Culture countdown begins
THE CLOCK is ticking towards Europe's greatest ever Capital of Culture... Wednesday 6 April, marks 1,000 days until Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture 2008. And the official countdown will be displayed across the whole region from one of the city's highest vantage points. Radio City Tower will be lit-up with a spectacular Culture clock - with the words
'1,000 days to go' - and the clock will count down until 2008.
Liverpool city council leader Mike Storey, said:- "A great deal has been achieved over the past 18 months, in terms of building the capacity of our Capital of Culture team, getting our communities involved and developing a programme which will capture the imagination of Europe. The programme for 2008, and indeed, the years leading up to it, are going from strength to strength - and the launch of our culture countdown will remind everyone that the next 1,000 days will be among the most significant and exciting ever seen in Liverpool."
And countdown clocks will start ticking at key points around the city - including the Capital of Culture offices, Victoria Street, and the BBC Big Screen, which will celebrate the occasion by broadcasting some of the highlights of the culture preparations so far.
Chief Operating Officer at the Liverpool Culture Company, Jason Harborow, said:- "Much has already been achieved in our preparations for 2008 - but there's plenty more to do, and the next 1,000 days are crucial in us realising our ambitions. In the months to come, as the clock counts down, people will see more and more projects developing which will set our Capital of Culture year apart from any that has gone before."
The culture countdown clock is part of the drive to build momentum for Capital of Culture. It comes just a week after Liverpool announced a grant of more than £4.5 million for cultural organisations in the city. It is the biggest package of cultural grants ever in Liverpool, helping more than 150 community projects get off the ground in the build-up to 2008.
Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, and Vice Chancellor at the University of Liverpool, Professor Drummond Bone said:-
"The pieces of the jigsaw are really coming together in our cultural preparations, and there's so much to look forward to over the next 1,000 days. I'm really exited that the countdown starts here - to one of the most important years in Liverpool's history."
The key cultural events and projects over the next 1,000 days include:-
· More than 150 cultural community schemes will spring to life over the next eight months thanks to a £4.5m grant - including an Asian arts festival, a gospel music festival, film workshops and a Beatles art exhibition
· Liverpool to host international poetry festival 'Poetry in the city' this month
· Mathew St Festival to take place twice a year, starting in May
· The 25th 'Silver Jubilee' Mersey River Festival sets sail in June
· Liverpool starts the Clipper round-the-world yacht race in August and again in 2007
· Liverpool International Tennis tournament takes place in June, including tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Pat Cash
· Biggest names in music come to the waterfront for the Summer Pops in June
· The third 20/08 festival takes place in August
· Liverpool is set to become home to a 21st century revolving
"Eye" on the waterfront later this year
· The Royal Liverpool Open Golf will bring the biggest names in the sport to the region in 2006
· Liverpool to host the fourth Biennial Festival for Contemporary Visual Arts in 2006
· Celebrations for the Liverpool's 800th birthday will transform the city in 2007
And plans for the city's themed years in the build-up to 2008 continue to gather pace - including a spectacular programme for Sea Liverpool 2005; and the year of Performance in 2006, featuring major projects on the theme of 'a city in transition', capturing the city's rapid change.
CASH TO HELP PAY FOR NANNIES AVAILABLE
FOR the first time, thousands of parents may be eligible for financial support to help pay for nannies. Under the Childcare Approval Scheme, families on incomes of up to £59,000 will be eligible for Working Tax Credit support for childcare in their own home. Parents will also gain the added security of knowing that their nanny has passed a series of key checks before being approved for the Scheme, helping parents in the recruitment process. Thousands of application forms have already been downloaded, while hundreds are currently being processed.
To become approved, an applicant must provide evidence that he/she:-
1 Has a relevant qualification or has attended an approved induction course in childcare;
2 Has a certificate in first aid that is suitable to the care of babies and children and is not more than three years old at the time of approval (e.g. dealing with emergencies, resuscitation, shock, choking and anaphylactic shock);
3 Has nothing in their background that makes them unsuitable to care for children (an enhanced disclosure check from the Criminal Records Bureau);
4 Is 18 years or older.
Margaret Hodge said:- "I am delighted by the level of interest from both families using child carers and child carers themselves. The Childcare Approval Scheme will give long awaited recognition to nannies for their hard work, while helping to make childcare truly affordable for more families."
The Government's 10 year strategy for childcare and early years, increased the limits of the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit to £300 a week (£175 for one child) from April 2005, an increase in the maximum proportion of costs that can be claimed from 70% to 80% from April 2006.
The 10 year strategy also outlined:-
1 A goal of 12 months paid maternity leave by the end of next parliament; as a first step, the maternity leave entitlement will be extended to nine months from April 2007.
2 Legislation to give mothers the right to transfer a proportion of their pay and leave to the child's father by end of the next parliament.
3 A consultation on the case for extending the right to request flexible working to parents of older children.
4 An out of school childcare place for all children aged 3 -14 between the hours of 8am - 6pm each weekday by 2010.
5 Proposals for every family to have easy access to integrated services through Children's Centres in their local community and a goal of 3,500 Centres by 2010.
LIVERPOOL HOTEL EMPLOYEES WIN AWARD FOR TEAMWORK
THE team at the Liverpool City Centre Premier Travel Inn on Vernon Street have been recognised for their outstanding teamwork at the prestigious Whitbread Awards in London.
The team from the Liverpool city centre hotel was presented with its runners up award for People and Teamwork last week at the Wembley Conference Centre, seeing off around 1,400 other eligible teams to take the prize.
Whitbread as a team that really demonstrates what teamwork is all about and in doing so offers a superb level of customer service chose the hotel. It was also praised for its work in the community, as a high proportion of the staff visit schools and colleges to discuss working in the industry.
Simon Mahon, manager of Liverpool City Centre Premier Travel Inn, said:- "This is a wonderful accolade for all the team here at Premier Travel Inn. Our people are dedicated to providing the best possible service and I'm delighted that their efforts have been recognised by Whitbread. We'll certainly be celebrating this achievement!"
The Awards, held at the Wembley Conference Centre, recognised the teams who best embody the Whitbread Way of doing things. It was also the first time that Whitbread's managers had gathered to celebrate the company's achievements and recognise these leading proponents of the organisation's way of doing things.
In addition to having a star named after them, the winners of the four Whitbread Awards receive leisure vouchers to put toward a gift of their choice, such as a holiday, and all nominated sites and departments receive cash prizes to be spent on a team party or event.