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News Report Page 10 of 16
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Port Sunlight Village Trust and Unilever join forces with BTR Liverpool for established race event
Photographs by  by Paul Francis Cooper

PUBLIC events are once again returning to picturesque Port Sunlight in Wirral following the global Pandemic. The exciting 2022 programme includes the Port Sunlight Road Race, which takes place on:- Sunday, 12 June 2022. Other events include a celebration to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee; a national museums conference to the vision of independent museums recovering from the challenges of the Pandemic; and the 100th anniversary of the Lady Lever Art Gallery. More details will be announced later.

The 9th Port Sunlight Road Race is organised and delivered by independent race organiser BTR Liverpool in conjunction with Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT). Unilever is supporting the event as headline sponsor for the 7th consecutive year.

1st staged in 2012, the event is now established as the most significant event in the Port Sunlight calendar and is popular on the Region's running circuit, attracting thousands of visitors to the village either as runners or spectators. However, the event was last staged in 2019 due to the Pandemic.

This year's event has been officially launched by:- Paul Harris, Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust; Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight; and Alan Rothwell, BTR Liverpool Race Director. The trio met in Port Sunlight to exclusively reveal the event medals for 2022.

Port Sunlight Road Race features 5K and 10K race distances, as well as a 1K Fun Run for youngsters aged 12 and under. Due to popular demand in recent years, runners can also register for a dual challenge to complete both the 5K and 10K races and earn an extra medal to mark their 15K achievement.

The 5K takes runners along the tree lined boulevards and perfectly manicured gardens of the historic village. The 10K follows two laps of the 5K route. The races start and finish at the village green next to Port Sunlight Museum.

Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT) is an independent charity and custodian of Port Sunlight, an exemplar worker village created to support the wellbeing and productivity of the Lever Brothers soap works employees and their families. As custodian, PSVT works with important stakeholders to protect the heritage, ensure a great quality of life for people, and promote understanding of Port Sunlight's global value and relevance.

Paul Harris, Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), commented:- "Port Sunlight played an important role in improving many people's health and wellbeing during the succession of national and local lockdowns. Our beautiful village became a safe haven, a space for people to really enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the wide open spaces on their doorstep. So we are delighted to be hosting the Port Sunlight Road Race after a 3 year break. The race is always a highlight in our Summer events calendar, and we can't wait for the village to be filled with thousands of runners and spectators. Port Sunlight Road Race is a wonderful example of our village working together to make this such a successful event year on year, from the residents and village businesses to Unilever Port Sunlight sponsoring the event."

Developed between 1888 and 1938, Port Sunlight represents a unique and innovative response to the industrial paternalism traditions that emerged in Europe and the Americas in the 18th Century. Unilever today continues to have world class manufacturing, R&D and IT facilities based in Port Sunlight. Unilever's brands, including:- Persil, Dove, Tresemme, Radox, Comfort and Surf, can be found in 98% of households in the UK.

Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, added:- "Unilever is delighted to sponsor the Port Sunlight Road Race for the seventh year. At Unilever we believe physical and mental health, wellbeing, and inclusion are all crucial contributors to good health. Supporting the race in our historic home is a fantastic way to show our commitment, while also showcasing the village to visitors. Good luck to everyone taking part, including the 100 runners from Unilever Port Sunlight."

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline running events across Liverpool City Region. Its extensive portfolio covers various distances across different terrains, all with an ongoing commitment to sustainability. The BTR event calendar also includes:- the BTR Tour Of Merseyside, BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K, and BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.

BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:- "We're already counting down the weeks until we can host the Port Sunlight Road Race 2022. The unique event is set in one of the most stunning backdrops you'll find not only in the Region, but in the country. We work closely with Port Sunlight Village Trust and Unilever to make the event a success, and we must extend our thanks to local residents for their ongoing support. We're also excited to reveal this year's medals - something which always proves popular with runners as they eagerly await a glimpse of the bling they'll earn on the day. We look forward to seeing everyone back in Port Sunlight on Sunday 12 June for another great event."

Entries for the Port Sunlight Road Race are open online, visit:- BTRLiverpool.Com.

£1 million boost for Liverpool City Region Angel Network

THE Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, has announced a £1m funding boost to the LCR Angel Network in a bid to support SME growth and create new jobs across the Region.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has awarded £500,000 funding to the network, which is currently funded by not-for-profit funder Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF), which will match the investment with a further £500,000. The network will contribute to the City Region's ambition to invest 5% of its economy on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030; nearly double the Government's UK target; making it easier for high-growth technology and research and innovation businesses to access early stage funding. The project will ensure that more SMEs in the Region can benefit from targeted investment and mentoring from private:- "angel" investors; individuals who invest their time and expertise (as well as capital) to help young companies grow. It is intended that the network will ultimately become self funding. Plans to boost the network were developed in response to research carried out by MSIF into early stage funding in the Region and reflect the support that businesses want to see put in place.

Speaking about the funding, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "SMEs account for 99% of the Liverpool City Region's businesses community.  Their success is vital to our Region and its long term road to recovery from the damage inflicted by the Pandemic. As we rebuild our economy, I want to make sure that we are harnessing our Region's full potential to innovate and bring greater prosperity to the 1.6m people who call it home. The LCR Angel Network is key in helping us to achieve that ambition, helping local SMEs to access new investment and mentoring. This £1m funding injection will help even more local businesses to access new opportunities to grow and succeed."

John O'Brien, Chair of MSIF, said:- "I'm delighted to see the financial support that the Combined Authority is now committing to the LCR Angel Network alongside MSIF. This not only allows the Angel Network to continue but will enable it to develop with dedicated resource and funding to reach more Business Angels and bring forward more exciting business opportunities from the Region's pool of talented entrepreneurs."

In order to drive diversity among angels and the businesses it supports, this strengthening of the network has been developed following best practice on diversity and inclusion, in collaboration with the UK Business Angel Association (UKBAA).

LCR Angel Network was established in 2018 by MSIF, Brabners and Grant Thornton, to encourage investment by individuals in companies at the early stage of their lifecycle. It is currently run on a pro bono basis by MSIF and Brabners, with approximately 100 investors in the network, but operation has been hampered by a lack of dedicated resources.

The £1 million funding will support the growth and development of the City Region's angel investment community, early-stage funding landscape and the wider Liverpool City Region business and innovation ecosystem over a 5 year period.

The network will now have dedicated resource to further develop a platform to share pre qualified investment opportunities with investors. It will continue to organise angel pitch events and will now recruit additional angels from the City Region and beyond and encourage them to work together.
High growth technology and research and innovation businesses can struggle to access finance as they may not see significant revenue or profitability for several years, making it difficult for them to take on debt.

Investment from Angels often comes in the form of equity risk capital, which can be crucial for early- tage businesses, allowing them to prove their revenue model and product, then secure larger venture capital funding and scale.

The challenges for securing early stage funding are particularly acute in the Liverpool City Region.  By stimulating more activity amongst existing investors and attracting new investors to the City Region, the LCR Angel Network will make a huge difference to early-stage businesses who currently have all the ingredients to scale up other than access to financial capital.

The network aims to:-

  Increase the number and diversity of angels actively participating.

  Create an approachable network that local entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can easily access.

  Increase investment activity, competence and experience in the LCR.

  Fully integrate the network with the wider LCR ecosystem (for example with the LCR Finance Hub's investment readiness service).

The project will be delivered by a not for profit newco and wholly owned subsidiary of MSIF. Activities enabled by CA funding will be guided by a project steering group which includes:- MSIF, LCRCA, UKBAA, local business and angel investor representation.


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