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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 100

Date:- 24 May 2003

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POD PUT THROUGH PACES...............

DISABLED, elderly and blind groups are helping to shape the future of local government in Liverpool. 

Representatives from voluntary and disabled-led groups in the city are putting one of the council’s hi-tech pavement pods through its paces to make sure it’s accessible and user-friendly for everyone. 

The special consultation is to involve as many different sections of the community as possible in the development of the pods, transforming the way people can get in touch with the council.

Located at the heart of Liverpool’s communities, the pods will allow local people who don’t have access to computers to contact the council, on-line, round-the-clock. People wanting to contact friends and relatives in the UK or overseas will also be able to use the pods to send e-mails, text messages, photo mail and even picture postcards, free of charge.

From on-line payments, to changing an address, to booking tickets for festivals and concerts, the kiosks will give even more people easy access to council services, with touch screens and printing facilities. A useful ‘Help Me’ button will also give people on-screen help if they get stuck.

The pods will be opening up a whole new ‘e-world’ for local residents and visitors to the city. 

By 2007, tourists could be stopping off at one of the city’s pods throughout the city, to find out about the history and culture of the exact part of Liverpool they are in, and its location in relation to the rest of the city. 

They could embark on their own hi-tech history trail of the city, and will even be able to log on to the city’s website and browse through over 90 million images, via the city’s on-line, digital archives - thanks to the proposed £40m Digital Heritage Centre at the central library. Visitors and locals alike could even trace their family tree from the pavement. 

The hi-tech pods will be vandal proof and durable, and linked to CCTV. They could provide direct access to the police, Crimestoppers and the Safer Merseyside Partnership, as well as information and access to GP’s, local businesses, the job centre, voluntary services and tourist information.

The city council’s executive member for e-government, Councillor Chris Newby, said:- “The introduction of on-street kiosks throughout the city will close the digital divide and bring council services even closer to our communities. 

It’s vital that we communicate with all our residents and make sure the kiosks are accessible, convenient and easy to use for everyone. I’m delighted this consultation is taking place to give different sections of the community the chance to play their part in shaping the development of the kiosks.” 

A pilot of eight pods are planned by the end of the year in Woolton Village, Allerton Road, Toxteth, Garston, Anfield, Croxteth, West Derby Road and the city-centre. There are plans to set up a full network of kiosks, covering every area of the city.

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AN UNUSUAL opportunity for visitors to the city to tempt them to view Liverpool by taking a tour of the world and its religions in a diverse attempt to break barriers of prejudice and promote awareness of religion.

A new guide entitled ‘Liverpool – Walk of Faith’ is now available charting the history of the different religions and faiths, which have emerged and developed in the city over the centuries.

Featuring a brief history of the various faiths, a map of the sites of worship and other places of interest, the guide is the first attempt to give tourists a flavour of Britain’s first multi-cultural city.

The free publication, launched on May 20 at Hope College has been produced to coincide with Liverpool’s Year of Faith and Communities in 2004, which is part of a seven-year lead up in Liverpool’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Such is the diversity in Liverpool - the guide covers several denominations of Christianity, as well as churches serving the German, Greek, Italian, Polish and Swedish communities, which developed because of the rise in prominence of the city’s port. 

Produced by the city council and Hope College, the guide also takes visitors through the creation of Liverpool’s first synagogue in 1807, to the UK’s first mosque in 1899 at Brougham Terrace, to the more recent opening of centres to serve the local Hindu and Sikh populations.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said:- ‘’In the current world climate, Liverpool can offer an example of religious tolerance and co-existence. The city is fortunate to have been a world port, which has in turn educated and developed an attitude of appreciation to a multitude of faiths and cultures. 

By trying to understand differences and confronting prejudices, these many diverse communities have contributed enormously to the past and present of Liverpool. This guide is just one way we can ensure future generations recognize and celebrate the benefits of this simple but amazing lesson.’’

Former Bishop of Liverpool David Sheppard is delighted with the guide. He said:- ‘’Faith communities have established many of the foundations of Liverpool’s varied and colourful life, and faith was an important strand in Liverpool’s successful short listing for European Capital of Culture 2008. 

‘A hundred years ago, A Walk of Faith would have meant crossing some dangerous boundaries in Liverpool. As years have gone by, friendly relations have replaced mistrust. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh leaders have joined with Christians in the Merseyside Council of Faiths. They are glad to meet each other in honest dialogue, based on deep respect for other believers’ search for God.’’

Professor Peter Toyne, Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, said:- ‘’The most obvious legacy of acceptance is the wonderful buildings included on this trail. Nevertheless, they are more than that; they are community centres, places of worship and expressions in stone of the faith and culture of the people that built them.

We hope this guide will help enrich visitors experience our city to the full, to gain some insights and to experience the history and hospitality of ‘the World in One City’. ‘’ 


Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.