Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Louise Baldock's Blog - banned in China

Councillor Nick Small was in Shanghai recently at the Expo, doing his bit to promote the city of Liverpool to potential investors. Catching up on the news from home in his hotel room between shifts, he was perusing all his favourite Liverpool sites, when he tried to access this blog. Imagine his surprise (and mine, when he told me...), but this blog is banned in China!

I really don't see myself as an enemy of the state, in fact I would think my only references to China would relate to Clarice Cliff rather than the Red Army, but who knows what is counted as seditious over there?

It made me laugh anyway (and before you ask, apparently Dale Street Blues is quite acceptable)

Official opening of Kensington District Centre (we still dont have a better name for it...)

Luciana and I braved the cold and the smattering of snow today to attend the official opening of the Kensington District Centre (that is the development of shops and flats on the site of the old Icerink).

We were in the company of CTP Ltd, the developers who hosted the opening, along with their architects and their builders, Allenbuild, Riverside Housing Association who have named their top quality residential scheme "Prescot Court", representatives of Kensington Regeneration and the new CIC who succeed the New Deal, representatives from the new shops and local residents from neighbouring streets.

I can tell you that the canapes were wonderful, perfectly suited to the freezing conditions, small glasses of warm potato soup, tiny little yorkshire puddings with a minced beef filling, bitesize crumpets with cheese, tiny salmon rolls, and warm mulled wine to cup your hands round. (Nick enjoys reading about the food and I don't like to disappoint him). Well done to the caterers, whoever you were! You not only prepared lovely stuff, some of it in the dark, when the lights went out, but you determinedly carried it across a very slippy pavement to bring it out to us.

I was very impressed with the new public courtyard that you can walk into through a gap between Iceland and the villa. The latter having been beautifully restored and now housing 4 most fabulous flats.

During a speech cut short by necessity, it being sub-zero, the developer told us that Tesco Express would be taking the two units next to Iceland and that two further are currently under offer at the Lister Road end of the development. So with Greggs and Barnardos now fitting their two units, only one small unit currently remains untenanted. I would think it will be snapped up, as this is going to be a very successful little shopping scheme. It's all good news.

Of course I know that many local people were deeply disappointed that our promised One-Stop Shop has not materialised, nor the community cafe or other things we were promised in years gone by, and yes we would have loved a new icerink and yes we would have loved a new community centre, but as they were not on the cards, it would be churlish of me not to recognise that although we did not get everything we wanted, what we do have is very fine and will enhance the area.

(Photo: Opening of Iceland store in August)

CTP also announced that funding had been found to develop phase two of the site earlier than expected, that is the land directly behind the Lister pub, and that plans will be submitted shortly for 18 family homes. Further good news for the area as the empty plots start to be brought into valuable use. And hopefully also good news for the people of Lister Crescent who are keen to see a resolution to their interest in taking over a tiny little strip of land that runs between their houses and this empty plot. This could bring their hopes into reality very much more quickly.

Now we just have to get the old market site sorted and a whole stretch of Prescot Road will be transformed. With plans for Mr Gubay's Edge Lane development now at decision stage, Kensington and Fairfield residents are ready to enjoy once again living somewhere people like to shop.

There is further good news about our battle for a fee free cash machine but I don't want to preempt my own press release so I shall leave you tantalised about that for a wee bit longer.

I didn't take any photos today although there was an official photographer so I expect one will surface in due course...

Official opening of the new Kensington Community Fire Station (in Fairfield)

I was delighted this afternoon to be at the opening of the new Kensington Community Fire Station on Beech Street. (Technically it is in Fairfield, as it is to the East of Beech Street, rather than the West, but we wont split hairs, it replaces the old Kensington Fire Station at Low Hill so it makes sense to keep the name).

The new Fire Station is a wonderful building and the gathered guests were thrilled with everything they saw. Opened officially by HRH Duchess of Gloucester (who looked very trim in a lovely purple coat for those royalists amongst you, I don't have a photo unfortunately but you may take my word for it), other guests included the Chair and members of the Fire Authority, Senior Fire Service brass, the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside who was on top form today, great fun as always, representatives from KNDC, local and divisional fire fighters, local residents and a few children of fire fighters who got to play on the appliances later,  as a reward for handing the bouquet over and not being tempted to hold on to it determinedly.

I was particularly interested to see the community space, we had always been under the impression that the community were being offered "a room" but I can report that in fact it is an entire floor, with most impressive facilities (see the three photos below) and a gymnasium (the equipment for which is still being gathered so I did not take a photo of it). Local people/organisations wishing to make use of the facilities need to contact the station to talk about bookings. We dont have a community centre in our area and we are always keen to locate new places where we can hold meetings, I think this will be a resounding success.

I did take the time to talk to some of the local firefighters stationed at the new place and asked in particular how they were managing the traffic and the road formation when they head out on emergencies. I was relieved to hear that no problems have yet been experienced, I was concerned about all the traffic parked along Beech Street, but they said it was okay and apparently they can switch over the traffic lights on Prescot Road/Kensington to enable a swift exit. They all seemed very pleased with their home.
So it is a win-win all round.

Congratulations and well done Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, you have done Kensington and Fairfield proud!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Police acting on local intelligence in drug busts in Kensington

Some good news for local people this week in Kensington from our local police sergeant who always keeps us updated with their work.

Following Community Intelligence police entered an address on Sheil Road, L6. There they found a number of addicts and a male supplying drugs. Approximately 30 wraps were found and a male was arrested. He has been bailed while the drugs are sent away for analysis.

Following community intelligence police executed a Misuse of Drugs Act Warrant in Berwick St, L6 and recovered a small cannabis farm. Two people were arrested and charged with cultivation of cannabis and abstracting electricity.

They have asked that if any local people have any information, to let them know and they will deal with it as expeditiously as they can. You can also come directly to your councillors if you would prefer.

The good relationships that people in Kensington and Fairfield have developed with the police, particularly through the Community Safety and As One Task Group is really bearing fruit now. Thanks to the public-spirited residents for coming forward and the police for acting on local concerns and tip-offs.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ernest Brown Junior Instructional Centre - 70th Anniversary Memorial service

Around midnight on the night of 28th November 1940, a German plane dropped its cargo of bombs onto Edge Hill in Liverpool, targetting the railway station, lines and sidings. Liverpool was one of the main ports in the UK which received equipment vital for the war effort and it was a continuous target for the Nazis.

One of the parachute mines landed on a 3 storey school/college, the Ernest Brown Junior Instructional Centre on Durning Road, Edge Hill, L7. It was closed of course because it was in the middle of the night, but in the basement was a shelter, used by many local people from the Edge Hill area. It was the boiler room, chosen because it had a reinforced ceiling with metal girders running across it. It would be a safe enough place if bombs fell nearby, but it could not withstand a direct hit.

The bomb brought the whole building crashing down, rubble and debris falling on the 300 people sheltering there. Men, women and children, the youngest a 5week old baby, mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. The boilers burst with the impact,  the furnace exploded, flames and scalding water inflicting horrifying damage and killing many whom the initial impact had spared.

It took two days to pull the bodies out of the shelter, in the end, with fear of disease rampant, the body parts that had not been recovered were covered with lime and the basement was sealed. The police believed that 160 people were recognised as having been killed on this terrible night, but it was obvious to everyone that there were those who were never named or identified and the true count will never be known. The Fire Service are reported to have believed the number of dead was nearer to 180. There are 150 names on the memorial, whole families who perished together.

This horrific event devastated the community. Had the full story been told in the newspapers at the time, the authorities worried about the impact that it would have on British morale and so the details were not made public until many years later. Winston Churchill later called it "the worst single (civilian) incident of the war".

Picton Labour Councillor Tim Beaumont, member of Kensington Remembers, keen that this event should be remembered again following the 61st anniversary memorial when the full story was told publicly for the first time, contacted Reverend Mike Coates, in whose parish the tragedy occurred to ask him whether he would hold an ecumenical commemorative service. Tonight, on the 70th anniversary, several hundred people gathered at Kensington Junior School, Brae Street, 100 yards from the Ernest Brown Junior Instructional Centre to honour and remember the dead and their mourners.

We heard moving testimony from Molly O'Connoll of Fairfield who was a young teacher in 1940, describing how the schoolwork of the children in her school by the docks was regularly disturbed by air raids, they were eventually evacuated to North Wales. Stan Smart described how, as a young man, he and his family made the decision that night to shelter in Clint Road school, waving goodbye to their Uncle who was going to the Ernest Brown centre with a young neighbour looking for her own family to shelter with. Only his wristwatch, the leather strap perished by the scalding water, was ever identified.

The children of Kensington School choir sang beautifully for the congregation and the Kensington Methodist Girls Brigade read the names of the identified victims as a candle was lit.

After the moving ceremony we all moved into the school reception area to view the monument to the dead, moved from its former home at St Cyprian's Church and reconsecrated.

While we stood in front of the memorial, I spoke to an elderly gentleman who told me that he had been in the shelter when the mine fell. He was in there for a day and a half before he was rescued. He said his 17 year old brother was killed, having come to the shelter along with others when another one had been damaged nearby. I have since searched the list of names and wonder whether this was John James Phillips. He told me about having to walk over and among so many bodies as he was finally rescued.

Another resident, Audrey Smith of Elm Park Residents Association told me earlier this week that her father was part of the rescue and clean-up operation.

So many people in the congregation had stories to tell, either first hand or learned from relatives and friends.

I have found further information that you might find interesting on the following websites. Daily Mail covering the 61st memorial. Liverpool at war names the dead of this and other wartime losses in the city.
The BBCs coverage of tonight's event.

Kensington Remembers would like to thank the Press Office of Liverpool City Council for their help in publicising the event, Trinity Mirror for coverage in the Daily Post and Echo, ensuring that survivors, friends and relatives could come forward and take part in the service. We would like to thank all the churches in the area, Father Fitz, Rev Flip den Util, Rev Andrew Porter and of course Rev Mike Coates for their participation and organisation, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Hazel Williams for attending on behalf of the people of the city, Kensington Junior School for hosting the service and allowing us to hear the beautiful school choir, Kensington Methodist Girls Brigade for their contribution, members of all congregations, the CofE music group and all those who came to pay their respects.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Liverpool City Council Winter Weather Preparations

Please see note received on Thursday afternoon, lots of good stuff in here, including the truth that of course you can legally clear the snow from your path, doh!

Firstly, despite some of the images you might have seen today of the snow affecting parts of the UK, at the time of writing to you, there have currently been no Met Office Weather Warnings issued for the Liverpool area (please see edited NW weather briefing below from our Public Weather Advisor). Forecasts show that the over next few days - although there will be below zero temperatures at night - that no snow is forecasted for the Merseyside area. We will as ever continue to monitor this situation and update you all accordingly should this situation change. For your information, however, Liverpool City Council has been making preparations for any potential adverse winter weather conditions or prolonged cold snap event, the key points are outlined below as follows: -


o 2000t held at Newton Road with 1000t call off contract with Salt Union giving greater resilience. However, the Cabinet Office’s ‘Salt Cell’, if invoked, may influence this call-off ability.

o Gritting routes have been reviewed to take into account strategic network, key transport nodes and critical infrastructure

o Gritting routes can be viewed on the LCC internet and Enterprise Liverpool websites

o Advice has been prepared for schools/building managers regarding clearing of pathways to/from buildings and PMU will act as a conduit for those wishing to procure grit salt etc. Should the need arise for additional resources to be diverted to Emergency Rest Centres; this can easily and quickly be carried out.

o ‘Safethaw’ pavement clearing equipment purchased plus 4000l of product for city centre pavement de-icing.

o Cemeteries & Crematoria have 30t salt in store at Springwood Crematorium

Communication with Staff & Public:

Myth busting advice has been issued by the Department for Transport in the form of the Snow Code. The Snow Code gives tips and guidance to the public on clearing snow and ice from the pavement themselves - text of which is shown below. The Snow Code the salient points of which have been copied and pasted below.

Severe & Extreme Weather Warnings above certain thresholds are now posted on Liverpool City Council's intranet and internet with a link to Met Office website

Receipt and dissemination mechanism for Severe and Extreme Weather warnings by Liverpool Direct (LDL) have been verified and additional familiarisation delivered to call centre team leaders by Met Office Regional Public Weather Advisor

The Emergency Planning Unit’s Let’s Get Ready Liverpool contains guidance and tips on how to prepare for winter weather and is available to download on the LCC internet site


Children’s Services have introduced a Single Point Of Contact for reporting school closures and Out Of Hours contact details are held for all Head Teachers

PMU (I dont know what the PMU is sorry...) is to act as single point of contact for individual schools for procurement advice on salt supplies for them to order and use. Advice for schools will be placed on Ednet (intranet for all Liverpool schools)  in unison with the information on LCC intranet.

LCC Business Continuity:

Emergency Planning Unit to call tactical meetings of relevant Business Units when forecast predicts disruption to council services

Business Units have strengthened their Business Continuity Management plans in light of learning from last winter’s severe weather event and the related interruptions.

Please be assured that in the event the Met Office forecast should prove to be inaccurate, corporate arrangements are in place to respond accordingly.

Notes from the Met Office Forecast - Main Points:

1.) There are no major changes to the forecast across NW England for

Thursday and Friday - the much-heralded cold spell is now underway and looks set to last for the foreseeable future (i.e. at least in to the middle of next week). We have prepared revised graphics indicating the national snow risk for both the above days. These can be accessed on our website at the link below. Note that on both Thursday and Friday there is a low risk of some snow penetrating the region - the Pennine fringes on Thursday and then the western fringes on Friday. The Friday risk seems to be more focussed on Merseyside and west Cheshire during the afternoon and evening but it remains a low risk at this stage.

2.) The overall message for the region is for largely dry conditions
(Isolated snow showers) with widespread overnight frosts to predominate over the next 36 to 48 hours. As is so often in these cold spells it is the eastern half of the UK that cops most of the snow. This is certainly the case at the moment. Back on Monday I commented that the situation may get more complicated by the weekend with an increased risk of snow showers, probably biased more towards the Pennine fringes. That advice still holds but as yet there remains no firm detail on which, if any, areas are at greater risk from any significant snow. Come the weekend small scale weather features could quite easily generate some localised snowfall but such features are well nigh impossible to predict this far off.

3.) Further updates will be issued as and when appropriate. Perhaps the most important aspect to emphasise at the moment from a resilience standpoint is the forecast duration of this spell and the possible effects it may have on the more vulnerable sections of the community. To this end there are some useful links provided at the bottom of the above weblink.


There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully. Follow the snow code when clearing snow and ice safely.

The snow code - tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces

Prevent slips

Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.

If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured.

Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.

Clear the snow or ice early in the day

It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.

Use salt or sand - not water

If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.

Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage.

If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.

Take care where you move the snow

When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.

Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths

If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.

As always, I am very happy to take any calls from any residents or businesses in Kensington or Fairfield who need any help or support.

Photo: Taken by Louise Baldock, January 2010, Liverpool

The state of Liverpool's public finances

You may find this information useful when trying to understand the state of the finances at Liverpool City Council and what we may and may not be able to do about it. The detail comes courtesy of Cllr Paul Brant, Deputy Leader of the Council and the Labour Group

Q1 When do we know the budget gap for next year
The Government announced the Departmental (i.e. Ministry) spending on 20th October in its budget. However individual Councils only get informed of their allocations several months later. The Government is making a number of changes to the funding formula which is used to distribute the money and it is likely that these changes and the increased level of cuts will significantly adversely affect Liverpool when our allocation is announced. We expect to know our grant income in about early December for the next financial year (2011/12). This gives us only a few weeks until we set the budget. This short period itself prevents us - and organisations which we fund - from properly planning for

Q2 What about the £120m gap we hear so much about?
Last January the Lib Dems Medium Term Financial Plan showed a gap between expected income and expected expenditure of £14m £53m, £30 and £29m totalling £124m for each of the following financial years. You will note that next year's gap of £53m is the biggest figure - this is because they shunted some of this years cuts into next year (to allow them to set a lower Council Tax last May). Labour inherited a big problem when we took control this year.

The above budget predictions assumed some of the central Government cuts (to the level of about 10% spending reductions). As we all know the Lib Dem /Tory Government plans build in 25% spending reductions over the rest of the parliament, so our budget gap will be significantly worse even if the cuts were spread evenly throughout the Country. So far the Government has cut funding streams which disproportionately hit Liverpool (BSF, HMRI, ABG), thus we can expect a significantly bigger gap to fill in the budget.

Finally, to make matters worse, the Government figures suggest they will frontload their cuts in the first 2 years of the next 4. To give you some idea of the scale of the problem, we get 70- 80% of our income from Government Grants which total about £600m, so even the £53m cut comprised a 9% cut in one year. Much of our expenditure is not really controllable by the Council (we are locked into contracts, or have statutory functions like child protection to discharge) so a much greater % cut to individual areas is inevitable. As we spend most of our money on staff, many fewer staff are likely to be employed in future years.

Q3 What do we know already about the Government imposed cuts on Liverpool for the next 4 years?
On a broad brush basis we can be confident that over the next 4 years we will have over £1billion of cuts to deal with. The following table shows how this is made up

£350m - Building Schools for the Future
£80m - Housing Market Renewal Initiative reduction - 4 yrs x £20m
£145m - Revenue cuts of 7.25% (nationally) applied to our £600m non-schools grant income over 4 years
£400m - Area Based Grant - abolished the whole £100m x 4 years
£ 278 m - Capital Grants 40% reduction in our grant of £174m (£194 m - £20m HMRI) x 4 years
£1. 25 bn

We may get some additional revenue to compensate for 1 and 4, but we are likely to lose more than envisaged in 3 and 5 (they are very prudent figures). Thus we look likely to have a loss significantly in excess of £1bn, the whole of the annual loss of budget for Scotland - which has of course received national attention!

Q4 Haven't we already closed the budget gap by taking tough decisions since we came into control in May?
Yes, significant and early steps were taken by us to tackle the financial situation as soon as we came into power in May. These include reducing Agency staff, spending on consultants, removing the bonuses for senior staff, managing vacancies and allowing voluntary severance. We have reduced the cost of running the Council by over £10m per year. However the budget set by the Lib Dems, which we inherited grossly underprovided for the cost of Adult Social and Child Protection placements by over £10m per year. We have thus been running to stand still since we came into power. We will almost certainly have to use the savings we have accrued to plug this under provision.

The Adult Care overspend is principally due two reasons. Firstly, an aging population who have greater needs for our services. Secondly, personalised budgets for individuals mean that whilst the Council provides facilities (Day care centres etc). the individuals often chose to spend their money elsewhere - hence we have the cost, but not the income to fund the service. We are in the process of rationalising the Day care centre provision but these processes take time and require proper consultation. The Lib Dems have known for years of the effect of these changes (many of our Day care centres were at 30-40% occupancy when we took control).

The Children's overspend is principally due to many more children being taken into care since Baby Peter. The Council does not have enough Foster Carers to place the children with, thus we are forced to place them with expensive private contractors. We are acting to try to increase the number of foster carers - including advertising on television along with other North West Councils. The increase of children in care was clearly evident in September of last year (long before the budget process was started). The Lib Dems failed to budget for the increased numbers.

Q6 Can't we just deal with the problem by setting an 'illegal' budget as the Liverpool Trades Council suggested?

Liverpool City Council gets about 80% of its income from Government. If we refused to set a budget for next year which matched our expenditure we would just run out of money in our bank account part way through the year, meaning that the Council would cease to function. In fact the City Treasurer and the District Auditor have a legal obligation to ensure that the Council remains solvent, and would issue statutory notices long before we ran of money (or if we tried to set an 'illegal' budget). These notices would inevitably lead to the Government taking over the running of the Council directly - i.e. the arch Thatcherite Tory, Eric Pickles would run Liverpool City Council. We know from past experience that a Tory Government has no hesitation using legal powers against Liverpool City Council.

Q7 Can't we just raise Council Tax to solve the problem?
The Government have made it very difficult. Firstly they have promised us the equivalent of 2.5% increase in grant if we freeze the Council Tax. We only get the money if we freeze the tax, thus if we want to raise an extra 1% of tax income, we would have to raise the Council Tax by 3.5%. Secondly they have said that there needs to be a referendum if a Council wants to raise Council Tax by a level they deem appropriate. It's not totally clear that this power will be enacted in time for the coming financial year, however, a similar referendum in the West Country some years ago led to the public voting to cut education spending and their Council Tax.

Even if we can put the Council Tax up, a 1% rise only raises about £1.7m, a drop in the ocean given the scale of the budget gap we face.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Croxteth byelection victory

A wonderful result in the Croxteth byelection, two new Labour councillors elected with big majorities and a swing to Labour. The outgoing councillors were the lovely Rose Bailey who sadly died earlier this year and LibDem Phil Moffat who has gone off to work with the DUP in NI.

Martin CUMMINS (The Labour Party Candidate) 1,447
Stephanie TILL (The Labour Party Candidate) 1,424
Mark Anthony COUGHLIN (Liberal Democrat) 611
Michael John MARNER (Liberal Democrat) 479
Kai ANDERSEN (Socialist Labour Party) 135
Peter TIERNEY (British National Party) 117
Barbara BRYAN (Socialist Labour Party) 70
Eleanor Edith PONTIN (Green Party) 63
Tony Stop-Mass-Immigration HAMMOND (UK Independence Party) 50
Paul Duane RIMMER (English Democrats "Putting England First") 35
Steven McELLENBOROUGH (English Democrats "Putting England First") 33
Norman COPPELL (Conservative Party) 31
Brenda COPPELL (Conservative Party) 29
Michael John LANE (UK Independence Party) 19

Lab 60.8%
L Dem 23.1%
BNP 5.0%
S Lab P 4.3%
GP 2.7%
UKIP 1.5%
ED 1.4%
C 1.3%

The Greens meant to field two candidates but there was a mix up with one of the sets of nomination forms.

A derisory vote for the Conservatives, as one of my FB friends said, they must come from big families and no solace for the ED or the BNP.

I am really looking forward to working with my mate Steph in particular who is a young mum and very enthusiastic about her local community. Well done everyone!

Deane Road Jewish Cemetery community clean up day

November 12th saw a really terrific turnout at the Deane Road Jewish Cemetery community clean up day. Huge numbers of people turned up to help from all sorts of organisations, Business in the Community, the Police, Riverside HA, and another one beginning with "A" who did a particularly good job, just need someone to remind me of their name so that I can thank them properly, and the contractors for Riverside HA, the probation service, the YOT,  council staff and all manner of wonderful and supportive volunteers. I am still waiting for the write-up and will post it up when I have that with full details of all of the participators. Thanks so much to everyone, you were terrific. It was nothing short of a miracle, the amount of work you all achieved.

But what I really wanted to do was share some of the wonderful photographs with you.
We are hosting a tour later this week for the HLF committee and then we wait with bated breath to learn the fate of our HLF bid early in December. This could be MASSIVE! Keep it all crossed for us.

The driveway smartened up and ready for planting

 A view of the portico and neat driveway

Miriam de Menasce tomb looking fabulous, following restoration

Hard at work!

Below, volunteers, watched by an excited Saul Marks, discover a grave we have never seen before, under the grass.

A garden in the alley, Fairfield

Fairfield, Liverpool, where local residents have made a wonderful job of "greening" their alley. In some other parts of the ward and indeed the city, many alleys are dirty, neglected, fouled and offer no real benefit to local people. This shining example of what local people can do with support and encouragement is to be applauded, it not only creates a beautiful little oasis for people in terraced houses to enjoy, but it also fosters community spirit, neighbourliness and pride.

I should point out that alleys in Liverpool have locked gates at either end so the only people with access are the residents themselves from their back gates.

Isn't it wonderful!

Polish Christmas Event with Merseyside Polonia

Christmas is our special time and we want to share it with you, our Liverpool family

Join us on St. Nicolas Day - Monday, 6th December
and find out more about Polish Christmas,
taste some traditional Christmas Eve dishes
and listen to Christmas Carols in Polish and English.

This year we invite special guests
the Hungarian Community
that will share with us their music and cuisine

Free entry

Monday, 6th December 2010, 6.30 pm - 9 pm
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Gardners Drive, Kensington, Liverpool L6 7UR

Please confirm your attendance by e-mail to:

If you would like to help prepare the event please join us at a meeting on 23rd November 2010 at 6.30pm at the Academy.


Polskie Spotkanie Wigilijne

Boze Narodzenie jest dla nas specjalnym czasem
ktorym chcielibysmy sie podzielic z Wami
nasza Liverpoolska rodzina

Dolacz do nas na Mikolajki - w poniedzialek 6 grudnia
i dowiedz sie wiecej o polskim Bozym Narodzeniu,
sprobuj tradycyjnych Wigilijnych potraw
i posluchaj koled po polsku i po angielsku

W tym roku zapraszamy specjalnych gosci
spolecznosc wegierska,
ktora podzieli sie z nami swoja muzyka i kuchnia

Wstep wolny
Poniedzialek, 6 grudnia 2010, 18.30 - 21.00
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Gardners Drive, Kensington, Liverpool L6 7UR

Prosimy o potwierdzenie przez e-mail na:

Osoby, ktore chcialyby sie wlaczyc w przygotowanie eventu zapraszamy na spotkanie 23 listopada 2010 o 18.30 w The Academy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Greggs and Barnardos to join Iceland in Kensington

Just been informed that Greggs and Barnardos are to join Iceland in the new retail centre in Kensington

The site of the old icerink, due to be officially opened on 30th Novemebr will include

• New retail premises for Iceland, Greggs and Barnardo’s, with further lettings soon to be announced;
• Affordable Housing for Riverside;
• The refurbishment of the historic early Victorian Grade II Listed Villas;
• A New Urban Park;
• Visitor and Occupier Car Parking; and
• A ground breaking Community Fire Station for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services.

I must say it is all looking very good

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deane Road Jewish Cemetery - Vacancy for Project Manager with Conservation experience

An exciting opportunity is available for a Project Manager to take forward plans for the restoration of the historic Deane Road Jewish Cemetery.

Opened in 1837, the Cemetery is the resting place for some of the most influential Victorians who shaped the city of Liverpool. We have successfully applied for a stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid which has enabled us to develop plans for the stage 2 bid which will be determined in early December 2010.

If we are successful then the Project Manager will begin work in March 2011, with interviews held in December, we are determined to hit the ground running so we are beginning the recruitment process now.

This will be a part- time post, 18 hours per week, and will run for 18 months.
Salary £25000 pro rata

You will assist the Deane Road Cemetery Committee in the delivery of the restoration project. You will be responsible for

Managing the implementation of the Deane Road Cemetery restoration project

Working with the Committee to ensure delivery within budget, to the quality required by the client and funders and within the programme already established

Please send your CV and a covering letter, detailing your experience and suitability, to recruitment@deaneroadcemetery.com by November 30th 2010

International Migrants Day plans - December 18th 2010

Please see this interesting note from Paul Amann re the forthcoming International Migrants Day, further details for which are at http://www.un.org/en/events/migrantsday/.

We would like to mark this day in Liverpool under the Monty Python theme of “What have the Migrants Done for Liverpool?” with a chronological journey of migration to, from and through Liverpool. This would detail the contributions that each new community has made to the city of Liverpool today.

I would very much welcome your thoughts as to what this day should include in Liverpool. We are currently proposing a city centre event with community members from different migrant communities showcasing some timetabled artistic, culinary and sporting contributions across the day for people to drop in on. The day may be an antidote to the hustle and bustle of what will undoubtedly be a frenetic time in the city on the last Saturday before Christmas.

Please respond detailing what your community might wish to contribute and indeed, what contributions you feel your community might have made to the city of Liverpool today, examples already submitted include:

* A German migrant, Carl Bernard Bartels created the most iconic representation of the symbol of the city the Royal Liver Building Birds
* Scandinavian migrants brought the city its dish, Lobscouse
* Malian Djimi Traore, Scot Kenny Daglish, Jamaican John Barnes, Welsh Craig Bellamy, Brazilian Fabio Aurelio, Dutch Ryan Babel, Czech Vladimir Smicer, Israeli Yossi Benayoun, Irish Steve Staunton, Dane Jan Molby, Welsh Ian Rush and Pole Jerzy Dudek are just a sample of the many migrants who have contributed to the success of Liverpool FC
* Irish migrant Edward Chambre Hardman whose legacy for photography is still preserved at his studio 59 Rodney Street which is now owned by the national Trust
* Swiss migrant Carl Jung’s Liverpool Dream
* John, Paul and George were descendants of Irish migrants
* Russian migrant Vasily Petrenko is principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
* Nigerian Victor Anichebe, Australian Tim Cahil, Polish descended Phil Jagielka, Russian Andrei Kanchelskis, Welsh Gary Speed, Scot Gary Naysmith, Canadian Tomasz Radzinski, Spanish Mikel Arteta and American Tim Howard are some of the many migrants who have contributed to Everton FC’s successes
* Yemeni migrant, Tahir Qassim MBE is one of the founders and chairperson of the Liverpool Arabic Centre. He is also Chair of the Liverpool Black and other Racial Minorities (BRM) Network, Liverpool BRM Education sub-group, Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival (LAAF) and a Board member of the Bluecoat Arts Centre.
* Descendents of Jewish migrants from Europe: Samuel, Yates, Montagu, Mozley and Joseph participated in the administration of Liverpool, helping in 1798 to found Liverpool's leading cultural organisation, the Athenaeum
* In 1863 Charles Mozley, then president of the Hebrew Educational Institution, became Liverpool's first Jewish Mayor
* Jewish migrant descended David Lewis, founded the iconic Liverpool store
* John Archer was one of Britain’s first black mayors (Battersea)was born in Liverpool, John’s father, was a Barbadian ship’s steward whilst his mother, Mary Theresa Burns, was Irish born
* Chinese migrant Mr K H Li, founder of the Chinese Youth Orchestra and contributor to the soundtrack of the Last Emperor
* Singaporean born Michael Chew Koon Chan, Lord Chan of Oxton was House of Lord’s only peer of Chinese origin and a consultant and lecturer at Liverpool’s School of Tropical Medicine
* Chinese descended Liverpool born Hong Y ‘Frank’ Soo was the first non-white man to play football for England
* Craig Charles, Cathy Tyson, Paul Barber are all renowned Liverpool born actors of African-Caribbean descent
* Liverpool born, African descended, Walter ‘Wally’ Brown CBE was principal of Liverpool Community College
* And many, many more have clearly contributed!

Please send your thoughts to me or to Paul using the format firstname dot surname at liverpool dot gov dot uk

National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2010

begins today, November 15th, with an event in the House of Lords. I cannot put the formal programme up because it is a PDF and this site only allows for JPEGs, but the working notes from which I created it are as follows;

Monday 15th November

House of Lords.
Time. 10 am for a 10.30 am start.
Finish time. 1 pm room til 1.30 pm.

Graham Evans MP Chair. 5 mins
Baroness Finlay. Sponsor. 5 mins
Nick Atkin CEO Halton Housing Trust "Gas Safety: The Landlords Role". 10 mins,
Les Staines Gas Contract Manager. Hackney Homes. Findings on Carbon monoxide Investigations.10mins.
Laura Carter. My story. 10 mins
Dr. Ed Walker, Associate Specialist, Emergency Department "CO and the Brain: Fact or Fiction?' 20 mins
Stephen Baker. BA (Hons), Partner, Harris Fowler Solicitors. 'Carbon Monoxide poisoning-the legal challenge'. 15 mins
Gary Oakford. Merseyside Fire and Rescue. Reducing Health Inequalities – reducing preventable deaths. 15mins.
Tony Brunton: Chair for the Charities Trustees. 15 mins
Families who have been effected by CO chance to speak max 5 mins each. 20 mins.
Question and Answer 20 mins
Lynn Griffiths. Charities president. Thank you. 5 mins.

There is a really good article on the Merseyside Police website too which you might find interesting about Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. A big thank you to them for the publicity and public information sharing

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get creative this Christmas at Kensington Community Learning Centre

Saturday 20th November 2010
from 10.00 til 4.00 (lunch & refreshments included) - £8.00 per person

Come along and join our team of scrapbookers. Exchange ideas, share hints, tips and techniques, and see how the 'professionals' create beautiful scrapbook pages for their albums. There will be staff and volunteers to show you how to get started and a wide selection of scrapbooking materials to choose from.

We will also have papers, card, ribbons and buttons that you can buy at discounted prices.

Thursday 2nd December 2010
from 10.00 til 2.00 - £3.00 per person (materials included)

Why not try your hand at making some greetings cards and gift boxes at our December workshop. Materials will be provided (2 gift boxes per person) and there will be experienced volunteers to give you ideas and guidance.

from 10.00 til 3.00 (refreshments included) - £2.00 per person
Let us introduce you to the world of card making and scrapbooking. We'll show you lots of simple but effective techniques on how to embellish your pictures and create beautiful hand-made cards.

To reserve your place, just call us on 0151 260 1006 or pop into Kensington Community Learning Centre at 291 - 299 Kensington (opposite McDonalds )

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Liverpool Central Citizens Advice Board fundraising plans

Open letter from Liverpool Central CAB. Can you help them fundraise?

I am writing to tell you about some fantastic events taking place next month in aid of Liverpool Central Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which is desperately in need of your support.

We know that times are hard for everyone right now, and many organisations in the city are facing drastic cuts. But we wanted to take the time to remind you of the valuable and vital work undertaken by the dedicated team at Liverpool Central CAB, now under threat of losing a third of its workforce and ability to provide significant expertise in areas of welfare, debt and housing.

Our funding comes entirely from grants and donations. Right now, is more important than ever as we try to do everything we can to save the jobs and specialist services at risk.

That is why we have organised four fundraising events, taking place next month, that we hope you will take the time and opportunity to support in whatever way you can.

The effort to raise our target of £50,000 in just four days:

Day 1. Begins on Saturday 6th November with a bag packing event at Asda on Smithdown Road with over 20 volunteers.

Day 2. After this, on Thursday 11th November, we will be presenting an “All Night Benefit Extravaganza”- with established and current bands, comedians and well known dancers (as featured on “Britain’s Got Talent” and the “MTV Awards.”)

Day 3. This fantastic event will be followed by a “Benefit Bazaar and Auction” which will start at 3:30pm and end at 11:30pm. This event will take place at the Slug and Lettuce on North John Street on Friday 12th November.

Day 4. Our final event will be a collection outside Everton Football Club on Sunday, 14th November.

It is vital that we are able to keep helping vulnerable people in this city. Last year Liverpool Central CAB alone helped deal with £10m of debt, helped residents claim £689,791 in benefits, represented 1,998 people in court for housing possession and eviction and debt hearings. In total, more than 10,000 clients were helped with 51,235 problems. You may well have first hand experience of constituents we have helped.

We’ve set a big goal for ourselves – but we are determined to make sure we do what we can to protect the services of Central Liverpool CAB, one of the oldest organisations of its kind in the country.

Liverpool Central Citizens Advice Bureau

2nd Floor, 1 Union Court,
Cook Street
L2 4SJ
Telephones:(0151) 2858534