LIVERPOOL CELEBRATES IVF CAPITAL STATUS
set to become home to the largest IVF centre in Europe after plans
for a new specialist unit were given the green light. Once
open, The Hewitt Centre for Reproductive Medicine will treat more
than 2000 couples a year who have problems conceiving.
The new, 1400 sq ft,
2-storey extension, will transform Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation
Trust into the biggest single provider of NHS and private IVF
treatment in Europe. The £5m investment, funded jointly by the
Liverpool Women’s and private practitioners, North West Fertility
Ltd, will further cement the hospital’s reputation as leaders in
City Council planning chiefs passed proposals for the extension on
Liverpool Women’s Crown Street site, which will house a
state-of-the-art embryology laboratory, sperm bank and egg freezing
facility and dedicated recovery services.
Demand for IVF
treatment is growing annually as childless couples increasingly seek
medical intervention to help them start a family. Currently around
6,000 babies are born in the UK to previously infertile couples as a
result of IVF. In addition to enabling the trust to treat even
more women Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, the unit can also
expect private applications for treatment from all over the world.
Clinical director of
the unit, Charles Kingsland, said Liverpool Women’s would now be
recognised as being at the very forefront of IVF technology and
treatment. One of the country’s top fertility experts, the
announcement has delighted Mr Kingsland, who has dedicated his
professional life to helping childless couples realise their dreams
Mr Kingsland said:- “This is fantastic news. The
unit is so important to thousands of couples who want nothing more
than to start a family. It is difficult to express how much
this life changing facility will positively impact on infertile
This new extension will propel Liverpool Women’s NHS
Foundation Trust to the forefront of reproductive medicine in
When we set up our first facility 18 years ago, our
intention was to provide NHS funded treatment to people from all
walks of life and now we have achieved that, this development allows
us to take that ethos even further.”
Mr Kingsland said the
unit was made possible because of an alliance between Liverpool
Women’s and North West Fertility Ltd.:- “This
development wouldn’t have happened without collaboration between the
private and public sectors.
Not only will the unit provide the
highest quality environment possible for couples receiving
treatment, the unit has all the advantages of being situated in a
leading NHS teaching hospital specialising in women’s health."
WINNING DIGITAL DEPARTURES FEATURE FILMS ANNOUNCED
film director, Don Boyd, announced the 3 finalists in Liverpool’s
prestigious, cutting edge Digital Departures micro-budget filmmaking
initiative. The 3 teams have made it through a rigorous selection
process, focusing on all aspects of feature film production and
fighting off competition from over 150 other submissions. At a
dedicated launch in Liverpool, the finalists, an inspiring blend of
new and established, local and national talent, spoke about the
films which are about to go into production and will then be
premiered as part of Liverpool’s 08 Capital of Culture programme.
Northwest Vision and Media who devised the scheme, together with its
partners the Liverpool Culture Company, the UK Film Council and the
BBC, have now awarded each of the three filmmaking teams £250,000 to
make their feature film dreams a reality.
Marking his return to his hometown, internationally-renowned
director, Terence Davies, (Distant Voices, Still Lives) says he’s
thrilled to have his documentary, Of Time And The City, his 1st time
working with the digital medium, commissioned by the Digital
The 2nd feature film to make the final 3 is Salvage, a horror film
written by former Hollyoaks Story Editor, Colin O’Donnell, and which
will use the former set of Brookside as its central location.
Also making the final 3 is Starstruck, a drama written by Liverpool
writer Leigh Campbell, who has seen her scriptwriting career
supported and nurtured by Vision and Media since 2002.
As the premier film project in the 08 Capital of Culture
celebrations, Digital Departures attracted an incredibly high
calibre of entrants when the initiative was launched in 2007.
“The standard of submissions was very high, so it’s been an
incredibly difficult journey choosing which projects to green-light
and ultimately launch onto the world stage. We’re very excited about
the films, which all tap into Liverpool’s unique character in
different and imaginative ways,” says Lisa Marie Russo,
Executive Producer for Digital Departures.
An incredible 156 filmmaking teams originally submitted ideas to the
Digital Departures initiative. After a series of panel interviews
and development a short-list of 25 projects was drawn up. This was
then reduced to 12 ideas, before the final 6 film projects were
announced last year. Only 3 of those features will now go into
production. However, some of the projects which didn’t make the
final cut have not been abandoned. “The joy of Digital
Departures is that it should deliver 6 professionally developed
feature film projects. Resources mean we can only
actually make three of the films, but we will be doing everything we
can to support the other filmmakers set up their projects. Digital
Departures isn’t just about the final three, it’s about discovering
and developing talent in digital film making locally and
nationally.” Chris Moll, Production, Trade
and Investment Director for Northwest Vision and Media, the agency
behind the initiative.
Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, says
there is great excitement about the impact of Digital Departures
within the city. "We’re all looking forward to the creativity
of Liverpool's filmmaking community taking centre stage, with both
emerging and established film talent being able to show the world
what they’re capable of doing,” says Cllr. Bradley.
In addition to being broadcast on the BBC, it’s hoped the Digital
Departure films will be distributed both nationally and
internationally across a variety of digital platforms.
“There is a wave of optimism in the film arts at the moment,
anything seems possible, and I’m confident that everyone will be
genuinely impressed with the range and quality of filming that the
three Digital Departures films will produce,” explains Steve
Jenkins, Head of Films at BBC Programme Acquisitions.
Tim Cagney, Head of UK Partnerships at the UK Film Council, agrees:-
“We are really proud to have supported Digital Departures with
£200,000 of Lottery funding, putting film at the heart of the
European Capital of Culture celebrations. We are confident that it
will unearth some outstanding talent, deliver great films and be a
model for the rest of the world.”
THE FINALISTS AND JUDGES COMMENTS
The following 3 filmmaking teams have
each been awarded £250,000 to make their Digital Departures feature
OF TIME AND THE CITY
WRITER/DIRECTOR:- Terence Davies of Essex (originally from
PRODUCERS:- Solon Papadopoulos and
Roy Boulter, both of Liverpool.
Digital Departures judge Steve Jenkins, Head of Films at BBC
Programme Acquisitions, says:- “Terence Davies' poetic
documentary project offered a great opportunity to fund a new film
by one of the UK's few world-class directors. Films like Distant
Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes had the city, culture
and people of Liverpool at their very heart. The idea of the
film-maker revisiting the past, both his own and Liverpool's, but
within the context of how the city has changed over the last
half-century, seemed absolutely tailor-made for the Digital
WRITER:- Leigh Campbell of Liverpool.
DIRECTOR:- Lindy Heymann of London.
PRODUCER:- Andy Stebbing of London.
CO PRODUCER:- Stephen Cheers of Liverpool.
Digital Departures judge Andrew Eaton, Deputy Chairman of the UK
Film Council, says:- “Starstruck is such a contemporary film,
which will attract a very different audience to the other Digital
Departures features. It covers controversial subjects involving
teenagers, celebrities and football, which will be brilliantly
portrayed by the wonderful pairing of Leigh Campbell and Lindy
Heymann. Vision and Media have been following and assisting Leigh’s
development as a writer for several years, and we’re confident
Starstruck will be a fitting testament to her undoubted talent.”
WRITER:- Colin O’Donnell of Liverpool / Belfast.
DIRECTOR:- Lawrence Gough of Cheshire.
PRODUCER:- Julie Lau of Liverpool.
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER:- Alan Pattison of Manchester.
Digital Departures judge Fiona Gasper, Executive Director for
Capital of Culture, says:- “We were particularly attracted by
the Salvage team’s seemingly endless enthusiasm for their story,
together with the creativity and vision of this young, dynamic new
talent. Just as importantly, the film isn’t stereotypically
Liverpool, but an all-round, exciting feature which I’m sure will
have international appeal.”