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Passing exams with puppy love

Research suggests looking at cute things can help improve concentration. Credit: ITV News

Exam stress at this time of year has given Bristol University paws for thought - so it's trying something different to help students.

The university has set up a special 'puppy room' today, where stressed students take a break from exam prep and dissertation deadlines by cuddling guide dogs and their puppies.

Over 600 students signed up for 15 minutes with the dogs Credit: ITV News

Research published in Japan suggests pictures of cute things such as puppies and kittens can help improve concentration and performance.

About 20 dogs and puppies are being rotated throughout the day with the support of local owners and trainers. Each 'cuddle slot' lasts 15 minutes.

Over 600 students have signed up, and are being asked to make a suggested donation of £2 to the Guide Dogs charity.

While I'm more of a cat person myself, I'm really excited that the University is providing this for students. It's really important to do fun and different things to de-stress during exams and cuddling a puppy is a perfect way to release some endorphins.

– Jo Woods, Union Affairs Officer at Bristol Student Union
This time of year can be stressful for students with exam and deadline pressure. Credit: ITV News

Guide Dogs are most pleased to be able to work with the University of Bristol and allow students the chance to de-stress at this busy exam time. We are sure we will meet lots of students who miss their own pet dogs whilst away at University.

– Sarah Knox, Community Fundraiser for Guide Dogs

University of Bristol voted best for city life

Bristol University was voted best for city life

The University of Bristol has been voted as the best for city life by students.

The poll of more than 20,000 students across the country placed the university top, beating competition from Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds.

The award comes a year after The Sunday Times crowned Bristol the best city in Britain.

City life is a huge part of university life and we know that our students love all the opportunities on their doorstep.

It’s not just the nightlife which ticks the boxes, it’s the rich culture, vibrant music scene, countless festivals, free activities, beautiful green spaces and independent shops and cafes.

– Charlotte Wilson, Head of Customer Relations and Student Marketing

One of the reviews submitted, from a student called Hayley, said: “I am totally in love with the city, there are lots of things to do apart from studying and preparing for exams.

– Katherine, Bristol University Student

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Does your dog chase its tail?

Mr Darcy doesn't have much of a tail to chase... Credit: ITV News

Researchers at the University of Bristol are trying to find out why some dogs chase their tails or spin in circles and why some don't.

The School of Veterinary Science wants to sign up dogs that don't exhibit this behaviour for its study.

It has already recruited enough "spinning dogs" and now needs those that don't as a comparison.

For more information and to find out how to enrol in the study, click here or email spinningdog-study@bristol.ac.uk.

Comedy star Simon Pegg back at Bristol Uni

Simon Pegg attended Bristol University. Credit: Domine Jerome/ABACA/Press Association Images

Hollywood actor Simon Pegg will be returning to his roots at the University of Bristol this afternoon.

Pegg, who graduated in 1991, will be back to reopen the Students' Union building on Queens Road. Its £30 million transformation includes a new theatre named after him.

The comic actor made his name with sitcom Spaced and cult favourite Shaun of the Dead. More recently he has starred as Enterprise engineer Scotty in the new Star Trek films.

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Experts call on government to take action on poverty

Experts have called on the Government to take action over poverty say their research shows full-time work is not always sufficient to escape poverty.

Findings from the project, Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE), based on two surveys, will be discussed at in London this week.

Experts call on government to take action on poverty. Credit: PA

Professor David Gordon is from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, which led the project involving 14,559 people in the UK.

"The coalition Government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty. Their strategy has clearly failed," Prof Gordon said.

He added: "The available high-quality scientific evidence shows that poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening."

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Households in poverty up sharply over 30 years

Experts say the percentage of households that fall below society's minimum standard of living has increased sharply over the last 30 years, despite the size of the economy doubling.

Households in poverty up sharply over 30 years. Credit: PA

Researchers who carried out the largest study of poverty and deprivation conducted in the UK found the figure had increased from 14% to 33%.

The study said almost 18m people cannot afford adequate housing conditions, while 12 million are too poor to engage in common social activities.

One in three people cannot afford to heat their homes properly in winter, with four million children and adults not properly fed by today's standards.

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