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News Report Page 8 of 34
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Water Safety Forum warns of open water dangers

MERSEYSIDE Water Safety Forum (MWSF)is urging people to take extra care on the River Mersey, around the Mersey coastline and around inland water across the area such as:- canals, ponds, dams and quarries, as the warm temperatures begin to take hold.

During summer there is often an increase in people taking part in water sports including kite surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and open water swimming. Although a great way to have fun, stay healthy and spend quality time with friends and family, open water poses many dangers and the water safety forum is offering advice to help people stay safe.

As part of its continued commitment to reduce drownings across Merseyside, earlier this year Merseyside Fire and Rescue formed the Merseyside Water Safety Forum alongside partners including:- the RNLI, RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society), Merseyside Police and local authorities.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and partner agencies from the forum are called out to incidents involving rescue from water on a frequent basis. Some of these are people who have deliberately entered the water, but many people do so accidentally or without realising the danger they are putting themselves in.

Station Manager Steve Thomas, chair of Merseyside Water Safety Forum, said:- "We want everyone to enjoy themselves and keep cool but also be aware of the risks associated with open water. Even if you are a strong swimmer and it is very hot, you can very quickly experience cold water shock with potentially tragic consequences. If you are a parent, please make sure you discuss the risks around open water with children and young people, as they are particularly at risk. Drowning is 1 of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK so, as much as we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we ask everyone to take extra care around water this summer."

Make sure you follow these important safety tips near water:-

► Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.

► If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information.

► Stay out of the water if you have been drinking alcohol and never let children or teenagers swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.

► Never interfere with lifesaving equipment such as life rings as you may need it yourself, as might other people who might find themselves in distress.

► Swimming anywhere other than at a purpose built and supervised swimming pool or water sports centre, or supervised swimming area, is highly dangerous and not recommended, unless as part of an organised club.

► There may be hazards under the water such as rocks, debris, broken bottles or even shopping trolleys, which can cause serious injury or may trap you.

► Even competent swimmers may struggle in open water so stick to swimming pools or beaches with a lifeguard and never go swimming alone.

Roads are more dangerous now than 5 years ago

SAFETY campaigners are calling for an increased Police presence on the roads to deter people from breaking the law, as a report is launched revealing that drivers feel roads are more dangerous now than they were 5 years ago. The report, by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line, based on a survey of more than 1,000 drivers, revealed that 7 in 10 feel that the roads are more dangerous now than 5 years ago, with less than 1 in 10 disagreeing. Drivers also think that the numbers of speeding vehicles and the extent of mobile phone use behind the wheel has increased over this period but that the number of Police Cars has declined.

With severe funding cuts impacting the Police service, Brake is concerned that a diminished Police presence is contributing to Britain's stagnating road safety record. Brake's report revealed that drivers share these concerns, with 8 in 10 agreeing that a visible Police presence deters people from breaking the law and a further 8 in 10 thinking there should be more Police cars patrolling the roads.

More than 70 people are killed or seriously injured on British roads every day, a figure which has failed to decline over the past decade. Police Officers play a vital role in enforcing the law, but equally important is their role as a deterrent to dangerous driving, with research showing the safety value in a visible Police presence. In the past 3 years there has been 15% decline in road policing numbers in England and Wales, with just 4,457 full time equivalent Officers in March 2019.

Road safety charity, Brake, want to see increased investment in road policing to halt the stagnation in road safety and ensure there is visible deterrent to dangerous driving on our roads. This is a view backed up by drivers, with 6 in 10 agreeing that the Government should make road policing an investment priority.

Commenting Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:- "Drivers' perceptions tell us a lot about the safety of our roads and so it's deeply concerning to find that drivers feel the roads are more dangerous than they were 5 years ago. With Traffic Policing suffering severe cutbacks, and drivers noticing the decreased Police presence on our roads, perhaps this shouldn't come as such a surprise. We have to act to address the stagnation in British road safety by increasing Police numbers, to deter and enforce against dangerous driving."

Steve Barrett Head of car insurance at Direct Line, said:- "Education, legislation and enforcement are essential to making our roads safer. As this research shows road users feel our roads are not as safe now as they were 5 years ago. Changing driver behaviour can only be achieved through ensuring they are aware of the potential consequences of their actions and having robust laws in place that are able to be enforced."

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Set to Approve ₤6.6m for Eureka! Mersey

LIVERPOOL City Region Combined Authority, on Friday, 26 July 2019, has approved a grant for up to ₤6.6m from its Strategic Investment Fund, bringing plans for a Eureka! Mersey visitor attraction, at Seacombe Ferry Terminal, even closer to fruition. The original Eureka! based in West Yorkshire, is the UK's only national children's museum and has welcomed more than 7.5 million visitors since it opened in 1992.

Innovative plans for a 2nd Eureka! on the Wirral waterfront have already been submitted to Wirral Council. The proposals are for an ₤11.75 million world class visitor attraction for 6 to 14 year olds, with an additional area dedicated to 0 to 5 year olds. The attraction will include exhibits and activities designed to boost children's development of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills whilst enjoying a great family day out.

Eureka Mersey! will be developed on the existing Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Spaceport site, replacing the current Spaceport attraction, allowing the Mersey Ferries to link the new attraction to the Liverpool Waterfront. The innovative plans bring together the playful child centred approach of Eureka! The National Children's Museum with 21st Century Science and Discovery Centre innovation.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "Our fantastic museums are an integral part of our world class visitor offer. Eureka! would add something new and exciting to what we already have and become a major attraction for people within our City Region and from further afield. The proposed new attraction's focus on science, technology, engineering and maths, and links with local businesses and young people's groups, ties in perfectly with the City region's growth sectors, and our plans to ensure that young people have the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow's workplace."

Cllr Ian Maher, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and The Visitor Economy, said:- "The creation of a 2nd Eureka! here in the Liverpool City Region is very exciting and will bring a wide range of benefits, from boosting the local economy, to inspiring our young people, and adding another world class attraction to what we have to offer visitors."

The Eureka! Mersey team are already working with Schools and youth organisations from across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to ensure that they create a unique attraction that is relevant to the Region's young people. So far, more than 120 young people have been involved in designing exhibition content, working in partnership with key LCR businesses including:- Ørsted, Unilever, Sci-tech Daresbury, Arup and Liverpool John Moore's University.

Back in 2018 it was announced that Eureka! Mersey had been awarded ₤3 million from the Government's Inspiring Science Fund, bringing the plans closer to a 2022 opening. Working closely with partners, including:- Wirral Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and Merseytravel, other funding sources including Wirral Council have already been confirmed. A range of trusts and foundations and corporate supporters are also being sought.

Eureka's Chief Executive, Leigh Anne Stradeski, said:- "We could not be more excited about the prospect of opening a 2nd Eureka! in Wirral. We have engaged extensively with stakeholders across Liverpool City Region in our planning thus far, including children and young people, businesses, academia, education, community and the cultural sector, and the level of engagement, enthusiasm and support has been absolutely incredible. We are hopeful of a positive decision on planning within the next few months."

The plans for Eureka Mersey! will be aligned with the Combined Authority's wider plans for investment in a new Mersey Ferry in the future.

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