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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue Date:- 18 February 2008


MEMBERS of the public are invited to join a debate about Liverpoolís identity as a Creative City on Wednesday 20 February 2008, 1800 to 2000 hours at Merseyside Maritime Museum. The discussion is the fourth in a series of public forums giving people the opportunity to learn about and comment on the main themes that the new Museum of Liverpool will focus on.

o Phil Redmond, deputy chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company and founder of Mersey Television will be asking whether Liverpool is a creative city?

o Ray Physick, author of Played in Liverpool will talk about the idea of sport as a form of creative expression.

o Paul Du Noyer, music journalist and author of Liverpool: Wondrous Place will be discussing how creative outputs from Liverpool have informed perceptions of the city.

Creative City is 1 of 4 main areas in the new museum and will uncover the unique and creative character of Liverpool, exploring why the city has produced such an amazing roll call of writers, performers, comedians and sportsmen. The gallery will include some unique Beatles objects, including the original stage on which John Lennonís band, The Quarrymen, played in 1957. The story of the history of the Merseyside football clubs will explore how they have become a cornerstone of the cityís identity and a special immersive experience in the gallery will capture the excitement, passion and intensity of the game through the fansí eyes.

Free refreshments available from 5.45pm. Places are limited and booking is essential, please call 0151 478 4543 to book.


SEFTON Trading Standards are backing the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) campaign to alert residents in the borough to scams which swindle them out of cash.

As part of February's Scams Awareness Month, the OFT is highlighting the top five 'tricks of the trade' used by scammers to con the public out of an estimated £3.5 billion a year.

Although there are many different types of scam delivered through the post, by email, over the phone, or in person, most use the same basic techniques to deceive three million UK consumers every year. The top five tricks identified by the OFT are:-

1. Offering you the unattainable dream- scammers hook you by promising to fulfil your dreams and aspirations. You are told that you alone have been chosen because you are special, but in fact the same scam has been sent to thousands of other people.

2. Using official sounding names and job titles or referring to important sounding organisations to give a false impression that the scam comes from someone in a position of high authority who can be instantly trusted. This works by overcoming the initial gut feeling that something is not quite right.

3. Using fake deadlines to create a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out. You are told that if you don't reply immediately the opportunity will be gone forever, triggering an impulse to respond before you have the chance to think
the offer through properly.

4. Using fake testimonials from satisfied customers to reinforce the impression that the scam offer is genuine, this exploits people's normal tendency to follow the crowd and helps to validate what is being offered.

5. Offering worthless 'money back guaarantees' to convince you that you are dealing with a legitimate trader and that there is no risk in sending off your money.

Sefton Council Trading Standards manager, Andrew Naisbitt, said:- "Every year without fail someone in Sefton contacts us after being caught up in a scam of some kind.

Scammers are expert at exploiting people's fears. Anyone can be conned but by learning to recognise the scammer's tricks we can all avoid becoming their next victim'.

Just being aware of the different types of scams and how fraudsters try and trick you out of cash can really help in not becoming a victim."

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, or you suspect a scam, call Consumer Direct for clear , practical consumer advice on 08454 04 05 06.

Online safety fears keeping parents offline

FEARS about online safety are keeping Mums and Dads across the North West up at night, and could be keeping whole families offline.   A new survey from UK online centres has found that while at least 75% of parents in our region know their kids are regular internet users, around half of them donít think their internet or IT skills are good enough to supervise or assist with surfing.

All in all, 60% of parents taking part in the North West survey said they worried about their children using the internet. Topping the list of concerns were internet predators, inappropriate images and fraudsters, but other worries included cyber-bullying and the information children were sharing through social networking sites like Bebo and MySpace.  And itís not just internet safety thatís causing concern. Around a third of parents in the survey also admitted to worrying about their lack of online know-how to help with homework and school projects on the internet.

Helen Milner, Managing Director of UK online centres said:- ďTechnology has already changed how we live, work and socialise. Now itís changing how we bring up our children. Being a 21st Century parent increasingly requires new parenting skills itís not just about looking after your children in the real world, youíve got to look after them in the online world too.

With more and more homework involving the internet, cyber-bullying and internet predators hitting the headlines, itís not surprising that parents are anxious about their childrenís internet activities, and about their own ability to help out online.

If youíre worried about your children using the internet, the best way to put your fears to rest is to find out more about it yourself. Thatís where UK online centres come in.

It doesnít matter if youíve never even turned a computer on, with the right advice and support you can make the most of the internet and help your kids make the most of it; safely and happily. And itís not just about supervising the internet can be a useful tool for everyday family life.

Whether youíre getting the shopping delivered, renewing your tax disc or booking a bargain holiday, the internet could help you save time, hassle and even money.Ē

Mum of 3 Helen Boffey, 36, didnít know much at all about computers, let alone the internet, before she found her way into a nearby UK online centre.  She says:- ďI donít think you ever stop worrying about your kids, because you want the best for them, itís instinct. But because I want the best for them I donít want them to miss out on all the good bits of the internet because of the bad bits.

I know lots of parents who say theyíre not going to let their kids online because of all these internet monsters and things. Itís easy to forget that there are risks in the real world too, and we already help our kids steer clear of them and stay safe, thatís what parents do. The trouble is you canít do that on the internet unless you know a bit about it.

Computers and the internet are going to be such a big part of our kidsí lives. Iíve got an 18 year old who uses them all the time, and even though my twin girls are only 5 theyíre already using them in the classroom! Iím so pleased Iíve now got the skills to help them, monitor what theyíre doing, and just talk to them about it. I often pop into the UK online centre with Ellie and Emily before or after school. They like to play the games on Cbeebies, and do drawings with the mouse, which is great for their co-ordination. They also like typing so we practise spellings on the computer, and even do reading exercises Iíve found on the internet. Their teachers have actually said to me how much the practice they get with me is helping them, and thatís a really good feeling.

Iíd say to other parents that learning about computers and the internet is absolutely key.  Like anything else, itís not half as scary once you know something about it!

You might never stop worrying completely but you will feel more in control and if I can get to grips with it all, anyone can!Ē

Donít let safety fears hold you or your family back. To follow in Helenís footsteps and find your nearest UK online centre, call free on 0800 77 1234.

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