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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 27 August 2007

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OLDER people in the North West are struggling with everyday household activities like bathing, using the stairs and tending the garden, with 31% finding it increasingly difficult to get around their own home, according to new research. Leading older people’s charity Help the Aged is warning that unless more is done to help homeowners on low incomes, the UK could be heading towards a potential housing crisis for future generations of older people.

26% of people aged 65 and over said they need help with everyday jobs around the home. In many cases, basic home adaptations can help and can result in substantial savings in the cost of residential and intensive home-care. Help the Aged is calling on the Government to work in partnership with the voluntary sector to set up a national network of handyperson services in England, helping older people to remain independent in their own home.

Key findings of the Help the Aged research in the North West include:-

* 15% of older people find it difficult to have a bath or shower in their own home;

* 18% of pensioners struggle to use the stairs leaving many unable to access the upper storeys of their home;

* 29% of pensioners find it hard to tend their garden or outside area making them more likely to be the target of crime;

* 25% of older people wouldn’t know where to go for advice to make critical alterations to their property.

Joe Oldman, Senior Housing Policy Adviser at Help the Aged, says:- “The large majority of pensioners want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. But as people get older everyday activities around the home get harder – many need help to carry out basic tasks which others take for granted.  When older people struggle with bathing it can have a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing, putting additional pressure on an already creaking health and care system. Many find it incredibly difficult to admit they need help with such an intimate and personal daily task. Putting in a grab-rail or shower unit can help avoid the need for daily home care support and help older people avoid slips and accidents that can put them in hospital or push them into residential care.

It’s ludicrous that older people are still considered a minority group when it comes to housing – in just 17 years older people will make up nearly half of all new growth in households. Future housing policies must consider the needs of older people. The forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review must provide enough investment to meet Department of Health targets for allowing more older people to live independently at home.”

Ahead of the Government’s Older People’s Housing Strategy due later this year, Help the Aged is calling for:-

* A national network of accredited handyperson services to help older people with small jobs around the home;

* Lifetime homes standards to be introduced for all new housing so that homes remain accessible and adaptable throughout lifetimes and as needs change;

* A more integrated approach to providing social care services and low level housing support.

There are just over 200 handyperson services operating in the whole of England, helping older people with basic repairs, minor adaptations, security and fire safety. Help the Aged is calling for funding to enhance existing services and ensure they are provided in at least 360 district authorities. The Charity operates its own range of Home Support services including its HandyVan service offering help with security, safety and small household jobs. 

For more information about handyperson services, lifetime homes standards and Help the Aged recommendations ahead of the upcoming Older People’s Housing Strategy, please visit this link.


THE hunt is on for the best young chef in the Merseyside, as hundreds of talented young chefs will battle it out to win the title of the NW Fine Food Young Chef of the Year 2008.  Merseyside has produced many great chefs including Paul Askew and Gary Manning and NW Fine Food are out to find the next generation of exciting new talent.

The NW Fine Food Young Chef of the Year competition is open to all young chefs aged between 17 and 25 who are currently working in hotels, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality establishments in Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside or Manchester.

The Merseyside heat will take place during the Liverpool Food Lovers festival on Tuesday 11 September 2007 at the Liverpool Community College, Duke Street, 82 Tradewind Square in Liverpool. The young chefs will have to create a mouth watering 3 course meal using seasonal and local produce for £25.  The winner of the heat will be announced on Saturday 15 September 2007 at a special lunch for all the finalists at the Malmaison Hotel in Liverpool and the winner will then go on to battle it out at the annual NW Fine Awards dinner in March 2008.

The closing date for entries is Friday 31 August and paper judging will take place week commencing 3 September.

For more information visit


A LIVERPOOL movie maker is to fly to Berlin later this month, to take part in a unique film making project – using mobile phones.  In the first exchange programme of its kind, mobile filmmaker, Leon Seth, of Liverpool, will spend 3 days in Germany, learning new techniques and creating clips and short films.

“This is the first time we’ve embarked on such a unique project, which will give media producers the chance to practice and develop new skills, using equipment which they wouldn’t usually have access to,” says Lynne McCadden, Managing Director of Northwest Vision and Media, which works on behalf of the region’s TV, film, radio and digital content industries.

The Berlin Mobile Exchange will partner 6 Vision and Media trainees with 6 of their counterparts in Germany. Together, they’ll develop skills and techniques for producing mobile phone content.  Waseem Punnu, Roshine McAuliffe, Paul Ridyard and Jennifer Govenden, all of Manchester, will be taking part in the scheme, together with Michael Short of Lancashire, and Leon Seth.

“This is an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and practice, and will hopefully produce 5 confident, mobile media developers of the future,” says Lynne.  “Many potential media producers don’t have the budget to own, or even rent, the type of hi-end broadcast technology needed to make movies. What many do have, however, is a mobile phone equipped with a video camera and sound recorder – so we’ll be showing participants how to make best use of the equipment they already have.”

There is increasing demand for on-the-spot reportage and entertainment-on-demand delivered across mobile networks, with The Berlin Mobile Exchange designed to exploit those openings for Northwest producers.

“The project will teach high production values which can be easily transferred to higher resolution broadcast technologies, as the new producers advance in their careers,” adds Lynne.

Over 3 days from August 24, the mobile group will learn how to work together, and alone, to make mobile films.  There’ll also be the opportunity to hear from Berlin's home-grown mobile talent. Participants will learn the basics of capturing, transferring and editing footage so they can make their own films.  The production process will also allow them to try different production roles, in collaboration or alone. Testing the films on a variety of handsets will then allow them to experience differences in screen resolution and audio quality.
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