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Issue:- 19 January  2012

Children’s Centres saved from closure

LIVERPOOL City Council has devised proposals to keep all of its Children’s Centres open.  Following a detailed consultation, the Cabinet is being recommended to approve an alternative plan for Church and Mossley Hill, Childwall and Woolton, Hunts Cross and West Derby Children’s Centres which had been proposed for closure.  The council is proposing achieving the £1 million saving by streamlining staffing and administration and reconfiguring other Children’s Centres in the city.

Council Leader Joe Anderson said:- "I promised last year that we would listen hard to representations from parents, carers and staff to see if we could bring forward some form of workable alternative which would keep all of the centres open.  We have taken on board suggestions made during the consultation about finding savings by getting centres to work more closely together and sharing management to come up with a plan.  Sadly due to the severe cuts in funding from central government, we do not have money stashed away in a drawer which we can pull out to plug the hole in the budget. Although the buildings will remain open, the saving still has to be made and we will be doing that by reviewing the staffing and administration costs at all centres.  I would like to place on record my thanks to staff, parents and carers who have articulated their case so well during the uncertainty of the last few months."

The city council delayed the start of consultation over the proposals by 6 months to allow time for the centres to come up with proposals.  During the consultation, which ended before Christmas, petitions with more than 11,000 names on were handed in and public meetings were held at each centre.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said:- "I am delighted that we have been able to come up with an alternative plan which means we are able to keep all of the centres open as they are a vital lifeline for many families.  I would like to thank the campaigners for working so constructively with us to come up with and playing such an active part in the consultation.  Their passion, enthusiasm and commitment has shone through over the last year."

No decision has yet been made about which centre each of the 4 will be affiliated to, and the changes will not take effect until April 2012.  The Cabinet will consider the recommendation on Friday, 20 January 2012

EU rule breakers left with egg on their faces over battery hens

SOUTHPORT Lib Dem Euro-MP Chris Davies has received a personal assurance from the European Commission that countries which do not comply with new welfare rules for laying hens will be closely investigated and, if appropriate, taken to court.  Under intense political pressure from Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, the Commission confirmed its commitment to put in place infringement procedures as of January 2012. 

Davies met with EU Commissioner Dalli to push for swift actions against any country ignoring the new EU ban on battery cages.

He has told the media that:- "It is great news that the Commission refuses to postpone the legal deadline for a ban of battery cages for chicken and will hold to account countries who try and cheat.  The Commission must also support those countries such as the UK who are using every means at their disposal to try and ban illegally produced eggs from entering their markets.  Egg farmers in Britain and other countries that have met the new standards must not face competition from those with less concern for animal welfare.  Until a full ban on illegal eggs and egg products is put in place, consumers can take care to only buy products labelled free range or organic with regard to their egg content."

According to EU Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli, inspection teams will start their investigations in targeted EU countries as of January 2012 to collect evidence of non-compliance to back up the prosecution when it goes to court.

Davies pointed out that the Commissioner will be limited in what he can do. Davies said:- "When I met him, John Dalli pointed out that he has no police force and no army. He only has court processes and sometimes these take time!"

In the UK, Defra has revealed that 30 UK farms still use battery cages for up to 500,000 laying hens. However, the Government announced that it expected full compliance with the new hen welfare law by February and would prosecute any farmers using battery cages after this date.


THE issue of modern-day slavery is brought to British classrooms in a ground-breaking new initiative.  The International Slavery Museum is launching the UK’s first contemporary slavery teaching pack and website in partnership with the University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) and UNESCO.

Aimed at teachers instructing children aged between 10 and 14 (Key Stage 2 and 3), the aim of the resource is to support teachers who wish to explore the issues of contemporary slavery within the classroom.

Despite slavery being outlawed in every country in the world, as many as 27 million people endure forms of treatment that merit the term slavery just as surely as those bought and sold in the transatlantic slave trade 200 years ago.  Many victims of contemporary slavery are young people – the same age as those taught in schools.  The website:-

Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, says:- "This is an invaluable resource which greatly enhances the work of the International Slavery Museum. It is a major extension of our educational resources. Students learn how basic human rights, including those of people their own age, continue to be violated. We hope they will develop empathy with those enduring slavery today and become motivated to contribute to their fight for freedom."

The website has been produced with particular reference to the teaching of Citizenship within the National Curriculum of England and Wales.  It is supported by a printed 73-page teachers’ pack filled with facts including:-

 Information on contemporary forms of slavery and initiatives to outlaw and combat it.

Teaching resources consisting of a set of lesson plans and supporting materials such as worksheets and case studies.

A list of campaigns and organisations that can help with research.

A glossary with clear explanations of key concepts to help understand, think about and discuss contemporary slavery.

The new resource follows commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade in 2007 when the International Slavery Museum opened.

Dr Benjamin adds:- "Many schools marked the anniversary with assemblies, projects, displays and events. The resource underlines that slavery is not confined to history - it is a contemporary issue which through the medium of education can be challenged."

Project lead, Dr Joel Quirk from the University of Hull, says:- "We hope that when students encounter this material, they will learn about how basic human rights, including those of people their own age, continue to be violated, and that they will develop empathy with those enduring slavery today and become motivated to contribute to their fight for freedom.”  He continues:- “This resource has been produced with particular reference to the teaching of Citizenship within the National Curriculum of England and Wales. We hope it will also be used beyond these borders among students aged 10-14."

Freedom honour for charity founder

LIVERPOOL City Council will be asked next week to consider awarding the Freedom of the City of Liverpool to children’s charity founder, Stephen Yip.  Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, said:- "I am delighted to be recommending Stephen’s name to be added to the Freedom Roll of Association and Institutions of the City of Liverpool.  Stephen’s charity, KIND has spent over 35 years helping and supporting disadvantaged children and families in and around the North West; he is an inspiration to others and a great ambassador for the city.  This accolade is recognition of the hard work, dedication, kindness and generosity that Stephen has given to those less fortunate and a great way to thank him for his contributions to the city."  KIND was founded by Stephen in 1975 and has to date worked with thousands of young people and families. It recognises that every child, regardless of their background, has something important to offer and believes in the importance of investing in the future; our children.  This is done through education, by offering learning skills and personal development and encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle where children express themselves in a positive and responsible way.  In December last year Stephen was appointed as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside. Stephen’s organisation (KIND) received the LJMU Corporate Fellowship award in 2000 and Stephen has also received the MBE for his charitable works. If agreed a special ceremony will be held, at a date to be agreed, at which Stephen will receive the Freedom award.

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