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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 221

Date:- 03 October 2005

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All systems go for Kings

THE new Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre has been given the final go-ahead. Building work will start next month on construction of the state-of-the-art waterside complex. This milestone marks the completion of detailed legal agreements, and is the culmination of work by project partners Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, English Partnerships, and Northwest Development Agency to bring forward the development of the key site. The city council has appointed Bovis Lend Lease to build the 'civic facilities', the arena and convention centre, at Kings Waterfront .

Liverpool City Council Leader Mike Storey said:- "This is great news for Liverpool. It's been a long and complicated journey, but I'm delighted that our dream for a world class arena on the waterfront is now becoming a reality. The building blocks are all in place, and I'm looking forward to work starting on a facility that the region has needed for a long time. It will be one of the centrepieces of our celebration in 2008 and the years beyond."

The project is being funded from four sources:- European Union Objective One (£50 million), English Partnerships (£67 million), Northwest Development Agency (£14 million), and Liverpool City Council (£11 million). Infrastructure work on the 14.6 hectare site started in June, but completion of the latest contract agreement enables the main contract can now go ahead. The council has agreed a 'fixed cost' contract with contractor Bovis Lend Lease, which protects city council taxpayers.

Bovis Lend Lease will be responsible for the majority of risks in building the project, including inflationary costs, adverse ground conditions, performance of subcontractors, delays caused by poor weather and labour and materials shortages.

The city council's Chief Executive, Sir David Henshaw, said:-
"We have put together a sound financial package which protects the interests of council taxpayers. It also means the Arena will start life debt-free, a remarkable achievement which will sustain its long-term financial viability. We are on course to deliver a truly world-class facility, which will make Kings Waterfront one of the great international destinations for business and leisure. Months of hard work by the project partners and Government officers are now coming to fruition, and we can look forward to a venue which delivers huge cultural and economic benefits for Liverpool, Merseyside and the North West, for many decades to come."

The Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre will include a 9,500 capacity arena, an auditorium with a capacity of 1,350, a multi-purpose hall of 3,600 sq metres, total exhibition space of 7,000 sq metres and 18 additional meeting rooms. It will be supported by a 1,600 space multi-storey car park, and a public piazza where outdoor events can be held. An adjoining hotel development, privately funded, will cater for business and leisure visitors.

Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, Jim Gill, said:- "The arena and convention centre is the cornerstone of Kings Waterfront. We welcome the news that the contractual arrangements are now in place and construction work can now commence.  These facilities will play a critical role in the regeneration of Liverpool City Centre."

English Partnerships' Area Director, Eliot Lewis-Ward said:-
"We have always believed that the Kings Waterfront development will bring about huge benefits for Merseyside which is why we have invested almost £70million and have already started the infrastructure works. It's great news for the partners and local people alike that work will soon be starting on the arena."

 A legal team from DLA Piper, led by Mark Beardwood, advised English Partnerships. Bovis Lend Lease has pledged to use as
much local labour as possible to build the new facility.  "Construction will begin in October," said Jason Millett, Chief Executive of Bovis Lend Lease in the UK. "For us it's a great opportunity to be involved in another spectacular stadium and one of the biggest sports venues that will be built in Britain prior to the Olympics. I look forward to seeing the transformation that will come to this part of Liverpool."

Already, there have been many enquiries from conference organisers who wish to use the facility.

Chief Executive of the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, Bob Prattey, said:-
"Although marketing is at an early stage,
we have already had great interest, particularly from the conference sector. We are in detailed discussions with around 50 organisations wanting to hold specific events, which is very encouraging."


IT’S official, Northerners love getting away from it all, in a survey commissioned by Energizer. The results showed that a staggering 47% of people in the North of England want their holidays to last longer, whereas bizarrely, 2% of Londoners would
rather have a longer working day!

The survey also revealed the average household now containing 29 battery-operated devices that save you time. Saying that the top 3 battery operated goods that we can't live without are remote controls, cameras and portable music systems. The biggest couch potatoes are those in the North West, with 68% of those surveyed unable to live without their remote control if the batteries run out. 1 in 3 people will try to extend the life of their batteries by switching them around with 1 in 10 going as far as trying to heat a battery up in their hands to make it last longer. Perhaps because of their dependence on
the remote, some respondents in the North were even prepared to go to such extreme measures as trying to reactivate a battery by blowing on it, rather than putting their hands in their pockets to buy new ones!

Rather than going to such extremes to try and make batteries last longer, it makes more sense to save time and money by buying what Energizer clams is the world's longest lasting battery, the Energizer Ultimate. Or you could just get out of the seat and change the channel your self….

Bringing on Merseyside's manufacturing talent of tomorrow

A time bomb is ticking for Merseyside's manufacturers who are failing to engage the next generation of talent, warns The Manufacturing Institute, a charitable organisation run by manufacturers for manufacturers to boost skills and productivity.

"If we want to avoid manufacturing becoming a victim of slow death by the low wage economies of Asia, then we need to develop the next generation of talented people capable of powering high value, knowledge led industries"
, says Julie Madigan, Chief Executive of The Manufacturing Institute.

The 2003 National Employer Skills Survey found that 95% of manufacturing and engineering firms believed skill shortages adversely affected their businesses and that there were some 18,250 unfilled positions.

At the same time, the number of engineering and manufacturing graduates has dropped nationally by over 40% in the last nine years.

To help turn the tide, the Manufacturing Institute is working with industry to develop young industrial skills for tomorrow and challenge negative perceptions about manufacturing as a career.

Newly appointed education executive Nicola Eagleton is working with partners to push manufacturing towards the top of the agenda in schools, boosting awareness of the diverse range of job opportunities within the industry and encouraging interest in developing the right levels of expertise.

"Only around 30 out of almost 600 North West secondary schools currently offer a GCSE course in manufacturing and average pupil performance is low. This is just one of many areas we need to build on, if we are to address future skill shortages in the region."

"We are developing links between manufacturers and local schools to ensure pupils get a real feel of what modern manufacturing can offer them. At the same time, schools need a clear understanding of the key skills that industry requires"
advises Eagleton.

Among the projects being organised are teacher placements with industry, factory visits for schools and manufacturing mentors working directly with teachers and pupils in the classroom.

The Manufacturing Institute is also working closely with the North West Learning Grid (a consortium of 19 local authorities) on an interactive online resource for teachers to help them engage their pupils in manufacturing.

Nicola has joined the Manufacturing Institute, which delivers the Manufacturing Advisory Service North West (MAS NW), from the education/business partnership organisation BEST (Business and Education Succeed Together).

Liverpool kids have it all mapped out...

GIANT maps and a hard-hitting film have helped hundreds of Liverpool school children tackle road safety hazards.

Pupils from 15 North Liverpool primary schools have taken part in the ground-breaking Our Walk to School project. Children aged nine and ten have spent two years identifying all the road safety hazards they face during their journey to school.

Liverpool City Council's executive member for regeneration, Councillor Peter Millea, said:- "This has been an extremely worthwhile project and one which could save lives.

Seeing road safety hazards through the eyes of children has highlighted many important issues and enabled the city council to implement new initiatives to protect pedestrians. This is particularly important as we approach winter when roads become much less safe.

It's wonderful that the large scales maps and the film can be displayed in the Maritime Museum and I hope that in the near future, all schools in Liverpool will be able to get involved in similar projects and help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on our roads."

Potential dangers that the pupils identified included cars parked on pavements which meant that children were sometimes forced to walk on a road, a lack of pedestrian crossings, kerbs which are too high and a lack of walking buses to and from school.

The children made a mini film showing the problems they face on their journey to school. These problems were highlighted when one group of children captured on film a pedestrian who narrowly missed being knocked down by a car.

Each school also produced an A3 map of their local area, with the help of John Moore's University's cartography department. These showed what changes they would like to see to make their route to school safer.

As a result of all their hard work, the city council's road safety team have allocated funding to make many of the
suggestions made by the children a reality.

The atlas of all the maps that has been produced was exhibited, along with the film, at Liverpool's Maritime Museum on Friday 30 September.

Our Walk to School has received a special commendation from the Prince Michael Road Safety Awards, recognising Liverpool's innovative way of improving road safety.

The city council's road safety officer who co-ordinated the project, Martin McIntyre, said:- "Our Walk to School has proved a really popular and effective way of getting kids actively involved on thinking about road safety issues in their areas.

We're really proud that the project has received the Prince Michael Road Safety commendation, and feel it recognises the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone involved."

The project has been funded by the Department for Transport's Neighbourhood Road Safety initiative.

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