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News Report Page 8 of 10
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Liverpool City Council asks; are you made of the "write stuff?"

LIVERPOOL City Council is asking everyone in the City to pick up a pen or tap away at a keyboard in 2021, as its Year of Writing in Liverpool. Co-ordinated by Writing on the Wall, #LiverpoolWrites will be a celebration of writing in all its forms, and will see writers, artists, and arts and cultural organisations coming together to inspire young and old to put pen to paper to improve literacy in the City. The year of activity will started with a video launch on Friday, 22 January 2021, featuring messages from Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Anna Rothery, Acting Mayor Cllr Wendy Simon and writers from across the City Region including Levi Tafari and Jude Lennon. You can watch the film from 11am on the Year of Writing website. The video will remain available to view following the launch on the website.  Friday's launch will be followed by the 1st citywide initiative Write Here Write Now starting, on Monday, 25 January 2021.

Adults and children are invited to get involved each day from Monday to Friday for a 10 minute writing burst to get the creative juices flowing. Video prompts for Write Here Write Now will be given by authors including Frank Cottrell Boyce, Levi Tafari, Jeff Young, Winnie M Li, and Patrice Lawrence and will be posted on the #LiverpoolWrites website and social media channels, with children's prompts going live daily, at 9.30am and those for adults live, from 6.30pm. The prompts will remain on the website as a resource throughout the year. Everyone taking part in Write Here Write Now can share their pieces either on the initiative's Facebook Page; or by uploading to their own social media feeds using:- '#LiverpoolWrites.'  Write Here Write Now will also host a similar week of activities for Early Years children the week beginning Monday, 1 February 2021, which is also National Storytelling Week. The week will feature plenty of writing and creative activities for parents and carers to share with their children.

Cllr Barbara Murray, cabinet member for education, employment and skills, said:- "We had a successful Year of Reading in 2020. Although many of our plans were hit by the Pandemic we still inspired people to pick up a book and we learnt a lot about engaging in different ways. I'm thrilled that Writing on the Wall are co-ordinating #LiverpoolWrites. They are a powerhouse in Liverpool for encouraging creativity and getting new voices to speak up and we'll also be celebrating WoWFest's 21st Anniversary. Creativity for many people has been something that has kept their spirits up in the last few months and I am confident that #LiverpoolWrites can not only support our communities over the coming months, but will also build confidence over the coming years."

Mike Morris, co-director of Writing on the Wall and Liverpool Year of Writing chair, said:- "From March 2020 onwards, Writing on the Wall had to move all its events online so we're confident that the Pandemic won't stop Liverpool's Year of Writing from being a success. In fact, moving online increased accessibility for many groups so we're sure that #LiverpoolWrites will not only be inspirational and fun, but it will be inclusive and diverse, reaching all of Liverpool's communities. Writing is not only a life skill, it is, now more than ever, a way for people to make sense of their lives and what is going on in the wider world. Liverpool is full of people with stories to tell and feelings to share, #LiverpoolWrites is the year that we want people to get involved and find their voices."

The year long #LiverpoolWrites programme is being planned with flexibility built in to respond to any guidance and restrictions that may be in place, but will include:-

 The Writer's Bloc; pop up writing centres in communities and libraries.

 Liverpool Writers in Residence.

 Writing advice desks.

 Heritage trails.

 A Writer's Marketplace and a Writer's Boot Camp.

 Competitions including:- playwriting, novel writing, flash fiction and short stories.

There will also be plenty of work in Schools, supported by School Improvement Liverpool and Liverpool Learning Partnership, including:- the Letter to Liverpool project, coding workshops and creating new zines.  #LiverpoolWrites follows on from 2020's Year of Reading.

Devices and Dongles appeal launched to support home learning

LIVERPOOL City Council is asking businesses if they can help children and young people get online and keep learning during the latest lockdown. In a new initiative; Devices and Dongles; supported by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, businesses are being asked to donate unwanted laptops and tablets or to sponsor WiFi dongles and data packages, so that vulnerable pupils can continue their education at home.

Devices must be:-

 Less than 3 years old.

 Recently PAT tested.

 Returned to their original configuration.

The Government has recently widened its definition of a vulnerable child to include those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home. This means that the City's Schools have seen an increase of pupils in classrooms during the current lockdown.

A recent survey of Liverpool Schools by the Council on remote education (with responses from 118 out of 161 Schools) revealed:-

 At least 6,373 children and young people do not have access to a digital device at home that is suitable for remote education.

 At least 3,283 children and young people do not have access to a suitable home internet connection.

 At least 1,405 children are attending School because they have difficultly accessing remote education.

Since the Pandemic, Liverpool's Schools have been able to secure some digital devices through the Department for Education's (DfE) Get Help with Technology scheme that launched in September 2020. Over 7,000 devices were supplied for Y3/11 pupils last term with a further 2,347 devices provided by the DfE during June and July 2020, for disadvantaged Y10 pupils, care leavers and children with a social worker.

Cllr Barbara Murray, cabinet member for education, employment and skills, said:- "Our Teachers have been working incredibly hard to make sure that children can continue learning at home, but for many families that has been a challenge. The Council and Schools have been doing everything we can to get digital devices into homes and we have made a lot of progress, but the recent lockdown has highlighted the digital divide in our communities. We're appealing to any businesses that may have kit they no longer need to consider donating it and if they could sponsor WiFi access, even for a limited period, that would make a massive difference to a vulnerable child's attainment. Our thanks also go to the Chamber of Commerce for helping us to drive our appeal; businesses are going through a tough time at the moment and this commitment means a great deal."

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said:- "The Pandemic is further exacerbating the inequalities in our society and it is in all our interests to give every young person in our City the best chance to continue their education through this lockdown period. Digital poverty is a huge barrier to our City's prospects of future economic growth and the development of outstanding talent within our Region. The Chamber is determined to support this initiative and encourages our City's businesses to support in any way they can."

For more information on how to donate devices or how to sponsor WiFi dongles email:- RemoteLearning@SI.Liverpool.Gov.UK putting:- "Devices and Dongles" in the subject title. Donations and sponsorship can be shared on social media using:- '#Devices&Dongles.'

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