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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 19 March 2007

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Next stop 2008

ON Monday 19 March 2007, the Liverpool Culture Company launched the 08 Roadshow, to take the Capital of Culture message across Liverpool… And beyond!

A double-decker bus adorned with work by community groups will tour the city, giving people a chance to find out more about the plans for 2007 and 2008 and how they can get involved.

Provided by Official Capital of Culture Supplier, Arriva, with support from Official Partner, Merseytravel, the bus has undergone a major overhaul ahead of its maiden tour. The eye-catching collage of pictures and drawings on the outside of the vehicle was created following a series of community workshops which asked local people to express what culture meant to them.

Along with a brand new exterior, the bus has been fitted with interactive terminals displaying cultural information, and a special upstairs screening area. There are also two large exhibitions; one focussing on the Culture Company’s Creative Communities Programme, and the second featuring a timeline for Liverpool’s 800 year history. A retractable awning provides an outside performance space and at larger venues the roadshow will include live performances, taster sessions and creative workshops.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool city council, said:- “We want to give everyone the chance to take part in this year’s 800th anniversary celebrations and European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The 08 Roadshow is a fantastic opportunity to take information about cultural events and activities to every neighbourhood in the city. Crucially, it will also allow people to find out how they can get involved in Capital of Culture; whether that’s by spreading the word about Liverpool as an 08 Ambassador or helping out at events by joining the Volunteer Programme.”

Jason Harborow, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said:- “The 08 Roadshow will visit a wide selection of venues, from supermarkets to sports centres, right at the heart of local communities. We’ve purposely chosen areas with a high footfall to ensure that as many people as possible get to see the bus in action.

Once it’s done an initial circuit around Liverpool, we’re also hoping to take the roadshow to events and festivals across Merseyside and the North West to spread the 08 message even further.”

Bob Hind, Managing Director of Arriva North West and Wales, said:- "It's vital the people of Liverpool are kept up to date with the city's plans for 2008 and I'm sure the bus will play a huge part in helping to spread the word."

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, said:- "We're delighted that Merseytravel has been able to get involved in the 08 Roadshow, giving local people the chance to find out more about what's happening in the lead up to 2008."

One of Liverpool’s oldest friends becomes its latest

ONE of the UK’s best-known friendly societies and Liverpool icon, Royal Liver Assurance, is backing the city’s Capital of Culture year.

Royal Liver has pledged £20,000 to the Liverpool Culture Company as part of the 08 Friends programme, which aims to raise half a million to fund community events throughout 2008.

Founded in Liverpool in 1850 to help local people with their financial planning, Royal Liver Assurance grew to support the needs of people across the UK and Ireland.

Today the Royal Liver Group is a dynamic financial services operation which manages more than 3.5 million policies for in excess of a million members. As an Incorporated Friendly Society Royal Liver Assurance does not have shareholders and exists solely for the benefit of members.

Steve Burnett, Chief Executive of Royal Liver Assurance, said:- "When the Royal Liver Building was completed in 1911 it was a technological marvel which some thought impossible. But it became so much more than just the blueprint for most of the tall buildings which now dominate the world’s skylines.

With our iconic Liver Birds, we became a symbol of Liverpool, a beacon to shine out across one of the world’s most influential sea ports; a radical statement confirming this diverse city’s dynamic, creative, forward-thinking attitude – an attitude that still exists today and which was decisive in Liverpool becoming European Capital of Culture 2008.

Royal Liver Assurance is proud to be a ‘Friend’ of Liverpool 08. 2008 is a fantastic opportunity to show the world that our 157-year friendship is stronger than ever and that we are continuing to develop together by building an exciting future on the firm foundations of heritage."

Royal Liver Assurance has joined organisations including John Lewis PLC and the Beetham Organization, as an 08 Friend, and the Liverpool Culture Company is in discussions with companies from across all sectors to grow the 08 Friend programme.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- "When people think of Liverpool the first image which often comes to mind is the Liver birds. So we are delighted that the company most associated with this emblem is becoming a friend of Liverpool 08.

Royal Liver Assurance has been a friend of the city of Liverpool for more than 150 years and it would be unthinkable for them not to be associated with one of the most important years in the city’s history."

Jason Harborow, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, added:- "I’m very pleased that another famous Liverpool company has become our friend. Their support for 2008 is invaluable and the money we raise will benefit thousands of people via our community arts programme.

We are continuing to work closely with our business network – 08 businessconnect to ensure that we get the best of Merseyside businesses involved."

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