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Issue Date:- 06 October 2008


Sefton Coast and Countryside Service’s Ian McAleavy (left) is presented with the prize cheque by David Hunter (right) of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

SEFTON Council’s Leisure Service’s Coast and Countryside Service has been proclaimed “best of the best” by judges of a touring exhibition showcasing the cream of the Northwest’s sustainable timber industry.

This summer’s “Take a Bough” roadshow celebrated the beauty of local wood, with all of the exhibition’s pieces - from coffee tables to sculptures - made from timber from The Mersey Forest, the network of community woodlands stretching across Merseyside and North Cheshire.

The Coast and Countryside Service showcased a whole range of outdoor furniture in the exhibition ranging from gates, fingerposts, way-markers, nestboxes to benches and much more, all produced using “FSC” sustainable timber from the Council’s woodlands, felled as part of the woodland management plan to create a healthy woodland for the future.

All of the products are made in the B.A.P’s Pinewood workshop at Ainsdale by ‘The Workshop Rangers’ adults with learning disabilities who are part of the successful inclusion initiative, with the fruits of their labour winning a £300 prize, presented by David Hunter of the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

Over the course of the summer the winning timber has traveled across the region as part of the “Take a Bough” tour which has visited Croxteth Country Park, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Frodsham Castle Park Arts Centre, acting as a real life example that out-of-town superstores are not the only option when it comes to great furniture.

Paul Nolan, Director of “Take a Bough” organisers The Mersey Forest, said:- “Sefton Coast and Countryside Service’s excellent timber products thoroughly deserve this recognition.  Their work both involves the local community and is environmentally sustainable too – using local timber can really help to reduce transport emissions compared to importing wood from further afield.”

To see some of the other entries in “Take a Bough”, visit their online exhibition.

Closing in on cheats abroad

A new whistleblowers' hotline to help catch benefit cheats living it up on the 'Costas' was launched on 25 September 2008 in Spain. 
In the first trial of its kind, ex-pats in Alicante who suspect benefit fraud will be able to report their concerns on a local number.  Cases will be passed by the operator to investigators in the UK, who will also be able to draw on the team's on-the-ground intelligence.  Anti-Benefit Fraud Minister, James Plaskitt said:- "Most ex-pats are law-abiding and outraged by people who abuse the system.  Helped by this hotline, the sun will now set on the cheats."  Accoding to the epartment for Work and Pensions, the cost of benefit fraud committed abroad is an estimated £93 million a year.  It involves a range of scams such as people on means-tested benefits going abroad but not declaring their absence, an individual working while "sick" and legitimate payments taken over after the rightful recipient dies. The pilot will test the usage and quality of information provided and posters advertising the line have appear across Alicante.  The initiative is part of a growing relationship between Spain and the UK on social security issues that already includes agreements to data-match and share death notifications.  Later this week James Plaskitt will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to cement the Anglo-Spanish partnership.  James Plaskitt added:- "Benefit fraud is a crime no matter where it happens.  We are forging strong relationships with governments across Europe to help us catch the thieves who pick our pockets from beyond our shores."

Top 10 driving songs revealed

STEPPENWOLF'S Born to be Wild tops the charts in a survey to find the UK’s most popular driving song.  In an online poll by leading automotive repair specialist, Mr Clutch, 2,000 motorists were asked to vote for the songs that really rev their engines.

2nd to Steppenwolf sees Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, closely followed by Layla by Eric Clapton, ACDC’s Highway To Hell and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.

Born to be Wild was 1st released in 1968 and was made popular by the soundtrack to the hit film, Easy Rider.

Joseph Yussuf, founder and chief executive of Mr Clutch Autocentres said:- “Nothing can beat the feeling you get when you have an open stretch of road and a classic guitar anthem comes on the radio.  There is something about driving and particular songs that excite people.  Our cars are the one place where we can sing out loud to a classic guitar track when we think no one is looking.  I think it must be the opening 1st 2 lines, ‘Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway’ that made this song top the poll.”

Top 10 driving songs:-

1) Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild
2) Bruce Springsteen- Born to Run
3) Eric Clapton – Layla
4) ACDC – Highway To Hell
5) Motorhead – Ace Of Spades
6) Meatloaf- Bat Out Of Hell
7) Guns ‘N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
8) White Snake - Here I Go Again (On My Own)
9) Boston – More than a feeling
10) Kiss – Crazy Nights

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