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Metro Mayor Launches Town Centres Commission

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram with the Centres Commission.

STEVE Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has launched an independent Town Centres Commission to ensure that the City Region's Town Centres have a prosperous and sustainable long term future. Made up of 13 individuals with experience across a broad range of sectors, the Liverpool City Region Town Centres Commission met on Thursday, 27 February 2020, when they were joined by the Metro Mayor. It will meet regularly until September 2020.

The Commission will produce a final report setting out a vision for prosperous Town Centres in the Liverpool City Region, along with recommendations for how that can be achieved. The Commission is independent and will be chaired by Sarah Longlands, Director of IPPR North. IPPR North has also been commissioned by the Combined Authority to act as a secretariat for the Commission.

Speaking about the new Commission, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:- "There has been a renewed focus on Towns following December's General Election; and with good reason. Our economy, both Regionally and nationally, will not thrive unless success is shared between our Cities and our Towns. This is something I have been acutely aware of. When I was elected in 2017, I promised that no borough would be left behind. That's why I established a ₤6m fund to help revitalise high streets in every part of our Region. It's why I've helped our Local Councils in their efforts to regenerate Town Centres, such as the ₤15m of support we've offered to Knowsley Council for Kirkby and it's why I have established this commission. We are bringing together experts from a range of sectors to help us find sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. I want this commission to help us safeguard the future of our Town Centres to ensure that they remain at the heart of our communities for generations to come."

Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North and Independent Chair of the Liverpool City Region Town Centres Commission, said:- "Historically, Town Centres have been important for local communities, offering people a place to shop, access services and to celebrate. They are more than just streets and shop fronts but often represent an area's history and identity. At IPPR North we are delighted to welcome the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Town Centres Commission as a means to support the changing role of Town Centres now and in the future. For too long, Town Centres have been on the edge of the debate about the North's economy, now is the time to listen to our communities and businesses and work with them to build a better future in the places that matter to them."

It is proposed that the commission will use the following 4 policy areas as a core focus for its work:-

How do Town Centres support a sense of place and belonging in Liverpool City Region?

How can policy decisions on the environment, planning, and infrastructure best support our Town Centres?

How can Town Centres operate as a hub for business and Civil Society in the longer term?

How can Town Centres manage change to play a role in the future?

Commissioners have been selected to reflect a broad range of experiences and perspectives. All Commissioners serve in an individual capacity. The Commissioners are:

Alex Singleton, Professor of Geographic Information Science, University of Liverpool.

Bronwen Rapley, Chief Executive, Onward Homes.

Claire McColgan MBE, Director, Culture Liverpool.

Cllr Pam Thomas, Councillor, Liverpool City Council.

Dan Davies, CEO, Rockpoint Leisure.

John Csizmadia, Lloyds Banking Group.

Kim Cooper, Senior Town Planner, @ideasforliverpool (Arup).

Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool.

Liam Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Make CIC.

Phil McCabe, Federation of Small Businesses.

Sarah Taylor, Executive Director, Sefton Council.

Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North (Chair).

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive, Power to Change.

In addition to the meetings of the Commission, throughout its life IPPR North will undertake desk-based research, qualitative and quantitative analysis, stakeholder interviews and other forms of community engagement in the Liverpool City Region.

17 Town Centres from across Liverpool City Region's 6 constituent Authorities have been identified for focus:-

Liverpool City Centre.
Widnes Town Centre.
Runcorn Town Centre.
Halton Lea Town Centre.
Huyton Town Centre.
Kirkby Town Centre.
Prescot Town Centre.
Southport Town Centre.
Bootle Town Centre.
St Helens Town Centre.
EarlesTown Town Centre.
Birkenhead Town Centre.
Liscard (Wallasey) Town Centre.
Heswall Town Centre.
Moreton Town Centre.
New Brighton Town Centre.
West Kirby Town Centre.

Childline Counsellors in Liverpool help 2,929 UK children with suicidal thoughts and feelings

#KIDS_IRL Campaign

THE NSPCC has revealed, on average, 67 children a day are receiving help from its Childline service as they struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings. In 2018/19 Childline delivered 24,447 counselling sessions to young people plagued by a sense of despair, a 3 year increase of 25%.  Volunteers at the Liverpool Childline base delivered 2,929 of those counselling sessions in 2018/2019 to children across the UK; an average of 8 each day. Of the national total, most of those reaching out were teenagers, but there has also been a sharp rise in under 11s receiving help (87% since 2015/16).  Young people contacting Childline with suicidal thoughts and feelings cited specific concerns about mental health, self harm, family relationships and problems at School and college. Girls were more likely to talk about these feelings, with five times as many receiving counselling sessions than boys. In response, the NSPCC is today launching a nationwide campaign; KIDS In Real Life; urging the public to help them save a child's life, in real life. #KIDS_IRL is highlighting that with so much of childhood today happening online, there are more ways than ever for children to hide how they really feel. But behind the filters, feed and emojis, many of them are suffering. Some are even thinking about taking their own life.  The NSPCC is calling on people to show their support through a 'Pledge to Protect' and make a donation to fund vital services like Childline which are there for children and teenagers when they have nowhere else to turn. #KIDS_IRL is being brought to life by a series of hard hitting films and adverts to raise awareness of the struggles many children and teenagers face across the country.

The stories of children and young people featured throughout the campaign are based on real life experiences of young people who have contacted the NSPCC. Hollie suffered from chronic anxiety as a teenager which led her to try and take her own life. She says she was saved by Childline:- "Following a suicide attempt I contacted Childline and spoke to a counsellor about how I was feeling. It was that conversation that stopped me from trying to take my life again when I got off the phone. Over the next couple of years, I stopped talking, walking, eating and taking care of myself. There were also more stays in Hospital. Yet despite not talking to anyone, I would often call Childline and chat to a counsellor when I was feeling low. The service was my lifeline during my darkest hours."

Since launching its online chat service, the demand for support and advice from Childline has continued to rise. Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of Childline, said:- "When we launched Childline in 1986, the majority of calls were from young people describing pain caused by someone else, this could include abuse, bullying or neglect. But over the last ten years we have seen a rise in the number of children describing their feelings of such intense unhappiness that they tell Childline they want to end their own lives. It is deeply disturbing that we have reached a point where, on average, 67 children a day are receiving help for suicidal thoughts and feelings. This new campaign highlights that many of these profoundly unhappy young people hide their feelings to those around them online, bottling up their suicidal thoughts which may become overwhelming. Worryingly we don't have the resources to be there for every child who needs us, which is why it is so important the public get behind #KIDS_IRL and supports the NSPCC in their mission to be there for all the young people who reach out in their darkest hour."

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