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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 165

Date:- 28 August 2004

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OVER 30 Travelodge staff from the North West of England gave up their Sunday afternoon to take part in a sponsored firewalk to raise money for local paralympic athlete Mark Ecclestone. They raised over £800, which will enable Mark, from St Helens, to compete in his first Paralympic Games as part of the GB Wheelchair Tennis team in Athens in September 2004. 

Patricia Callaghan, Travelodge Area Manager for the North West, who organised the event, said:- "The British Paralympic Association is Travelodge’s chosen charity for 2004 and we thought a sponsored firewalk was a great way to help an athlete from our area make it to the Paralympic Games. The response from staff has been amazing and I’m really proud of everyone who took part in the firewalk. We wish Mark and the rest of the GB Wheelchair Tennis team the best of luck for the Paralympic Games." 

Travelodge has held a series of initiatives aimed at supporting the British Paralympic Association (BPA), ranging from collection boxes in hotels to events at a national, regional and local level, as well as providing accommodation for athletes and officials. Guests staying at any Travelodge throughout the UK can still offer their support by putting money in the collection tins or by purchasing a burger from the Bar Café menu, as Travelodge donates 5p from every burger sold to the BPA. 

The Paralympic Games take place two weeks after the Olympic Games and utilises many of the same venues and facilities. The British team will be hoping to do even better than the team that competed in the Sydney 2000 paralympics and came home with 41 gold, 43 silver and 47 bronze medals. 

Trainee photographers snap their way to top grades

A GROUP of Liverpool students from socially and economically excluded backgrounds where celebrating on Tuesday, 24 August after snapping their way to GCSE equivalent success in a social enterprise photography course.

Fifteen students, aged between 17 and 53 years of age, achieved grades equivalent to C to A grades on the successful five month course which was run by Novas.

The initiative echoes recommendations made by the Tomlinson report into 14 to 19 education and ensures that the educational needs of those from excluded backgrounds and those facing obstacles to accessing courses are able to fully realise their academic potential.

The project has also supported six students’ progress to set up a highly successful independent arts and photography business called Delfina Women Ltd. Individuals from the course have gained employment, including securing freelance commissions and assisting commercial photographers, whilst others are set to embark on Further and Higher education courses such as a Higher National Diploma in Photography over the next two years.

Students learnt techniques including composition, focus, aperture, depth of field, developing negatives, prints and mounting. Coursework involved submitting individual work around the themes of Portraits and Human Form, Cityscapes, Landscapes, Documentaries, Abstract: Textures and Surface and Placement. Marking was accredited by the Merseyside Open College Network, which aims to widen educational opportunities to those individuals experiencing social exclusion.

The photographers' work will be exhibited at the Alima Centre, a Novas-run multicultural community centre in Liverpool, L3 5LS, which will open in October 2004. Alima provides training and educational resources, workshops, courses and events in arts and cultural and community capacity building to local excluded individuals and communities. The centre concentrates on issues affecting Travellers and Gypsies, individuals and communities with dual heritage and the contribution of socially excluded groups to society.

Executive Director and Founder of Novas, Michael Wake, said:- "Over the past three years Novas has used photography and other arts and creative projects to help excluded individuals and communities document the issues that affect them on a daily basis throughout the UK and Ireland. The photography project has empowered individuals and communities vocally and has also given them tangible skills, that can lead to meaningful employment as highlighted by the successful Delfina Women's business.

The fact that these fifteen students worked remarkably hard and overcame a number of personal and social barriers to achieve a high level of personal success, shows what can be achieved when the education agenda is widened to increase opportunities for individuals and communities from excluded backgrounds"

Tony Smith, Director of the Merseyside Open College Network said:- "The OCN on Merseyside has worked closely with Novas to develop this programme and our robust quality assurance systems ensure that high standards are maintained. The success of these students reflects our commitment to working with organisations that address issues of inclusion and participation in education and training. As the leading accreditation body in the region we accredit over 50,000 ..." 

.....Continued.....  "... learners each year and work with over 200 organisations to promote social inclusion, participation and achievement" 

Commenting on her involvement in the project Jazamin Sinclair, Founder of Delfina Women added:- "I have recommended the photography course to others as it has given me a skill that I had little knowledge about but had always wanted to learn. It was a good opportunity for me as I had been on income support for nearly two years due to illness and photography courses can be expensive. I had also just moved into the area (Liverpool) and the course gave me the chance to meet with others and share common experiences and knowledge. This in turn led to the creation of Delfina Women Ltd."
Another student Helen Palmer added:- "The course gave me the opportunity to learn the basics of photography from a professional who has had many years of experience. As a result I have had a number of pictures published in Liverpool magazines, assisted a professional photographer and I am due to start a BTEC National Diploma in Photography shortly."


A BRAND new IT initiative for blind and visually impaired people was launched today by Mike Newman, holder of the blind land speed record. 

Funded by a substantial donation of £31,000 from Barclays Community Programme, the initiative will allow Henshaws Society for Blind People to deliver a specialist IT training programme for blind and visually impaired people in Southport and the Wirral.

A peripatetic trainer will deliver basic IT training to more than 40 people in the area, allowing them to gain skills to return to work or simply to use email to contact friends and family abroad. 

Last year, Mike smashed the world land speed record for driving blind and now plans to beat his own record by reaching 200mph in the USA on World Sight Day (14 October). Record-breaker Mike, who is the Local Business Manager at Barclays in Wilmslow, posed with his Jaguar XRJ to mark the start of the year-long initiative.

On Merseyside, Henshaws offers blind and visually impaired people training opportunities, leisure and social activities, and information, advice and support. In addition, a facility in Southport offers residential care to over 40 visually-impaired people. 

Paula Kirk, Regional Director for Henshaws in Merseyside said:- "At Henshaws, we recognise that ICT is one of the most important life skills in the 21st century and that blind and visually impaired people must be able to acquire practical ICT skills if they are to gain access to meaningful employment opportunities or essential information and advice which will affect their everyday lives.

Our pilot project in Southport demonstrated that this training is often their first experience of using a computer and it opens up a whole new world of information, learning and social opportunities both within the visually impaired and the wider community.

With the tremendous support from the Barclays Community Fund we are now in a position to take this essential basic training a step further."

In 2003, Barclays spent more than £700,000 in the North West on community-based projects. The company encourages and provides practical support to their employees who give their time and skills in the community with more than 2,200 staff were involved in Barclays’-supported fundraising and volunteering activities last year.

Regional Community Manager at Barclays North West, Rachel Herbinson, said:- "At Barclays, there are plenty of examples of how technological advances are helping people with disabilities in their jobs. Mike Newman who works in our Business Team uses technology to help him in his work. IT that is easy to navigate really makes a difference to Mike's ability to do his job. Through our community investment programme we want to support and help lead the way on accessibility in the wider community."

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