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Issue Date:- 7 July 2008

Top Novelist Mike Gayle Visits Liverpool to Celebrate Adult Literacy Learners’ Achievements

BEST-SELLING author Mike Gayle will attend a special ceremony at Costa Coffee, 13 Bold Street on Wednesday 9 July to celebrate the achievements of adult literacy learners in Liverpool who have recently completed a national 6 Book Challenge.

The Skills for Life National Needs and Impact Survey of Literacy, Numeracy and IT skills, published in October 2003, estimated that in England, 5.2 million adults aged 16 to 65 have literacy levels below Level 1 - broadly equivalent in difficulty to an English GCSE at grades D-G.

The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to get more people reading more, launched the new annual 6 Book Challenge in association with the Costa Book Awards earlier this year to engage adults who want to improve their literacy skills in reading for pleasure. The Challenge also forms part of The Reading Agency’s Vital Link programme for libraries and adult literacy. 

The 6 Book Challenge invites adult literacy learners to read 6 books whilst supporting them with incentives and creative reading activities.  Designed to run from January to June each year, the Challenge is delivered through libraries in partnership with organisations such as colleges, community adult education, trade unions and prisons which work closely with emergent readers – adults who can read but who have yet to build reading stamina and experience.

Adult learners who have completed the Challenge will attend the special event that will see Mike Gayle, novelist and Patron of the 6 Book Challenge, personally present each Challenge completer with a signed certificate.

“Reading and sharing what we have read is one of life’s pleasures.  Liverpool Libraries are pleased to be involved in a scheme which extends this to people living in our communities.” commented Andy Johnson, Lifelong Learning Services Manager.

All participants who signed up to join the Challenge earlier this year received a free Costa coffee card and completers are automatically entered into a prize draw to win an all-expenses paid trip to London for two, courtesy of the Costa Book Awards.

40% of libraries across Liverpool have been offering the 6 Book Challenge in partnership with local colleges and adult community learning.  The 6 Book Challenge was piloted successfully by libraries across Yorkshire in 2007 with around 1000 participants. Libraries found it an excellent way of working with learning providers. Tutors were convinced that it can help their learners and adult learners felt a real sense of achievement.  2/3rds of library services across the UK signed up to the new national Challenge, plus 50 prisons and another 50 learning organizations. Full results will be available after the Challenge finishes but it is anticipated that up to 5000 people will have participated across the UK.

Teresa Howarth took the Challenge at Fazakerley Drop-in Study Centre. She said:- “I don’t normally read books at all. I’ve been doing some courses to refresh my skills and I’ve just taken the Level 2 English test.

The Quick Reads were ideal for me because they’re short books - they’re fabulous.”

Libraries and adult literacy organisations in Liverpool and the rest of the UK are now planning celebration events for their learners who have completed the Challenge.

“We are thrilled that in the first year of this exciting experiment libraries across Liverpool have been offering the Challenge this spring.” said Genevieve Clarke, Senior Project Manager at The Reading Agency.

"We’re getting feedback all the time about how people’s lives are being changed by discovering that they can read for pleasure and improve their skills at the same time.

Anything that encourages adult learners to get stuck into a good read has got to be a good thing in my book!

It's great that The Reading Agency and the Costa Book Awards have teamed up to make this happen and I’m really looking forward to meeting the Challenge completers and hearing their reading success stories.”  said Mike Gayle.

For more information about the 6 Book Challenge, please visit


MAHATMA Gandhi once wrote that you can tell a lot about a community by the way they treat their animals. Southport pet owners can now make sure their pets feel truly pampered as Oscar Pet Foods, the UK’s leading pet food delivery service, officially comes to town.

Local businessman Paul Reilly is offering acomplete pet care service to the pet owners of Southport - delivering bespoke products and services directly to the door to give local pets a happier, healthier and longer life. 

Paul is one of a nationwide team of Oscar Pet Foods Nutritional Advisors and will be delivering all natural food, as well as behavioural and nutritional advice to Southport’s pet owners. Paul can also tailor products to suit a pet’s digestion and age, as well as aid specific problems such as skin irritation, poor coat, allergies and obesity.

Commenting on his new business venture, Paul says:- “I really enjoy the freedom of being self-employed and prior to joining Oscars, I was looking for a new challenge.

I wanted to build a business that would be sustainable over a long period of time and that also had a lot of potential for growth.

Oscar Pet Food’s presented the perfect opportunity as its product range has already proved to be extremely successful in the UK, with plans for further expansion.

Just like humans, every pet is different - with their own tastes, likes, dislikes and problems, Oscar Pet Foods understands this and so we tailor products to suit each individual animal’s needs.”

If you would like any information on Oscar Pet Foods in your area or would like to take advantage of a free consultation and food sample, call Paul Reilly on 07967 837 676.


EU Environment Ministers meeting in Paris have been told they must set a timetable to end the building of conventional coal power stations.

Addressing the ministers, local Euro-MP Chris Davies, the European Parliament's lead negotiator on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), has warned that the use of coal now comes at a heavy political price. 

Chris Davies cautioned:- "Across Europe we are going to see more and more protests every time a coal-fired power station gets approved.

Maybe we are just talking about letters of condemnation. Or maybe we are talking about mass civil protest, sabotage of contractors' equipment, years and years of disruption."

The MEP argued that Europe must take a lead in developing CCS if it is to persuade China and India to stop building conventional coal-fired power stations as part of an international agreement to curb global warming.

The French Presidency of the European Commission has given a commitment to prepare a CCS action plan and Mr Davies called on Ministers to ensure that it includes:-

* Identification of CCS demonstration projects - In spring last year the EU Heads of Government committed themselves to support 10-12 large scale projects. 16 months later not a single one has yet been identified, although the UK is further advanced than any other Member State.

* Establishment of a funding mechanism to bridge the initial gap between CCS innovation and commercial viability. Chris Davies is proposing the granting of tradable carbon allowances for every tonne of CO2 buried deep underground.

* Setting a 2015 date for making CCS a mandatory requirement for new coal power stations. Mr Davies will challenge Ministers to explain if they are prepared to allow conventional coal-fired power stations to continue being opened as late as 2022 or beyond, with each one wiping out the benefits of energy saving and development of renewables.

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