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Issue Date:- 28 July 2008

Creative Ropewalks’ Funding Boost

MOVES to continue the regeneration of the Ropewalks area in Liverpool city centre have been given a £1.5m boost.

Over the last 10 years a £40m regeneration programme - which saw £150m of private investment levered in to Ropewalks – saw major improvements including the development of creative industries, new public spaces and improved public realm. The area also pioneered the revival of city centre living. 

To take forward the regeneration of the area a Creative Ropewalks programme was approved last year which identified a broad set of actions needed. A 3 year programme has been developed which includes:-

· Focusing of statutory action to prevent the decline and loss of historic buildings in the area

· Unlocking potential development sites to secure appropriate uses

· Improved maintenance of the public realm

· Managing the impact of the night-time economy

· More effective promotion of the area in the daytime

Now the Northwest Development Agency has approved a grant of £1.05m which can be used particularly for actions to help sustain the historic character of the area. It will be used to support the city council in enforcement action against owners where other efforts to secure improvements to the properties have failed.  And an extra £500,000 has been allocated from the Local Authority Business Growth Initiative to enhance the public realm.

These funds are in addition to £3.5m for Creative Ropewalks which includes contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Townscape Heritage Initiative which is providing grants to building owners to help them renovate their properties and bring them back into effective use

Cllr Warren Bradley, City Council Leader, said:- “This new funding is very welcome. Ropewalks has been a regeneration success story over the past decade but we need to keep the impetus going.  Creative Ropewalks enables us to start delivering the priorities which have been identified by the businesses and key developers in the area.

While a great deal has been achieved in Ropewalks there is the potential to do a lot more while retaining the unique character of the area.   We are supporting owners of buildings who are taking positive action to restore and improve buildings –through the Townscape Heritage Initiative, for example - but unfortunately there are other owners who are allowing their property to deteriorate and we will be taking action against them to ensure that Ropewalks’ regeneration continues."

Worry and sleepless nights increase risk of diabetes in men

PSYCHOLOGICAL distress including anxiety, insomnia, depression, apathy and fatigue can more than double the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in older men, warns leading health charity Diabetes UK.

Researchers looked at 2,127 men, born between 1938 and 1957, who had normal blood glucose levels.  They determined their level of psychological distress both at the beginning and end of the study.  The men were tested for diabetes 8 to 10 years later and it was found that the men with the highest levels of psychological distress were 2.2 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest levels.  Altogether 103 men developed Type 2 diabetes.

The link was independent of other factors including age, body mass index (BMI), family history of diabetes, smoking, physical activity and socio-economic background.

The study, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine this month, also looked at 3,100 middle-aged women but found that there was not an increased risk of diabetes in those with high levels of psychological distress.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at leading health charity Diabetes UK, said:- "It is intriguing that the increased risk of diabetes occurs in men only and it would be interesting to find out why.  The results suggest that it could be due to a hormonal or behavioural influence.

We already know from previous studies that stress is considered to be a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and others have looked at the link between sleep disorders, such as insomnia, and the condition.  This research appears to confirm that there might be something in this.

We know that risk factors which increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes are being white and over 40 years old, or of black or South Asian origin and over 25 years old, having a family member with the condition, being overweight and having high blood pressure.

If you have 2 or more of these risk factors, you should see your GP for a simple test."

Professor Anders Ekbom from the Unit of Clinical Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, conducted the study.  He said:- "Genetic and environmental factors are involved in the development of Type 2 diabetes.  We already knew that psychological distress and depression are risk factors for heart disease and suspected they may play a part in developing Type 2 diabetes, which is corroborated by this research.   The link could be a result of the way psychological distress affects the brains role in regulating hormones or perhaps because depression influences a persons diet and level of physical activity in a negative way."

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