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Issue:- Monday, 8 February 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 5 news items.    Page - 1.

Could your business support NHS heroes?

BUSINESSES are invited to sponsor an award scheme which recognises excellence in the NHS.  The Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust Pride Awards are in their 8th year.  They are for hospital staff and teams or those working in community health services who deserve special recognition for their excellence and professionalism. There are several awards categories including a Patients' Award. This gives the opportunity for patients and families to show their individual appreciation to a particular member of staff or team. The Trust is keen to hear from businesses across Formby, Southport, West Lancashire and wider north west, interested in supporting this year's Pride Awards. Sponsorship opportunities are available for each of the award categories, starting at:- £750.

Ann Marr, interim Chief Executive, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said:- "The annual Pride Awards offer a fantastic opportunity for the community to support their NHS heroes.  We are grateful to our existing sponsors for helping to finance this event but would love more companies to come on board. The Pride Awards are designed to celebrate the contribution made by NHS workers in delivering outstanding care to residents across Formby, Southport and West Lancashire."

Companies interested in sponsorship should email joanne.chorley@nhs.net.

Huge public support for Merseyside PCC's proposal for a modest precept rise to protect the Police budget

MORE than 80% of respondents to a public consultation have supported Merseyside Police Commissioner's proposal to raise the Police 'Precept' by a small amount to defend the Police Force from a further government cut. A total of 2,051 people responded, either in person or online, to the consultation undertaken by the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, to find out whether residents would be prepared to contribute a little extra to protect Merseyside Police's budget from a government shortfall.  Despite the Chancellor promising to protect Police budgets, when confirmation of the Police grant was provided to Police Commissioners it had been cut by 0.6%, with government ministers assuming local people would pay more through the'Police Precept', part of the Council Tax. This cut is the equivalent of £1.35m or about 26 Police Officer posts.  While the government expected taxpayers to foot the difference, the Commissioner has spent the last two weeks consulting local people to find out if they would be willing to contribute a little extra to make up the shortfall and protect Police Officer jobs.  The results revealed that 82.69% of people were willing to approve the Commissioner's proposal to increase the Police Precept by 1.95%, with just 16.23% of the public saying they were not prepared to pay more and 1% of people being unsure.

The increase amounts to 4p a week, or £2 a year, for a Band A household; the category which includes the majority of homes on Merseyside. Even after this small increase, the Police element of Council Tax Bills on Merseyside will still be among the lowest in the Country. Jane said:- "Once again local people have reminded me just how strongly the residents of Merseyside support their Police Force. At the same time there are a significant number who feel they are taxed too much. It is my responsibility to work with the Chief Constable to ensure every pound we spend is effectively and efficiently used. When the Government set the budget for the police, they failed to ask people their view and just assumed local taxpayers would be prepared to make up the shortfall. I wanted to find out whether people would genuinely be willing to do so. These results demonstrate beyond doubt that people on Merseyside are prepared to pay a little more; we even had members of the public offering to give us donations there and then. I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback and for the support they have shown. I know everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment and I don't make such a proposal lightly."

During the consultation, the Commissioner held a community consultation event in each local authority area, with 2 in Liverpool, in order to hear the views of many people as possible. She also conducted an online survey on her website.  A total of 1,581 people said they would be prepared to contribute a more, while 333 people said they did not think it was reasonable to ask tax payers to pay more for Police services. 22 people were undecided.  The Commissioner will now present her proposed budget to the Police and Crime Panel, on Tuesday, 2 February 2016, for consideration and approval. In order to balance the budget she is also intending to use £3.4m from reserves.

Older people in North West encouraged to get shingles vaccine

PHE North West is reminding eligible older people to get the shingles vaccine to help prevent the painful infection.  The shingles vaccine is offered to people aged 70 years, on 1 September 2015 and people aged 78 years, on 1 September 2015. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (chickenpox), which is commonly caught in childhood.  After a person has had chickenpox, the virus can lie dormant in the nervous tissue but may reappear as shingles. An episode of shingles typically lasts around 2 to 4 weeks. The main symptoms are pain, followed by a rash. It is possible to have shingles more than once. Although shingles vaccination is often offered at the same time as the annual flu vaccination, shingles vaccine is available at any time throughout the year to eligible people. Those who were eligible for immunisation in the 1st 2 years of the programme but have not yet been vaccinated against shingles remain eligible until their 80th birthday. These are people aged 71, 72 or 79, on 1 September 2015. Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England said:- "It's worth taking the time and effort to visit your doctor to get the shingles vaccine as it protects you against a painful condition. You only need to be vaccinated once and it's important that you get it while you're the right age. We offer the shingles vaccine routinely to individuals at the age of 70 years to boost their immunity to prevent the development of shingles and significantly reduce the incidence of post herpetic neuralgia; persistent nerve pain that can occur at the site of a previous attack of shingles.  Since the introduction of the shingles vaccine there has been a considerable reduction in the number of cases of this debilitating and painful condition."

New poll shows more children in the North West recognise Beatrix Potter than Zoella

ACCORDING to a new poll of 1,000 children from all over the UK, Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter were some of the most widely recognised names when children were asked about significant cultural, artistic and literary figures.  The poll asked children aged from 5 to 16 years about their artistic tastes and which authors, artists, writers and even vloggers they recognised by name. Revealing which of these famous names may be'extinct' within a generation and exposing what modern parents are likely to be reading and showing their children on TV, in books and in galleries, the names that children were asked to identify that they recognised were:-

Enid Blyton Zoella (Zoe Sugg, vlogger) Steven Spielberg
Beatrix Potter Van Gogh Dr Seuss
Lewis Carroll Quentin Blake  
Rudyard Kipling Claude Monet  

Results in the North West showed that authors Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton and famous artist Van Gough were ranked 1st (with 76%), 2nd (74%) and 3rd (62%) respectively when asked which people they had ever heard of; while Roald Dahl's famous illustrator Quentin Blake was ranked last with 28%. Surprisingly, as she has just under 10 million subscribers online and a best-selling book herself, YouTube sensation Zoella came in 9th (31%) behind authors Lewis Carrol (58%) and Rudyard Kipling (41%) ranked 6th and 7th respectively.  3% of all the children polled in the North West didn't recognise any names on the list which may take teachers by surprise as many feature on the national curriculum.   The online poll was commissioned for holidaycottages.co.uk to learn more about children's cultural tastes ahead of the launch of a new competition they launched to find Britain's best young authors, artists and video film directors.   Launched in January 2016, holidaycottages.co.uk's'Young Creatives' competition asks schools, Scouts, Brownies and other youth groups to enter their best work.  They have the chance to win part of the £2000 prize which includes books, holiday vouchers and photography prizes. The competition is in partnership with Penguin books and is being judged by celebrity children's authors, Jeremy Strong and Chris Bradford, alongside MD of Photobox, Robert May. There will be two age groups for entries, under 11's and under 16's.  James Morris, managing director of holidaycottages.co.uk said:- "It's very encouraging that many children recognised the authors and artists widely renowned as'classic' names. However, the poll suggests that many of the most famous painters may be starting to slip off the radar. Our aim with the'Young Creatives' competition is to encourage children to paint, write or produce short films and express their creativity. As providers of holidays, we know that when children's imaginations are stimulated by a great day at the beach or on a long forest walk, the best creative moments happen. We hope that by giving children an outlet such as the Young Creatives competition to show their best work, it will remind each of us to value the creative and artistic elements in our lives."

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