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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 August 2007

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Splash out this summer!

YOUNGSTERS in Liverpool are about to make a splash as the city gears up for a summer of fun.  Hundreds of children’s activities have kicked off as part of Liverpool’s 2007 Splash programme – and they’re all completely free.  Splash gives children between the ages of 8 and 17 an action-packed line up to keep them busy over the summer holidays.

This year’s 6-week programme is set to be the most exciting yet. Children across the city are queuing up to take part in a wide range of free activities, from basketball to breakdancing, dance to drama and tennis to tobogganing!  Community venues, youth and play centres, schools and leisure centres will host a huge number of activities including arts and crafts, go-karting, rock climbing, healthy eating events, gardening and a wide range of sports.  And the city’s libraries will be welcoming children for story telling events and puppet and mask-making sessions.

Councillor Colin Eldridge, the city council’s executive member for education, said:- “Our Splash programme continues to grow every year. It’s a massive success story for Liverpool. Last year, more than 20,000 young people across the city took part, and we’re set to improve on that this year, which is really fantastic.  Splash gets young people involved in fun activities throughout the summer, keeps them fit, teaches them new skills and helps them to develop socially.  At the same time, it raises young people’s aspirations and gives them a healthy alternative to hanging around on the streets or sitting around watching television. “

This year’s Splash programme is aimed at 2 distinct age groups – 8 to 12-year-olds and 13 to 17-year-olds. Events are taking place in every area of the city, with something for everyone.  The scheme is funded by Liverpool Youth Service, Neighbourhood Renewal Funding (NRF), Liverpool Active City and Liverpool Early Years.  Young people who want to get involved in Splash events need to register first. To register, find out what activities are taking place in your area, or receive a booklet containing full details of the events, please call the Children’s Information Service on 0800 0852022 or log-on to


CLOTHES shopping can be stressful at the best of times, but imagine trying to buy a special outfit when you are blind. That’s the challenge that over 10500 people who are blind or visually impaired in the Merseyside area are faced with every day - but now an innovative solution is at hand.

Henshaws, a leading north west charity that provides a range of support to blind and visually impaired people, is piloting a limited new service offering specially trained shoppers to be the fashion conscious eyes of any blind or visually impaired shopper.  The charity, that has a centre in Liverpool, launched the service last month and has already been inundated with frustrated shoppers who are unable to enjoy the shopping experience because of sight loss.  Linda Corness, 50, a resource centre assistant at Henshaws’ Merseyside Resource Centre in Liverpool and one of the newly trained personal shoppers says:- “Trying to shop for clothes when you have limited or no sight can be an absolute nightmare. Unless you have a partner or friend willing to go with you, you have no way of knowing the layout of the shop, prices, where sale items are, the sizing and colour of clothes and of course the obvious and most important issue of whether they suit you or not.”

Henshaws personal shoppers will help with clothes, household or gift shopping, as these are the areas that people struggle with the most.  The first stage of the shopping experience is a consultation where the client will complete a questionnaire listing information such as what they are hoping to buy, what colours they like, styles, shapes, fabrics etc in order to give the shoppers a good idea of which shops will best suit the customer.  The personal shopper and client will then agree an itinerary of shops and book a shopping date.

Linda Wilcock, aged 56 from Aughton, is completely blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other following an aneurism four years ago and was one of the first users of the new service, she says:- “I needed an outfit for a christening and knew I would struggle as my sight is not good enough to shop on my own. Before I lost my sight I really enjoyed shopping and was very fashion conscious.  My husband was great in that he would try to help me shop, but he doesn’t have the patience to keep bringing me different styles and colours to the waiting room and he found it very difficult helping me to buy underwear.”

The 2 Linda’s spent a morning shopping and returned with a christening outfit, accessories and even make up. 

Linda Wilcock says:- “It was so wonderful to shop with someone who could help me with colours, styles and sizes – we had great fun. I can’t wait to book my next appointment.”


WHAT do Jon Bon Jovi, Brad Pitt and former US president Jimmy Carter all have in common?  They’re all long term supporters of the Habitat for Humanity charity in the United States and have spent time volunteering on site to help build homes for families in need. 

Now Sarah Shaw is hoping to attract volunteers – celebrities or not – to one of the UK’s few Habitat for Humanity developments in the Granby/Toxteth district of Liverpool.  As the new volunteer co-ordinator, it is down to Sarah to reach out to businesses, local community groups, organisations and individuals to help continue with the good work of previous volunteers – who have already helped to build 3 homes at the development.

Sarah says:- “We are in continual need of volunteers, and we would love to welcome faces old and new to help contribute to making a positive difference in this community. No previous construction experience is required and LHFH supplies all of the personal protection equipment needed, i.e. steel capped boots and hard hats.  We welcome volunteers who have just one day to spare as well as those who are able to commit time on a more regular basis – every contribution is valuable. LHFH is also developing a ‘team building’ package for companies to include within their staff development programmes.  Currently we are at an exciting point in our build. We are entering the completion phase of our first three houses and in the not too distant future will be starting to frame the next three. We have 32 houses in total to build and we will be busy on Kingsley Road for the next 3 to 5 years.”

The majority of Sarah’s time is spent out on site with volunteers making sure that each person knows what the day’s tasks are. She is also responsible for making sure that the volunteers are comfortable and aware of health and safety procedures.

Sarah adds:- “I work alongside volunteers from all backgrounds, races and religions to build homes together with families in need. Hammering, drilling, painting and putting up plasterboard are just some of the tasks we may be asked to do.  As a thank you to our volunteers we supply lunch & refreshments on a daily basis and we are currently looking for donations in the form of time, material goods or money to assist our appeal. We’re looking for people who want to do something a bit different, something which will be significant and a long term benefit to others.”

Sarah, 28, who hails from Aigburth, Liverpool, comes to Habitat for Humanity with a wealth of experience behind her. After graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree and masters in fine art in 2003, she worked as a freelance in the TV and film industry – working for the Granada Media Group, Oxford Film and TV, LA Productions and North West Vision, among others.  She then moved to the Liverpool Film Academy Educational Trust, where she stayed for 18 months as development co-ordinator, involved in fundraising and working with disaffecting young people in an effort to involve them in the creative world of film. It was here that she met Nikki Bonner, who is now Liverpool Habitat for Humanity’s project manager.

The Granby/Toxteth project is one of only a handful of Habitat for Humanity builds in the UK and the first in the north west. The international charity is dedicated to eliminating global poverty housing and relies on donations of money and materials, as well as the labour of volunteers and future homeowners alike to build homes.  In Liverpool, prospective home owners are given the opportunity to substitute a costly cash deposit by instead investing 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ in the construction of their new home. This labour then counts as a £10,000 down payment on the property.  The home buyers work closely with other volunteers, under the supervision of a trained site manager and other construction workers, and many businesses from across Liverpool and the north west have also been on site to volunteer in team building sessions.

For further information about applying for a property or volunteering with Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, phone 0151 280 6232, email:-  The charity’s website,  which has a link to their film, Build, Donate, Participate.

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