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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 214

Date:- 14 August 2005

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LIVERPOOL'S Lady Lever Art Gallery is one of the forty museums and galleries throughout England to benefit from grants totalling £4 million. Funded jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation, the grants will help improve the quality of museums' displays, public spaces, disabled access and environmental controls.

Lady Lever Art Gallery has been awarded £225,000 to make a series of much needed improvements including:-

Improved access to the building for all, with the creation of a new entrance and reception, Visitors will be greeted by staff at a welcoming new reception as they enter the Gallery underneath the existing spacious, domed vestibule. The new reception will lead visitors straight into the magnificent Main Hall of the building.

Development of a flexible learning suite for use by schools, families, adult groups and individual visitors will include an interactive 'Artbase' space with family activities including trails, drawing, quizzes and costumes; a story zone for family groups and young children; and two computer stations giving access to further information on the collections.

Creation of a new gallery dedicated to William Hesketh Lever and his love of art - where visitors will be able to learn what kinds of things he collected and why, see the diversity of the collection, find out about the building of the gallery and its place within the community of Port Sunlight Village.

The planned completion date for the project is winter 2006. There will be no disruption to the opening hours of the gallery. These grants mark the fourth year of the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund, which has awarded £12 million to 65 different institutions around the country since it was set up in 2002.

Culture Minister David Lammy said:- "I much appreciate the Wolfson Foundation's sustained support for our joint museums and galleries improvement fund. This year, a record number of institutions across the country will be able to benefit from better exhibition spaces and improved access to collections. Our museums are known throughout the world for their excellence, social relevance and educational benefit. They are exciting and vibrant centres to their communities, and draw visitors from all ages and walks of life. These grants will ensure that our museums and galleries continue to broaden their appeal whilst maintaining the highest standards of collection care."

Dr Victoria Harrison, Executive Secretary of the Wolfson Foundation said:- "The Trustees of the Wolfson Foundation were impressed by the range and quality of bids submitted to the Fund this year. We are delighted to continue our partnership with DCMS and to be able to help so many museums and galleries to enhance and renew their facilities and displays."

4x4s - A nation divided

YOU either love 'em or hate 'em - 4x4 vehicles that is. New research by motor insurance quote finder Motor Insurance Co UK finds UK motorists evenly split on whether 4x4 vehicles are a nuisance or a god-send. More than a quarter of the 589 drivers (27%) questioned own a 4 wheel drive vehicle, such as a Range Rover or Toyota RAV 4. Many bought them because they feel big vehicles offer the best protection for their family. A further 19% of the motorists surveyed don't own a 4x4 but say they aspire to.

Of the 4x4s bought last year, just 1 in 20 has been driven off road. Mostly they are used for the school run, as increasing numbers of parents drive their children to school. Statistics from the Department of Transport show that almost a third (31%) of 5 to 16 year-olds were taken to school by car in 2003, an average distance of just over 2 miles. 

For car-owning parents, safety is their main concern, and a reason why they choose 4x4s over alternative smaller vehicles. One mother told a Radio 4 phone-in, for example, that she's happy driving her kids the 30 minutes to school knowing it means they arrive safely.

Yet do perceptions match reality? How much safer 4x4s are over other vehicles is unclear. There is some evidence to suggest that 4x4s are less likely to be involved in an accident than other cars, yet none of the top 10 cars in Euro-NCAP crash tests is a 4x4. And off-road vehicles beat family cars for safety by just 1 out of a possible 36 points.

Although too large for many of Britain's crowded streets, not a single 4x4 owner admitted to them that they fund difficulties negotiating a journey because of the vehicle's size. For those who hate 4x4s, the drivers surveyed say they are big and cumbersome, with 50% considering them a menace to other road users. 32% feel that 4x4 drivers have little or no regard for fellow motorists, expecting to have right of way because of their size, while 22% say the vehicles should be banned. 

Andrew Dunkerley, Marketing Director of:-, comments:- "The subject of 4x4s clearly divides motorists. We found an almost 50/50 split between those who love them and those who hate them. 

The fact that so few four wheel drive vehicles are driven off road may anger their opposers but it's good news for owners as it means insurance companies tend to treat them as normal cars. Moreover, recent research has shown that 95% of 4x4s owned by families are driven mainly by women. This, combined with the fact that these vehicles tend to have a lower annual mileage and are kept longer by their owners, means 4x4s generally cost less to insure than their value, size and performance would otherwise warrant. Nonetheless, it's always worth shopping around to find the cheapest and best insurance policies."
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