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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 210

Date:- 17  July 2005

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The North West’s Historic Boundary Walk!

ON Thursday 21 July, Merseyside will welcome the first attempt to walk the whole boundary of the North West . This will be part of an historic feat that everyone can join in! It was launched in Manchester, on Friday 8 July, when leaders,joined by locals, Walked the 'Way to Health' (WHI) and other walking groups have already ambled their way around the Cheshire border,over 12 days. The Walk Leaders will complete a coastal route around Merseyside, averaging 10 miles a day and members of the public are encouraged to join in on any day and do as much or as little as they like.

The whole NW Boundary Walk will take 73 days, covering 850 miles and will include the boundary of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria to the Scottish border at Gretna. The return-walking route will be down the Pennines, following the Pennine Way National Trail, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, back to Manchester. The walk will end on Sunday 18th September at the City of Manchester Stadium, to help celebrate National Walking Day. Staff from the Countryside Agency, English Nature and the Rural Development Service who are supporting the walk under the ‘Natural England’ banner, will also join the walkers along the route.

Said walk leader, Pete McGowan:- “This is a fantastic opportunity for lots of people to get involved in the walk, see the unparalleled beauty of Merseyside’s coast in all its summer glory, discover beautiful new landscapes and wildlife and make new friends. The boundary walk map and timetable can be found on our Website:- www.steppingout.org.uk, and we hope lots of people will join in the walk as it comes through their area – or even consider doing longer sections if they’re feeling fit, able and up for it!” 

The length of the boundary is 839.5 miles/1,351km and the total height climbed on the route is higher than Mount Everest (29,035feet/8,850m) at 31,233 feet/9,520 metres!

Pete also added:- “All walkers must ‘listen to their body’ and should only walk if they are feeling well and are happy and comfortable. ‘Brisk’ walking can improve people’s health and physical shape and as long as walkers feel a sense of achievement after the exercise, that’s what really matters”.

Stepping Out Volunteer Health Walk Leaders will lead all the route ‘Legs’, supported by other Health Walking Groups throughout the North West. There are 54 WHI Health Walk Schemes in the North West of England. 

AGE CONCERN RESPONDS TO FASHION SOS

AGE Concern is considering a redesign of its panic alarm in response to the emergence of a growing group of older consumers determined to look fashionable and enjoy life into their sixties, and beyond. Designers were asked to develop conceptual designs for Age Concern’s Aid Call personal security system, which is used by over 30,000 older people across the country. The panic alarm, which connects distressed users to a 24 hour telephone helpline, has the potential to be transformed from a functional device image into a multifunctional fashion accessory.

The first concept integrates both an MP3 player and digital radio into the personal alarm, which can be clipped onto a belt or hung around the neck as a pendant. For visually impaired users, the panic button has been made vibrant red and features a raised alarm bell symbol. These features satisfy a growing demand amongst older people for high-tech gadgetry. 

The second design concept is in the form of a stylish digital watch, with interchangeable his and hers straps. Designed with the visually impaired in mind, the face of the watch is disproportionately large and boldly displays the time and date. 

Age Concern research has demonstrated that more and more older people are embracing new technology, which has traditionally been the domain of a much younger consumer. Use of digital radio and the internet amongst older people is increasing exponentially, with 35% of people over the age of 55 now logging on regularly to the net. 

Commenting on the designs, Aid Call Development Director, Derek Gray, said:- “The fashion requirements of older people are sadly often ignored by product designers and even when they aren’t, the end product tends to be patronisingly second rate. Whilst these designs are only concepts, we believe it important to constantly develop designs that would satisfy the demands of an aging yet ever style conscious population.”

Along with designers, advertisers also tend to exclude older age groups. A recent Age Concern survey found that 66% of people over 50 felt that advertising portrayed them negatively, and 74% could not relate to it. 

“It’s time for businesses to ditch their dated conceptions of cautious older consumers and recognise a market of discerning, sophisticated spenders”
concluded Derek Gray.

FREE WEB SERVICE HELPS PARENTS FIND BABY/TODDLER ACTIVITIES AND GROUPS LOCALLY

FOLLOWING a sucessful regional trial, an incredible but simple resource for parents seeking baby / toddler activities locally and for activity providers has gone live nationally: www.busylittleones.co.uk. The site was inspired by new mum, Claudia Nicoll, who had her first baby boy in September 2004, she explained:- "Following the arrival of Toby, I became frustrated at how hard it was to find local activities for us both to enjoy during my maternity leave."

Husband and site creator, Graham Nicoll, added:- "The traditional method for parents to find out about activities in their area is often the poorly presented notice board, perhaps in a health centre or church. For teachers running baby and toddler activities, there is a significant cost in money and time making postings on notice boards. Busylittleones.co.uk solves this by bringing parents, teachers and, importantly, babies and toddlers together. What's more, is that there is no cost involved!"

The web site's simple design makes it easy for teachers to register their activities, which are instantly live for parents see. A comprehensive range of classes are now registered including, antenatal, arts and crafts, baby massage, languages, parenting, postnatal, soft play, yoga for children, twins and many more. Parents should check the site for the latest list of classes. Teacher, Michelle Morgan of Yoga Bugs commented:- "This is a lovely idea! My daughter is 18 months old and I know I'll benefit from the site both as a mother and a teacher."

Registration for parents is free and allows them to search the site by using their postcode, choosing an activity of interest and selecting a distance that they are prepared to travel - starting from a one-mile radius of the postcode. Searching is quick and gives full details of the class and access to reviews by other parents who have posted comments. Free access also allows parents to use and post comments in members forums. There is also a growing resource of toddler related news and helpful advice articles.

Graham concluded:- "This is a unique resource in the UK that will support parents and provide babies and toddlers with easy access to the early learning activities that can make a huge difference to their development. It also gives teachers and experts the place to bring their classes to the attention of parents quickly and in way that is easy to update."

KNOWSLEY ON BOARD THE FRIEND SHIP....!

KNOWSLEY schools are the latest to climb aboard the Friend Ship, a magical project for primary aged children. The Friend Ship is a portable "ship" which sails from school to school, packed full of cultural treasure troves. It has already reached 18,000 young people in 80 primary schools in Liverpool, as part of the city's build-up to the European Capital of Culture year in 2008. After a spell in dry dock for some rebuilding work, it will set sail around Merseyside soon.

Friend Ship is the brainchild of the Liverpool Culture Company and is managed by Creative schools officer Kathy Heywood. A second ship is also having the finishing touches added before it tours nine other cities in the UK. The Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport were so impressed by the project that they have now provided £250,000 towards sailing the second ship from shore to shore. Kathy said:- "The Friend Ship is Liverpool's gift to the rest of the region and we're so pleased that Knowsley has jumped on board. They will have a fantastic time, as well as learning a lot about being good citizens and the meaning of friendship. We're welcoming other schools to sign up right across Merseyside so they can join in the fun!" All boroughs in Merseyside have been invited to take part and if schools want to get involved, they need to contact their Local Education Authority.”

Liverpool Culture Company's chairman Drummond Bone said:- "Teaching becomes all the more effective and memorable for youngsters when they enjoy the experience and the Friend Ship is a shining example of how this can be done on a massive scale."

Liverpool's executive member for culture, Warren Bradley said:- "Liverpool's European Capital of Culture status is already making a difference, even with years to go until 2008, so we hope that more schools will grab the opportunity to take part in the Friend Ship which has been nationally recognised and commended by the government."

Damian Allen, Director of Children's Services at Knowsley Council, said:- "We are very much looking forward to our pupils boarding the Friend Ship, which is a fantastic way to encourage the enjoyment of learning and to give our children an experience they'll remember for a long time to come!"

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