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Issue:- 5 September 2013


THE class is suitable for complete beginners, meditators from other traditions or anyone just curious to learn about meditation in the Samatha tradition.

Everyone is welcome; just turn up! There is nothing to sign up for and nothing to pay although donations towards the costs of room hire and refreshments are welcomed.

The word 'Samatha' means calm. If practiced regularly it leads to greater calm and clarity, more awareness and sense of wellbeing in daily life. The meditation practice uses a technique of breathing mindfulness, which is said to be suitable for all types of people. It is particularly suited to people who are looking to bring some stillness and balance into a busy life.

Thousands have benefited from learning Samatha meditation since it was introduced into the UK in the 1960's from Thailand. Now classes are held across England, in parts of Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and North America and at the Samatha Centre in Mid-Wales. This is the 1st class to open in the Southport area.

The meditation practice has a number of stages to gently and gradually train the mind and the full course takes 6-9 months to complete. As well as the meditation technique some supporting theory is also taught. Each meditator has the opportunity for one-to-one support from the teacher to discuss and so aid individual progress.

Classes will meet weekly during term times, on Sundays from 8-10pm. Newcomers are welcome to join at any time during the term. Wear warm, comfortable clothes and if possible bring one or more cushions that you are comfortable to sit on.

The new class for Beginners in Buddhist Meditation will start on 22 September 2013, at 8pm, meeting at:- Churchtown United Reformed Church, Botanic Road, Southport, PR9 7NG.

Huge wage squeeze means workers have lost more than £36 a week since 2007

IN the last 5 years workers in the North West have suffered a huge squeeze on their incomes, with average pay falling by 8% in real terms; a cash loss of £36.41 to employees working a 40 hour week.

A new TUC analysis of official figures, compares hourly pay rates in 2007 (at 2012 prices) with those in 2012, and shows the extent of the pay squeeze being felt by families across the UK as incomes fail to keep pace with rising prices.

The North West is the hardest hit region in the UK. Here average hourly pay has fallen from £11.43 in 2007 to £10.52 in 2012; an 8% real terms drop. Full-time workers in the region are taking home £36.41 less in real terms a week as a result. In some parts of the region, real wage losses are more than £45 a week (Blackburn and Rochdale).

Across the North West men have seen their pay hit harder than women. According to the TUC analysis male workers have seen their hourly real pay rates drop from £13.03 to £11.75, a 9.8% fall which works out at £51.11 less in their weekly pay packets in 2012 compared to 2007. Female employees saw their wages decline by 5.2% in real terms over the five years, a loss of £20.91 for an average full-time worker on a 40 hour week.

Commenting on the figures, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:- "Across the UK families are still really struggling to make their money go far enough; and are often having to go into debt; as they experience a huge squeeze on their household incomes.  With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards or their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items."

North West TUC Regional Secretary, Lynn Collins said:- "Families throughout the region are feeling the real impact of job losses, pay freezes and short working, directly in their purses and wallets. We know that just meeting basic necessities like school uniforms for children starting back this week is proving ever more difficult.  The TUC wants to get families back on track, campaigning for economic growth to create more jobs and for a living wage to lift workers out of the poverty trap. This is just one of the areas we will be focussing on when the Conservative Party conference comes to our region on 29 September. Austerity doesn't work and the North West needs a pay rise urgently."

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