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IKEA to expand in the North West

  • The North West of England is a key region for IKEA
  • IKEA will open new Plan & Order Points that will provide free, one-to-one consultations with experienced IKEA kitchen and bedroom planners
  • Aintree, Preston, and Stockport will be the first new Plan & Order Points to open, with more to follow
  • The opening follows the launches of both Online Planning and In-Home Planning, alongside ‘Collect near you’ points in the area

IKEA has announced its expansion plan for the North West of England, starting with three new Plan & Order Points and an expanded service offering. The initiative comes as part of the retailer’s ongoing transformation to make it easier and more accessible to shop with IKEA.

The North West is a key region for IKEA. The first IKEA store in the UK opened in Warrington 30 years ago and was later followed by a store in Ashton-under-Lyne. Now, the retailer takes the next step to strengthen its physical presence in the region with Plan & Order Points in Aintree, Preston, and Stockport.

As a complement to the bigger IKEA stores, the Plan & Order Points will provide customers with a free, bespoke design consultation with experienced IKEA kitchen and bedroom storage experts. The focus will be on bespoke kitchen and wardrobe designs, although customers will be able to get help planning any room in their home.

The units, located in retail parks and shopping centres, will be sized between 70–90 sqm, showcase around five kitchen and wardrobe solutions as well as having a consultation area.

Although much smaller than a standard IKEA store, the units will be packed with information, samples, tools and specialist knowledge needed to plan a kitchen or bedroom storage solution. There will be no products to take away or food for sale on site. Instead, customer orders will be transported to the customer’s home, or made available for collection to another convenient point of delivery.

Alongside the new openings, IKEA is expanding its fulfilment network in the area. Last month, they announced the launch of several ‘Collect near you’ points, located within select Tesco carparks in close proximity of the new Plan & Order points, enabling faster, cheaper and more sustainable customer deliveries.

IKEA has also invested in online and in-home planning services. This enables customers to either plan their kitchen or bedroom together with an IKEA co-worker online, or have a co-worker come to their home and plan it from there.

Marsha Smith, Deputy Country Retail Manager, IKEA UK & Ireland, says: “Our investment in the North West is part of our long-term plan to transform our retail business, making it easier for our customers to shop with usin a number of convenient ways. With a variety of stores, service offers and digital solutions that complement each other, our aim is to be there for our customers, however they want to meet us.”

“Our expert co-workers will be available to help the customers to plan affordable kitchens or bedroom – helping our customers to create a better everyday life at home. We offer a full complement of affordable services including finance, installation and assembly.”

Customers will be able to shop at the new Plan & Order Points when they open during this Winter. Appointments for the free service can be made online via the IKEA website and customers can shop the full IKEA product range online at

‘A real honour’ says Bootle superstar Alex Greenwood as she unveils huge hometown mural

Alex Greenwood with Cllr Ian Moncur & Cllr Trish Hardy“It’s a real honour and if I can inspire just one girl from Bootle to play football then I feel like my job is done!”

That is the message from Bootle Lioness and England Women’s Footballer Alex Greenwood as she officially unveiled a huge mural celebrating her successes.


The 29-year-old Euro 2022 winning Lioness said she was extremely proud to have a mural commemorating her sporting successes painted onto the front of 320 Stanley Road in Bootle, thanks to joint funding from Sefton Council and REPT Sports.

At the official unveiling on Monday, October 25th crowds of youngsters gathered alongside Alex’s family and national media to officially unveil the mural, painted by artist John Culhsaw.

While all eyes are now on the 22ft mural, Alex is keen to use it as an opportunity to push for greater support for young girls in sport.


Alex said : “It’s a real honour to have this mural and if I can inspire just one girl from Bootle to play football then I feel like I have done my job!

“I used to walk up and down this street as a kid and it’s fantastic to know young girls and boys will walk past [the mural] and hopefully be inspired.

“I’ve seen a massive shift in mentality towards female sport and women’s football since the Euros.

“As a collective we are going to keep asking questions of those higher up and demand more opportunities for little girls and boys in the future.

“I really hope there’s another young girl standing here in however many years to come telling the same story.”

The mural sits pride of place on the busy Bootle town centre thoroughfare and be seen by thousands of schoolchildren, shoppers and commuters every day.

Hometown roots

Alex, a former St Monica’s and Savio Salesian pupil, has remained true to her hometown roots and has long been a major influence in the advancement of women & girls football within Sefton, ensuring she takes time out of her busy footballing career to motivate and inspire future generations of sporting stars throughout the borough.

She said: “I would like to thank Sefton Council for this mural.

“It’s really important for me to be able to send a message to young girls in my area that anything is possible.

“Many of the dreams I had while walking the streets of Bootle and playing on the pitches have come true through hard work and perseverance.

“Characteristics that were formed in Bootle.”


Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Alex has always been an inspiration to our sporting youngsters and we were over the moon when she, along with the other amazing Lionesses, brought home the European Championship.

“To be able to honour Alex in this way with a permanent mural in the heart of her hometown is fantastic and I know that the thousands of schoolchildren who will pass by it every day will be inspired just by seeing it.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge all our young sporting stars to take a look at Alex’s hard work and dedication to getting where she is today as one of the world’s best female footballers. Her progress is a testament to the excellent school and sports facilities we have within Sefton.”

Real honour

Popular Liverpool artist John Culshaw, who rose to fame with his incredible murals of Ringo Starr in Toxteth and Mo Salah in Anfield, designed and painted Alex’s mural said: “It was a real honour to be asked to create this mural.

“I think we have a way of getting behind our stars in Liverpool and for a Bootle girl to bring home our nation’s first piece of international silverware in 56 years is definitely something to be celebrated!

“What better way to show how proud we are than to have this mural in Alex’s hometown.”

Sefton Council, through its Active Sefton team and continued work with sports partners, strives to actively promote, support and improve football facilities in the borough to allow future generations the opportunity and access to the beautiful game.

You can find out more about how to get involved in sport and  leisure in Sefton here.


Sefton secures nearly £4 million from housing developers for local infrastructure

Nearly £4 Million of infrastructure investment is set to be spent across Sefton thanks to the Local Authority’s work with developers, a published Infrastructure Funding Statement has shown.

As well as being spent on improvements to highways, public transport and more, the £3.8 million funding from developers will also help boost primary school provision and improved health facilities.

Sefton Council continues to work closely with developers to ensure any impact from new builds is mitigated by a substantial investment being put back into the borough for the direct benefit of the communities who live there.

Throughout the previous financial year (2021/22) Sefton Council agreed proposals with a number of firms which, upon completion of development, could secure over £3.8 million towards improving local infrastructure.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “The Sefton Local Plan has helped support local investment in recent years and we are seeing what is perhaps the highest level of developments taking place for many years.

“Now with more developments set to come, we are acutely aware that this could lead to pressure on local infrastructure and services, which is why we have sought to agree a huge funding package that will directly benefit our communities and mitigate any additional pressures.

“The money secured through our agreements includes over £2 million towards increasing local primary school places, plus money to provide health facilities and further public transport investment.

“Additionally this year’s agreements will help secure over 430 new affordable homes with many more expected in the coming years.

“We will continue to work hard to secure significant levels of financial contributions from developers to support services and facilities, and much needed affordable housing, across the borough.”


Safe, engaging activities for 6,000 young people this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to region’s Police Commissioner

More than 6,000 young people will be able to enjoy safe, engaging activities this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

Emily Spurrell has invested more than £55,000 from her Youth Diversion Fund for projects aimed at preventing crime and engaging young people over the autumn half term.

In Sefton two projects have been given funding. They are:

Gillies FC – £2,900 to deliver extra Halloween-themed activities for 300 young people in Netherton and Orrell, areas which have been a high level of ASB. The club has a proven track record of successful projects to engage young people and will work alongside MFRS.

Rampworx Youth Village 2000 – £3,000 to provide extended park opening times to include key times of high ASB. The extended hours will provide food for up to 600 young people at risk in the South Sefton area.

It is the third round of grants released by the Commissioner from the Fund, which diverts money raised from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or recovered property, which cannot be returned to its owners, to worthwhile causes.

The Commissioner launched the fund to help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour at times when it often spikes, while giving young people across the region better opportunities to get involved in safe, supervised, engaging activities.

To help ease the pressure on communities this autumn, the Commissioner has awarded funding to 27 grassroots initiatives which will use the money to divert more than 6,000 young people away from crime and ASB, while complementing Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Operation Banger.

This year saw an increase in the number of grassroots organisations bidding to keep young people fed during the school break. There was also an increase in community groups applying to heat centres during the extra opening hours as utility costs soar.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night are a time of great fun and excitement for many people across Merseyside, but sometimes it can go too far and sadly we know some communities still see an increase in criminal and anti-social behaviour. This often makes it a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service.

“I’m hoping to help reduce the pressure on local people and our blue light services by awarding grants to 27 fantastic grassroots initiatives with the aim of preventing crime and providing engaging, safe and supervised activities for nearly 6,000 young people across Merseyside.

“While each of these individual grants are only relatively small, our fantastic voluntary and third sector really know how to make the most of such a cash boost to benefit their local communities. They have proposed a host of imaginative and creative projects which will support the excellent diversionary work carried out by the police and fire service and will make a huge difference in keeping young people safe.

“By using these grants to fund a wide range of well-organised community activities, my goal is to ensure young people can enjoy the autumn festivities in a safe and enjoyable way, without getting drawn into any activities which could become intimidating, anti-social or even dangerous to other members of the community.”

A total of 102 applications were received for the fund, with a combined value of more than £224,000. To avoid any duplication, bids were shared with partners before being reviewed by a panel from the Commissioner’s team and the Community Foundation for Merseyside, who manage the fund on the PCC’s behalf.

As a result, 11 organisations in Liverpool were awarded funding, with six projects running on the Wirral, two in Sefton, four in St Helens and four in Knowsley.

Among the successful recipient were Kids Activities and Bootcamps in Knowsley, who will provide outreach work in the Kirkby area for up to 300 young people and hold Halloween discos on key nights. On the Wirral, the Hive Youth Zone have been awarded £2,000 to run a Halloween-themed maze event on the 30th and 31st aimed at 350 young people aged 8-19. There are specific time slots designated for those with additional needs to ensure the entire community can participate.

In Liverpool, Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association received nearly £3,000 to run a wide range of diversionary activities. This will include crafts, a community mural, movie nights and a Halloween disco. One-to-one support will be offered for those suffering because of recent tragic incidents in the area. The Woolton Centre received £2,000 for Halloween events for 40 young people to divert them away from ASB.

In Sefton, Rampworx Youth Village 2000 will get £3,000 to provide extended park opening times at key times when ASB has risen in the past, providing activities for up to 600 young people at risk in the South Sefton area.

St Helens Hamma Academy of Sports and Martial Arts will use their £2,000 to run a mixed martial arts course over the half term, with prizes on offer as a further incentive for 150 young people to attend. Other projects that have been funded across Merseyside include movie nights, fitness and boxing sessions and Zombie Walks.

The Youth Diversion Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, (CFM) on behalf of the Commissioner. CFM holds funds from philanthropic individuals and organisations who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside and Lancashire.

Rae Brooke, Chief Executive for the Community Foundation for Merseyside, said: “For many years our partnership with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside has enabled us to distribute funding to a broad range of local community projects making a positive difference to people’s lives.

“The Youth Diversion Fund provides a valuable opportunity for charitable groups in Merseyside focused upon steering young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour to apply for a share of the available funding.”

Southport’s historic Victoria Baths being market tested as investment opportunity

External photo of Southport's Victoria Baths buildingA historic Southport landmark is now being market tested as an exciting major investment opportunity.

Works have been taking place at the Grade II listed Victoria Baths building on Southport Promenade ahead of a potential major third party investment.

New lease of life

Now the building, which originally opened in 1839 as a luxurious facility for the then brand new holiday destination of Southport, is set to undergo a new lease of life for one lucky investor.

By market testing the venue, Sefton Council will be able to seek initial proposals by third parties that would revitalise the historic Baths.


The successful investor will be chosen for their vision of transforming Victoria Baths in new and creative ways that will ultimately generate new communities and bolster the local economy.

Any investment will also encourage new local employment opportunities and look to work with local businesses.

Sefton Council is working with local firm Fitton Estates to test the market for delivering a new use for  building.

Bathers on aslide at Southport's Victoria Baths during its heyday.Ambitions

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The successful investor will need to share both Sefton Council’s and the Southport Town Deal’s ambitions to boost the town’s reputation as both a leading national visitor destination and an attractive place to live and work.

“We have wider ambitions for Southport as a leading national visitor destination and with the regeneration of Southport Market and our plans for the incredible Marine Lake Events Centre, we want to make sure we are utilising every opportunity to improve the resort.

“The Victoria Baths building of today presents a magnificent opportunity to a developer with vision and drive to modernise this iconic and landmark facility. Through this market testing exercise we look forward to seeing initial options and proposals brought forward by third parties”


Investors can find out more about this opportunity from the Victoria Baths Investment Opportunity Brochure at or by calling Graham Bowling at Fitton Estates on 01704 500345 or by emailing .

The operation and running of the adjoining Victoria Leisure facility is not affected by this market testing.




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