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Issue:- 19 May 2011

A Happy Birthday Party For Wildlife Watch

THIS year’s Wildlife Watch children’s conference had a party atmosphere as the groups got together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wildlife Watch, the UK’s leading environmental action club for children.

Over 80 members and leaders from groups based in Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside attended the event at the Environment Education Centre in Penwortham on 7 May 2011.

The aim of the day was to bring Wildlife Watch group members together to have fun and take part in a variety of exciting and sometimes competitive environmental workshops. Activities ranged from exploring the site for animals tracks and signs such as chewed hazel nut shells and owl pellets, to building animal shelters in the woodland with our Bushcraft specialists.

The favourite activity of the day was the photography treasure hunt. Each group was given a camera and had 25 minutes to photograph 40 natural items around the grounds. The challenge tested the team’s knowledge of plants and animal identification as well as the types of habitats they may be found in. The elusive damsel fly was only captured on film by one group but everyone rose to the challenge of writing the word ‘WATCH’ with natural materials.

The quality of the photographs that were taken also stunned the judges as they not only provided proof that the items were found but many of the shots produced beautiful images of wildlife from a child’s point of view. The winning team came from Beacon Fell Watch group and they were each rewarded with a year’s complementary membership to Wildlife Watch.

The day ended with cupcakes, goody bags and a chance to celebrate some of the achievements of the groups over the last 40 years. Our longest running group has been delivering environmental education for over 21 years while many of our Wildlife Watch groups have also taken part in national campaigns, wildlife surveys or received national awards for their achievements.

Watch Coordinator Julie Norman said:- "When we asked the children to sum up what it was that they loved about Watch it seemed the range of activities and the chance to do fun things outdoors were as popular as learning about wildlife, but we were surprised to hear how many children value the social aspect of meeting new like minded friends. Everyone enjoyed the celebrations and felt proud to be a part of the junior branch of the Wildlife Trust.   So, if you wish to find out more about volunteering for Wildlife Watch or know children who would love to get closer to wildlife visit:-"

Chris Huhne’s "triumph" will boost jobs

ENERGY Secretary Chris Huhne’s success in persuading the Government to set long term carbon reduction targets gives Britain leadership in Europe on climate change.

The North West Euro-MP and Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in the European Parliament, Chris Davies, described Chris Huhne’s achievement as "a triumph."

And he believes it will drive forward investment by electricity generators who have been insisting that they need clear policy direction.

Davies said:- "This will have a huge and very positive impact. Not only will it shape our own energy policy but it will also set an example for the rest of the world."

In Brussels a debate is raging about whether governments should tighten the EU’s CO2 reduction goals for 2020 above the 20% currently agreed.

Supporters claim that such a move will drive forward investment in low carbon technologies, ensuring that European industry is not overtaken by developments in China.

But critics argue that, in the absence of an international agreement to reduce emissions, it will increase business costs for no purpose.

Davies, who worked alongside Chris Huhne in the European Parliament for 6 years, claims that Britain’s decision will shift the terms of the debate.

He said:- "Everyone has been hanging back, waiting for another EU Member State to take the first move. The UK is today giving business and government officials the clearest possible guide to the future. It will change the way in which investment decisions about electricity generation and energy saving will now be determined. The UK needs to get back to making things, not just moving money around and green technology will take advantage of engineering expertise in the North West to create jobs on Merseyside."

Office of National Statistics releases latest unemployment figures

THE Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the jobless rate amongst young people stood at 20% with the trend in unemployment amongst 16 to 24 year olds likely to rise and reach the 1 million mark.

Research also released today by the Prince’s Trust warns of an aspiration gap developing amongst Britain’s poorest families due to lack of confidence amongst young people. According to the report, based on interviews with 2,311 16 to 24 year olds from across the UK, one in four of those from deprived homes (26%) believe that ‘few’ or ‘none’ of their career goals are achievable, compared to just seven per cent of those from affluent families.

The research, which highlights a clear aspiration gap between the UK’s richest and poorest young people, shows how more than a quarter from poor homes feels that ‘people like them don’t succeed in life’.

Many experts are attributing the worrying trend to an ever widening ‘skills gap’. Carmen Watson, Managing Director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, the UK’s largest independent recruitment company responded to the latest reports commenting:- "The government needs to extend funding for education providers to get the youth ‘work-ready’ by changing their mentalities towards work and providing them with the necessary skill sets needed to break this cycle of unemployment and low aspirations."

Last month, Chancellor George Osborne also highlighted the skills gap as a real danger and voiced his concern that the UK was falling behind other developed countries in terms of having a skilled and flexible work force; a situation that would potentially undermine any future economic growth.

As a result, the government has announced extra funding for a further 250,000 apprenticeships over the next four years as well as launching its £60m apprenticeship initiative last week. Apprenticeships should prove an attractive solution to both employers and perspective employees as university fees increase. However, Carmen also highlights that the ‘right calibre’ employers look for, encompasses not just the business-specific skills required for their roles but wider more underlying qualities such as the right work ethic and passion for the role.

Watson continued:- "The skills agenda raises much concern and there are a number of vital areas we need to look at. A critical area appears to be 16 to 24 years olds where we have seen an alarmingly high unemployment rate so far this year. We are clearly not offering this age group enough training and support and, in my opinion, many fall out of training altogether. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and we need to be asking companies and training providers to seriously look at how we can engage with and support an age group that are failing to get jobs."

Award-winning Folk stars to perform benefit concert at Wigan Parish Church

WIGAN Parish Church is to welcome folk music stars Chris While, Julie Matthews, and Kellie While on Friday, 17 June 2011. The three will appear solo, in duos and as a trio and will be supported by Ruth Angell and Becky Mills. All performers are highly acclaimed musicians in the roots/acoustic world and have won numerous awards.  All profits will be split between DIAS (a support group for women and children escaping domestic violence) and the Greater Manchester Domestic abuse helpline. As a duo, Chris While and Julie Matthews have been nominated eight times for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in the Best Duo, Best Song and Best Live Act categories. The double live album Stages was released in 2000 followed in 2001 by their highly acclaimed studio album Quest produced by Kwame Yeboah (e2K, Miss Dynamite, Craig David). In 2005 they released their stripped down album Here and Now and in 2007 recorded their second live album on tour in Germany.  Chris While annually tours with her daughter Kellie While, lead singer with the Albion Band and E2k. They currently have two albums together, Chris & Kellie While and their latest album Too Few Songs. As a solo artist Chris While co-wrote (along with Ashley Hutchings and Phil Beer) over forty new English folk songs for the TV series The Ridge Riders presented by Nick Knowles. She has five solo albums and in 1999 at the first BBC Radio 2's prestigious Folk Music Awards, Chris's song The Light in my Mothers Eye was nominated in the best song category. Julie Matthews was in a duo with singer Pat Shaw, releasing an album called Lies & Alibis produced by Clive Gregson. They were nominated as best newcomers in the BBC Country Music Awards as a result of this album. From 1990 to 1997 she was a leading member of the legendary Albion Band. As well as her career with Chris the last ten years have seen Julie producing albums including Helen Watson's Somersault and Lifesize and Kellie While's Tenacious. Julie has two solo albums of her own, Such is life and Slow. In 2007 Julie toured performing the songs that she wrote for the BBC Radio Ballads.  Doors open:- 6.45pm and the concert starts at:- 7.30pm. Tickets will cost:- £15 in advance, and £17 on the night. Tickets/details phone:- 01942 824291.

Help your local street in its battle to be crowned Britain’s Best Street!

THE Google Street View Awards are a celebration of Britain’s best streets, to be voted for in a nationwide poll supported by VisitBritain, Lonely Planet, Fashion Editor of Vogue, Consumer Editor of The Sun, Deputy Editor of GQ, Deputy Editor of Dazed & Confused, Fashion Editor of Grazia, Founders of the Mr & Mrs Smith Guides, TV presenter and founder of MySingleFriend Sarah Beeny and the Travel Editor of Metro.

On 6 May 2011, Google announced the shortlisted nominations for the Google Street View Awards 2011, a celebration of Britain’s best loved streets as voted for by the public in a global poll.  3 new categories have been created for the Street View Awards 2011; Britain’s Most Romantic Street, Best Shopping Street and Hippest Street, with 20 nominated towns in each category.

Shortlisted nominations for each of the award categories have been compiled by a panel of experts from the worlds of travel, lifestyle and popular culture including tourism authority VisitBritain, author David Else (Lead Author of the The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain), leading journalists Miranda Almond (Fashion Editor, Vogue), Bill Prince (Deputy Editor of GQ), Tim Noakes (Deputy Editor of Dazed & Confused), Kay Barron (Fashion News and Features Editor, Grazia), Jane Hamilton (Consumer Editor, The Sun), Lisa Scott (Travel Editor, Metro), Jade Beer (Editor of Brides Magazine), TV personality Sarah Beeny (Property Ladder), Chrissy Illey (renowned lifestyle journalist),TV presenter Dawn Porter, X Factor Stylist Grace Woodward, Rebecca Holman (Editor of and Juliet Kinsman (Editor in Chief of the Mr & Mrs Smith Guides).

The experts were asked to nominate streets that fulfilled a pre-set criteria for each category. Their nominated streets highlight a series of British treasures ranging from famous tourist attractions such as The Mall in London and The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, to hidden avenues and courtyards such as Ashton Lane in Glasgow and School Lane in Dedham.

Britain’s Most Romantic

Each street nomination should offer a reason as to why this street is romantic, such as beautiful architecture, stunning views, a romantic ambiance, secluded getaways, restaurants and street lighting.

Deal Castle Road, Dover
The Mall, London
New Road, Robin Hood’s Bay
Montpellier Hill, Harrogate
Marine Parade, St Mawes, Cornwall
The Street, Castle Combe, Wiltshire
High Street, Lavenham
School Lane, Dedham
Church Street, Stratford Upon Avon
Copse Hill Road, Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire
A591, Grasmere, Lake District
Tib Street, Manchester
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
A83, Loch Fyne, Cairndow
Front Street, Bamburgh
Quayside, Newcastle
Mwnt, Y Ferwig
Bodfor Terrace, Aberdovey
Whitepark Road, County Antrim
Main Street, Crawfordsburn, County Down

Juliet Kinsman, Editor in Chief of the Mr & Mrs Smith Guides said:- "I love our country for its rich history, multiculturalism and mishmash of classic and contemporary; Britain's landscape flaunts the same kind of wonderful diversity with quaint cobbled coastal lanes here, grand city promenades there and all sorts in between."

Britain’s Best Shopping Street

Each street nomination should offer a broad range of shopping options from independent boutiques to high street, clothes, food and home wares; across a diverse price range.

Market Place, Kingston-Upon-Thames
Gardner Street, Brighton
Low/High Petergate, York
Skipton High Street, Skipton
Milsom Street, Bath
Promenade, Cheltenham
Bull Street, Holt
King’s Parade, Cambridge
Francis Street, Leicester
Low Pavement, Nottingham
Lord Street, Southport
Bold Street, Liverpool
Buchanan Street, Glasgow
Union Street, Aberdeen
Grey Street, Newcastle
Bondgate Within, Alnwick
Castle Street, Hay On Wye
Narberth High Street, Narberth
Lisburn Road, Belfast
Royal Avenue, Belfast

Jane Hamilton, Consumer Editor of The Sun commented:- "Despite the downturn, shopping is still Brits national past time. And as the shortlist shows, tough times have made retailers even more innovative in getting consumers through the door. The sheer range and variety of shops on show on the shortlist prove we're not just a nation of shopkeepers; but a nation of serious shoppers too."

Britain’s Hippest Street

Each street nomination should offer a hip ambiance and vibrant atmosphere. This could incorporate a variety of clubs, art galleries, shops, cafes, bars, restaurants or street art.

Redchurch Street, London
Whitecross Street, London
Call Lane, Leeds
New Quay Road, Whitby
Park Street, Bristol
Fore Street, Totnes
Mill Road, Cambridge
St Giles Street, Norwich
Spon Street, Coventry
St Paul’s Square, Birmingham
Thomas Street, Manchester
Seel Street, Liverpool
Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Ashton Lane, Glasgow
South Shore Road, Gateshead
Lime Street, Newcastle
High Street, Cowbridge
Mill Lane, Cardiff
Howard Street Belfast
Henry Street, Belfast

Tim Noakes, Deputy Editor of Dazed & Confused commented:- "The Google Street View Awards are fast becoming an essential resource for inquisitive cultural consumers everywhere. I can't wait to see which street wins!"

The 2011 Awards follow the huge success of the inaugural Street View Awards last year, which named The Shambles in York as Britain’s Most Picturesque Street.

David Else, Lead Author of The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain, said:- "As the lead author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain, I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country, and seen many of these streets firsthand. For the second year running, selecting the shortlisted streets has been great fun. I hope people have as much fun voting for their favourites."

The nominations announcement is supplemented with new research on Britain’s use of Street View which suggests that Google’s revolutionary tool is more popular than ever before;

The survey results reveal that Brits are using Street View an average of twice a week to discover new shops, restaurants, hotels and businesses across the UK. More than half of Brits polled (55%) use Street View to plan a visit to a UK tourist attraction and the surrounding area, stating that the look of a street will affect whether or not they choose to visit. Street View currently allows users to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery in over 90% of the United Kingdom.

Competition is expected to be fierce as streets from all over Britain battle it out for the coveted awards. Will Londons’ Redchurch Street, with its cool reputation and trendsetting attitude be crowned Britain’s Hippest, or will it be beaten by Manchester’s Thomas Street, with its crowd of diverse fashionistas and bohemians? Is Belfast’s Royal Avenue the undisputed shopping champion, or will it be upstaged by Liverpool’s Bold Street - or perhaps Cambridge’s King’s Parade will take the crown? Can Aberdovey’s Bodfor Terrace bring home the Most Romantic title for Wales, or will Newcastle’s Quayside pip it to the post for the North East?

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said:- "We are really pleased to be involved in the Google Street View Awards for a second year running. VisitBritain is very active in using social media to engage with audiences across the world and inspire people to explore Britain. These awards are a great opportunity to continue that engagement and showcase the breadth of the experience that awaits our overseas visitors."

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist for Google said:- "After the success of last year’s Google Street View Awards, we want to continue to celebrate the beauty and culture of Britain today. With Brits using Street View twice a week to check out various UK locations, we feel it’s more important than ever to showcase some of Britain's Best Streets in three new categories. We hope people will once again get involved and vote online for their favourite."

The winning three streets will be awarded the Google Street View Award trophy when they are announced in June.

To vote, go to:-

ON FRIDAY, 20 MAY 2011!

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