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News Report Page 17 of 19
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Liverpool Schools building programme continues to bring benefits to City's children

THOUSANDS of children in Liverpool have benefited from a School building scheme that has transformed the educational landscape in the City for generations to come. 8 years ago this month (July) the national Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme collapsed after the Government pulled the plug on the ₤55bn project. Heralded as the biggest School investment in modern history, the programme pledged to rebuild every secondary School in England, with extra cash to improve primary Schools as well.  When the scheme was axed, it left 150 new School projects high and dry; including many in Liverpool.

The Liverpool BSF scheme alone was worth ₤350m at the time it was cancelled. The unfulfilled promises meant legions of children faced the prospect of completing their education in old, tired buildings, many of which were not fit for the demands of a 21st century education. But all was not lost, because Liverpool City Council; led by its Mayor Joe Anderson, devised an ambitious rescue plan that would see a host of the City's Schools get new brand new buildings.

The Liverpool Schools Investment Programme (LSIP), generated more than ₤180M in Council and Government funding. In just 5 years a total of 22 Schools have benefited from the project. It has meant that 15 of the City's Schools have been completely re-built, 3 more have benefited from significant new builds, whilst a further 4 have received new extensions and other buildings.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "The collapse of the Building Schools for the Future programme was a very dark day for education in Liverpool. It meant that a lot of hopes had been dashed and the concern was that our children would not receive the standard of education they deserved due to increasingly out of date buildings. Faced with the enormity of the problem it would have been easy for us to say it was beyond our control and blame it all on the Government but that would have done nothing to improve matters for the City's children. Instead we invited all our partners to sit round the table and work together to produce an alternative. What was created was truly remarkable and the City is still reaping the benefits to this day."

In total, more than 14,000 students and pupils have directly benefited from the transformation. It also created more than 2,000 construction jobs in the City. Over 200 young people were given the chance to develop their skills and improve their career prospects through apprenticeships.

In total, 62% of the investment was spent with Liverpool firms, this rises to 74% across the whole of Merseyside. Around ₤45M worth of funding was generated from the sale of former School sites for housing development; which helped to recoup some of the costs. As part of this 10 new housing sites with 650 new homes were created, which have created revenue from Council Tax.

The Council has further benefited from an annual ₤650,000 'windfall' from the lease of buildings, which it will receive for the next 25 years to reinvest in essential services.

Mayor Anderson recently visited 1 of the project's newest Schools, Birtenshaw in Fazakerley, to see some of the great work taking place.

The ₤5M School on the site of the former Dyson Hall School was completed earlier this year. Run by the Birtenshaw Charitable Group, Birtenshaw School, provides education for up to 50 children aged 3 to 19 with special educational needs and disabilities. The School caters for students with a range of additional needs including learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions. It supports students with speech, language and communication needs, multi sensory impairments, behaviours that some may find challenging, physical impairments and complex health needs.

The new School's facilities include a 25 metre hydrotherapy pool with multi sensory sound and light system. The pool is the largest of its kind in the country. Other features include a rebound therapy room, multi-sensory spaces incorporating immersive technology and a sensory integration room.

Head of School, Stacia Pettersen, said:- "We are delighted to be working in partnership with the City of Liverpool to provide excellent specialist teaching and state of the art facilities in a purpose built School designed to enhance the educational outcomes for children with additional needs. We are looking forward to welcoming the 1st group of pupils in September and to seeing the partnership with the City develop further over the coming years."

The investment programme is now entering its final Phases when an extension to the Primary Education Centre on Mill Lane is due to be completed later in 2018.

Liverpool School Investment Programme in numbers:-

►  ₤180m worth of investment.

►  22 Schools transformed.

►  Completed 15 new Schools, 3 new builds and 4 extensions or new blocks.

►  More than 14,000 student and pupils benefited.

►  Generated ₤45m from the sale of old and vacant School sites.

►  Created 10 new housing sites with a total of 650 new homes, all of which generated Council Tax to fund essential services.

►  Spent 62% of project funds with Liverpool firms.

►  Created 2,000 construction jobs and 200 apprenticeships.

Local NHS trust ignites people's lives at Walton Gardens

LOCAL mental health service users were given the chance to try their hand at something new with an action packed day of music, arts and creativity in Warrington, last week. North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's, annual Ignite Your Life event, which took place on 11 July 2018, at Walton Hall and Gardens.

In the morning, the Trust hosted its annual involvement event, which celebrated the achievements and contributions of Trust volunteers over the last year. The event formally recognised more than 55 volunteers who have dedicated over 100 hours to the Trust over the past 12 months and concluded with the Harry Blackman Trophy, which was awarded to David Walker who has gone above and beyond his volunteering role.

There was an afternoon programme of mental health and wellbeing activities, which was well attended by service users, staff and volunteers from the Trust, along with local 3rd sector and voluntary organisations.  Community and inpatient service users from the Trust joined 3rd sector organisations and volunteers to take part in 9 different interactive workshops. Guests had the opportunity to try their hand at:- chair base yoga and, creative stitching, song writing and flower arranging. Guests were also entertained by the Samba Band music group, whose members all have a learning disability. 

David has carried out a number of involvement opportunities, which include designing and delivering a 6 week course called:- "Happy Body, Happy Mind" for young services users on Fairhaven unit in Warrington. This course aims to give young people the skills in a range of techniques to improve physical health, coping with stress and general life style skills. Bernadette Fitzpatrick, Patient and Public Involvement Co-ordinator at the Trust said:- "David is very conscientious and carries out all activities to a very high standard and we are very proud of his achievements over the last 2 years and we wish him all very best in his quest to gain employment within our organisation"

During the involvement event Stephen Rothwell who is a service user volunteer at Atherleigh Park in Wigan shared his personal mental health story.  Stephen said:- 'I have spent the last 12 years in and out of hospital due to attempting to take my life. This was until I met Bernie who pulled me out of the darkness and this is where I began my life volunteering at the Trust. In the future I would like to be a peer worker, using my life experiences to help others" Stephen finished his story off with an inspiring quote:- "Don't bow down to disability and mental health, make mental health and disability bow down to you."

Amanda Power, who was a service user volunteer and has now been employed by the Trust, shared her story around her life with a mental illness and volunteering. Amanda said:- "Every week, Wednesday couldn't come quick enough, each week I was asked to do a new task, daunting at 1st but each step empowered me more and for the 1st time in 5 years I was looking at myself in a positive way. I think of voluntary work as being my defibrillator, it has bought me back to life!"

Staff from the Trust Equality Diversity and Inclusion Team, who organised the event, have extended their thanks to everyone who ran workshops for their hard work and creativity, and to all those who took part in the activities for their enthusiasm and good spirits. You can view short videos from the day which includes Stephen and Amanda's stories by following this link:- NWBH.NHS.UK/Trust-TV.

Have your voice heard at NHS 'Annual Members' Meeting'

LOCAL healthcare provider North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will be holding its:- 'Annual Members' Meeting,' on 17 July 2018.

The event, which is taking place on Tuesday, 17 July 2018, from 9.45am until 12.30pm, at:- Education Centre, Hollins Park House, Hollins Lane, Winwick, Warrington, WA2 8WA.

The morning will be an opportunity to find out more about the organisation and hear about some of the highlights from the last 12 months.

Trust Chairman, Helen Bellairs said:- "I'd encourage anyone who wants to hear about the services we offer, the successes over the last year or find out about our plans for the future to come along on the day. You can also meet the local governors, ask questions about the Trust or make suggestions about our services."

At the meeting, the Trust's Annual Report and Accounts for 2017/18 will be formally presented. Before and after the meeting there will be a marketplace showcasing the Trust's services and local voluntary sector organisations.

Refreshments will be included and there is free parking at the venue.

If you have any questions, or to let us know you're coming, please email them or call:- 01925 664803.

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