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News Report Page 5 of 18
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₤500k Combined Authority grant enables restoration plans for North Liverpool Community Organisation

WORK is set to start to renovate the historical buildings from where a North Liverpool charity has served the local community for the last 35 years, thanks to a ₤500,000 grant from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Rotunda, which is based in Great Mersey Street in Kirkdale, provides education, training and skills to adults in the local community. The funding will be used to revamp the Grade II listed buildings where Rotunda is based, in a sensitive restoration of what are believed to be the last remaining set of Georgian terraces North of the City Centre. The ₤500,000 grant enabling this work to be carried out comes from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) which is awarded to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and then invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's Strategic Investment Fund. Rotunda engages with 2500 people in the community every year and supports people into jobs in hospitality and events, IT, and health and social care amongst others. It believes in removing barriers to education, adopting a grassroots approach to career building courses and vocational qualifications by offering childcare in its onsite Nursery and support with counselling, mental health and wellbeing as well as legal and debt advice.

Councillor Kate Groucutt, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Deputy Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and the ⅓ Sector, said:-
"This funding will not only restore and preserve the bricks and mortar of the building itself, but will also allow Rotunda to provide access to learning and support to more people in the local community, as it has done for more than 3 decades. The City Region still faces longstanding socio economic challenges and inequalities, especially in skills and employment as we deal with the impact of COVID-19. That is why I am committed to deliver a people focused recovery as part of our wider economic recovery plan to Build Back Better."

Maxine Ennis, Chief Executive of Rotunda said:- "Our building is symbolic of the power of the community. We are delighted to receive this funding as it will enable us to safeguard the cultural heritage of the City by bringing our beautiful building back to its former glory. This investment will allow us to reach a wider audience of potential learners and employers to engage with which will contribute to the up skilling of the community."

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said:- "Through the Local Growth Fund, this Government is investing in projects which are making a real difference in our communities by delivering long lasting benefits in terms of jobs, skills and economic growth. This funding for Rotunda will restore and preserve the rich, cultural heritage of these buildings, and will enable this important charity to support more people in the community with access to further education and training."

Work is expected to begin on the project in early October 2020, and once completed Rotunda hopes to be able to take on a total of 185 additional learners across the following 5 years and increase the number of students supported into further training/education. The charity also builds relationships with local employers providing opportunities for learners to gain valuable experience. To find out more about the courses Rotunda has on offer and how to access them go to:- TheRotunda.Org.UK.

Liverpool streets considered for slavery memorial plaques

Michelle Charters and Eric Lynch's son Andrew in Falkner Square, 1 of the places being considered.

THE 1st 20 street names in Liverpool to be considered for plaques explaining their links to slavery where revealed, to mark Slavery Remembrance Day, on Sunday, 23 August 2020.

Liverpool City Council passed a motion in January committing to the placing of plaques and other public notices to explain the City's heritage and its links to slavery on statues, buildings, monuments and street names.

Mayor Joe Anderson asked National Museums Liverpool and a number of community organisations to advise on how the City's history is explained and contextualised for both visitors and residents.

A special panel was set up which has recommended the creation of:- 'Eric Lynch Slavery Memorial Plaques,' named in honour of Eric Lynch, an honorary Ghanaian chief who is a descendent of African slaves and spent his life drawing attention to the City's slavery history. He ran a slavery tour for decades and successfully campaigned for the City's International Slavery Museum, which opened in 2007.

The streets being considered are in some way linked with slavery, such as being named after slavers or places connected with the trade. This 1st list to be considered are also located in areas that frequently feature in walking tours of the City, adding to the heritage experience of visitors as they explore our streets.

The streets are:-

Falkner Sq. Colquitt St. Hardman St. Oldham St.
Falkner St. Parr St. Cases St. Renshaw St.
Blackburne Pl. Tarleton St. Cleveland Sq. Sir Thomas St.
Bold St. Clayton Sq. Goree  
Seel St. Brooks Alley Houghton St.
Slater St. Campbell Sq. Knight St.

The partners involved in the project are:-

Liverpool City Council   Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre
National Museums Liverpool   Mandela 8
Liverpool Black History Research Group   The family of Eric Lynch

The next step is to identify if a suitable location can be found to place a plaque in each street.

Separately, Mayor Joe Anderson has also recently appointed Tracey Gore as chair of a new race equality taskforce, set up to devise a plan to reduce inequalities in the City.  Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "I am grateful to the street names advisory panel for their work over the last few months. We have to be led by our communities on how to do this and do it in a way that is sensitive to both our past and our present. I do not believe that changing street names is the answer; it would be wrong to try and airbrush out our past. It's important that we have a sensible and informed discussion about these issues. We need to judge the past with a historical perspective, taking into account today's higher ethical standards and, most importantly, how everyone, from every community in the City feels about it. As we understand our past we can also focus on our future for the black and BAME communities in our City."

Michelle Charters, Chair of the Advisory Panel, said:- "From my very 1st visit on 1 of Eric Lynch's Slave History Tours, I committed then to ensure that this part of our City's history would never be forgotten. I'm delighted that Mayor Joe Anderson, the City Council, National Museums Liverpool, Laurence Westgaph and Eric Lynch and his family alongside the community organisations have been able to come together and realise that dream. This is a perfect example of collaboration and partnerships between sectors, who are all committed to tell the truth and start to uncover the hidden slavery history of Liverpool."

Andrew Lynch, son of Eric Lynch, said:- "Eric Lynch and his family are deeply moved and proud that local organisations and the City Council have chosen to honour his work in such a tangible way.  These plaques are a tribute to Eric's long years of work as a Black community activist and educator, teaching the people of Liverpool to acknowledge and understand their historic inheritance in an honest and open way, and uncovering the true contribution made by Black people throughout the growth and life of our great City."

Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, said:- "This is a step in the right direction and paves the way towards contextualising transatlantic slavery within the Liverpool built environment. The International Slavery Museum is an active, anti racist, social justice museum and as such we need to play our part in such discussions and initiatives. We are witnessing debates about problematic monuments, decolonising museum spaces and education systems and social movements such as Black Lives Matter are rightly gaining global attention. Museums need to be at the forefront of these conversations.  We will continue to work closely with the Council, local communities, historians and other cultural partners to make sure that Liverpool leads the way in acknowledging its past; so that as a City we can progress."

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