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Issue:- 10 March 2010


BUS adverts bearing the slogan ‘Not religious? In this year’s census say so!’ are appearing on buses around Southport from today. The adverts have been funded by public donations and have been placed on more than 200 buses nationwide as the latest part of the British Humanist Association’s (BHA)’s Census Campaign, which also includes the distribution of leaflets, local campaigning, and extensive online activity.

The Census Campaign is encouraging non-religious people who did not tick the non-religious box in the 2001 census to tick ‘No Religion’ in this month’s census. It aims to raise awareness of the severe impact that misleading census data has in policy-making and resource allocation. The campaign website and Facebook page have seen encouraging support and there has been growing media interest in the run up to the census.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:- "We are asking people to be honest and if they are not religious, to say so. Ticking “No religion” means that their voices will be heard and we will have a more truthful picture of what people really believe today."

Many people chose not to answer the optional religion question in 2001, and research has demonstrated that many who ticked ‘Christian’ in 2001 did so for cultural rather than religious reasons, having no belief in god or habit of attendance at places of worship. Other, more specific, surveys before and since 2001 have demonstrated that the real figure for active believers is less than half of that produced in 2001’s census. Those figures have been misused to justify a variety of local and national initiatives that include increasing the number of state-funded faith schools, increasing public funding for religious organisations, and the entrenchment of religious influence and individuals on government and in Parliament.

If the 2011 census creates a similarly inaccurate figure, the BHA fears it may lead to further exclusion and discrimination against non-religious people and greater imbalance of privilege for religious groups and individuals.

A Swim-A-Thon At The Formby Pool Needs You!

THE Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is calling on the local community to join the first ever swim-a-thon at Formby Pool. The event, which takes place on Saturday, 2 April and Sunday, 3 April 2011, will see people of all ages swimming to help raise money to defeat lung cancer.

This week Formby Pool are holding sign up days so people can go in and register to be part of this special weekend. Clare Trevorrow, Community Fundraiser at the charity said:- "It’s going to be a really great way to start the Spring and I would encourage everyone who would like to take part, to go in the pool this week and register, so that they don’t miss out on the chance to take part."

Each team will be given half and hour in the pool to swim as many lengths as possible, groups of up to four are welcome and there will be prizes for the teams who swim the most lengths. Formby Pool are also holding their Spring Fair on the Sunday so there will be lots of fun activities taking place in the town over that weekend

To register please call into Formby Pool or the Roy Castle Shop. Alternatively you can contact Clare on:- 0151 254 7216 or email:-

Are you the Southport poetry champ?

ONE poet will represent each UK town in the National Poetry Anthology – the UK’s biggest free annual poetry competition.

Entry is free and, like all the other winners, the Southport winner gets a free copy of the book with their poem in it. One overall winner also receives £1,000.

"The National Poetry Anthology is designed to encourage new writers," said its editor, Peter Quinn. "It has rocketed in popularity and we expect the new one to be even better."

Send three unpublished poems on any subject (up to 25 lines and 160 words each) to:- United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London EC1B 1JB by the closing date of 30 June 2011, or visit:-, or phone:- 0844 800 9177.

Pet project for Shops Upfront

A PET shop with a difference will be appearing in Liverpool City Centre next week.  Creature Feature will take over the shop windows of what was the Lewis’ department store, and the empty displays will be brought to life by a pack of very unusual inhabitants.

Unique, strange, cute and very curious animated creatures will be lined up just waiting for attention from passers-by. Set against backgrounds of mountains, clouds and even a moonscape, they will react to movements from anyone near the window and will provide lots of entertainment for shoppers walking past.

The creatures were unveiled on Tuesday, 8 March 2011, and are part of the Shops Upfront programme - a Culture Liverpool project which allows artists to use empty retail units for short term exhibitions, workshops and art events, providing a platform for artists’ work and improving the look of the area.

Liverpool city council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- “Creature Feature sounds fantastic and I’m sure it will stop hundreds of people in their tracks!  Shops Upfront is all about giving local creative people the opportunity to showcase their talent – whether it’s art exhibitions, alternative therapies or something more unusual which will grab the attention of passers-by.  It’s a brilliant project which brings life to empty shop windows and brightens up our city centre.”

Artist Zoe Darnell created the creatures and Stuart Lanceley who is an editor and animator has used his skills to bring them to life.

Stuart said:- “We wanted to use this opportunity to create something special here. Part of the idea is to turn on its head the usual habit of passers-by glancing through the windows at a static display inside.   Instead of mannequins frozen in poses, there are animated creatures shuffling, buzzing and walking about. Those very same windows now allow these creatures to look back at you!”

The city council is working in partnership with Merepark who are the developers behind Central Village project and own the Paint Shop on Renshaw Street and the former Lewis’ and Watsons buildings – both of which, along with several other premises, have been used for Shops Upfront project since May 2010.

Ian Jones from Merepark said:- “With Central Village we are creating a sustainable, vibrant community around Bold Street and Central Station. Initiatives like the Shops Upfront project make a great contribution to the atmosphere of the area and we are delighted to be able to offer our support”.

FACT has also been involved in the Creature Feature project, providing the equipment and giving essential technical support.  Shops Upfront is jointly funded by the city council, the Department of Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and supported by various property agents and owners, and has been running since April 2010.  Find out more about Creature Feature or the Shops Upfront project by searching for them on Facebook.

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