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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 10 December 2007

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AS candidates on the BBC’s hit TV show Dragon’s Den often find out, it’s not what they are selling but how they sell it that can make or break their business dreams.

However, with 42% of business people fearing public speaking more than death, according to research by Harvard Business School, it’s a challenge being faced by more and more businesses and could be costing North West businesses millions!

According to Business Link Northwest, the government’s business support and information service for the region, the need for more confident presentation skills holds back the growth of many North West businesses.

"Our Brokers are out working with businesses every day helping them to plan growth and one common factor that comes up time and again is the fear factor of presenting,

This is not just about being able to stand up in front of a room full of people, but about being confident with potential customers, staff and suppliers as well. We regularly see real examples where it has affected major parts of a business’ growth, whether it is winning new customers, convincing the bank to finance expansion or attracting potential new recruits.”
comments Peter Watson, Managing Director of Business Link Northwest.

The solution it seems is simply facing those demons with preparation and practice.

Peter Watson concluded:- “If you want your business to grow, then being able to confidently communicate with a range of audiences is going to form part of your strategy. For many businesses it will fortunately never involve subjecting themselves to an experience such as Dragon’s Den! Instead it will mean spending time on developing this skill that may not come naturally but that brings with it many benefits.”

Business Link Northwest has a range of information on improving presentation skills on its award-winning website  as well as advice on how to effectively implement business growth.


SOUTHPORT FC have an exciting new sponsor on board from tomorrow and it is a 1st for the club. Bar Mio, Italian for My Bar, will be the logo on the shorts of the Port players as they run out aiming to go top of the Blue Square North.

Dolce Vita's renowned restaurant owner Mario Cardillo is opening up the new wine bar on Station Road Ainsdale next week and it will be launched with Peter Davenport and his Port players as special guests.

Supporters will have noted the Italian flavour in the local press recently as legend Guiseppe Signori was a special guest at the club last week as the ex Italian international striker prepared for the PFA centenary match last weekend.

Chief Executive Haydn Preece said:- "I am delighted we have Bar Mio on our shorts to publicise Mario's new business venture. Bar Mio will be a real winner in Ainsdale and we need to be the same in Blue Square North. This is a wonderful first for the club."

Children’s services are ‘good

LIVERPOOL City Council’s work to improve the education, health and well-being of young people has been rated as "good" in a new independent report.   The annual performance assessment by OFSTED has given Liverpool’s children's services a score of "3" out of a possible "4'"  It says the service is making "a significant contribution" to improving the achievement and well being of children and young people and consistently delivering above minimum requirements.

The report praises the work to improve the health of children, highlighting the city’s "clear and challenging" childhood obesity action plan. A number of council schemes, including the Healthy Schools programme and Health Mates initiative are praised for the impact they are having on young people.  The service is also praised for improving educational attainment at a faster pace than nationally - in particular at GCSE level, where the number of youngsters getting 5 A*-C grades increased from 50% in 2005 to 55% in 2006. The very latest figures - for the 2007 GCSEs - show Liverpool has rocketed even further, with 61% of pupils achieving GCSE A*-C - just 2% behind the national average.  OFSTED also highlights the "intensive challenge and support" by the council which is resulting in standards continuing to "rise steadily at Key Stage 2 and faster at Key Stage 3 and 4".

Councillor Paul Clein, executive member for children's services, said:- "We continue to make good progress in the services we provide for children and young people, and this positive report from Ofsted is testament to the excellent work that has been going on over the past 12 months. 

Our staff deserve congratulations for their work to give children and young people a better education and a better chance in life, and this national endorsement is well deserved.  Best of all, the rate of improvement - in a number of challenging areas - over the past year means we can be very optimistic for the future.”

The report praises the "stable social care workforce" which is improving rates of early intervention for children at risk at a higher rate than for similar authorities across the UK. 

Also highlighted is the council’s work to raise aspirations, with a recent survey showing a higher proportion of young people in Liverpool want to study and go onto university compared to the average nationally.  The commitment to listening to young people’s views to help shape the service is also commended, including consultation around bullying and the Children and Young People’s Plan.

And the service is praised for successfully engaging young people in the city’s Capital of Culture celebrations, with "a well-planned programme of study support, sporting, cultural and youth arts programmes provided throughout the city".

Stuart Smith, executive director of children's services, said:- "I’m very pleased with this report, which demonstrates the progress being made in children’s services.  We are committed to giving children in Liverpool the best possible start in life, and providing them with all the support they need to fulfill their potential as happy, healthy individuals, able to make a positive contribution to their city. 

We've taken great steps in recent years, but there is much still to achieve. We want to continue to improve at the same pace, and provide all our children and young people with absolutely first class services across the board.”

The report adds that children’s services in Liverpool have strong prospects for improvement, with "effective senior leadership’ and ‘strong partnership working, particularly with the voluntary sector’ giving the service ‘good capacity to improve its services for children and young people"  

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