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News Report Page 11 of 18
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New ONS statistics released today highlight the scale of the 'Dead of Winter' in the North West

NEW figures produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that 2,900 more people died in the North West during winter 2018 to 2019 compared to the rest of the year. Despite figures dropping, charity National Energy Action (NEA) has said the numbers remain an:- "annual badge of shame."  NEA Chief Executive Adam Scorer said:- "This is an annual badge of shame. Cold homes kill thousands of people across the UK each winter through respiratory and cardio vascular diseases, influenza, and in a small number of cases, hypothermia. For the 'dead of winter', their homes were deathtraps. The figures may be down from 2018, but that's the luck of the weather, not Government action."

The charity claims that up to 30% of the number of Excess Winter Deaths are likely to be attributable to the impact cold homes have on those with respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. They also highlight the impact the cold has on increasing trips and falls and in a small number of cases, direct hypothermia. NEA also says the number of needless deaths is the:- 'tip of the iceberg' and many more people are suffering with poor physical and mental health with the resulting impact on health services costing the NHS between ₤1.4bn and ₤2bn every year, in England alone. Scorer concludes:- "It doesn't have to be this way. There has never been a greater opportunity to tackle cold homes and the seasonal epidemic of ill health and early death. All major UK party manifestos have recognised that we have to improve home energy efficiency if we want to end fuel poverty and tackle the climate emergency. The next Government must build on this consensus to turn warm words into warm homes. Act now and they will save thousands of lives."

Southport set to make Christmas magical for all with charity initiative

SOUTHPORT is getting into the Christmas spirit next week by inviting local residents to buy 1 extra gift this year for disadvantaged children across the country. The initiative forms part of Bensons for Beds and Harveys partnership with Magic Radio's Cash For Kids, to support:- 'Magic Mission Christmas' a dedicated initiative to distribute thousands of gifts to children.  The appeal was launched on Wednesday, 27 November 2019, by Magic Radio, who are asking listeners to buy 1 extra gift this Christmas and drop it off at their local Bensons for Beds and Harveys Store. Bensons for Beds and Harveys will host 'Magic Mission' boxes in store until 17 December 2019, when toys will be collected and distributed to thousands of disadvantaged children ahead of Christmas Day.

Simon Yates, Harveys and Bensons Regional Manager says:- "Last year, Bensons and Harveys stores collectively received 369,553 toys in donations from this initiative; an overwhelming amount, meaning we've had to up our 'Magic Mission' collection boxes from 1 to 2 this year.  It's wonderful to see the community come together and help make a difference, so we've no doubt their generosity will be matched this year. Every child should have a special Christmas, and 'Mission Christmas' inspires us all to dig a little deeper this festive season for children who might not otherwise receive a gift."

Sally Aitchison Cash for Kids MD says:- "This Christmas, across the UK, 1 in four children will be living in poverty. For these families, Christmas is a luxury they cannot afford. We are thrilled to have the support of Bensons for Beds and Harveys who are giving people the chance to drop off a new and unwrapped gift in any of their UK stores between now and 17 December 2019. We will then ensure the gift reaches a child not expecting a visit from Santa this Christmas."

Visit Bensons for Beds, Unit 5a, Meols Cop Centre, Foul Lane, Southport PR9 7RG and Harveys, Meols Cop Centre, 5a, Foul Lane, Southport, PR9 7AG, until 17 December 2019, to drop your donated gifts in the 'Magic Mission Christmas' boxes available in store.

Nearly 3 in 5 of us have given up hope of landing our dream job

A staggering 57% of us admit we've lost all hope of ever doing a job that we love, according to a new study commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Of these, 34% of working adults say they have left it too late, while a further 34% believe they are not confident enough to take that step into the unknown. The average age at which they threw in the towel on their dream career was just 30. And while 37% find their current role rewarding, 34% find it incredibly stressful, 3 in 10 (31%) find it exhausting, and more than 1 in ten (13%) feel it doesn't challenge them in the slightest. But that doesn't mean that you can't still find your perfect job once you reach the age of 30; as Liverpool mum Nicola's story shows. "I found my dream job long after turning 30" Nicola Donnelly, 38, lives in Croxteth, Liverpool with her 2 children Ellie and Mikey. She knows what it is like to find her dream job after she had turned 30, as at that point, Nicola had no qualifications and was unable to get any interviews.  She started attending the Knowsley Unemployed Centre, which had a free Sage course every Wednesday morning. From there, she gained her AAT qualifications, and then a Diploma in Management Accounting from CIMA. This led Nicola to starting her own practice, Mend Accounting, 5 years ago when aged 33. The business now has 70 clients and she works on it full time, having gained a 1st class degree in Accountancy through ACCA in summer 2019. Through her work, she has been able to start taking her children on dream holidays. "From a single parent on benefits to a mum with her own business, gaining AAT qualifications really did change my life, and helped me find my dream job."

However, across the United Kingdom, many workers have suggested that training and development would be a great benefit. The study found that 77% of the nation's workers would like more training at work, while 46% would love to gain more qualifications to help them in their current job.16 % of Brits, indeed, want more qualifications in order to start their own business. 38% of Brits said that, while they would jump at the chance to develop their career, they felt completely unsupported by their bosses to do so. And 40% of employers admitted that they have staff who would be much better in their job given the right motivation and training. Little wonder then, perhaps, that 64% of British workers say they feel very jealous of people who seem to adore their careers.

The study also revealed that 27% of Brits haven't taken any courses or earned any further qualifications since they left secondary School or university. Of those, 30% believe that such formal development:- 'wasn't something they need in their line of work' while 16% insisted their employer simply doesn't invest in courses and training for its staff. Interestingly, the study revealed a split between the 2 great university cities of Cambridge and Oxford when it came to the last time people took qualifications. It's been an average of 9.4 years since people based in Cambridge last sat an exam or studied a course; 1 of the highest nationally along with Newcastle (9.2 years) and Edinburgh (8.8 years). In contrast, people living in Oxford last studied 7.2 years ago, 1 of the lowest figures in Britain along with Brighton (7.3 years) and Nottingham (7.5 years).

Rob Alder, business development manager for AAT, said:- "While many British workers say they have given up hope of landing their dream job, it's interesting that the top reasons given; a lack of confidence or belief that they are now too old to act; are perceptions rather than actual barriers. In truth, there should be no barrier to furthering your career. Increasing numbers of employers and individuals recognise the benefits of keeping your skillset up to date; not least because the digital disruption means roles are changing, representing both opportunities and threats. It's especially telling that companies themselves have admitted they could do more to engage their employees, with the average manager feeling that 31% of their workforce has lost all motivation in the workplace. 1 way to address this is through investment in effective training and qualifications which can help boost staff morale, productivity and effectiveness."

The research, of almost 2,500 British workers and employers, also found that the average British worker would be prepared to shell out ₤518 of their own money to get a qualification that would lead to a better job or furthering their current role. Again, there were some interesting regional and gender divides in this area. While Londoners were prepared to pay an average of ₤727.23 for a course; slightly more than employers were willing to pay for their workers (₤723.72), people in Plymouth were a lot more frugal, only happy to pay an average of ₤351.64. In addition, men were far happier than women to spend in order to further their career, with male workers willing to shell out ₤591.63 compared to just ₤453.82 for female workers.

Despite this, more women than men feel that their current job is stressful (40% compared to 23%), and women were also more likely than men to say that family commitments were holding them back from pursuing their dream career (31% compared to 21%). AAT is calling on employers to grow their workers in order to enable them to contribute in the best possible way. For more on how AAT can help train and upskill both finance and non-finance staff, visit AAT Train Your Staff.

Child cruelty and neglect crimes continue to rise

RECORDED child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK continue to soar with crimes increasing by nearly a ⅕ in the last year alone, the NSPCC reports. The charity has analysed Police data for the whole of the UK over the last 5 years and found child cruelty and neglect offences has risen every year.

There were 20,024 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by Police in 2018/19, which has more than doubled since 2013/14 where there were 9,518 crimes of this nature. In the North West, there were 1,201 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by the four Police forces in 2018/2019, an increase of 64% since 2013/2014 when there were 730 such crimes.

Reports to Police included extreme cases of when parents or carers deliberately neglected, assaulted, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm and unnecessary suffering.

To raise awareness of child neglect and abuse the NSPCC has launched its Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal. The NSPCC Christmas Appeal is calling for donations so it can be there for children suffering from neglect and abuse at Christmas and all year round. The charity's Childline service is the only service there for children 24/7 during the upcoming festive period, but it needs support for 2020 and beyond.

Last night, Battersea Power Station become the latest iconic UK landmark to show their support for the campaign by lighting up in the charity's trademark green.

There are several potential reasons for the rise in child cruelty and neglect crimes, from better Police recording, increasing pressure on families and cuts in funding making it harder for Local Authorities to offer early intervention services that tackle the causes of neglect. In addition, recorded Police offences of this type don't reveal the full picture of neglect in the UK, because Local Authorities will step in before many of these cases are reported as a crime. In 2017/18 there were 29,113 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said:- "To see year after year the number of neglect and cruelty offences rise so dramatically is disturbing. Greater public awareness and improvements in Police recording could be factors in this continuous increase, but deeper societal issues such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention services, are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering. Whatever the reasons for the rise cruelty to children is never ok, it is vital that children always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night. Childline never stops and never sleeps, but for this to continue we need the public's support and to back our 'Light for Every Childhood' Appeal."

Just ₤3 pays for Childline to answer a call with a neglected or abused child, to donate visit the NSPCC website.  Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline 7 days a week on:- 0808 800 5000, or email them.

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