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Issue Date:- 8 September 2008

Hollyoaks Carley Stenson to walk for diabetes in St. Helens

LOCAL girl Carley Stenson, a.k.a Steph Cunningham from Channel 4 soap-drama Hollyoaks, will join more than 200 walkers to raise funds for Diabetes UK by taking part in the charitys Walk in the Park at Sherdley Park, St. Helens on 14 September 2008 at 1pm.  Cherry Bowmaker, from St Helens and Knowsley Diabetes UK Group, said:- "This yearly event encourages people to keep active, raise funds for Diabetes UK, find out more about diabetes and have an enjoyable afternoon in the park. Having Carley come along and support us is fantastic lets hope the weathers kind to us!"

Last years Walk in the Parks raised over £1.3million across the UK; the St. Helens Walk alone raised over £6,000. The more people attend, the more we can raise, so Id encourage people to encourage others to come along.  Walk in the Park is a fun event for all the family. The walk itself is only a mile and a half and the route is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Registered walkers will each receive a drawstring bag and everyone who completes the route will receive a medal.

Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputation, kidney failure and shorter life expectancy. However, early diagnosis and good management of the condition can significantly reduce the risk of complications.  There are 280,000 people with diabetes in the North West and a further 65,000 unaware they have the condition.

Diabetes UK has launched Measure Up, its outdoor advertising campaign which aims to help find the undiagnosed. The Measure Up bill boards and posters that have been advertised across the country have been aimed at raising awareness of the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes. The charity is encouraging anyone with at least two risk factors to go to their doctor for a test. Risk factors of Type 2 diabetes include:- having a large waist or being overweight, aged over 40 or over 25 for people of Black or South Asian origin, and a family history of the condition.

Carley said:- "I'm really happy to be part of this important fundraiser. Id encourage anyone in the area to register and come along."

If you would like to take part, please contact Sally Hendry on 01928 714 255. Alternatively you can email  - insert Walk in the Park in the subject title.  If easier, you can also register on the day.  To find out if you are at risk of diabetes visit:-

Housing Market Support Plan Welcomed In The North

THE National Housing Federation in the North has welcomed the Government's package for the housing market.  The measures will go some way to help those struggling to get onto the property ladder, support vulnerable homeowners at risk of repossession, and provide much needed social housing across the North.

Despite recent falls in house prices the Federation has continued to warn that house prices across the North are still unaffordable for the majority of people:-

· In the North East house prices have increased 161% from 1998 - 2007, earnings have risen just 35% in that time.

· In the North West house prices have increased 172% from 1998 - 2007, earnings have risen just 38% in that time.

· In Yorkshire and Humberside house prices have increased 174% from 1998 - 2007, earnings have risen just 42% in that time.

Around 45,000 households nationally are at serious risk of repossession. The mortgage rescue scheme was originally proposed by the Federation and the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This will see not-for-profit housing associations stepping in to buy properties from households at risk of having their homes repossessed, at the fair market rate. The household will then be able to stay in the home either as part-owners, with a share of the equity, or as social tenants paying an affordable rent. The scheme is aimed at those who are vulnerable, and have not acted recklessly.

The Government has also announced:-

· A new shared equity scheme called Homebuy Direct to give 1st time buyers the chance to buy new-build properties.

· A boost to the spending power of housing associations and local authorities to bring forward more social housing in the short term.

· Stamp duty land tax will not apply to purchases of residential property of £175,000 or less.

Derek Long, National Housing Federation head of North, said:- "The raft of measures announced today are like different pieces of a jigsaw, only by piecing them together will we get the bigger picture and be able to see how much difference they will make.

The Government is at last taking steps to ensure that first-time buyers are given a helping hand, households at risk of repossession are protected and social housing continues to be delivered in sufficient numbers. All of these proposals need scrutiny however any measures which help tackle the housing crisis is very welcome indeed. The Government need to continue to be flexible and innovative, working with housing associations to bring together housing supply and demand.

The mortgage rescue scheme means many thousands of people at risk of repossession in the North will now be able to turn to a housing association for help. It must of course ensure that only those who are vulnerable, and have not acted recklessly, will receive assistance."

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