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News Report Page 12 of 15
Publication Date:-
News reports located on this page = 4.

Next of kin appeal for Barry Stott

MERSEYSIDE Police are appealing for help in tracing the next of kin of a man who died in Southport. Barry Stott, 70, was found deceased at his home address, in Park Road, Southport, on 3 October 2019. His death is not being treated as suspicious. Anyone who knows of Mr Stott’s next of kin or can help is asked to contact Coroner’s Investigation Officer Liam Moss on:- 0151 777 3752 or by send them an email via:- Liam.Moss@Merseyside.Police.UK.

Thousands of children failed by cash strapped Councils in North West

THOUSANDS of children and young people with vision impairment (VI) in the North West are being failed by underfunded Local Authorities (LAs) according to research published by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). The report, Left out of Learning, reveals 50% of Local Authorities' in the area have cut or frozen funding for specialist education services over the last 2 years, and 36% have not kept budgets in line with inflation. These services support 3,704 children; which represents 80% of all VI children and young people across the Region. 44% of Councils have also made a reduction in support staff from 2017 to 2019. This has meant a loss of 6 full time equivalent Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVI), who are central to making mainstream education accessible for visually impaired children and young people. In addition, the findings, which come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, show that QTVIs have a caseload of more than 100 students in 27% of Local Authorities' within the North West Region. Despite this squeeze in resource, 4 Local Authorities' admitted to a current or proposed review of their VI services.

Andrea Glover, Network Manager for RNIB in the North West, said:- "Every day in Schools across the Region, children are expected to learn by reading books, watching demonstrations, interpreting graphs and completing written tasks. But these activities all rely heavily on the ability to see. Children and young people with vision impairment require specialist support to access the curriculum, navigate their School, take part in sports or games and learn on equal terms with sighted children. This vital support enables them to develop the essential skills they need to succeed, not just at School, but as adults with full lives. Our research has revealed a shocking lack of resource for Local Authorities to deliver this crucial provision. Despite an increasing number of children and young people requiring and accessing specialist support in the last few years, funding has been cut, QTVI roles have been lost and caseloads have increased, putting remaining services under enormous strain. With more than ₤14 billion being promised for Primary and secondary education between now and 2023, we are urging the Government to act now, and correct this funding gap to ensure every child with vision impairment is able to fulfil their potential."

In Standish, Wigan, Zoe Pennington's 5 year old son, Jake Andrews, is registered sight impaired and has oculocutaneous albinism, Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) and photophobia (light sensitivity). He currently has 1 to 1 support within his year 1 class and has a Support Teacher from the Council's Visual Impairment team, who visits him once a week.

Zoe said:- "When Jake joined his School, he was the 1st child with a vision impairment that they had ever had in class so it was a real learning curve for everyone to try and work out how to best teach him. The specialist Support Teacher has been an absolute lifesaver. She knows exactly what Jake needs to have in place and has been able to work with his Teachers to make sure that he's being taught in the best possible way. He's also been given amazing equipment; like enlarged textbooks; so he can keep up with his classmates. At the moment, his class is learning about measurements, but Jake finds it hard to see the centimetre markers on a ruler. His Support Teacher is looking into getting a special ruler with laser markers, so it's much clearer for him to see. Without this level of support, how would Jake be expected learn? What will more could he do but just sit there and listen while everyone else around him is looking at the rulers? If the Council makes budget cuts and reduces Jake's support, I don't know how Jake will be able to keep up in class. It's a real concern for the whole family. We just want him to be able to learn like every other child can."

Along with the report, RNIB has launched an interactive map that displays where Local Authorities have frozen, cut or threatened changes to funding for VI services, along with an accessible list of the data. It demonstrates how structures, practices and budgets for specialist education services vary significantly across Local Authorities; a "postcode lottery" that RNIB is keen to see addressed.

For a full copy of the report and to explore the map, visit:- RNIB.Org.UK.

Celebrating Christmas improves workplace productivity

IMPLEMENTING Christmas traditions in the workplace can boost productivity levels, new research has found. A study carried out by Christmas Tree World, the UK's leading retailer of artificial Christmas trees, has found that 74% of employees are motivated to work harder if their employer embraces the festive period despite only 36% of businesses offering a Christmas party for their staff and 24|% of businesses avoiding Christmas completely.

December is known as the time of the year that staff productivity levels can dip to the lowest point, however an overwhelming majority (78%) of those polled claim to work as hard or harder in December, with 22% of these citing the reason as so they can enjoy time off over the festive break.

The research of 1,000 UK workers also revealed that 60% of employees are likely to be more productive if Christmas incentives such as bonuses are available, despite only 15% of UK businesses offering this. However, it's not just financial rewards which are proven to drive productivity with 74% of workers claiming office festivities, such as decorations, Christmas trees and Secret Santa traditions, boost morale and productivity, despite only 36% of workplaces investing in this. 39% of workers polled believe Christmas parties enhance productivity levels due to improving teamwork and communication.

Stephen Evans, managing director at Christmas Tree World commented:- "It's shocking to see the high number of businesses which are simply missing a trick in embracing the festive season as this research demonstrates it really does pay dividends in boosting staff morale, happiness and productivity. It's understandable that some companies are unable to offer financial rewards such as Christmas bonuses, and even a Christmas party as costs can escalate, though it's surprising to see how few companies even put up a Christmas tree and decorations in the workplace. It's clear to see from our research that bringing a bit of festivity into the office can go a long way to improving workplace productivity at this time of year."

Do you agree with these finding?  Please email us your thoughts on this via:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

A sex crime against a child recorded every 7 minutes

RECORDED sexual offences against children have reached an all time high, data obtained by the NSPCC has revealed. There were 76,204 recorded offences including rape, grooming and sexual assault against children in the UK in 2018/19; an average of 1 every 7 minutes. In the North West, Police in:- Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, have recorded a total of 7,741 offences against children in 2018/19. Analysis of the data also reveals that where age of victim was provided, 16,773 offences were recorded against children aged 10 and under, with 341 of the offences against babies under the age of 1.

Children who suffered sexual abuse will often need extensive support but overstretched services are failing to keep pace with demand, and the NSPCC is calling for a radical reshaping of how this support is delivered across the country. A total of 44 out of 45 Police forces across the UK provided the NSPCC with the latest data on sexual offences against under 18's after a Freedom of Information request.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said:- "Record numbers of child sexual offences means we are facing a nationwide crisis in the help available for tens of thousands of children. These children are bravely disclosing what happened to them, but in too many cases there is not enough timely, joined up and child friendly support. Instead they are shunted from overstretched service to service. We need a radical rethink in the way we help these young people, otherwise they could struggle for the rest of their lives with long term, deep seated trauma."

The charity is calling for the provision of specialised services around the country, with an emphasis on early joined up support from Police, local NHS services, children's services and Advocacy for children who have experienced sexual abuse, offered in child friendly spaces. Such a partnership service is delivered in The Lighthouse in Camden, where all medical, Advocacy, Social Care, Police and Therapeutic Services are available to children and their families in 1 place.

This '1 stop shop' model connects timely therapy up with the needs of each child, with local NHS services, from:- University College London Hospital along with Tavistock and Portman NHS Trusts, who are delivering in partnership the NSPCC's Letting the Future In (LTFI) service.

LTFI provides therapeutic support for children who have been sexually abused. Young people aged 8 to 17 years old. who have used the service showed a significant reduction in psychological and behavioural problems.

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