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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 126

Date:- 22 November 2003

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 Litherland centre on show....
Picture:- Litherland in bloom, Paul Cooke pictured during a flower arranging class at Litherland Community Resource Centre. Looking on are Sefton Community Foundation Chief Executive Dave Roberts (center) and centre Manager, Mike O¹Brien.

FOUNDED in 1999, Sefton Community Foundation is part of a UK network of Community Foundations and the South Sefton Key Fund Panel representatives responsible for awarding more than £190,000 worth of funding for community projects in South Sefton came together this week to review some of this year¹s successful projects, and to plan next year¹s awards campaign.

The Sefton Community Foundation team, which awards grants on behalf of several funding organisations, also appealed for more voluntary community groups to take advantage of the grant opportunities currently on offer.

"We¹re holding funds that could help local groups make a enormous difference to their own communities and we¹d be delighted to receive more applications.  

We¹ve got grants of between £50 and £10,000 available now from the South Sefton Key Fund,and other funds for community-based projects that will improve opportunities, enhance the quality of life and boost the job prospects of the people in these areas, as well as initiatives that help boost self esteem and confidence." said Foundation Chief Executive, Dave Roberts.

Members of the applications panel, together with representatives from Sefton Community Foundation, visited three projects that have been completed
this year, thanks to Key Funds grants totaling £190,000. 

The projects included Derby Park Conservation Community Association, Community Spirit and Litherland Resource Centre on Moss Lane which was awarded more than £8,000 to buy new computers, printers and software for community use.

Some of the cash has also been used for redecoration of the premises and to stage an open day to raise awareness of the new facilities throughout Litherland.

Centre Manager Mike O'Brien said:- "The grants have made an enormous difference in our community, creating new facilities that are being used by an increasing number of local people. I would advise any other community organisation to get in touch with the Foundation to see how they could access these invaluable funds."

This year alone, the Foundation has awarded more than £3 million in grant funding to 750 organisations throughout Merseyside.

Application forms, together with advice on whether proposed projects meet funding criteria, are available from Grants Officer Val Bayliff at the Foundation, phone:- 0151 966 3637.

FOUR YEARS FOR LIVERPOOL RESTAURATEURS IN £1.2 MILLION TAX AND VAT FRAUD

BROTHERS, Hamdi and Mohsen Bichara each pleaded guilty and were sentenced to four years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on November 20 2003. The changes related to the defrauding both the Inland Revenue and Custom's & Excise. The loss to the Revenue is in excess of £795,000 and the loss of VAT to Customs more than £443,000. 

The Bichara brothers are directors of a company, Fiestatime Ltd, which operates a busy and successful restaurant known as Uncle Sam's Bistro from Renshaw Street in central Liverpool. They have owned the restaurant since the late 1980's. The fraud had been on going since 1995 culminating in a raid by Customs & Excise on the restaurant premises and the Bichara's homes in February 2001.

The Bichara brothers were both interviewed under caution by officers from the Inland Revenue Special Compliance Office, Manchester, they admitted to failing to declare the correct receipts for the restaurant for a number of years. Following extensive further investigations by Revenue and Customs officers, it was established that the fraud was carried out by manipulating the tills within the restaurant to the extent that takings of £3.2 million were not recorded. These sums were used to pay tax-free wages to restaurant staff.

An Inland Revenue spokesman said today:- "The outcome of this case ia an extremely good example of the investigative work undertaken between the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise. The Inland Revenue is committed to uncovering fraud against the department. Others contemplating committing similar offences should be aware that they could face prosecution and should expect to be sentenced if found guilty. Additionally the Inland Revenue will seek to recover the money taken from the public purse."

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH?

THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS APPEAL Trust invites you to take up the ultimate challenge. Are you brave enough to 'Dive with Sharks?' The events take place throughout the autumn at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port. You don't even need to be a qualified diver to take part. Instructors will teach you and then accompany you into the large glass tank where you will meet Sand Tigers, Lemon Sharks, Nurse Sharks, shoals of jacks, grunts and snappers.

To take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity, we will ask you to raise money in sponsorship. So by challenging yourself you will be raising much needed funds for sick and injured babies and children throughout the North West. For more information and/or a registration form please call the Appeals Office on 0161 798 1600. That's if you think you are brave enough!

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.