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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 160

Date:- 24 July 2004

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THE QUEEN'S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE 2005 SEARCH FOR 'UNSUNG HEROES OF THE COMMUNITY' BEGINS

DO YOU know a group of volunteers who work tirelessly to support their local community?

Do you think they should be recognised and rewarded for their efforts? 

Nominate them for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service…

July 8 marks the start of the search for the unsung heroes in our communities, the thousands of voluntary groups across the UK who help transform their neighbourhoods through their own creativity and hard work and play such a vital role in providing and supporting important services. The majority of these groups work tirelessly without any form of recognition. The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service offers the perfect opportunity to honour their dedication and commitment. 

This highly prestigious, annual Award is designed to give well-deserved recognition to those who volunteer their time and energy to help others. The Award is special because it is for the group as a whole rather than individuals.

Now in its third year, the Award was created to mark the occasion of The Queen's Golden Jubilee. Over 300 groups have received the Award, including many ethnic minority organisations, for example The Greenwich Chinese Community School, The Centre for Filipinos in London, the Central Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Glasgow, the Salford Link Project in Manchester and the Arab Group in Hounslow. 

Community and voluntary groups can be nominated for an Award by members of the public, who have either benefited from their work, or seen the positive effects on the community. 

Judy Griffiths, centre manager for Nubian Life, which delivers culturally sensitive services primarily to the over 50s African and Caribbean community, says of winning the Award in 2003:- "The Queen's Award has made a really positive impact on our work. It has helped us secure funding and also the added publicity has lead to offers of free help from professionals who want to support the community too. It was very nice to be nominated and of course to win the volunteers work very hard and it was a great 'thank you' from the community and the establishment."

The launch of the 2005 Queen's Award for Voluntary Service also sees unprecedented support from a host of major BME media champions, who are actively encouraging their viewers, readers and listeners to nominate organisations that they believe are worthy of this prestigious Award. 

This year's media champions include:-

o Zee TV
o Ethnic Media Group
o Sunrise Radio 
o PCNE
o London Greek Radio
o Spectrum Radio
o London Turkish Radio

Home Office Minister, Fiona Mactaggart, said:-

"These annual awards give well-deserved recognition to some of the unsung heroes who work together as volunteers. The activity of our citizens is a vital resource in the UK, it develops the individual, boosts local communities and enriches the nation.

Volunteer groups which do so much good, often don't receive public thank-yous. I am pleased that, through these awards, there is a special opportunity to recognise and celebrate their work.

Groups from ethnic minority communities have a proud history of voluntary activity. They should use this opportunity to put themselves forward. I hope that they will be encouraged by this chance to promote their work and create a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution of Britain's diverse communities to our society.

Community groups work hard to improve the quality of life for people in all walks of life. These are people who take action themselves, rather than leaving it to others, and I hope everyone who has benefited from their work will come forward to nominate them for a 2005 award." 


If you know a volunteering group that is really making a real difference to people's lives, then nomination forms for the 2005 Queen's Award for Voluntary Service are available from www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk or by calling 0845 000 2002. The nomination period runs until 30 September 2004.

SEFTON POLICE BEGIN BLITZ ON ALCOHOL CRIME HOTSPOTS 

POLICE Officers in Sefton are amongst 77 areas across England and Wales joining together in a fresh drive to tackle alcohol related violence and disorder from Thursday 8 July.

Sefton is among a host of other areas where the crackdown will be focused and will concentrate on those who sell alcohol to under 18s, bars and clubs who promote irresponsible and rowdy behaviour and drunken yobs who cause violence over the weekend.

Over the next two months police along with Trading Standards will use tough enforcement measures to take action against irresponsible drinkers and vendors who are fuelling anti social behaviour.

These powers include:-

closing rowdy premises for 24 hours
issuing £40 fixed penalty notices for being drunk and disorderly
using under 18s for sting operations in off licences, supermarkets, bars
and clubs
naming and shaming off licences, bars and clubs after conviction.

Over the course of the eight week campaign the Police Standards Unit in the Home Office will collate data on the number of enforcement actions taken, find out who the repeat offenders in selling to underage drinkers are and kick start a culture change where it will be less acceptable to get drunk and behave in an anti-social or violent manner.

Sefton Area Commander, Chief Supt Dave Lewis said:- "We will be adopting a zero tolerance approach towards alcohol fuelled crime, particularly targeting 15-24-year-olds. Our intelligence shows that whilst this group are most likely to be involved in alcohol related violence, they are also most likely to be the victims"......

.... Continued.... "of crime. We will be working to educate that group, about the impact drinking can have on their lives and the lives of others, and also how not to be a victim.  Our tactics will remain flexible throughout the pilot. Officers will be targeting hotspot areas for alcohol related violence and using all the legislation available to us to tackle the problems in the best way. We will be working closely with licensees town centre management to extend exclusion orders which bar certain people from our pubs and clubs, and will work with Trading Standards to target those places that sell alcohol
illegally.

We will be seeking the help of the public asking them to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report those who they know are intent on causing trouble. Throughout this initiative, we will use all the powers available to us to crack down on alcohol related violence."
 
Liverpool Direct Ltd celebrates third birthday

LIVERPOOL City Council's partnership with BT is three years old Groundbreaking Joint Venture has revolutionised services in the city Liverpool Direct Ltd helps transform city to award-winning authority. The pioneering partnership which has helped transform Liverpool from 'Seaport to E-Port' is celebrating a special landmark.

Liverpool Direct Ltd (LDL) is three years old this week, and the city council is celebrating the success of the joint venture with BT, which has helped place Liverpool at the cutting-edge of local government.

The £300m partnership has radically improved customer services for Liverpool residents, and has helped the city move from one of the poorest performing local authorities in the UK to being officially ranked as a 'good council' by the Audit Commission in its CPA Assessment.

It has earned plaudits from top government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford. And it has helped win Liverpool a raft of awards, including the highest honour in local government - Beacon Status for 'Social Inclusion through ICT'.

Liverpool City Council Chief Executive, Sir David Henshaw, said:- "Three years into the joint venture, I'm delighted with the success of Liverpool Direct Ltd. By working in close partnership with BT, we have succeeded in giving our customers the best of the public and private sector, and served as a benchmark for the future of local government." 

"In recent years, Liverpool has changed from a council with outdated working practices and poor quality services, to a local authority which is setting new standards and which other organisations are seeking to learn from. Liverpool Direct Ltd has been at the forefront of this.

But this isn't about hitting government targets or winning awards. This about providing the people of Liverpool with services they deserve. The days are long gone when we provided services based on what was convenient for the council, rather than what was convenient for the customer. Now, in Liverpool, the customer really does come first."

Almost 800 council staff have been seconded to LDL, which now provides the council's call-centre, ICT, HR & Payroll and Revenues and Benefits services. 

It is now providing services which were previously provided by dozens of council departments. By streamlining services and using the latest technology, LDL is saving council taxpayers £5m a year and providing a better, more efficient service for the people of the city.

Liverpool Direct, the city council's call-centre, is now the largest council-run call-centre in the UK. It is open 24 hour-a-day, seven-days a week, allowing people to get in touch with the council at any time of day or night.

The call-centre receives more than 45,000 calls a week, and has taken six million calls since it was set up in 2001. Nine out of 10 enquiries are resolved first time without the call having to be passed to another department.

Through LDL, the city council has also set up nine One Stop Shops, bringing council services to the heart of communities, and allowing people to get information and advice about the council on their own doorstep. Highly trained staff are using the latest technology to cut waiting times and improve customer service. 

The One Stop Shops are proving to be a real hit with customers. Between April 2002 and March 2003, the One Stop Shops dealt with 450,000 requests for service, resolving eight out of ten enquiries straight away. 

LDL is also making online services available at the city's libraries. Many of Liverpool's 24 libraries are open seven days a week, and 230 computers have been introduced across the city's libraries, giving people free internet and e-mail access, and allowing everyone in the city to use new technology.

And a network of six pavement pods have hit the streets, as part of an exciting pilot project, giving people instant 24-hour access to a huge range of council services, Capital of Culture events, sport, leisure and jobs, and propelling Liverpool into the premier league of tourist-friendly European cities. 

Mike Blackburn, Head of BT Education and Local Government, said:- "Three years on and the partnership between Liverpool City Council and BT has clearly delivered results for the council and its citizens. 

The LDL partnership is an impressive example of how the public sector, working with the private sector, can deliver real and tangible improvements at the front-line. The collaborative approach has given Liverpool City Council the benefits of leading-edge, private-sector expertise while still retaining control of the services provision. We look forward to building on what has already been achieved and delivering more choice and further improvements to the people of Liverpool."


The city council's Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services, Councillor Jeremy Chowings, said:- "Liverpool Direct Ltd has been a real success story for the city. The partnership continues to go from strength to strength and we are now looking forward to the next three years of growth, expansion and improvement.

LDL's investment in ICT has helped to transform Liverpool from a poorly performing council to a forward-thinking, innovative local authority. It has enabled us to massively improve services across the council's departments, and it's making a huge difference, every day, to the people who really matter - our customers."

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