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News Report Page 9 of 14
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Residents in Southport invited to start New Year positively with a free Dobbies' event

DOBBIES, the UK's leading garden centre retailer, is hosting 2 free workshops this January in its Southport store to encourage customers of all ages to make a positive start to 2023.

Dobbies' 1st Grow How session of the year takes place on:- Saturday, 7 January 2023, at 10:30am, and will give customers in Southport a guide on how to incorporate houseplants into their home. Dobbies' experts will showcase the different air purifying houseplants available to buy, how to use them in your indoor spaces, all the benefits associated with having houseplants, and care tips on how to look after them. Incorporating houseplants into your home will help brighten your indoor space, in addition to having a positive effect on your overall wellbeing as we enter the new year.

The Little Seedlings Club is great for kids aged 4-10 and takes place on the morning of Sunday, 8 January 2023, in Southport, with free bookable sessions. This January, attendees will learn how to have a wonderful new year in the garden, discovering the history of new year, traditions and resolutions, the luck and prosperity associated with eating black-eyed peas-beans, alongside plants to grow in January, seeds to sow and how to prepare your garden for the year ahead.

Dobbies' Partnership and Events Manager, Sarah Murray, said:- "January is a great time to make plans and learn a new skill or hobby. We're always looking to help sow some passion and encourage our customers in Southport to try something new. Houseplants are a great way to enhance your space and improve your mood; not only will your home feel refreshed, but so will you. We're looking forward to our houseplant Grow How event being a popular 1. For our Little Seedlings, our workshop on making a positive start in the garden aims to be both motivational and inspiring for young gardening fans. We've thoroughly enjoyed our sessions throughout 2022 and are excited to kick off the year with these 2, free workshops to help customers start as they mean to go on."

Sustainability is at the core of Dobbies' workshops and its horticultural experts will be showcasing the fantastic range of environmentally friendly products available to purchase in store.

For more information about both events in Southport and how you can participate, visit:- Dobbies.Com.

New report reveals scale of food poverty in Liverpool City Region as Cost Of Living crisis deepens

THE Combined Authority commissioned:- Sustainable and Affordable Food for Liverpool City Region: Recommendations for Change' makes 11 recommendations to tackle food insecurity and create a more sustainable food economy; as latest figures show a large rise in the number of people using foodbanks in the Liverpool City Region.

The comprehensive report, prepared by the VS6 Partnership which represents the City Region's 8,600 voluntary, community, faith and social enterprises (VCFSE), highlights the need for urgent action in a City Region where food insecurity is a significant problem faced by many families.

Nationally, foodbanks are providing record amounts of food; up 81% compared to 5 years ago; but the majority are receiving fewer donations with many dipping into reserves to meet demand. The report says:- "In Liverpool, food banks are facing unprecedented times with donations failing to meet demand from communities. St Andrews Community Network gave out more than 4,490kg worth of food in May 2022, despite only receiving 2,725kg in donations. St Helens Food Bank has reported a 30% reduction in donations, but 38% increase in support given to struggling households. The amount of people seeking support from their food bank service increased by 96% in February 2022 compared to the same time in 2021, with 40% more food bank vouchers being fulfilled."

More recent figures from the Trussell Trust, which represents around 50% of the City Region's foodbanks, reveal that between April and September this year 41,821, 3 day food parcels were distributed; helping 15,308 children. The figure was the Trust's highest ever and was almost 38% higher than the same period in 2021.

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said:- "In 2022, it beggars belief that where you are born often determines your life chances; a post code lottery dictating your bank balance, the food you can afford, the diseases you're likely to develop, and how long you will live. Yet our Region is not an outlier, this is the reality facing millions up and down the country who will struggle to put food on the table this winter – some having to make the impossible choice between heating and eating. I want our area to lead the way in showing the rest of the country how to help the most vulnerable in our society by treating people as human beings, not statistics. Think of it as - radical kindness' we've stepped up for local people by investing nearly £5m to give families access to the support they need during the cost of living crisis and are helping some of our most vulnerable households to save up to £200 a month on their energy bills through our £60m retrofitting programme. I'm incredibly proud of the investments we've made to help people through the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, but I'm under no illusion about the scale of the challenge. This report is a roadmap to address the root causes of food insecurity and how, as a community, we can tackle it. It's going to require huge investment from Central Government and a collective effort from across our:- public, private, voluntary, faith and social enterprise sectors on this journey to building a fairer, more socially just place for our 1.6m residents; where no 1 is left behind."

The report recommends, for the 1st time, co-ordinating and strengthening the efforts of the local voluntary sector, including:- foodbanks, pantries and community growers; to address the root causes of food insecurity.

It says responding to the current crisis should be prioritised coupled with the development of a detailed LCR Food Network and a summit to bring key figures together.

In the longer term, the report says unused land should be transformed into community gardens and growing initiatives with the skills agenda aligned with sustainable and affordable food.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said:- "Having access to affordable, healthy food is a fundamental right; yet in these challenging economic times thousands of City Region households are struggling just to put food on the table. This report highlights the scale of the problem and how it's getting worse, but also offers a way forward to make food insecurity a thing of the past. Swift action is needed to tackle the profound challenges posed by the Cost Of Living crisis and to end this appalling situation once and for all."

The City Region is home to 50% of England's 10 most deprived:-'food deserts' neighbourhoods between:- 5,000 to 15,000, people served by 2 or fewer supermarkets or convenience stores.

In compiling the report, VS6 conducted a community food mapping exercise in which community food organisations were identified across the City Region.

The report recommends embedding a:- 'right to food' in policy and decision making and the development of a food database.

VS6 Chair and the Diocese of Liverpool's Director of Social Justice, Canon Chancellor Dr Ellen Loudon said:- "As families and households across the country are facing significant challenges compounded by the Cost Of Living crisis, pushing people already experiencing food insecurity into further deprivation, we must come together as a City Region to address the root causes of food insecurity and explore opportunities for solutions. This report is essential for us to create a City Region where everyone has access to affordable, sustainable, and healthy food, and we look forward to working closely with the Combined Authority and other partners to continue this work." 

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