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The North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) is bringing the joy of Christmas markets to its supporters... virtually!

WITH Covid19 restrictions preventing the festive tradition this year, NWAA is inviting local businesses to set up a virtual 'stall' at its online market, on Facebook. It's an opportunity for local businesses to reach new customers whilst supporting the Region's Air Ambulance charity, and for people to support small businesses in the community. The markets were inspired by Louise Phillips, who started a similar virtual fair for the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

To take part in the festive fun, businesses are asked to make a small donation to the charity in exchange for a stall. From there, they can post to the charity's growing online market community. So far, stalls include:- homemade bakes from Kendal, handcrafted stationary, natural pet food from the Lake District, home decor and handmade decorations. Many of those taking part are also kindly donating a percentage of proceeds to NWAA.

The charity, which relies solely on public and corporate support in order to provide its lifesaving enhanced pre-Hospital care service running 365 days a year, has seen many of its planned events and fundraisers cancelled as a result of the Pandemic. A move to online events has helped it remain connected with supporters, volunteers and fundraisers.

Helen Fergie McGowan, North Lancashire and Cumbria Regional fundraiser for NWAA, thanked the businesses who are already getting involved:- "With so many local businesses struggling this year, and with many of us missing Christmas markets, it's been lovely to see the response we're getting to the virtual market. The charity is so grateful to the stallholders for supporting our work, and to the people who are getting involved and helping their local businesses and our service. Hopefully the market will bring a bit of festive cheer to people in lockdown!"

If you would like to get involved, please contact:- FundRaising@NWAA.Net or by calling:- 08005874570.

Liverpool Armed Forces Forum event

LIVERPOOL'S Armed Forces Forum will be holding its 3rd meeting next week. The forum had its inaugural meeting in January and is a platform for organisations offering services to people who have left the Armed Forces and their families as well as those who are still serving. NThe next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 9 December 2020, from 9.30am-11am and will take place online, via Zoom. The theme of this session is:- "Supporting veterans to lead a law abiding life."  Organisations that have not attended previous forum meetings are invited to attend; as well as those who have been to either of the previous 2 meetings; and booking must be made in advance via Eventbrite.

Please note, the session is not open to members of the public.

Speakers at December's event are:-

 Andrew Holsgrove - Armed Forces champion, Merseyside Police.

 Steve Lowe - North of England manager, Project Nova.

 Bob Blanchard, chairperson and senior case worker, and Andy Cooke, custody co-ordinator and co-chairperson - Veterans HQ , speaking about their New Beginnings Programme.

 Declan Sammin - Prevent engagement officer, Liverpool City Council, will present about the Prevent agenda.

 The event will be chaired by Colleen Martin, Liverpool City Council's Armed Forces strategic lead.

Liverpool City Council leads a long established strategic group for Armed Forces Communities however the forum was set up to capture the variety of services and support available to the Armed Forces community in the City.

Cllr Roy Gladden, Liverpool's Armed Forces champion, said:- "Liverpool has a long and proud relationship with the Armed Forces community and Liverpool City Council has underlined its commitment by continuing to drive its Armed Forces Forum throughout the Covid19 Pandemic. This meeting in particular is a great opportunity to hear about some of work that is being achieved in supporting some of our most vulnerable veterans; those who may have come into contact with the criminal justice system. I would urge any organisation that was unable to attend the previous two meetings to get involved next week; we really want to hear what you think."

Steve Lowe, North of England manager, Project Nova:- "Whilst most ex-military personnel transition exceptionally well, there are, however, some veterans who for a range of reasons may struggle in later life or whilst transitioning. Some of the more complex and vulnerable of this group could have contact with the criminal justice system and would benefit from access to specialist support. The Liverpool Armed Forces Forum event is an excellent opportunity to discuss and further develop cohesive collaboration initiatives across the Region. It will ensure that this group is able to address veterans' vulnerabilities so that they can live a law-abiding and productive life within our communities."

Liverpool City Council currently holds the Armed Forces Covenant gold award of the Employer Recognition Scheme and also hosts the website Service Leavers Liverpool:- ServiceLeaversLiverpool.Co.UK.

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