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Derelict to Delightful - Toxteth teen transforms fly-tipping hotspot with Mayor's grassroots environment fund

Mayor Rotheram (left) pictured with Khan Odita at the Urbanscape community garden on Mulgrave Street, Liverpool 8.

A piece of derelict land blighted by fly-tipping has been transformed into an urban community garden, thanks to funding from Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The Mulgrave Street Action Group, founded by:- Khan Odita, aged 15, who has successfully applied for a:- £30,000 grant. from Mayor Rotheram's Community Environment Fund, after becoming fed up with people dumping rubbish on a patch of land on Mulgrave Street, near to his home. The garden, which has been Urbanscape, was officially opened by Mayor Rotheram at a ceremony for the local community.

Mayor Rotheram said:- "In 2022 when I met Khan for the 1st time, he shared with me his vision to transform a neglected part of the area into an urban oasis that the local community could be proud of, and I'm delighted we've been able to help make it a reality. The creativity, imagination and commitment of our residents never fails to amaze me. Protecting our natural environment for future generations will be 1of the biggest challenges ahead. At a city region level, we are working non-stop to accelerate our transition to be net zero by 2040; at least a decade before national Government. But I believe that every single 1 of us has a part to play too. Taken together, lots of small actions from ordinary people working together with a common purpose can make a massive difference; and that's what my Community Environment Fund is all about."

Transformed from a derelict dumping ground and now filled with plants, paving and seating areas, the garden will be used by the group to deliver a range of free activities for the local community.

Khan Odita, Founder of the Mulgrave Street Action Group, said:- "The journey has been challenging, but this is the best work experience I will ever have; I've learned so much and cannot wait for the community to start making use of the space. Once I finish my GCSEs in the summer, I'm hoping to be able to run educational and upskilling programmes and have somewhere for young people and local residents to keep busy."

Khan founded the Mulgrave Street Action Group with the idea of creating a space for the community to boost pride and create cohesion. He was recognised with the Student Inspiration Award, at the 2022 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards, for his efforts during the Pandemic.

The Community Environment Fund aims to improve the Liverpool City Region's environment, develop opportunities for environmental education and to encourage long term behavioural change.

In 2022/23, grants were available for smaller projects of up to:- £5,000, with up to:- £30,000 available for larger projects.

The fund is also part of Mayor Rotheram's drive to help the city region reach net zero by 2040 at the latest, reduce air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of people across the whole city region.

In addition to the Liverpool City Region Community Environment Funding, the Mulgrave Street Action Group received donations from the community and National Lottery Funding.

Don't leave it too late to check new Voter ID requirements warns the Local Government Association

UK residents should not leave it too late to make sure they have the required ID to vote in the upcoming Local Elections, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said. Over 230 Councils have elections this May, with around ⅔ of the country going to the polls, and it will be the 1st time that photo ID is required for all voters at all Local Elections. Joining forces with the Electoral Commission and Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Councils are urging people to check if they have a photo ID well ahead of time so they don't miss out on their chance to participate in important Local Elections.

Approved ID includes:-

  • Passports issued by the UK Government.

  • Driving Licences issued by the UK, including:- Provisional Driving Licences.

  • A Blue Badge.

  • Some Older Person Bus Passes.

  • Any Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram card, including the NUS TOTUM+.

  • Biometric immigration document or card.

  • National identity card issued by an European Economic Area state.

Out of date ID is acceptable as long as it still looks like the voter and the name on the ID is the same as on the register. Voters will need to bring their ID to be able to vote in Local Elections, due to be held on:- Thursday, 4 May 2023. If voters do not have these forms of ID, they are encouraged to apply for free for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

Voters can do this online or in person at their Local Council Offices before:- 5pm, on 25 April 2023. Councils are encouraging voters to apply for these as soon as possible if they are registered to vote but are worried they do not currently have an ID.

Professionals working with vulnerable adults are also being encouraged to familiarise themselves and highlight the new requirements to adults who are less likely to have approved ID before the deadline.

The LGA, which represents Councils in England and Wales, is also urging people to treat hardworking local Polling Station staff with patience and respect as they implement the new changes.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA's People and Places Board said:- "Voting in a Local Election is really important in setting the future direction of your local community. However, we want to make sure that no one misses out on their chance to vote next month. As voters across the country receive their poll cards, make sure you check that you have approved ID and bring this to your local Polling Station when you vote. If you don't have approved ID, apply for a free voter authority certificate online on the Government website or in person from your Local Council. Councils will be working around the clock to process voter authority certificate applications and ensure the election day goes smoothly. We'd urge people to treat all Polling Station staff with respect and patience as these new changes are implemented."

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission, said:- "The elections are fast approaching so we are encouraging voters to get ready. Everyone needs to be registered to vote and those going to a Polling Station will need to show their photographic ID. There is a range of accepted forms of ID that can be used, and the free ID is available for anyone that does not have an existing one. Applications for that must be in before:- 5pm on:- 25 April. If a voter has concerns about showing their face at a Polling Station, because they wear a face covering for example, they can ask to have their ID checked in private. They won't need to give a reason for their request or explain why they'd prefer privacy. Staff will be trained to handle requests for ID to be checked in private, discreetly and with courtesy."

Elections Minister Baroness Scott said:- "Councils are doing important work raising awareness of requirements. The vast majority of people already have a form of acceptable photo identification, and that's why we are urging everyone to check now so they can be prepared for polling day. For anyone who doesn't have photo identification it's vital you apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate from your Local Council to make sure your voice is heard."

The full list of IDs that can be bought to Polling Station includes:-

  • Passports:- Passports issued by the UK Government, any of the:- Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country. Expired passports are acceptable, as long as the photo still looks like you.

  • Driving Licences and parking:- Driving Licences issued by the UK, any of the:- Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state. Provisional Driving Licences issued by the same. Expired Driving Licences and provisional licences are acceptable, as long as the photo still looks like you!

  • A Blue Badge.

Local travel documents:-

  • Older Person's Bus Pass.

  • Disabled Person's Bus Pass.

  • Oyster 60+ Card.

  • Freedom Pass.

  • Scottish National Entitlement Card.

  • 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card.

  • Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card.

  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland.

  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person's SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland.

  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland.

  • 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland.

  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland.

Proof of age cards... Any identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram, for example:-

  • CitizenCard.

  • My ID Card.

  • NUS Totum ID Card.

  • One ID4U Card.

Other identity documents:-
  • Biometric immigration document or card.

  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card), commonly known as the MOD90.

  • National identity card issued by an European Economic Area state.

  • Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland.

Let us know your thoughts on this news topic... Email our Newsroom at:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com or send us a message on:-  Mastodon, Facebook or Twitter.

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