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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 24 September 2007

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Stars back campaign to help local kids in poverty

A host of stars of radio, sport and television have joined forces to back a new campaign daring people to give time to help end child poverty in this country through volunteering.

DJ Trevor Nelson, weather presenter Sian Lloyd, TV gardener Charlie Dimmock, and Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes have all supplied ideas for a series of step-by-step how-to guides for Dare to Care:- Make Time to Help End Child Poverty. The guides will help people organise volunteer activities to help improve the life-chances of young people. The high-profile supporters are joined by Apprentice star Kristina Grimes who is backing Dare to Care’s family month through Barnardo’s in December.

Trevor Nelson supports CSV Make a Difference Day which is adopting Dare to Care as a special focus for this year. Trevor has supplied ideas for a ‘How to share skills’ guide. Trevor says:- “Sharing your skills is worth its weight in gold. If you have any skill to share, whether it’s DJing, filming, gardening or reading, your time can make a lasting impact on someone’s life.”

Dare to Care is being run by CSV, the UK’s leading volunteering charity and the Campaign to End Child Poverty, a coalition of 80 organisations, and will recruit 35,000 volunteers to give time to help children from low-income families and raise awareness of the experiences of children living in poverty in this country.

Sian Lloyd, another regular volunteer with CSV Make a Difference Day is backing Dare to Care’s ‘How to Organise a Big day out’ guide. Sian says:- “A planned day out is an opportunity for children and their families to take time out from their normal routines; to look forward to something different and simply have some fun.”

Children living in poverty are likely to have worse health, have more road accidents, lower aspirations and educational achievements than their peers and the campaign aims to help readdress this cumulative 'poverty of experience', which millions of children currently face.

Apprentice star Kristina Grimes has also pledged support for the campaign’s Family month (December) in association with Barnado’s, saying:- “As a single, working mother for many years, I understand how difficult it can be to provide a decent standard of living for your child. I am supporting Dare to Care with Barnardo’s, as I believe it provides practical volunteering solutions to hep lift families out of poverty.’

Dare to Care kicks-off with Make a Difference Month in October, run by CSV, which will showcase the breadth of volunteering projects helping to combat child poverty. Events in October culminate on Saturday 27 October with CSV Make a Difference Day, the UK’s largest single day of volunteering.

The How to share your skills guide is available completely free of charge by calling FREEPHONE 0800 284 533, or email.  To find out more about the Dare to Care campaign visit their website

VIRGIN TRAINS ON TRACK FOR LIVERPOOL 08

VIRGIN Trains has become an Official Partner of the Liverpool Culture Company.  The £2 million deal will see Virgin Trains, which operates high speed, high quality train services between Liverpool and London, supporting Liverpool’s year long celebration as European Capital of Culture.  As part of the deal, Virgin Trains have agreed to promote Liverpool 08 across its stations, trains, website and publications to a potential audience of more than 20 million people over the next year.

Craig Inglis, Virgin Trains Sales and Marketing Director, said:- “We are delighted to be supporting Liverpool and its community as an Official Partner of the prestigious Capital of Culture.  There are going to be some amazing events in 2008 and we look forward to getting involved. And European Capital of Culture year is just the start, we are committed to improving the region for the long-term with more trains and slashed journey times from 2009.  We are especially pleased that rail has become the travel mode of choice for journeys to and from London, with thousands of passengers voting with their feet and turning their back on domestic air routes.”

Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council and Deputy Chairman, said:- ''Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture is an amazing opportunity to showcase the city to the world. We're expecting millions of visitors to come and experience all the amazing events and attractions that we will have, so transport has a huge role to play in making the year a huge success.  I'm delighted we have Virgin Trains on board with all its experience and expertise to help us achieve that goal.''

During August 2007 the London-Liverpool route was Virgin’s most punctual West Coast route with 92% of trains arriving on time - or even early – and numbers have increased on all of Virgin’s West Coast services by around 40% from 14 million to 20 million since 2003.  The company is also working with Merseytravel and Network Rail to provide a new First Class Lounge and information point for its passengers at the station and these should be ready by Easter next year.

Virgin are the 11th Official Partner for Liverpool 08 and the Liverpool Culture Company currently in negotiations to secure its 12th and final Official Partner.

Jason Harborow, Chief Executive of Liverpool Culture Company, said:- ''Virgin Trains are an ideal Official Partner for Liverpool 08.

With regular access to their customer base, contacts and services we have a gold mine of routes to promote our year and cultural offer to a nationwide audience. 

The support of a major company as Virgin Trains is another sign of confidence from the business community that Liverpool 08 is an opportunity not to be missed.'"

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