SOUTHPORT SCHOOL BENEFITS FROM BOLTON FIRM’S ENVIRONMENTAL DRIVE
PUPILS at a school for children
with severe learning difficulties in the town are set to get their
hands dirty when they receive a fun but rather unusual corporate
donation in the next couple of weeks. And it’s all thanks to the
latest environmental push being undertaken by one of the North
West’s most enthusiastic green champions; Premex Services based in
Bolton and Liverpool.
Premex is donating 600 trees though a national ‘Trees For Schools’
initiative, to a variety of educational establishments throughout
the region, with the Merefield School in Ainsdale, scheduled to
receive 60 specimens comprising 10 Silver Birch, 10 Ash, 10 Goat
Willow, 10 Cherry, 10 Common Alder and 10 Small Leaved Lime trees.
Having previously indicated a desire to house some sponsored trees
to Tree Appeal; the environmental initiative established to promote
biodiversity and help replace woodlands lost to deforestation, storm
damage and disease, the school’s management was delighted to hear
that it had been chosen this time round.
The school plans to become a ‘Forest School’, adopting an innovative
educational approach to play and learning where individuals of any
age can be encouraged and inspired through positive outdoor
experiences. So, not only will the trees make an aesthetic
improvement to the landscape but they’ll also provide a valuable
addition to the already excellent teaching resources at Merefield.
With delivery expected on 4 March 2010, teachers and pupils will be busy
getting their new arrivals into the ground before the end of the
traditional planting season, creating an opportunity for staff to
deliver more engaging science, geography and art lessons. As
well as bringing environmental studies and weather watching to life,
the trees will provide new homes for bugs, birds and animals.
Children will be able to watch them grow, observe how wildlife is
encouraged and chart the impact of the changing seasons upon this
newly created and visually more stimulating habitat.
Tree Appeal, patronised by Professor David Bellamy, has now supplied
tens of thousands of trees to over 400 UK schools at absolutely no
cost – something made possible by the donations of corporate
partners, like Premex, determined to make a positive impact on the
environment. This latest batch of saplings takes Premex’s
contribution to 1,000 trees in just over 12 months.
Automatically, Merefield will become a ‘School on the Wildside’; a
member of an extensive Tree Appeal-managed educational community
which helps schools learn more about biodiversity, enabling staff
and students to share news, observations and measurements with
fellow recipients of ‘trees for schools’ via their own dedicated web
Schools also have the opportunity to participate in events
like Tree Measuring Week and the Wild at School Awards which
recognise the achievements of individual establishments, pupils and
teachers, and the classroom projects and studies making outstanding
contributions to the environment.
Donald Fowler, managing director of Premex Services, explains the
reasons for his company’s involvement with the initiative:- “As
the UK’s leading provider of independent medical reports,
investigations, diagnostic and rehabilitation services, we use
nearly eight million pieces of paper every year and realise that
it’s important for us to mitigate our impact on the environment.
Over the last 12 months or so, through recycling and the
introduction of market leading electronic systems, we have generated
an annual environmental saving equivalent to over 900 trees.
But, we are also committed to creating a more sustainable,
ecologically diverse future for the communities that surround us.
These local communities provide us with the vast majority of our
workforce and I believe that companies have a duty to improve the
lives of those they touch; employees and their families as well as
local neighbours and society at large. By sponsoring the donation of
trees through the Trees For Schools scheme, we are making a positive
contribution to the environment and the region’s education.
Donations like this make our staff proud and they are a tangible way
for us as a business to give something back.”
Everybody involved in this round of plantings can also take heart
from the knowledge that their actions are having a knock-on effect
internationally. For every 100 trees donated by Premex, Tree Appeal
will be despatching a brand new computer to a primary school in one
of the poorer parts of Africa, giving hundreds of young children
over there a grounding in computer skills that they might not
otherwise be able to acquire.
plans to improve democracy
Council is set to cut out jargon and pilot the webcasting of
meetings as part of a wide-ranging plan to improve democracy.
The city council’s Executive Board will consider a report on how to
take forward recommendations made by the Liverpool Democracy
The Commission was established in 2008 to look at ways of getting
more people involved in decision making and was chaired by Professor
Michael Brown, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Liverpool John
Moores University. It made a series of suggestions, and now
the council’s Constitutional Issues Committee has brought forward a
series of proposals to put them into action. These include:-
► Getting staff who write letters and reports to use plain English
rather than terminology, jargon and acronyms
► Piloting webcasting a future council meeting to gauge interest
from local residents and the media
► Training elected members in how to use social networking sites
such as Facebook and Twitter to improve communication with
Councillor Paula Keaveney, executive member for ethical governance,
who sat on the Liverpool Democracy Commission, said:- “We
spend a large amount of taxpayers money so it is absolutely crucial
that we give as many people as possible the chance to get involved
in the decisions we make. We need to tear down some of the
barriers that make it more difficult than it should be for people to
understand the work of the council and how the decisions we make
impact on their lives.
Too many local residents see the council as remote and not relevant
to them and for the sake of local democracy we have to tackle it.
I am particularly passionate about using technology such as the
internet to improve the way councillors communicate with the public.
I also want to cut out the bamboozling and impenetrable jargon which
has infected local government because local residents simply don’t
understand it and it is a huge turn off.”
There is also a proposal to develop a mentoring scheme aimed at
groups of people who are under-represented on the council such as
those with sight and hearing impairment, and users of British Sign
Language. And to get young people more involved in politics, a
representative from the schools parliament will be elected to some
council committees, while lessons about local democracy will be
introduced into the curriculum. Plans are also afoot to work more
closely with higher education students in the city.
Consideration will also be given to making crèche facilities
available for elected members and changing the start times of
meetings to make the council more family-friendly.
A recognition scheme will also be developed for employers who
support and encourage their staff to become a councillor.
Following consideration by the Executive Board, the report will go
before a full meeting of the city council for final approval.
CALL FOR RUNNERS IN NORTH WEST
meningitis charity, the Meningitis Trust, is appealing for all
budding athletes in North West who are looking to take part in a
local run to choose to run in aid of the charity.
The Trust is the only charity to offer a range of free professional
services and community based support for people affected by
meningitis and relies solely on voluntary donations to continue its
Each runner’s efforts will go towards helping the thousands of
people struggling to cope with the impact of meningitis in the UK
Chris Hughes, Community Development Officer at the Meningitis Trust,
says:- “Taking part in a running event is a great way to get
fit and raise funds at the same time. Without support from people
taking part in events for us, we wouldn’t be able to continue
providing professional support services and raising vital awareness
of this devastating disease”. You will be required to
sign up on the official run’s websites. Once signed up, please
contact Chris Hughes at the Meningitis Trust on:- 0845 120 4764 or
Runners will receive a Meningitis Trust fundraising pack, which
includes a T-shirt, fundraising ideas, sponsorship forms, and
training tips to prepare them for the big day.
The Meningitis Trust helps around 20,000 people each year,
supporting anyone affected by this life-changing disease through its
free professional aftercare and support services. These include:- a
freephone 24 hour helpline on:- 0800 028 18 28. It is staffed by
nurses, counselling, financial support grants, home visits, one to
and now art therapy.