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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 1 December  2011

Christmas message to blood donors

PEOPLE across Merseyside are being urged to show some festive spirit by giving blood this December. As the Christmas holidays approach and many people are busy preparing for the festive break by shopping and celebrating with family and friends, it’s easy to forget that appointment in the diary to donate blood.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is asking people to think of hospital patients who rely on vital blood transfusions during December; those receiving life-saving cancer treatments, surgery and emergency care which continues in hospitals every day of the year.

In addition to the challenges that Christmas can bring, if last year’s wintry weather repeats itself, blood donations could fall by as much as 20% over the festive season.

Barbara Blanche, NHSBT’s lead donor relations manager for Merseyside, said:- "The arctic conditions across Merseyside last winter presented severe challenges for the blood supply, yet blood donors made heroic efforts to reach donation sessions. We are now calling on our regular donors to show warm hearts by helping to save lives and making a date to donate this Christmas."

Anyone aged between 17 to 65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.

For more information or to book an appointment, call:- 0300 123 23 23 or visit

Major disaster averted as Santa’s sleigh makes emergency landing

REPORTS have been received that Santa’s sleigh has made an emergency landing at Spaceport during a routine pre Christmas maintenance flight; luckily for Santa, Wallace and Gromit were on hand to offer him the use of their famous orange rocket, so present deliveries on Christmas Eve will not be affected and every boy and girl who has been very good this year will receive a visit from Santa.  To make sure you’re on his list, why not visit Santa and his friends, Wallace and Gromit, at his Spaceport Grotto where you can check out the orange rocket for yourself, visit themed interactive galleries and learn all about the Moon, our Solar System and the history of space exploration. Entry to the grotto is FREE and includes a FREE ferry ride plus a FREE GIFT for each child.  Santa will be in his grotto on 3 December  to  4 December, 10 December  to 11 December 2011, from 10.30am, last admission 4.30pm, closes 6pm. Spaceport is at Seacombe Ferry Terminal, Wirral, CH44 6QY. Terms and Conditions apply.  Need more info go to:-

Savings recommendations considered

LIVERPOOL City Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve budget options which will meet 60% of the savings it needs to make in 2012/13.  At a special meeting at 8am on Friday 25 November at Liverpool Town Hall, it is being recommended that options totalling £11.2 million are approved.  The proposals include improving income, procuring services at a lower price and carrying out service reviews to look at how departments can operate more efficiently and effectively to achieve a saving.  In addition, the council will save a further £19.5 million by updating its financial planning assumptions and reducing the amount of money set aside for contingencies and liabilities.  In total, the recommendations will deal with almost £31 million of the £50 million that needs to be found next year.  Council Leader Joe Anderson said:- "When we announced the £90 million of options which officers brought forward, the budget working group agreed to whittle them down and agree the easier options quite quickly.  But people need to know that these are not just efficiencies and will still have an impact on the way the council functions. It will mean the introduction of charges for some services, or that it will take us longer to do some things.  If you take money out of the support functions of the organisation it will have an impact on the service which people receive. That is why these are decisions we are taking now, rather than last year. We have also had a long, hard look at the money that we hold for contingencies and liabilities and made a decision to reduce it where it is prudent and sensible to do so.  We are taking these decisions now because in conversations with partners they have told us that they are better able to deal with decisions when we give them as much notice as possible. It also enables us to get the maximum benefit from the savings in the next financial year and means we can concentrate our efforts on the more difficult decisions for the remaining £20 million that we have to find.  I want to make sure we have as much information as possible about each proposal to fully evaluate it, before deciding whether we can’t afford to continue it, or where we need to change the standard of service. Rather than salami slicing services each year, we are taking a longer term view which enables us to look ahead and envisage where we will be in 2015."

A special full council meeting will be held on 12 December and asked to approve the recommendations.  In addition to the £50 million of savings which need to be found for 2012-13, the council estimates it will need to find a further £18.5 million in 2013-14 and £33.3 million in 2014-15.  It means total savings of almost £102 million over the next 3 years on top of the £91 million that had to be found during 2011-12.  Further joint budget working party discussions involving the ruling Labour administration and the Liberal Party will be held, and broadcast on the internet.  Consultation events for stakeholders and elected members will also be held over the next few weeks and a further Public Question Time will take place in January 2012.  People can write to Budget Views, Liverpool City Council, Chief Executive’s Office, Municipal Buildings, Liverpool, L2 2DH or by email.  A ‘You Choose’ online budget calculator has also been launched ( so residents can have a go at ‘balancing the budget’ and have a say about the services that are important to them, and where they think the council can save money.  The council will set its overall budget for 2012/13 in March 2012.

Veterans Christmas Lunch...

THE event is to be held in the Royal Clifton Hotel on Thursday the 22 December 2011, from 13:00 for 13:30, all Veterans and their guests are very welcome. The cost is £15 per person for a 3 course Christmas lunch with tea and coffee plus the chance to socialise with other like minded people from local associations and ex-service organisations. For further information please contact S Hawkshaw on:- 0791 491 8381.

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