when you can travel to the other side of the world without having to worry about learning a new language. Whether you’re planning on working for a year or you simply want to have fun and travel whilst meeting new people, you can rest in the knowledge that you’ll be with people who also speak English. It makes it easier to make friends, find work and explore.

It’s easy to get a Visa

If you’re planning on working whilst you travel, then you’ll need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. You’ll need to check specific requirements depending on your home country, but you’ll need to be single, childless, be able to speak English, be between the ages of 18 and 30, and be able to prove that you have at least $5000 Australian dollars for living and travel expenses. Aside from that, it’s pretty easy to get a Visa, which costs around $450 Australian dollars.

There’s so much to see

Let’s face it: the real reason why you want to take a gap year is to experience new cultures and take in some sights – and boy does Australia have some sights! From the stunning Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest living thing on Earth, through to the landmark Sydney Opera House, which is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings. There’s also the Uluru, a breathtaking sandstone monolith, and Whitsunday Islands, teeming with marine life. No matter what you’re looking to do, there’s something in Australia – give it a go and see what happens!

Whatever you decide to do, we wish you the best of luck!

Heading off to university is an incredibly exciting experience, and whether you’re a fresher or you’re returning after a long summer for another year, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. However, if you’re heading to a student house for the first time, it can present its own challenges that can take a little time to figure out.

While you’re acclimatising to your new home, there are certain things you can do to make your first few days and weeks an enjoyable experience, so we’ve put together a simple guide to how to survive your first week in a student house.


Make an Effort with Your New Housemates

Whether you’re a new or returning student, you may find yourself thrown into an environment with lots of different personalities, so it can be difficult to get to know everyone. If you put a little effort into it though, it’s sure to pay off. Just making sure to say hello when you pass on the stairs or offering to make a cup of tea for your housemates when you’re making one for yourself can be enough to get the conversation going.

If you’re living with people you don’t know, just remember everyone is in the same situation as you, so they’re probably feeling the same things as you.


Be Prepared to Let Go of the Small Stuff

Whether you’re living with your friends or with people you don’t know, you’ll probably end up falling out over something that you later realise is completely insignificant. When people are missing home, functioning on little sleep and dealing with the stress of uni work, small issues can quickly turn into big problems. If you have a housemate who puts empty milk bottles back in the fridge, it can definitely be annoying, but it’s not worth getting worked up over.

You’ll quickly learn not to sweat the small stuff, but if something really does bother you, just have a calm chat with them to find a solution.


Make Your House a Home

Many students often struggle with feeling homesick, and you may find yourself feeling a little out of place in your student home. While you may be missing your family and friends from home, give your new student house a homely feel and you’re likely to feel somewhat more comfortable than you did before.

We spoke to Mighty Student Living, a student accommodation provider who said,

“Settling into your new student home can be a bit of a process, but there are some little things you can do to make sure that you feel like you are at home. Try putting up photos of your friends and family from home, adding cosy touches like blankets and cushions, and using calming fragrances in diffusers and plug-ins to relax you. You’ll feel at home in no time at all!”

Your first week in a new student house can be a fantastic time, but we understand that it can present its own challenges. There are small changes you can make to help ease into the change, but if you are finding that you are really struggling, don’t do so in silence. Contact your university counsellors, talk to friends and family, and use the NHS resources which you can find out more about here.

Whether you’re getting off to university for the first time this year or you’re heading back for another term, the chances are that you’ll have lots of things to buy – and your bank balance may even be looking a little worse for wear. In today’s article, we’ve put together some top money-saving tips for students on their way back to uni. Read on and save hundreds!


Use promo codes

If you’re a money saving expert like us, you’ll probably agree with us when we say that the best thing about the internet is its promo codes. Whether you’re looking for a special offer on your weekend takeaway or you’re trying to get free delivery on your clothes shop, it’s always good fun when you pick up a bargain. As well as using your student discount card wherever you go, you should look out for promo codes for websites that you use for everyday items. Wish promo codes, for example, help you save up to 90% on your shop. What a bargain!


Buy in bulk

Another great way to save some money is to buy your products in bulk. Rather than splashing out on an expensive shampoo every six weeks, buy a salon sized bottle. Sure, you might end up paying £20 for a bottle rather than your usual £7.50, but it’ll last you five or six times as long. The same can be said for everyday essentials – stock up on healthy snacks like nuts and bars in bulk, as well as essentials such as toilet roll, tissue paper and bin bags.

You might need to spend a fortune to get everything you need at the start of term, but once you do, you won’t need to keep running to the shops to top up, as you’ll have endless supplies for the whole term. Oh, and be sure to look out for discounts and stock up when you see them.


Get a cab with friends

If you’re always spending money on getting taxis and cabs to the cinema, into town and on your nights out, then consider asking your friends to pair up. Splitting the bill of a taxi, or using a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, will save you a fortune throughout the term. Better still, invest in a bike or a boosted board and make your way to wherever you need to be on foot. You might get wet when it’s raining, but you’ll keep fit and won’t have to spend money on gym membership!


Check out charity shops

Another awesome way to save money when you’re looking for new clothes is to buy from charity shops. You sometimes have to shop around, and you won’t necessarily find everything you need in one go, but they’re great fun. Not only are the clothes and accessories super cheap because they’re second hand, but you’ll be giving to a good cause and will feel great when you’re rocking up on campus wearing a stunning dress, knowing you’re a charitable queen too.


Sell stuff you don’t need

Got a dormitory full of old books and accessories that you no longer need? New textbooks can be expensive, so let first years know that you’re selling yours for half price. That’ll help you make some money back from books and papers that you’re no longer in need of, and you’ll be helping out another cash-strapped student who doesn’t have the funds to buy new books.


What do you do to save money? Let us know on Twitter using @StudentDaysUK.

If your son, daughter or partner is heading off to university this September, you might want to think about giving them a parting gift. Indeed, having something that they can remember you by when they’re miles away from home can help to reduce homesickness and help them settle in.

Below, we’ve put together some of the best gift ideas to consider; let us know what you think!


A forever rose

If you’re looking for a unique and unusual gift that your daughter or girlfriend will love, then consider a forever rose from Notta & Belle.

These handmade roses, perfect for girls and women, make for a stunning gift and will look great in any bedroom, study or student dormitory.

The best part about this gift is that these roles are kept in a glass dome and will last for at least five years. Thanks to special processing technology, these roses don’t need to be watered and can live anywhere, provided they’re not placed directly in the sun.

What’s more, the rose is not in a vacuum, but rather in a dome, meaning it can be removed to be touched. Available in 18 colours and three sizes, you’re bound to find a forever rose that will last the whole of university.


A photo frame

Another way that you can show your loved ones that you care about them is through a photo frame.

Sure, we all have an Instagram account and we FaceTime our friends and family wherever we end up, but having a physical photo frame can make a room feel more personal and give your loved one something to look at when they’re stressed with exams or coursework.

Of course, you could consider a digital photo frame, that will change and show off a variety of shots, or you could create a montage of your favourite images and put them together in one single frame.

If your girlfriend or boyfriend is off to university, then you could even buy them a cushion with your face on, so that they have something to cuddle when they’re missing you.


A gift voucher

Being a student doesn’t come cheap.

Yes, student loans are great and let young people relax for the first few months of their course, but daily living costs for groceries and eating out can be expensive. If you want to ensure your loved one doesn’t have to worry about their weekly food shop, then you could buy them a gift voucher for a local supermarket to help them stock up.

Alternatively, you could top-up a prepaid credit card to give your loved one the funds they need to have a good night out in town. Facebook Messenger and Apple iMessage also allow you to send payments in seconds, so the chances are you won’t even need a credit card to treat them!


Are you treating your loved one to something special before they head off to uni? Whatever you buy, make sure it’s something personable or useful, and remember that they will likely have limited space in their student accommodation, so be very sensible when purchasing large items.

THE recent increase of online dating sites and rise in people using them poses the question: Is online dating taking over from traditional dating?

Dating sites and apps such as match.comTindergrindr and many more seem to be taking over traditions that many of us are used to.

Online dating and the idea of ‘social media love’ causes a conflict of opinions between many people.

Some welcome this change for the better seeing no problem with and thinking that it is a positive thing for society.

But this is contrasted by others who can not get past the idea of meeting someone online because they fear that it is impossible to really get to know someone that way.

Jack Franks, 22, from Durham met his partner Niamh Donnelly on Tinder. They have been together for more than a year.

He believes that with the technology we have these days online dating is taking over traditional dating.

“I think people might prefer first to meet online and then go on a date,” He said.

“There are very few people who meet in public and start a relationship that way.”

Although he met Niamh online he thinks this increase is a bad thing.

He said: “I don’t know how you can gauge what someone is like over the internet, how can you know what someone is like through text?”

“If you meet someone in person you instantly know because you get a little vibe.”

Like Jack, Natasha Ashby, 19, from Stockton, met her partner Ben Forth online.

She joined Tinder only a couple of months before meeting Ben.

At first she went on looking for a bit of fun after getting out of a long term relationship.

One thing led to another and nearly a year later the pair are still together.

Online dating opens the door for people to pretend to be someone there not.

It can be a way of making themselves look and sound better to get attention.

Natasha said: “One of my friends was getting on really well with a girl.”

“He thought she was extremely pretty – even model material.

But when he turned up to meet her she was nothing like he expected and had to carry on with the date until the end despite feeling no attraction for her.”

Although society is becoming more accepting of online dating many people still feel that they cannot truthfully share where they met there partners.

In the UK one in five relationships starts online but 81% of people lie about their age; height; figure and weight.

Daisy Best, Principle Lecturer of Psychology at Teesside University believes there could be a number of reasons people lie about their physical attributes.

“It is likely that the self-worth of the individual who has lied is relatively low if they feel unable to honestly disclose who they really are,” She said.

“It may be that life experiences have taught them that they will not be accepted if they are to present as themselves so believe that they need to present in another way in order to be accepted.

“They may wish to attract a certain type of person who they believe will only be attracted to them if they fit certain attributes.”

Daisy thinks the risk of meeting someone who  could be potentially lying is the individual’s choice.

She said: “Of course there are risks that people will be dishonest or have ulterior motives but these risks can be present online or offline.”

“Some people have found their soul mates through online dating and others have been significantly harmed.

“I think this reflects the continuum of relationships both online and beyond.

“We have to make our own choices in regard to whether online dating sites are okay or not, with awareness and respect for what we want from this encounter and the ability to recognise and value our own needs; feelings and safety throughout the process.”

What are your thoughts and views about on-line dating, would you take the risk?

The United Kingdom is fast experiencing a surge in the number of marriages and relationships across ethnic divides – according to latest official figures.

Mixed race is an ethnic category that has been used by the United Kingdom’s office for National statistics since 1991 census which colloquially refers to British citizens or residents who are married to people of different ethnic background or people whose  parents are of different race.

New analysis of the census figures shows that the number of people in England and Wales living with or married to someone from another ethnic group has jumped to 2.3 million with an increase of about 35 percent in the last 10 years.

According to a report in The Independent newspaper, one in 10 relationships in UK now cross racial boundaries thereby making the country one of the fastest growing mixed race societies in the world.

The expansion of the EU in 2004 has also contributed to this development. Reports say that the common inter-ethnic relationships today is between people who are white British and a country like Poland. These make up 16 percent of the entire mixed race population.

The prejudice are fading gradually even in major cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham, recording the highest population of mixed race couples. It is common place in such cities that inter-racial couples will no longer catch your eyes as different.

Perceptions and prejudice continues to fizzle even in some parts of Africa. Under the apartheid regime in South Africa, inter- racial marriages and relationships were banned but today it has become a normal practice in the society.

Celebrities such as Jessica Ennis the Olympic star, Lewis Hamilton and Leona Lewis, the British got talent Alesha Dixon are all changing the perceptions on mixed race marriages and relationships in UK.

However, there are things to worry about when getting involved in inter-ethnic marriages or relationships.

In an interview with Benjamin Eamo, a Doctoral student in Sociology, he pointed out “that mixed race relationship is something one has to really think about before going into because of the cultural divide”.

Mr Eamo said: “It demands more effort because people involved will be struggling to adjust or live up to the culture and orientation of his spouse which sometimes creates a kind of cultural friction leading to issues in such marriages and relationships”.

However, Raymond Oliver,  who has been married to his wife from Africa for up to 15 years,  has a different view.

He said: “There is no difference if you marry from any part of the world that the most important thing is compatibility of the couple”.

A marriage councillor Dr Ken Duru notes that the success or failure of relationships is not determined by ethnic, social or other factors, rather it is determined by the individuals in the relationship.

Their ability to tolerate each others excesses because owing to the fact that no one is perfect is what that will determine the Fate of their relationship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stereotyped attitudes about boys are equally harmful.

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

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

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

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

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

“More than ever, toys and games are marketed as being ‘for’ one gender or the other – dolls and ovens are for girls and trucks and construction toys are for boys.“They’re trying to learn how to be a grown-up, and ‘Boys don’t play with dolls’ will be understood by them in just the same way as ‘Hitting is wrong’ – they can’t understand the difference between those kinds of social rules.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody knows you better, and you both know it.

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

But is that enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How do you spot a Goth?” the joke starts.

“They’ll swear they’re not a Goth,” is the punchline.

The logic of the witch dunking trials applied: You were damned if you were and damned if you weren’t (and probably a fan of The Damned either way).

A lot of people distance themselves from the label of ‘Goth’.

The Goth scene emerged from the artsy side of post-punk in the 80s, when groups used to dress up in defining features such as big, backcombed hair, heavy eyeliner and lots of black clothing.

This is what is now known as the trad Goth, it was an easy cultural identifier.

But over time the style changed, so that new sub-genres of Goth emerged, such as Cybergoth, Industrial Goth, Nu Goth.

The list goes on and on, so the distinctions between them became so blurred to the untrained eye, that people even have difficulty identifying what is Punk, Goth or Emo.

When something is new or people don’t understand it, the first reaction is often to fear it and this could spark negative reactions.

I personally have been on the receiving end of subculture hate.

Only recently I was confronted by a group of teenage boys in tracksuits hell-bent on causing trouble, shouting things like “You look dead!” and “It’s not Halloween yet” at me.

In cases like this it’s easy to just ignore them and walk away without even batting an eyelid, I have become so accustomed to attitudes like this.

But what would happen if they intended to cause physical harm?

In 2007, a boy called Robert Maltby was brutally assaulted for his Goth fashion choices.

His Goth girlfriend Sophie Lancaster, begged the attackers to stop so they turned on her.

Rob managed to recover, but Sophie died from her injuries.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation‘ was set up to raise awareness of subculture abuse.

This caused some police forces to take action, recognising the issues as hate crimes.

Laws in England currently have five categories for hate crimes: disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation.

However, regional forces are allowed to add their own as they see fit.

Subculture abuse was accepted as a hate crime by up to nine police forces in the previous years since the Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up.

Kate Conboy, Partnership and Development Manager for The Sophie Lancaster Foundation said: “We know that the prejudice faced by people who are alternative is still a huge issue for many, especially young people in school and small communities.”

“We have worked hard for 10 years almost to raise awareness and have a far reach which has been heard by many professionals who can influence change.

“Sylvia Lancaster was awarded an OBE for her work in ‘Community Cohesion – especially in reduction of hate crime’ and she has been an advisor to the government for over 6 years now.

“We feel that it is all about education.

“We work in schools, train primary and secondary teachers, youth workers and the police.

“Raising awareness and challenging prejudice or stereotyping has been an important part of our work and our supporters also do the same.

“We regularly hear from people who say things have gotten better and they feel more accepted.”

If the police are beginning to view Goths and other alternative cultures as victims rather than perpetrators then that can only be a positive step.

Aside from a couple of Whitby weekenders a year, Goths seldom gather in large enough numbers to defend themselves, making them an easy target.

However, the decision to equate subculture with sexual orientation, colour, or religion has provoked some criticism over what is essentially a fashion choice.

People often say, “Why can’t you just change the way you look?”

It’s the simplest solution to the problem of harassment that faces anyone in the Goth subculture.

Imagine spending years being subjected to abuse from complete strangers.

Imagine getting used to the anxiety of using public transport, walking past a busy pub, or even just going to town.

But, is changing your appearance the best defence?

Should we accept that the fault is our own for how we look?

That if we were more like everyone else – like the people who think it’s appropriate to threaten and mock us for not being like them, then we would be more accepted?

As you can imagine, the temptation hasn’t quite seized me.

I believe the debate can be brought down to a simple concept: Is this person in danger because of how they appear?

If so, it’s a motivated attack and should be considered a hate crime.

However, there is still not enough awareness because problems are still occurring.

19-year-old student Eric Vincent Knebel has been into the Goth lifestyle for around four years.

He said: “In the last two years I received a lot of hate and intolerance from people who say things like I must be a drug addict.”

“It happens a lot in the school where I am now, in some cases it really affected my grade in specific subjects.

“Even teachers don’t care about subcultures and don’t do anything to stop abuse.

“They just say ‘Then don’t style yourself like that’, but I’m never going to change the way I dress.

“After a certain amount of time you get used to the looks and bad comments and begin to ignore it.

In more accepting, modern times where racism, homophobia and other forms of hate are looked at with disgust, all forms of hate should be on the same level of severity.

From Emo kids to Metalheads, people should be free to express individuality without fear.

Hopefully, in the future we see more police forces taking action to end the hate crimes, I hope for a brighter future for the Goth subculture (excluding the clothing of course!).