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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 157

Date:- 26 June 2004

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NEW figures show record numbers of people are using Liverpool's leisure and sports facilities. 

In 2003-4, more than 2.5 million visits were recorded to the city council's 15 gyms, swimming pools, sports halls and pitches, now known as 'Lifestyles Fitness Centres'. 

It is a massive 23% increase compared to the previous year, and is equivalent to every single person in Liverpool using a leisure facility five times.

The Kids Gym sessions have been designed with an emphasis on fun to encourage kids not involved in sport to get into physical activity and regular exercise. They have been established to complement and develop Liverpool city council's already successful health and fitness and referral scheme - Sportslinx. 

It is the most extensive programme in Europe aimed at improving sports skills and reducing child obesity in Europe.

Executive member for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Warren Bradley, said:- "We've invested more than £40 million in leisure facilities over the last decade, and our gyms are kitted out to the same standard as the best privately run facilities, but are far cheaper.

We are determined to provide the best possible health and fitness facilities for people of all ages to counter the high levels or cancer and heart disease in Liverpool."

The cross trainers, weights, exercise bikes and treadmills used in several of the gyms are the same as those used by Liverpool FC to keep the likes of Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard in tip-top condition. 

In the next few months, work will start on building a £4 million replacement for Queens Drive Recreation Centre. 

The dual use facility will be used by Alsop High School and the local community, and will include a 25 metre swimming pool and Lifestyles fitness suite. It is expected to open at the end of 2005.

New bid to tackle dyslexia misery

DYSLEXIA and other learning disabilities are affecting the employment prospects of almost half of all unemployed people in and around Bootle, according to a recent study many aren¹t even aware they have the condition.

Work by Southport-based voluntary group, Adult Dyslexia Access, and the Learning Skills Council in Liverpool, has revealed that 43% of unemployed people in Sefton suffer from dyslexia.

According to Adult Dyslexia Access, dyslexia and other hidden learning disabilities present a major barrier to job hunters. There has been no free screening service in South Sefton for these conditions, and no information and guidance available to help those affected.

A grant of £10,000 given to the Community Foundation for Merseyside is set to tackle the problem with the money donated by SRB and the European Social Fund .

Community Foundation for Merseyside Grants Officer Val Bayliff said:- "This initiative will have a major impact in South Sefton. Dyslexia can seriously undermine the efforts of unemployed people to secure training and unemployment, particularly if people don¹t realise they are affected.

This pilot project by Adult Dyslexia Access will help adults to discover whether they have this disability and then provide the support they need to reach their full potential. We¹re delighted to be able to support such an important project which will have a major impact on the lives of many people in the area."


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