Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Here's the story

We were a bit concerned that, despite the letters sent out about the Garston docks planning application, people were saying they were unaware. So my colleague spoke to the press yesterday. Here's a link to a story in the Liverpool Echo.

New Year

The start of the teaching year for me started yesterday. Great to see the students back in force. Our numbers are up on the course this year which is good news for everyone. I love the newness of the start of term don't you?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Cleaning up in Beechwood

Last week saw our first planning meeting for a "Week of Action" in the Beechwood estate area of my ward. This is a small bit of Cressington that could, in fact, be really nice but which suffers from dumping, anti social behaviour etc and which means the lives of the people there are effectively blighted. My colleagues - Peter Millea, Richard Oglethorpe - and I have been agitating for some action in that area. And on Thursday, Richard and I joined representatives from agencies and the council to draw up some plans. All being well there will be a "Week of Action" next month. Once the plans are finalised I'll post more details here. Meanwhile, if you live in that area and have a suggestion, please let me know by e mailing me on my council e mail - paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk or by getting in touch by mail or phone. The other details are at www.liverpool.gov.uk in the Councillors section

Delivering in the sun

So, after a miserable summer we have a great sunny day.. and I am off delivering. Today we were in part of Kensington delivering some new leaflets about action taken by our PPC Colin Eldridge. I thought I was going to have a dog free day until the final doorstep. But this time I got my fingers free in time!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Waste planning application - Garston Docks

Jack Allen holdings have put in a planning applicaton to build a resource recovery park to deal with waste - including storage tanks, a gas holder, a processing building and other buildings on land next to Stalbridge Dock in Garston.

The Council has sent letters out to a wide area about this, but there will always be residents who live just beyond this area. And its important that everyone who wants to know about this, does.

The plans can be seen at the planning office in Millennium House on Victoria Street. They'll also be available on line shortly at www.liverpool.gov.uk/Environment/Planning. The reference number is 08F/2279.

Anyone who wants to comment - whether to support the proposal or object to it - can write in to the planning department. Letters need to be in by 17 November and need to include the reference number.

Residents can also contact their Councillors to give their views. Given where this is, the plan is relevant to people in two different wards - Cressington and Speke Garston. If you want to pass your views on to me, please use my council e mail which is paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk.

We don't know yet when this is likely to be discussed by the planning committee. I'll update the blog when I get the date(s). Members of the public are entitled to attend the planning committee. There's also more information about the whole plannign process on line at www.liverpool.gov.uk/Environment/Planning - in a leaflet called "Further Information about the planning application process".

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Thousands to lose out - if they don't act quickly

The government is making a little noticed change to the rules on benefits which will mean that, as of 6 October, the backdating period for certain benefits will be cut to three months from 12. That means some people, particularly pensioners, will get considerably less of what they are entitled to. I was talking to colleagues the other day about Liverpool City Council's Benefit Maximisation Team. They work with people who either don't know they are entitled to certain benefits - like pensions credit - or who are reluctant to claim even though they could be better off. The team have helped people claim collectively huge amounts and are keen to help even more. But actually any claims going in from 6 October will automatically qualify for less because of the change. What this means is that anyone who is thinking of making a claim, or who has a relative who they want to encourage to make a claim, should so do now rather than later. This is a link to a story about the changes in yesterdays national press. One of the Lib Dem MPs, Lynne Featherstone, has asked some questions about this and it seems the government is going to make quite some savings! And at a time when the cost of living is hitting people particularly hard too.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Back from conference

Well that all seems over very quickly.

The highs for me - Bournemouth (where everyone seems to have got their head around what's needed for a conference to work), the Observer fringe meeting interview with Vince Cable, the panel discussion on social mobility, the Leader's Speech, the weather!

The lows (or niggles) - the tendency for fringe meetings to be in rooms which are FAR TOO SMALL, the balance between debates and presentations ( there are now too many Q and A and presentation sessions in my view... the opportunities to make a debate speech are fewer)

Still, a good few days. Now we just need to knock on those million doors.

Funds going begging?

It looks like there could be some funding going begging! Posted below is a message from LCVS about the Big Lottery Fund not getting as many applications as it wanted.

The Big Lottery Fund are keen to promote two of their programmes. They have received fewer applications than expected, so far.

You can find further details at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk then click Apply, then Current Programmes.

Remember that if you are considering working on any lottery application, it is worthwhile asking the LCVS Funding Advisors, Ged or Ian, for some help or advice. We can increase your chances of receiving a grant!

Young People's Fund 2

So far there have been just a few applications. The deadline for sending in an Outline Proposal Form is 16th October.

Changing Spaces

This is a pot of money that is available to local groups through different partners. Altogether, up to £200m funding is available, but there has been little interest yet so opportunities are there for the sector to get thinking and applying. The funds available are -

Local Food programme (run by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts) – It funds a range of organisations who want to deliver a variety of food related projects to make locally grown food more accessible and affordable to local communities. For more information visit www.localfoodgrants.org.

Community Spaces programme (run by Groundwork UK) – It funds community groups who want to improve local green spaces such as play areas, community gardens, parks, wildlife areas and village greens. For more information visit www.community-spaces.org.uk.

Community Sustainable Energy programme (run by Building Research Establishment) – It will pay for community-based organisations to install renewable energy technologies (such as wind turbines and solar panels) and energy saving measures (such as roof and cavity wall insulation). For more information visit www.communitysustainable.org.uk

Access to Nature programme (run by Natural England) – It funds a range of organisations who want to encourage people from all backgrounds to learn more about and enjoy the natural environment. For more information visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/accesstonature.

Ecominds programme (run by Mind) – this programme opened to applications on the 18 September 2008. It funds a range of groups who want to encourage people with experience of mental distress to get involved in environmental projects, such as improving open spaces and wildlife habitats, designing public art and recycling. For more information visit www.ecominds.org.uk


Friday, 12 September 2008

Great opportunity for young writer.

Youth Communications Network - an organisation I am involved in - is looking for young people who want to write an article for a one-off publication. The deadlines are quite tight but its a great chance if you have something to say and want to be published. I am pasting the details - including contact details - below.

YCN is looking for young people with different experiences/opinions of housing and housing-related issues to submit an article for a special Youth Live edition called “Yoof Roof”. The article can talk about being in care, or leaving care, homelessness, runaways, domestic violence, community regeneration, facilities and services for young people, support available, education, jobs. This will be in partnership with Shelter and the NSPCC and will be a one-off national publication. We will welcome enquiries about sponsorship and/or advertising from interested organisations.

Anyone interested should email news@youthlive.co.uk. Please include “Yoof Roof” in the subject line. We will be looking to receive the first lot of copy in by October 10th. An event may be organised before then for writers to meet and share ideas.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Health Consultation in South Liverpool - just a few days to go.

Monday (15th September) is the deadline for comments as part of the consultation on "Out of Hospital" health services in South Liverpool. This is a link to the full document produced by the Primary Care Trust. You can also find an on line survey form on the website at www.liverpoolpct.nhs.uk (look for the story on the South Liverpool Consultation)

Regulation 33 training

A few years ago I used to be one of Liverpool City Council's Regulation 33 visitors. It's something Councillors can choose to do and involves monthly unannounced visits to children's homes. All elected members are "Corporate Parents" so it's part of that role.

I had to stop doing the visits for a while, but had been thinking about taking part again.

Well, yesterday was a training session for new, or existing, Reg 33 visitors so I went along.

The enthusiasm and dedication of the staff just shone through. We were also joined by a young man who had lived at one of the children's homes and now was a youth worker. It was good too to hear about the standards in the service. The City Council's homes have extremely high standards and everyone seems to pull together to keep it so.

We talked a bit about changes in the law too. It looks like the government is about to change the law so that children in foster placements can in fact stay there (funded) for a few extra years rather than leave before they are ready. This sounds like an excellent idea so let's hope the cash is there to make it possible.

Getting ready for conference

Now I know that there is always a lot to do before conference starts - reading, sorting out hotels, sorting out travel, packing and so on. But to my relief I have managed to deal with the most pressing task. I refer of course to arranging for someone to feed the cats! Kaboodle, being a bit on the porky side, could do with losing some weight. But Kit is whippet thin and after her last incident at the vets she is probably FNG (feline non grata) there. Anyway - feeding and watering schedule having been sorted out I can depart with few worries.

Professor Bradshaw Obituary

There is a lovely obituary for the late Professor Tony Bradshaw in today's Guardian.

Tony got the first Liverpool Citizen of Honour award shortly before he died. He was a lovely man who was very committed to a range of environmental causes - including the Merseyside Environment Trust.

Here is the link to the Obituary.

Monday, 8 September 2008

MTV at the Arena - ticket ballot opens today

This, below, is a press release about the ticket ballot for the MTV awards at the Arena later this year.

Music fans in North West England to have greatest opportunity to buy tickets for Europe’s most prestigious live music event

MTV Networks International today announced that tickets for the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards will be distributed via a global ballot.

The 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Echo Arena Liverpool, Liverpool – European Capital of Culture - on Thursday 6th November and are sponsored by edc by Esprit, Sony Ericsson and Dell.

The ballot for tickets will go live at 1600hrs GMT on Monday 8th September and people will be able to register for free for a chance to buy tickets by visiting the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards website, www.mtvema.com.

With just over two months until the Awards ceremony itself, the majority of tickets will be available to people living in the UK, with a clear priority being given to people who live in the North West of England.

“With the MTV Europe Music Awards being one of the main music highlights of Liverpool’s City of Culture calendar we are very keen that people from the North West of England have the greatest chance to enjoy the show live,” commented Richard Godfrey Senior Vice President, Music and Production & Executive Producer, MTV Europe Music Awards. “We plan to put on a show that they will talk about for many years to come.”

Working in partnership with Seetickets and the Echo Arena Liverpool, the tickets will retail for £60.00 each (plus £3.00 booking fee). An additional charge of £4.95 will be added for Special Delivery of the tickets, to minimise the risk of fraud and to reduce the ability for ticket touts to purchase large numbers of tickets to sell-on. We feel that £60 per ticket is not only commensurate with the calibre of the event itself but also matches the price of other concerts at the Echo Arena Liverpool,” added Godfrey. “The MTV Europe Music Awards has always showcased some of the most famous, established and up-and-coming artists on the stage today and therefore we want to do everything possible to ensure that the tickets are distributed as fairly as possible.”

Tim Banfield, Echo Arena Liverpool General Manager, added: “I have no doubt the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards will be one of the highlights of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year. These will be the hottest tickets in town and I would urge all fans to register for the ballot in order to be in with a chance of witnessing one of the most spectacular stage shows in the world.”

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council and Deputy Chairman of Liverpool Culture Company, said: ''The MTV Europe Music Awards is a fantastic showpiece for our Capital of Culture celebrations and is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the city for a generation. I’m delighted that the public all have an equal opportunity to be there through a free ballot. With the MTV Liverpool Music Week running up to the awards the city will be the stage for some of the best music on the planet.''

People who are interested in buying tickets for the Awards will have to enter the ballot by registering for free their details at www.mtvema.com between 1600hrs, Monday 8th September and 1800hrs, Saturday 4th October. Only one entry will be permitted per household.

Each entry will be able to apply for a maximum allocation of 4 tickets, with the minimum age being 16 years old. The draw will take place on Monday 6th October and successful applicants will be contacted by the Echo Arena Liverpool after that date. Tickets will then be sent out a few weeks before the MTV Europe Music Awards by Special Delivery.

In 2007 the MTV Europe Music Awards - broadcast on 19 channels across Europe as well as across the US and Asia - reached a total television audience of over 30 million people. Additionally, dedicated MTV Europe Music Awards websites saw a 35% increase year on year to three million unique visitors with total visits on show day (November 1st 2007), increasing by 75% compared to 2006.