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Publication date:- 2017-03-17

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 7.

Local pubs staging 12 day Real Ale Festival

AWARD winning beers from award winning breweries across the UK and overseas will be available at 2 pubs in Southport during a 12 day beer festival. Sir Henry Segrave and The Willow Grove, both in Lord Street, will each be serving up to 30 beers from Italy, Brazil, Holland and the USA, as well as the UK, during a festival, which runs from Wednesday, 22 March until Sunday, 2 April inclusive.  The overseas beers are:- Back Garden (Bagby Brewing, USA), Mild the Gap (Birrificio MC-77, Italy), Flink (Brouwerij 'T IJ, Holland), Burton Pale Ale (Bodebrown Brewery, Brazil) and Continental IPA (St Louis Brewery, USA).

Each of the overseas brewers has won awards for its beer in its respective country.

The UK beers include:- Salopian Lemon Dream (named The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Champion Speciality Beer in 2012), Mauldons Blackberry Porter (winner of SIBA East's Champion Speciality Beer in 2016), Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted (voted Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Champion Beer of Britain 2003) and Acorn Darkness (winner of a bronze medal at the 2016 CAMRA Great British Beer Festival).

Several unusual flavours will be present in some of the beers, including blackberries, coffee, lemon and lemongrass.

Customers will be able to sample any three of the real ales in special third-of a pint glasses for the price of a pint.

Sir Henry Segrave manager, Ian Radford, said:- "We are promising our customers a superb range of award winning ales, including some great beers from overseas and many others from brewers across the UK. The festival will be the perfect way for real ale enthusiasts to enjoy a range of excellent beers over 12 days."

Tasting notes on all of the beers will be available in each of the pubs.

₤1.2 million investment planned to improve Council Customer Services

₤1.2 MILLION is set to be invested in improving Customer Services at Wirral Council, making it easier and quicker to contact the organisation and access services.  The investment; part of the Council's 'Access Wirral' programme; will see the Council put in place a new, state of the art system to help process residents' enquiries, making things like applying for benefits, reporting faults with streetlights and potholes, and paying Council Tax much easier and more efficient.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, cabinet member for community engagement and communications, said:- "Contacting the Council needs to be as easy as possible; it should be efficient, quick and help resident get the support they need. Access Wirral will help us do just that. Access Wirral will deliver a quick, seamless and efficient route for residents to contact the Council. By removing the duplication of systems, it will help staff provide much needed support in the most efficient way. By investing ₤1.2million in a state of the art system, we will improve our Customer Services, by enabling people to be self sufficient, by accessing services quickly, digitally and easily. With these improvements, we will be able to drastically reduce the waiting time for low risk claims for Housing Benefit. This would see those claims paid sooner, protecting vulnerable residents from turning to expensive pay day lenders. The investment allows us to make savings in the near future; once the system is embedded and working to specification, and it will enable us to direct our skilled staff resources into making sure residents get more 1 to 1, personal support to successfully and confidently access the services they need. Access Wirral is a major step forward in how the Council supports residents."

The 1st Phase of the project would see the Council invest in a new system which would simplify processes associated with Council Tax and Housing Benefits, before it is rolled out across other areas such as Street Scene. The system would enable residents to log and track their requests, removing the need for repeat calls to the call centre. This would in turn free up staff time to concentrate on more complex requests for services, and to focus on providing more personal support to more vulnerable residents.

A decision on the investment and wider project plan will be made by the Council's Cabinet, on 27 March 2017.

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