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News Report Page 12 of 13
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Region unites to say Merseyside is no place for hate

VICTIMS, volunteers, support workers and local School children have united with Merseyside's Police Commissioner to urge people affected by prejudice and hate to reach out for help as the Region marks Hate Crime Awareness Week. Jane Kennedy has worked with a diverse range of people to encourage anyone affected by hate crime to speak out through 3 social media films. The short videos promote the three dedicated support services for victims of hate crime commissioned as part of the PCC's Victim Care Merseyside service delivered by the Anthony Walker Foundation, Citizens Advice Liverpool and Daisy Inclusive UK. The social media films feature the testimony of a range of people who have experienced hate crime 1st hand and have bravely told of the devastating impact on their lives and how they have been supported by the charities to recover and rebuild their lives.

In the 1st film, promoting the specialist care offered by the Anthony Walker Foundation, available now, on YouTube, 1 victim Yvonne, talks about how she was subjected to racial abuse, intimidation and unwanted sexual advances from a neighbour, before being supported by Merseyside Police and the Anthony Walker Foundation. She said: "It made me feel like I am actually like a baby again, trying to walk again, stand up on my feet. I think they helped me so much on the psychology side. If you have the chance and you don't know what is possible to do and you really don't understand the law or the system like me... the foundation will help you actually carry on."

Also featured in the Anthony Walker Foundation film, are teachers and pupils from Lawrence Community Primary School in Wavertree, who are among the many Schools and colleges across the Region working with the charity to raise awareness of the devastating impact of hate crime. The charity's Partnerships and Projects Manager John Au said:- "What we say to people who have been affected by hate who have never reported it, tell someone. It doesn't have to be the Police. It can be someone who understands what hate crime is and who can signpost them to the appropriate services. By raising the understanding of hate crime, it means that we can challenge behaviours, attitudes and hopefully reduce the number of offences in the future and to educate young people about the harm and consequences of hate crime."

The 2nd film is also available now, on YouTub, that focuses on promoting the specialist service offered by Citizens Advice Liverpool to support victims of gender or sexuality-based hate crime. John* was referred to them after suffering abuse and threats in his area. He said: "Before I contacted Citizens Advice, I was receiving homophobic verbal abuse from youths in the area, also they were spitting at me as I was walking past and throwing stuff at my window.  Citizens Advice are a fantastic service, I now feel safe in my own property again, which is what everybody should be able to feel. It was a really, really helpful service."

The video also features Lynette Bebbington, who now volunteers for Citizens Advice Liverpool, who was targeted by a gang of youths after finding out someone transgendered was working in the area. She said:- "They sort of came round and made a bit of a nuisance of themselves. I don't think you should be quiet about it, there are lots of people that will listen to you. Being a volunteer at Citizens Advice, I find it's really rewarding actually because I am a people's person anyway. I do enjoy what I do, people just don't know where to turn sometimes."

Citizens Advice Liverpool's Chief Officer Heather Brent said:- "We can help by providing advice and information at the time when somebody most needs it, when someone is feeling at their most vulnerable. We can put them in touch with vital services and we can help them to deal with the impact of that crime. People come in, in a very fragile emotional state, and we are able to help them, to give them the tools they need to go on to either report the incident or move through the incident."

The final video promotes the support victims of disability related hate crime offered by Daisy Inclusive UK, is also available now, again online on YouTube.  Will, who now volunteers for the charity after being supported by them, said:- "Before I got in touch with Daisy, I was in isolation for seven years of my life. I didn't want to leave my bedroom, let alone my house. Before going to Daisy, all my confidence levels just stooped to an all time low… Coming to Daisy has made a massive difference to my life."

Leon, who has Asperger syndrome and turned to Daisy Inclusive UK after suffering abuse from his neighbour, added:- "I found out about the disability hate crime service at Daisy, when I asked if I could receive help with what I am going through at home, which is antisocial behaviour. The help I received was brilliant. I was expected to give evidence against what was going on, but Kate (my support worker) made them aware of my condition and how it can affect me. Thankfully it didn't come to that and we were able to settle outside of court and thankfully it has all been dealt with since."

Throughout the awareness week, all 3 charities are hosting a series of assemblies, youth workshops, advice seminars and stall to promote the help available and encourage anyone affected to seek support.

Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said:- "Merseyside's Hate Crime Awareness Week is an important date in our calendar, which gives us all the opportunity to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of our Region. It also gives us an opportunity to come together to reaffirm and renew our commitment to challenging and tackling acts of hatred carried out today. Our Region is famed for its warm welcome. A welcome that extends to people from all races and faiths, to people of all sexual orientations and genders and to people of all abilities, whether they are visiting for work or leisure or whether they have chosen to call Merseyside home. At a time when our country and the world seems deeply divided, it is more essential than ever that we remain vigilant to combat discrimination, racism and prejudice in our communities. That's why I was delighted to work together with our commissioned services to promote the support and care they can offer to anyone affected by hate crime in Merseyside. I'd like to thank everyone who supported this campaign by taking part in the films.  I would urge anyone who has been subjected to hate to contact Merseyside Police. Or, if for any reason you don't feel comfortable speaking to the Police, ring independent charity Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625 who provide 24/7 help and support or visit:- StopHateUK.Org.  There are also more than 90 independent centres across the Region where you can go to contact Stop Hate UK; anywhere displaying a 'red hand' logo is part of this important network standing up against hate."

Shortened versions of each film have also been produced for social media, that will now be used on the PCC's Facebook accounts.

New research reveals apathy over credit scores

THE festive season is the time of year when consumers may have spent a little more than they intended, prompting many to head into the 1st few months of the new year with plans to bring finances into line. Understanding their credit score can help consumers get to grips with their finances, however the latest research from Equifax reveals that over ½ of Brits have never checked their credit score with a credit reference agency. Londoners are most content with their credit scores, with 33% saying they were happy the last time they checked, closely followed by the:- South East (31%) and the South West (28%.) Those living in the East of England are the unhappiest, with 11% saying they were not impressed the last time their checked their score. 1 in 10 of those living in the North West came in a close 2nd when it comes to being unhappy with their credit score. However, Equifax analysis of average credit scores across the UK seems to suggest a disconnect between consumers' level of happiness or unhappiness with their credit score and their actual score.

Scores by Region Average Equifax Credit Score
South West 403
South East 402
East of England 393
Scotland 382
Wales 379
East Midlands 378
London 377
West Midlands 376
Yorkshire & Humber 374
North West 372
North East 371

This new infographic from Equifax can show individual's how their area's Equifax Credit Score compares with the rest of the UK.

"It is clear from our latest research that a significant number of individuals have never checked their credit score, which means that are not putting themselves in the best position when it comes to applying for credit. Not only should people get to grips with their credit scores, but they should also check their credit reports to understand what information is influencing their score. The new year is always a time for new plans and potentially new financial applications. If individuals are planning on making an application for credit, they should check their credit report and score in advance. The credit report will give a record of their borrowing history, which could help them decide whether they need to improve or keep up their borrowing habits. And knowing their score and what range it falls in can help to give an indication of how lenders may view their creditworthiness." said Lisa Hardstaff, credit information expert at Equifax.

Sefton Schools celebrate cycling success

SUSTRANS organised a 'Thank you' tea party for 60 children and teachers, from 15 Schools, in Sefton, to celebrate a successful year getting pupils throughout the Region cycling, walking and scooting the School run.  The annual event at the Ramada Southport, included inspiring talks from local Schools. Children from Our Lady of Lourdes presented their findings from their street survey and their manifesto to representatives of Sefton Council, highlighting the changes they think would make the roads around their School easier and safer to use, while Birkdale Primary children told us about their continuing calendar of cycling activities. Holy Trinity Primary in Southport, which has low levels of bike ownership, described how their project with Year 5 children to build balance bikes means everyone has the chance to learn to ride.  Sustrans is a national charity which helps more people to walk and cycle everyday journeys.  It has worked with more than 40 Schools in Sefton to help more young families leave the car at home for some or all School trips, and use the School commute as a chance to get active instead. Last year a survey of how post year 5 children travelled to School showed that 56% cycled, scooted or walked their journeys, an increase of 7.8% compared to the baseline survey in the 1st year Sustrans worked with the Schools. At the 'Thank you event' Sustrans appealed to local families to join this year's Big Pedal competition, in which Schools across the country compete for the number of journeys cycled, scooted or walked to School.

Sustrans Schools Officer Amanda Dufresne said:- "Sefton Schools set a great example to other Schools across the country, with some Schools getting over ½ of their pupils cycling, walking or scooting their journeys. We're looking forward to a record turnout for this year's Big Pedal competition, which is a great chance for Schools to try out cycling and walking and get the chance to win prizes."

The Big Pedal 2019 runs from Monday, 25 March to Friday, 5 April 2019, and will see pupils, parents and teachers across the UK leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for their journeys to and from School.   The 2019 competition is backed by Angellica Bell, British Television, Radio Presenter and cycling advocate, who took on the:- 'Tour de Celeb' in 2016 where she found her love for cycling.  Children presented their successes and plans for active travel at the tea party in Ramada Hotel, Southport. Find out more at:- Sustrans.Org.UK or visit:- BigPedel.Org.UK.

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