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Issue:- 17 March 2010


RESIDENTS in Southport are being warned of bogus callers operating in the town offering cavity wall insulation.  Sefton Trading Standards has received a number of calls from concerned residents who have been contacted at the doorstep.  The trader asks residents if they have recently received any paperwork for a grant in relation to cavity wall insulation. He then offers to undertake a survey to see if they qualify for insulation.   One of the complainants has since contacted the Energy Saving Trust who know of no genuine traders canvassing in the area.  Trading Standars officers are asking residents to be on their guard and to not deal with cold callers who appear out of the blue or invite them into their property.

Sefton Council Trading Standards manager, Andrew Nesbitt, said:- "Our advice is simple, don't buy from the door.  Always try and obtain 3 quotes for any work, and where possible get any trader contact details.  Legitimate companies do not usually just turn up unannounced at the doorstep so don't feel intimidated by saying no to traders who operate in this way.  To get real advice and help on cavity wall insulation, always contact a specialist."

For help and advice on all consumer issues, contact Consumer Direct on:- 08454 040506   


125 years of caring for ex-Service personnel and their families is rewarded on 24 March 2011, when the County of Merseyside Branch of SSAFA Forces Help receives the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in a ceremony at Liverpool’s Town Hall.   SSAFA Forces Help is the oldest ex-Services charity in the country and offers friendship, advice and practical or financial assistance to anyone in need who has ever served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy or is the dependant of such a person. The County of Merseyside Branch has six Divisions, covering the City of Liverpool and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens, and is one of the busiest in the country; it helps around 1500 people and raises over £400.000.00 in grants each year.   The award of the Freedom of the City is the highest honour a civic authority can bestow and traces its origins to the beginning of the 13th Century but the Freedom Roll of Associations and Institutions, which extends the honour to organisations with long and significant connections to the City, was created in 1991. The County of Merseyside Branch of SSAFA Forces Help now joins such bodies as The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, the Merchant Navy Veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic, St John’s Ambulance (Merseyside) and The Hillsborough Families on the Freedom Roll and is the first SSAFA Branch in the country to receive such an honour.  The Freedom Scroll will be presented to The Chairman of SSAFA Merseyside, Colonel Martin Amlôt OBE DL, by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Hazel Williams at Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday, 24 March 2011. The ceremony, commencing at 5.00 p.m., will be held in the presence of civil and Service dignitaries and some 100 SSAFA Volunteers and their families. It will include displays by the Band and Drums of 4th Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and a Guard of Honour formed by Cadets of the Sea Cadet Corps, the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps.

School pupils compete for a place in the UK’s first Foreign Language Spelling Bee

A brand new Routes into Languages initiative is preparing North West school pupils to test their foreign language skills in the hope to secure a place in the National Final in Cambridge.

Over 8,500 school pupils from around 70 North West schools have been taking part in a new teaching initiative, which sees year 7 pupils competing to spell the highest number of words in a foreign language.   The Spelling Bee, launched on the European Day of Languages in September 2010, uses the format of traditional Spelling Bees to encourage young pupils to learn new vocabulary in French, German and Spanish.

Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in the UK comments:- “With an estimated 11 per cent of small and medium sized businesses losing contracts due to a lack of language skills, it's important that we equip today's children – tomorrow's workforce – with the best possible skills to secure interesting and challenging jobs; we fully support this fun and innovative way of encouraging young school children to learn foreign languages".

‘Spelling Bee’ was devised by teacher, Jane Driver from the Language Department at Comberton Village College, Cambridge and has been rolled out by the National Languages programme, Routes into Languages. The aim is for students in Year 7 to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language (French, Spanish and German) and to raise the profile of language learning through a class, school and regional competition.

On Wednesday 16 March the North West regional Final is taking place at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), where 100 pupils, who have won earlier rounds of the competition, will come together to fight for a place in the National Final.

Dr Sharon Handley, Director of Routes North West and Head of Languages at MMU, says:- “Languages play such a vital role in education and beyond, but they are a hugely under-used resource in the UK. We hope this event will serve its purpose in teaching younger pupils the benefits of learning languages.”

The event will culminate with a prize-giving of shields for the top four spellers from each language and a trophy for the school where the winning pupil is from. Schools competing are from across the region, including Cheshire, Merseyside, North Manchester and Lancashire.  The National Final will take place in Cambridge in July 2011, where pupils from across the country will come together to compete determining an overall winner for French, German and Spanish.

New phase for Edge Lane improvements

MAJOR improvement works to create a safer and more attractive route into the city centre and reduce congestion, have got underway.  Traffic management for the latest phase of the £350 million Edge Lane Project – the Edge Lane West scheme - began on Monday, 14 March 2011. The roadworks, between Hall Lane and Botanic Place, are a key part of the project to regenerate the corridor and improve the strategic link between the M62 and the city centre.

The works, which began on 31 August 2010, will see contractor, Birse Civils Ltd, widening the road to become a dual carriageway, building a new central reservation, re-modelling existing junctions, improving pedestrian facilities and installing new street lighting.

The traffic management will be in place for approximately 12 months, until February 2012. The whole of Edge Lane will become a dual carriageway by the end of the scheme, which will reduce bottlenecks of congestion and improve safety and journey times into and out of the city centre.

During the works, Edge Lane will be reduced to a single-lane outbound from the city centre. Inbound traffic will remain in two lanes during the morning peak and will reduce to a single lane at all other times.  The morning peak hours for the 2-lanes inbound are 7am to 9.30am.

All residents and businesses in the area have been consulted about the works, as well as the emergency services, to minimise disruption.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said:- “Our ambitious plans for Edge Lane are progressing really well, and these works are a hugely important part of that work. They will create a long-term solution to congestion and create a safer and attractive route into Liverpool.  We do appreciate that these works will inevitably cause delays for some, and we apologise in advance for that. However, it is impossible to bring about these massive improvements, which will benefit motorists for many years to come, without some short-term disruption. We would ask motorists to be patient while this work is on-going.”

Nick Kavanagh, the city council’s Director for Regeneration, said:- “This is the final phase of a vital project which will transform what is the most important route into the city centre as well as the city’s link to the M62. These improvements are something that Liverpool people – and in particular the business community - have been requesting for decades, and we’re delighted that we are now making it happen.  We are working hard with our partners to minimise disruption and are doing all we can to make it as painless as possible for motorists.”

The city council is asking drivers to consider other routes while the works are ongoing, as well as suggesting they leave more time for their journey - especially during the initial phases of the work as people get used to the changes.

The introduction of traffic management for the Edge Lane West scheme comes a week ahead of the transfer of traffic onto the new carriageway at Hall Lane, which will start on Monday 21 March.

The Hall Lane roadworks, part of the £19 million Hall Lane Strategic Gateway scheme, will create a much improved route into the city from the east and also take traffic out of residential areas. The new section of road is called Low Hall, (from the Prescot Road/Low Hill junction), and Mount Vernon Road, (from West Derby Street to Edge Lane). Hall Lane itself will become an access only road and will be blocked off at both ends. Access will be via Mount Vernon Green.

It was decided to introduce the traffic management measures on Edge Lane ahead of the opening of the new Hall Lane carriageway to allow drivers to become accustomed to the restrictions on Edge Lane before the new route at Hall Lane opens.

The Edge Lane West scheme – which has received the majority of its funding from the Department for Transport - is itself part of a wider scheme to regenerate the whole of Edge Lane and Kensington Fields area. Partners include Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, Homes & Communities Agency, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Kensington Regeneration, Riverside Housing, New Heartlands Pathfinder, Government Office for the North West, Department of Transport, and the private sector. These partners have worked together to develop a regeneration programme for the whole area.

Led by Liverpool Vision, the Edge Lane Project, a £350 million investment in the area, includes new housing, over 1,000,000 square feet of new and refurbished commercial and retail floorspace and community facilities.

Rob Monaghan, Liverpool Vision’s Head of Development, said:- “This final section of highway improvements will complete the work on Edge Lane which started at Edge Lane Drive in 2006. The enhancements to the carriageway alongside the new retail, residential and commercial schemes will provide a fitting gateway into the City of Liverpool.”

It is hoped the project will safeguard nearly 2,000 jobs, improve local services and improve the local environment with over 100 new trees being planted.  For more details on the Edge Lane Project, please visit:- highwayprojects or edgelane.

Youth Art and Poetry Competition

ANIMAL Aid are launching its Third Nationwide Youth Art and Poetry Competition and is inviting all young people between the ages of 11 and 16 to take part!  This year’s theme - Is it right to eat animals? is bound to stimulate debate and inspire some exciting pieces of art and passionate poems. The deadline for submissions is 27 May 2011 and the winning entries will be displayed at a London award ceremony, where the winners will be given their prizes by TV presenter Wendy Turner-Webster. For more information see:-

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