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News Report Page 8 of 19
Publication Date:-
News reports located on this page = 3.

Letter to the Editor:- "Southport Little Theatre is a disgrace..."

"DEAR Southport Reporter, this happened to us, on Friday, 9 February 2019 and I think other disabled people should be warned before they subject themselves to such treatment. Are you disabled? Do you depend on a mobility scooter? Do you enjoy the theatre? Then PLEASE don't attempt to go to see a show there!

I have never been so humiliated in my life as I was tonight. My husband and I bought tickets to see 'Funny Girl' and arrived in plenty of time to see the show. However on entering the building on my scooter we were met by a rude lady who shouted " You can't leave that there !someone is coming down to sort this out!" On which a nasty man arrived and ushered us outside telling us we would have to leave my scooter outside in the car park. Unattended and open to the weather and potential thieves.

I was then left standing outside in the cold while my husband returned my scooter to our car. We did then enter the building, again with NO help at all, where eventually because I was upset, humiliated and feeling poorly, decided we could not stay to see the show after all. We requested a refund for the tickets and were told that they were un-refundable!

When selling tickets there is no mention that disabled people cannot be accommodated, the only notice to this is positioned inside the building on a very small scale

Let us see what other disabled people think of this ad let this company know!"
Mrs Wyn Coleman.

Editor's note:-
"We are sorry to hear you have a problem at the venue. We have contacted them and asked for a reply in response to what you have said. This reply can be seen below and we have also sent a copy to you.  We have also been informed that they have now been refunded the cost of the tickets from the SDC."

In response to the above letter from Mrs Wyn Coleman, the Little Theatre's Hon. Gen. Secretary, Trudi Hirsch, has sent this reply to our newsroom:- "We are extremely sorry to learn of this complaint, which we take very seriously. We were alerted to it by the local musical society which hired the Little Theatre last week, for their production of 'Funny Girl.' As Mrs Coleman was visiting the theatre as a patron of that society, we are unable to comment on their decision not to issue a refund to her.

However, as the owner of the Little Theatre, the SDC takes the issue of access very seriously and indeed we have spent considerable time and money over the past decade making the venue as accessible as possible to the theatre going public. A number of our volunteer members themselves also require support with limited mobility.

The Club has had the benefit of professional assistance to ensure our access policy complies with current legislation. Inevitably however our historic venue, with its 1st floor auditorium, has its limitations and our current policy was developed following consultation with the Fire Service to make the venue as accessible as possible, whilst ensuring that the safety of all our patrons and volunteers remains paramount.

It is in light of the input from the emergency services, and on the grounds of patron safety and space restrictions, that we regret that we are unable to accommodate motorised transportation within the building. Users of scooters have the ability to transfer to one of our wheelchairs on entering the theatre to enable them to watch our productions from the wheelchair spaces when requested at time of booking. It is understood that unfortunately the sub letting society was not asked for a wheelchair space nor were made aware of the limited mobility requirements when the tickets were reserved.

Whilst our volunteers' recollection of the exchange does not accord with that described, we regret that Mrs Coleman does not feel she and her husband had an enjoyable experience visiting the theatre and we have contacted them directly about their complaint. We will however use this opportunity to further highlight our policy to patrons and support our volunteers in how they can help patrons with access needs when visiting our building."

Over 6,500 excess winter deaths in North West last winter

FUEL poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has released worrying new figures showing 6,800 excess winter deaths in the North West last winter, with 2,040 vulnerable people dying as a direct result of not being able to heat their homes adequately. With fuel bills set to rise again, the charity is calling on the UK Government to provide central investment to dramatically improve energy efficiency in the least efficient homes and local Councils to do all they can to enforce housing standards. NEA has released the call to action on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, took place on Friday, 15 February 2019. The day was aimed at raising awareness of the plight of fuel poverty, facing millions of households across the UK.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA comments:- "Everybody has the right to live in a warm and safe home but tragically, many people died needlessly last winter because of cold homes. Living in a cold damp home can also lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as young children, older people, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. With fuel bills set to rise again, without urgent local and national action we are worried the same will keep happening each winter. As well as needless deaths and misery, this would continue to place a huge strain on our already stretched health services."

The charity warns that nationally more than 15,000 people died needlessly last winter as a direct result of cold and unsafe homes. NEA highlights that this is more fatalities than road traffic accidents and substance abuse combined. They also say improving the energy efficiency of homes can prevent these deaths and suffering but there has been a dramatic drop off in delivery of home energy efficiency improvements nationally and a deep cuts to Council funding since 2010 has made it more challenging than ever (and in some cases impossible) to commit the necessary resources for monitoring and enforcement of housing standards.

Scorer concludes:- "Despite the continued squeeze on resources locally, using current enforcement powers, their wider strategic responsibilities and place-based knowledge; local authorities are well placed to take action against landlords who do not meet statutory energy efficiency requirements or minimum housing safety standards. NEA is also calling for the introduction if a new national Clean Growth Fuel Poverty Challenge Fund, providing necessary central investment to tackle the cold homes crisis once and for all. As well as helping the poorest and most vulnerable to afford to live in a warm, dry home this would also support small business growth in the Region, achieve major carbon emissions reductions, improve local air quality and reduce health and Social Care costs."

NEA also highlights the dangerous coping mechanisms that some people in fuel poverty are being forced to turn to including, using candles instead of electricity and even barbequing in the sink.

Adam Scorer says:- "362,486 households are currently in fuel poverty in the North West, so we are urging friends, families and neighbours to keep a lookout for any of these dangerous coping strategies. If they know someone who maybe struggling over the winter, information on what support is available can be found on NEA's website."

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is coordinated by NEA who have also developed resources to direct people to help and advice as part of day. These can be found on the NEA's website and on Twitter, along with more information on how to take part in its fundraising event:- "The Nation's Biggest Housewarming."

Liverpool launches ₤60m housing repairs framework

LIVERPOOL City Council and Foundation Homes are looking for contractors to work on a 4 year long housing framework worth up to ₤60 million.  A full suite of construction related activities is being required such as:- groundworks, plumbing, electrics, joinery, masonry, plastering and roofing to painting and decorating to enable Foundations and the Council to refurbish selected properties across the City over the life of the framework contract. There will be 18 places in total on the framework, across the 3 lots, with up to 27 shortlisted suppliers invited to tender, after the Mayor of Liverpool announced a new phase of investment last Autumn (2018).  The City Council is also taking advantage of EU Procurement Rules that gives the Authority options of ring fencing a sum of the forecast spend to be distributed amongst local SME's and 3rd sector organisations. Interested parties must complete the Selection Questionnaire by Friday, 8 March 2019, which can be found at the Pro Contract website,  which is free for businesses to sign up to. The new housing frameworks have been designed specifically for the City Council to deliver its Foundations housing programme; with a focus on enabling Liverpool and Merseyside, based contractors the opportunity to pitch for Council contracts, bolstering the local supply chain.  Foundations is a newly formed ethical housing company established by the Council to create new homes and refurbish dilapidated housing stock in the City. Foundations will also be given stiff targets to bolster apprenticeships in the Region's construction sector. The frameworks can also can be utilised by other local bodies to contract works. A separate framework for new build housing projects will be advertised in early March 2019.

Mayor Anderson said:- "Liverpool's housing sector is in need of a dramatic overhaul and Foundations will enable the City to address a raft of issues such as reviving empty homes, while at the same time having a positive impact on the local economy. The initial funding for Foundations has now been established so the time has now come to fine tune the plans and start delivering. To do this, and to make it easier for Liverpool companies to navigate our tendering process, the Council's procurement team has created our 1st bespoke frameworks. This a watershed moment for the Council and symbolises the effort and commitment the entire organisation is undertaking to change the way we operate to be more business friendly so together the public and private sector can make a real difference to the future of the City."

Mark Kitts, Chief Executive of Foundations, said:- "We are committed to delivering quality homes for people in Liverpool and committed also to getting the highest standards of workmanship. But we also wish to engage, wherever possible, with local contractors and businesses to ensure that our programme of activity is generating local jobs and helping young people here develop their skills."

If you do not already know:- 'Foundations' is the flagship housing policy for the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson. that was established in 2018, then aim of the company is to rebalance the City's Social Housing Stock, revolutionise the rent to buy sector and drive up Council Tax receipts. The programme is seen as fundamental to addressing the City's need to develop 30,000 new homes by 2030. The company will provide a mix of property types, including family homes, refurbished houses and apartments.

Did your know? Liverpool City Council is currently overseeing 185 on site development schemes worth a record ₤3bn, including the Council's own ₤1bn Paddington Village scheme and the New Cruise Liner Facility, and the Mayor of Liverpool has said the authority's focus must be on taking a more proactive role in stimulating the City's economy.

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