8 min read

👮‍♂️Uni crimes, poverty rise, Tempest rhymes and more🌊

Plus Blondie, Bears (in trees) and ballroom dancing.
The beach facing West Pier and the i360 at sunset
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the thirteenth Seagull briefing! We can't quite believe it's been three months, and we're very grateful to all of you who have subscribed, sent us stories and engaged with us every week. If you'd like to get involved with our Fringe coverage, it's not too late—email [email protected] with requests for shows you'd like to see and some writing samples and we can have a chat.

Please share this with anyone you think would be interested, and if you think you've got a story to tell about our city, consider signing up to contribute here.‌‌

🗞News This Week🗞

Arrest, Addis, apps

In The Seagull this week:

  • A Seagull exclusive: a case of serious financial fraud has been perpetrated against the University of Brighton:
Exclusive - University of Brighton suffers up to £3.7 million financial fraud
Vice-Chancellor criticises union leadership for publication of details.

For an update on the case, see below.

Next up...

  • We'll be publishing a love letter to the West Pier, featuring some beautiful commissioned photos, on Thursday.

Arrest made at University of Brighton over fraud

University of Brighton
Credit: Alex McGregor

Last week we reported that serious financial fraud to the tune of up to £3.7 million was carried out against the University of Brighton.

On Thursday, Sussex Police said a 62-year-old member of university staff has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position and by representation.

He has been released under investigation.

The BBC shared a quote from the university, which read:

The University of Brighton has reported an internal case of suspected fraud for investigation by the police.

The university’s audit committee received a full report into the matter following an independent investigation.

Crowdfunder launches to help the homeless

Tents outside Lloyds Bank in North Street
Source: Huntersmith7

A crowdfunding campaign has launched for an app and website to help homeless people across the city.

Street Support Brighton and Hove, formed by groups including the council, Arch Health Care, Off the Fence's Project Antifreeze, the Justlife Foundation and faith groups, aims to be a live portal with up-to-date information for homeless people and their support workers.

The group hopes to raise £5,000, saying the funding is needed so it can operate year-round, receiving updates from the city's key frontline organisations including the council, NHS and charities supporting the homeless and those at risk.

In the fundraiser, they said:

We are seeking local businesses that would be prepared to pay £500 which would fund the site for one month and allow it to be developed

We are also seeking local donations from people to keep the site live and help us expand the information there as well as get leaflets, window stickers and cards out to local businesses, groups, services and to people on the street.

Your help is really appreciated.  Our target is £5,000.  Any funds raised above this will be distributed to front line organisations meeting need on a daily basis.

The fundraiser has 21 days left, and has raised £460 so far. Click here to find out more about Street Support's crowdfunding project.

Pietro Addis murder trial continues

Sue Addis in a wine cellar
Source: Donatello's Brighton

Following the discharging of the jury—for reasons not disclosed due to reporting restrictions—in the trial of Pietro Addis for the murder of his grandmother, a new trial is set to start at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday.

Addis' grandmother, Sue Addis, was the owner of Donatello's and Pinocchio's, popular restaurants in The Lanes and North Laine.

The jury heard how Addis, 19, stabbed his 69-year-old grandmother seventeen times while she was in the bath, including fatal injuries to her chest and neck, in January 2021.

He plead not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter, saying he had diminished responsibility because of paranoid psychosis.

Rossano Scamardello, prosecuting, said:

The experts agree that he now suffers with no psychotic mental disorder.

In the time since he killed his grandmother, Pietro Addis has been prescribed no anti-psychotic medication.

The prosecution will contend that if he had suffered a psychotic episode of the type that led to him killing his grandmother in the frenzied way which he did, it is highly unlikely that the psychosis would resolve without medication of some description.

As tragic and as bewildering as it may be, Pietro Addis murdered his grandmother, Susan Addis.

🖋 NIBS 🖋

  • More than 200 visas have been given in the Homes for Ukraine scheme to people sponsored by Brighton and Hove residents. Anyone interested in registering can do so here, as long as they have a spare room or home. They also have to be British or have leave to remain in the UK for at least six months, as well as being able to sponsor for at least six months.
  • Charlie Southall watch: he's been given a new stop notice from the council re the tile removal. He's also been given an enforcement notice forcing him to reinstate the tiles within a year of Tuesday 24th May, but he can appeal this with the planning inspectorate. We'll update when we know more.

🙏An appeal🙏

A missing poster on the back of a North Laine bin that reads: "LOST. Winnie the pooh (very loved). If found please email ...
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Have you seen this (very loved) bear? If so, please get in touch with the owner at the email above.

This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton. ‌‌‌

💥The Big One💥

City on the verge of 'poverty time bomb' and disabled people suffered worst on every measure during pandemic

Brighton in the snow
Source: Kate Fisher

What's happening? Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove (CABH) has released a report on the post-pandemic impact on poverty, and warns that the city faces a 'poverty time bomb' this winter.

What does this mean? Poverty is worse in Brighton and Hove now than it was pre-pandemic. There has been an 84% increase in household unemployment and relying on Universal Credit—that's an extra 4,135 houses. Child poverty figures are also up, at 24% in Hove and Pavilion and 32% in Kemptown, with a 17% increase in children entitled to free school meals in 2021.

Who is most affected by this? Single parent households, households where someone is disabled, and households where the head of the household is from a BAME community, as well as households in rented accommodation (28% of all households in the city).

Speaking of rents... The cost of a one-bedroom flat has gone up by 25.4% from the last three months of 2020 to the same time in 2021, and the cost of a three-bedroom house went up by 9.1% in the same time period.

Any more information on disabled people? The report states that disabled people 'suffered worst on every measure during the pandemic', with 74% of PIP claims that were turned down in the first instance being overturned, and 67% of ESA claims also overturned on appeal.

Emma Daniel, Parterships Manager at CABH, said:

For those in the deepest poverty, the outlook for this winter is incredibly bleak.

Already clients who most need to take care of their health are turning off power in their homes. In wintertime when we expect a further price rise in utilities, both the health impacts and the safety concerns become critical.

For the first time in working memory we have a cohort of clients where no matter what we or they do for themselves, will not be able to heat or eat on an ongoing basis, rather than in a crisis or where an unexpected expense arises.

What can be done to help? The report includes a list of national and local recommendations, including returning the uplift to the value of Universal Credit of £20 per week, reforming access to PIP and ESA, and prioritising mental health support for young people and people with disabilities.

Where can I read the full report? Here!

👉Finger On The Pulse👈

Blondie, Bears (in trees) and ballroom dancing

🎶Gigs: Lots going on in gigs this week: Chuck Ragan at Komedia on Tuesday (tickets), nice folk punk who was at our editor's old haunt The Joiners in Southampton so we know he's good; Foals at the Brighton Centre on Wednesday supported by very good post-punk band Goat Girl (tickets); and Blondie also at the Brighton Centre (tickets)—you don't need a blurb for this, everyone knows Blondie.

🎵Gigs BONUS: It's not regular practice for us to feature non-Brighton gigs but if you fancy riding the Number 29 bus to the end of the line, you can go and see friends of the Seagull Bears in Trees at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells (tickets). We can't guarantee you'll be able to get a bus back, but haven't you always wanted to experience the delights of Tunbridge Wells' nightlife?

💃Dance: Regency dance classes are being held at the Royal Pavilion next week. Saturday 7th May will see participants learn basic Regency dancing, as well as how to flutter your fan correctly, how to gossip and hold a conversation. You'll also learn the social hierarchy and how to follow rules such as not laughing too loudly or discussing finances or 'vulgar' subjects—we'll be getting tickets for some members of the Seagull team who could stand to learn. Dress up if you want to, and bring a pair of gloves and a fan if you have them. Tickets cost £25 and can be found here.

🎭Theatre: Prison Game, a one-man social realist drama about the the black experience of prison from black-led theatre company Hercules Productions; Thursday 28th April at the Open Air Theatre, tickets here.

‌🎤Spoken Word: Kae Tempest—you know what, we know them chiefly as a poet but I'm not sure if this will be spoken word, rap or what, and the description on the Dome site doesn't really do much to clarify—thanks for that, guys. It'll be good though; Thursday 28th April at the Dome, tickets here.

Swoop in

If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected] And if you want to contribute:‌‌

☕️ Where to eat? 🥪

Lunch: Smorl's in the Open Market, makers of the best hummus in the world, which is available at several of Brighton's finest independent retailers as well as their outlet here, but they also make wonderful salads and pitta pockets which make a perfect lunch.

Dinner: The Little Fish Market on Upper Market Street—look, most of the Seagull team are vegans so somewhere that only serves fish is a bit out of pla(i)ce—but it's our technical director's favourite restaurant that he's now prevented from going to by said veganism, so indulge him this birthday recommendation: much as we respect the BRAVOs, LFM isn't #3, it's #1.

Pint: Village on Islingword Road—a lovely green-tiled community-owned cafe/pub in Hanover with food all day and night, an ever-changing, ever-interesting drink selection and regular gigs and pub quizzes.

🔜 Next Time 🔜

Happy birthday to Adam, our technical director, and for yesterday to member of the flock Enid :) If you'd like us to wish you a happy birthday/engagement/wedding etc, drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook.

That's all for this week—don't forget to fill in our contributors form if you'd like to get involved, forward to friends who might be interested and if you've been forwarded this and enjoyed it (or are reading on the website), please subscribe:‌‌