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Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards crowns the Atkinson in its 2020 awards

The winners of the 2020 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards have been revealed in a unique online ceremony to celebrate the outstanding contributions to the industry in what has been a challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress, Huyton-born Eithne Browne, the ceremony was broadcast live into over 300 homes where the finalists were standing by waiting for the winners to be announced.

Guest presenters from across the city region including the Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet Matthew Ball, music artist and international DJ Yousef, actress Leanne Best and chef Paul Askew helped distribute the accolades by video link in the 15 categories.

The People’s Choice award which saw 2,300 of votes cast from across the Liverpool City Region, was awarded to The Atkinson Sefton while the Lifetime Achievement award, recognising an individual’s lifelong creative contribution to the Liverpool City Region, was bestowed on photographer, independent filmmaker and visual artist Sandi Hughes.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:

“I always like to say that the Liverpool City Region is the country’s cultural capital; that creativity is in our DNA and we’ve really seen that on full display during this past year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our region has continually responded with imagination, creativity and generosity to keep us all connected and our spirits high.

“I’d like to congratulate everybody who has been nominated for an award and give a special congratulations to our award winners. I know that all of these fantastic organisations and people will play an integral role in the region’s recovery after this pandemic – I can’t wait to see what they will produce.”

A panel of judges including Co-Chairs of the Culture Partnership Phil Redmond and Maggie O’ Carroll, chose the finalists from more than 700 nominations this year.

Maggie O’ Carroll said:

“Despite the region’s museums, art galleries, theatres and music venues having to close their doors for the best part of the last year, it was heartening to see how many nominations we still had for this year’s awards and the quality of work we received which made the judging all the more difficult!”

The cultural and creative sector has been responsive and has shown to be a lifeline for many communities. It has proved invaluable in supporting people in their own health and well-being during these extraordinary times.”

Phil Redmond said:

“Congratulations to all the winners tonight at what was a dynamic digital ceremony. I’m delighted we could still get together using the power of technology to celebrate this year’s achievements in what has been a crippling year for many cultural organisations. It just shows the resilience of the people of the Liverpool City Region who even now are making a significant impact to culture and creativity.”

During the ceremony, the Borough of Culture title was handed from Sefton to Halton, the next of the city region’s six boroughs to hold the title.

Sefton Councillor and Cabinet member for Communities and Housing Trish Hardy said:

“I’m incredibly proud of how everyone took up the challenge to think differently about how we could present this year’s Borough of Culture in Sefton. Covid-19 has had a massive impact in all areas and I am grateful for all the hard work that went into what has been a difficult year for the cultural and creative sector.”

Councillor Eddie Jones, Portfolio Lead for Visitor Economy, Heritage and Events, and Lead Member for Borough of Culture at Halton Council said:

“As we move forward into 2021 and into Halton’s Borough of Culture year, hopefully with the ongoing vaccine roll out there will be the opportunity to enjoy some of the culture and creativity the borough has to offer in more normal circumstances. We are looking forward to celebrating Halton’s Borough of Culture year and to further build on the fantastic work we have seen in previous years.”

Liverpool Designer Mary Lamb, Head of Liverpool based costume and fashion production space fabricationstudios, also announced the winner of the Dress it Up competition which was awarded to Velma Von Bonbon in the amateur category and Emma Russell in the professional category.

They have both taken away a prize of bed and breakfast at the soon to open INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, cocktails in the Sky Lounge at the INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, dinner for 2 at Luban Restaurant with a bottle of Drappier Champagne, and 2 x tickets to a Liverpool City Region located theatre show and the chance to exhibit the winning creation at the INNSiDE hotel.

The Culture and Creativity awards were created as part of the Metro Mayor’s Percent for Culture initiative, to recognise the value and power for change that the arts, cultural and creative sector can bring in reinforcing the city region as one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live, work, study, visit or do business. The 2020 awards are delivered in partnership with Sefton Borough of Culture 2020 and sponsors including LuBan Restaurant, LuBan Kitchen, INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool, Davies Partnership and Accountable Recruitment.

This year’s awards covered arts and cultural events, innovation and creative activity that took place within the Liverpool City Region during the period 1st April 2019 to 12th November 2020.

Sefton Youth Worker Sue Logie speaks about the importance of LBGT+ History Month

Sue Logie and Sefton’s Chief Exec, Dwayne Johnson, attending Pride in Liverpool

LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender history, which raises awareness of prejudice against the LGBT+ community while celebrating its achievements and diversity. During the month we’ve been celebrating some amazing people who form part of the LGBT+ community’s past and present.

We caught up with one of Sefton Council’s youth workers Sue Logie. She is the lead worker for New Beginnings, Sefton’s LGBT+ youth group, which provides a safe space for young people to socialise and share experiences. Sue was also winner in the prestigious LCR Pride Awards 2019.

We asked Sue about her experiences as she continues to support young LGBT+ people and why LGBT+ History Month is important to her.

“So, another year passes, and we are bang into February 2021 with no warning, I sit wondering where has the year gone, it cannot be time to run LGBT+ History Month again, however it is here, it’s back and it’s time to educate again as February marks LGBT+ History Month.

 I’m a believer in educating, in all areas of life, some of the ethos of youth work is the fact that we are informal educators. We work with young people in an environment that is not a traditional education setting. We provide insight and guidance, fact and figures and sometimes, we just tell it how it is, we are ‘real’. Young people are developing into adults, and while the internet is great, the things they research is not always the correct information – in we step to give advice from Sexual Health to Exploitation.

 LGBT History month is an important time for me, so many people are not aware of the LGBT Community who have made so much difference to peoples lives. We all get to learn about Henry 8th, World Wars and now children and young people in years to come will learn about the effect COVID had as this is for sure a historic event. Young people who are questioning their identity or knowing that they are part of the community or even adults need visible LGBT+ people and even LGBT+ Allies, to know that it’s ok, to see that amazing people have achieved and done amazing things, and being LGBT+ or indeed an LGBT+ Ally doesn’t make a difference to their achievements, this also extends across all of the minority groups.

 Alan Turing: most people will now know his name, his story has been made into a film with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead role of Alan.  He was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Alan was also a gay man in a time when it was illegal, he was arrested and charged, he was given Gay Cure Therapy, he died, an inquest says Alan committed suicide. Despite these accomplishments, he was never fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime due to the prevalence of homophobia at the time and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.

 So now I ask was Alan Turing and his work pivotal and should I have learnt about him in school – absolutely YES! Does the fact he was gay have an impact? In my opinion Absolutely YES. Just because of who he wanted to fall in love with does not change that fact he was amazing at what he did, Alan being gay didn’t impact on the fact he helped us win the war! In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”. Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. The “Alan Turing law” is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts

 Alan Turing is just one of many LGBT+ People who have shaped history and have been persecuted, Martha P Johnson a prominent figure in the Stonewall riots, Mark Ashton who co-founded LGSM supporting mining communities during the strikes,  without them, their activism and for some of them the suffering the took,  would LGBT+ people have the rights they do now and let’s remember that is not world wide – probably not. The fight is not over, and we are also lucky that we have so many LGBT+ Allies who fight for the community something we must not forget either, so it’s important to also celebrate our allies people like Maya Angelou.

LGBT+ people have been around for 1000s of years, it’s not a new thing, it is also very much not a choice. Therefore, our LGBT history is just as important be celebrated and learnt like every other bit of history.

And just like Coronavirus will be a piece of History, LGBT+ people will continue to be part of history while we are still fighting for rights and amazing people create, do or become standout representatives while being proud of who they are.

Working alongside ‘The Proud Trust’ and other organisations like ‘LGBT History Month’, who together put amazing resources out for us to use to educate, I’m proud that I do this, we as youth team do this and as a Local Authority we do this, to do our bit to educate not just young people in Sefton, but the people of Sefton and beyond, even with the negative comments we receive.

Exciting plans for the future of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre are now underway

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has agreed to fund a significant investment of £3.1m to transform the facility, which on completion will provide a new and improved hospitality offer including enhanced wedding, conference, hotel, dining and bar facilities.  A new residential bunkbarn will also be built, to provide overnight accommodation for groups.

This new investment will also allow Sefton Council to ensure delivery of the new hospitality offer, as it plans set up it a wholly-owned company to manage these operations at the facility. Sefton Council’s Cabinet Meeting of 4th February 2021 is expected to approve the incorporation of a new company that will manage the new food, beverage and accommodation offer being provided.

With the quality of customer service and experience at the foundation of the offer, the company will aim to be the ‘employer of choice’ locally in the sector, offering a fantastic work culture with industry-leading terms and conditions for employees, and training programmes to support career development opportunities in the company and across the hospitality and leisure sectors.  It is intended that the company will in turn attract, develop and retain the best workforce available in the sector, which will strengthen the offer to customers. Furthermore, the operating company will remove the subsidy currently provided to the venue, delivering a surplus to the council over the next ten years and beyond.

Construction works will soon be underway on the £3.1m transformation of the Centre. Situated at the entrance to the beautiful Crosby Coastal Park and adjacent to Anthony Gormley’s Another Place (the ‘iron men’), the facility provides an events venue, food and drink, hotel accommodation, watersports, a gym and fitness studios and, for many years, has been a popular destination for Sefton residents, visitors from the Liverpool City Region and further afield.

Artists impressions, detailed designs will be available soon

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said:

“I am delighted that works can soon begin to take place and we will start to see these exciting new plans develop.”

 “The establishment of a new Council-owned company will allow us to implement a first-class hospitality offer which will put the customer experience at the heart of everything we do, whilst creating positive outcomes for Sefton residents by generating quality employment and training opportunities within the borough.

“I understand that visitors may currently miss being able to take advantage of our bar and café facilities while works are ongoing, but I assure people that it will be worth the wait

“This development means Crosby Lakeside can reach its full potential of being an impressive leisure and hospitality destination in a perfect location.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“The Lakeside Adventure Centre is a fantastic facility, enjoyed by people not just from our region but from all over.

“Sefton Council have some really exciting plans for the site, and we’ve invested £3.1m to ensure that it keeps improving and attracting more and more people. When its transformation is finished, Crosby will have another fantastic leisure and hospitality destination to add to the City Region’s visitor economy.”

In addition to the transformation of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, Sefton Council is also leading on improvements to the surrounding areas, to complement the project and to further fulfil the potential of this spectacular area of Crosby’s coast. Improvements to lighting along cycle and pedestrian paths in the coastal park will also be delivered, along with the restoration of the lake water management system to enable easier on-going maintenance of the Lake.

The construction project and external works are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health join call for supermarkets to closely adhere to COVID-19 guidance

Directors of Public Health across the region are appealing to all supermarkets and food/convenience stores to adhere to the COVID secure public health guidance. Several national supermarkets have recently confirmed that they will be tightening up the rules and enforcing the use of face coverings in their stores which is welcomed by Directors. The Directors of Public Health, who are leading the local public health response to COVID, would like to ensure the public are as protected as possible in light of the high numbers of COVID cases in Cheshire & Merseyside.

The public health guidance for supermarkets includes ensuring the use of face coverings by customers and staff (unless someone is medically exempt), a one way system, a limit on numbers of shoppers in store, social distancing markers for 2 metres and allowing only one person to shop with exceptions such as people who need a carer. It also asks supermarkets to remind customers to only handle products they intend to buy.

Ian Ashworth, current Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board said, “Despite the great progress being made with the vaccine roll out, it is still important that organisations continue to keep people safe. Supermarkets and food stores can help reduce the spread of COVID by strictly adhering to the public health guidance. Our hospitals are still extremely overwhelmed with COVID patients so we must do everything we can. If supermarkets and food stores can closely follow the guidance, it will contribute to fewer positive COVID cases in our community. We all want to see an end to this lockdown. We would like to thank everyone working in the food/retail sector who have worked tirelessly to serve their customers throughout this difficult time.”

Directors of Public Health would also like to remind members of the public to stay at home and only leave the house for permitted reasons such as essential shopping, exercise and medical appointments. They are also encouraging people to shop locally and use online deliveries where possible. A full list of exceptions to the “stay at home” rules can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you develop symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell) you can obtain a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. If your test is positive you must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit www.kindtoyourmind.org which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

Join our virtual fostering info session and learn more about this rewarding role

Our friendly fostering team invites you to join our virtual information session Tuesday 26th January 6.00 – 7.00pm to find out more about fostering, from the comfort of your own home.

Make this year a year to remember and become a foster carer for Sefton. You’ll be giving a loving and stable home to a local child who really needs it.

Whether you’re ready to start your fostering journey or want the answers to some of those burning questions, our information session is a great place for you to find out more.

Katy is one of our amazing foster carers and will be at the session to tell you all about her experience and give her advice.

Katy says; “I started fostering 8 years ago and have looked after children of all ages from babies to teenagers. I absolutely adore being a foster carer, the children are amazing, and I love them all to bits. I know from experience that making that first enquiry is a big step but please do it today, it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.”

This is also a great opportunity to meet our fostering team who can speak to you about the fostering process and answer any questions you have.

If you’re interested on booking a place call 0800 923 2777 or email fostering.adoption@sefton.gov.uk and if you want to go ahead we’ll send you a meeting invite.

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