October 1, 2014

Coffin project to represent West Lancashire

The local NHS in West Lancashire is launching a community project with a difference to support the annual 'Dying Matters' campaign - and help people think ahead to the future.

NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling on people of all ages to submit images or words associated with what death and dying means to them. These can be in the form of poems, words about their own death, a memory of a loved one or anything else relevant around this topic.

The coffin community project, which is being launched to encourage people to express their thoughts on death and dying and to plan ahead, will be unveiled during Dying Matters Week 2015 and used to promote future end of life awareness campaigns in West Lancashire.

The CCG will gather all entries, and in association with Colourful Coffins, will create one coffin for West Lancashire decorated with everyones entries. The coffin will be environmentally friendly and made from cardboard.

Dr John Caine, chair of NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: Despite death being one thing that we all have in common, it is often something that people feel unable to talk about and express how they feel. The coffin community project aims to encourage people to express their thoughts on death in a slightly different way.

The ideas that people could send in are endless. It could be a religious symbol, a story, a joke, a poem, a drawing of a loved one who has died, an image of what you would want to be remembered for, your bucket list, where you would like to die; whatever you think expresses your feelings on the subject.

This is not a competition and neither experience in art or design is necessary.

Please submit your entry to the CCG via sean.fell@lancashirecsu.nhs.uk or FAO Sean Fell, coffin community project, Jubilee House, Lancashire Enterprise Business Park, Leyland, Lancashire PR26 6TR by 20 March 2015.

Entries will need to be submitted alongside a form which will have a space for a brief description of the entry and will allow the entrant to state if would like their name to be included alongside their submission when the coffin is launched. The submission form is available to download at www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/coffin

Entries can also be submitted collectively by a school class, company, charity, community group etc.

Dr Karen Groves, palliative care lead at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and Queenscourt Hospice, told QLocal: "This project is about bringing together thoughts from everyone in West Lancashire to highlight how important thinking about the future is.

"It is only about talking about the subject that we remove the mystery and fears surrounding this final period of life. Life is about living and we do that right up until the moment we die and we should celebrate it. The CCG is giving people the opportunity to look at death and dying from a new point of view that will help that community conversation to take place.

This project ties in with the CCGs on-going efforts to promote education and awareness around end of life. Planning in advance helps both individuals and their families and friends, and ensures your own wishes are met.

The CCG has also produced a video entitled your life, your death, your way, which further highlights the importance of thinking about death and dying. The video is available to view via the following link: http://www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/resources/video/

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October 1, 2014

Unique style in store at new Ormskirk boutique

Family and friends joined in celebrations with the owners of a brand new Ormskirk boutique.

Shaw's Boutique on Burscough St. took a bow offering an exquisite collection of eclectic gifts that owner Niki Shaw is convinced will help the new business make its mark in the town.

The last few weeks has seen the former ladies clothes shop given a thorough makeover with its new quirky 'vintage' look revealed on Saturday.

"I'm really pleased with how it's all turned out," said Niki - pictured with Paul Flusk, Daisy Barnett and Laura Nickson - who has sourced stock from far and wide.

"In essence, it's unique to the boutique and all realistically priced under 50 which I'm sure will appeal to locals looking for that 'special something'," she added.

Her boutique's selling candles, delicate jewellery, ladies wear and much more - why not pop along soon for some unique Christmas gifts?

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October 1, 2014

£130m investment to transform Police stations announced

130m investment to transform Merseyside Police stations announced

Merseyside Polices Commissioner and Chief Constable will today unveil their proposals to transform the Forces buildings and ensure officers remain at the heart of communities across the region.

Over the next 10 years, the 130million plan will provide community police stations for each neighbourhood, fund a new serious and organised crime centre and save 2.5million every year on the cost of running the present police estate protecting 65 police officer posts each year.

Following todays announcement, the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, will start a two-month consultation inviting the public to have their say on the proposals.

Merseyside Polices estate currently consists of 78 buildings, with an average age of 52 years and some dating as far back as 1890. The last police station built on Merseyside was the station on Stanley Road, Kirkdale, back in the seventies.

Many of these ageing buildings are inefficient and expensive to maintain. They currently cost more than 12m each year to run and this bill is increasing. By putting these proposals in place, the Commissioner intends to reduce these costs by 2.5million every year saving money and protecting frontline policing jobs.

At the heart of these proposals is the Commissioner and Chief Constables commitment to providing visible and accessible neighbourhood policing.

Every community will have a neighbourhood team of officers and PCSOs. New or refurbished area headquarters will be provided in each of the five local authority areas and community police stations will be developed where old police stations are currently closed to the public.

Community Police Stations have already proved a huge success in St Helens, reducing anti-social behaviour and improving relationships with the public. The intention is to roll this model out across the region, providing modern facilities which are regularly open to local people.

Jane said: These are hard times, but I am committed to providing accessible and visible policing for every community. I want to invest in modern police stations and save money too.

Austerity has forced us to review every aspect of the police estate. Merseyside Police has been harder hit than most. By 2018, we predict government cutbacks will have forced Merseyside Police to lose 29% of its people officers, PCSOs and staff. Already 60% of our buildings are empty or under used and this is only going to increase.

We simply cannot lose so many people without also looking at the buildings and facilities that they use. The current police estate is unsustainable. It is ageing and becoming increasingly expensive to run.

While these drastic and devastating cutbacks have presented us with significant challenges, we also believe this is a really exciting opportunity to transform the estate making Merseyside Police even more accessible for the people of our region.

Merseyside Polices buildings desperately need to be upgraded. Our stations and facilities are no longer fit to serve the public or fit for the officers, PCSOs and staff that work in them.

By transforming our estate, creating more efficient and effective buildings, we will be protecting frontline policing and putting officers where the public want to see them in the communities they serve.

By opening up these modern Community Police Stations, officers and PCSOs will be more accessible to the public and we will be saving money and protecting jobs.

These are the right steps to take and this is the right time to take them.

The proposals include plans to create a new centre designed to tackle serious and organised crime in Speke. The 44million Operation Command Centre will bring together all the teams that form the Matrix Serious and Organised Crime team (MSoC) under one roof.

It also includes plans for the 26million refurbishment of Merseyside Police Headquarters in Canning Place for essential repairs to be delivered.

Merseyside Polices Chief Constable Sir Jon said: Its fair to say that we have an estate of police stations and office buildings which are not fit for purpose, due to their age and condition, some even date back to Victorian times.

Some of our existing buildings are in a state of disrepair and badly in need of modernisation. There is no doubt that the cost of maintenance for our existing estate has become a drain on our finances and although we have reduced in size as a Force in recent years, we still retain the same number of buildings, with space in neighbourhood police stations being under used. The longer we leave it the bigger the problem will become and costs will increase.

The Commissioner is committed to investing money to provide the force with an estate that is fit for purpose, located in the right places to serve our communities.

Following todays announcement, the Commissioner will be commencing a two-month consultation, urging people to give their views on these proposals.

During the consultation Jane will be visiting every area of Merseyside, holding public meetings in each local authority area and community roadshows in every policing neighbourhood. She is also asking people to have their say through feedback leaflets and via an online site.

For all the details of these events, for more information and to have your say, please visit www.takingtherightsteps.com


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October 1, 2014

Two Car Road Collision In Southport

Firefighters were called out to a two car road collision in Southport.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service attended Sussex Road just before 11am.

A 76-year-old woman and a 79-year-old man, who were in one of the vehicles, were taken to Southport Hospital.

A fire appliance was called out and firefighters made the vehicles safe. Firefighters were at the scene for around 25 minutes.

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October 1, 2014

Police aim to stop bike thieves in their tracks after Burscough burglary

Police are investigating a number of good leads following a burglary at Jack Parker Cycles, Burscough.

Around 02:40hrs on Monday 29 September, three expensive racing cycles were stolen. - officers are now urging folk to contact them if they're offered either a 'Kuota' KOM, Kharma or Kuraro bike on the cheap or have any information to help catch the offenders who may have been using a white van.

Call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and quote log number: LC-20140929-0080; officer in the case in PC2291 Skillander.

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October 1, 2014

Updates and advice on abolition of the vehicle tax disc

From today 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle. If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after this date, then it can be removed from the vehicle and destroyed. This includes customers with a Northern Ireland address, however they will still need to display their MoT disc.

You can apply online to tax or SORN your vehicle using your 16 digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11 or V85/1) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C)
Our latest video explains the changes to vehicle tax from 1 October 2014.

What this means to you
To drive or keep a vehicle on the road you will still need to get vehicle tax and DVLA will still send you a V11 or V85/1 renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire. This applies to all types of vehicles including those that are exempt from payment of vehicle tax or have a nil rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

Buying a vehicle
From 1 October, when you buy a vehicle, the vehicle tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle. You will need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle.

You can tax the vehicle using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online or by using our automated phone service - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0300 123 4321.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit a Post Office branch.

DVLA are unable to check the vehicle insurance details for new keepers in Northern Ireland online or by phone. If youre a Northern Ireland new keeper, you will need to tax at a Post Office branch that deals with vehicle tax.

Buying a vehicle
Selling a vehicle
From 1 October, vehicle tax is not transferable so you wont be able to include any remaining tax when you sell a vehicle. If you sell a vehicle after 1 October and you have notified DVLA, you will automatically get a refund for any full remaining months left on the vehicle tax. The refund will be sent to the keepers details on DVLA records so you need to make sure that these are correct.

Vehicle tax refunds
You will no longer need to make a separate application for a refund of vehicle tax. DVLA will automatically issue a refund when a notification is received from the person named on DVLA vehicle register that the:

vehicle has been sold or transferred
vehicle has been scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility
vehicle has been exported
vehicle has been removed from the road and the person on the vehicle register has made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
person on the vehicle register has changed the tax class on the vehicle to an exempt duty tax class

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October 1, 2014

Stoptober starts in Lancashire

TODAY is the first day of Stoptober and smokers across Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe have made their promises to quit for good.

There is still time to sign-up to Stoptober and Lancashire County Council is urging people to contact the North Lancashire Stop Smoking Service to get the help and support they need.

Research has shown that people are four times more likely to stop smoking with support from trained professionals than trying to do it alone.

Emma Reddy, 26, from Kirkham found the help of the stop smoking service invaluable when she decided to quit earlier this year.

She said: "I started smoking when I was 11 and carried on for 15 years. I decided to quit because I thought I was putting ! my needs as a smoker before those of my children.

"I called the stop smoking service and they were really helpful from the beginning.

"It's going really well. They gave me medicine to take away the cravings, but I found kicking the habit of smoking was the hard part.

"I found it much more difficult at the times when I usually used to light-up, such as after food or while I was out shopping.

"The stop smoking service gave me excellent advice to help me through these times. I'd advise anyone who wants to quit to give them a call."

Stoptober is a national campaign run by Public Health England and supported locally by Lancashire County Council.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Around 21% of people in Lancashire smoke. This is more than the national average and we want to do all we can to encourage more people to quit for good.

"! ;It's difficult to stop smoking, but there are people who can help.

"Your local stop smoking service will give you support and medicine to help you beat the cravings and stop for good. Stoptober is a great time to quit, it's not too late to sign-up."

Anyone wanting to quit as part of Stoptober can call the North Lancashire Stop Smoking Service on 01524 845145.

For more information about Stoptober, visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober .

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October 1, 2014

Official opening of new Tower Wood accommodation

Stunning new accommodation at Lancashire County Council's outdoor education centre on the shores of Lake Windermere has been officially opened.

The eye-catching design of the 2.9m new building at Tower Wood, stepped over several levels, has been tailored to meet the strict requirements of the picturesque site in the Lake District National Park.

The accommodation will allow up to 60 visitors to stay in 26 mainly twin-bedded rooms, some of which have been fully adapted to allow children and young people with disabilities and their families to make full use of Tower Wood's exciting outdoor facilities.

Declaring the building open, Lancashire County Council's chairman Kevin Ellard said: "Designi! ng a new building for a world-class location such as this is a real challenge and I think the result is an inspiring combination of beauty and practicality, a tribute to the vision of both councillors and staff.

"I'm extremely proud that the accommodation will enable children and young people with disabilities to stay here in comfort, bringing their families if they wish, and to take part in challenging and exciting activities on equal terms with other groups.

"The building also incorporates a number of the latest features to make it sustainable and eco-friendly so that it fits well into the landscape, and helps, not harms, the environment.

"I'd like to congratulate everyone within the county council, and our construction partners, who have worked so carefully and so hard to bring this project to life."

Special guest at the ceremony was Andy Hindley from Accrington, who first acquired a taste for sailing as a schoolboy ! at Tower Wood in the early 80s and now works as Chief Operating Officer for Ben Ainslie Racing, the British America's Cup team run by the four-time Olympic gold medallist.

Andy, himself a successful racing sailor, said: "Im immensely pleased the county council has invested in expanding the facilities at Tower Wood, giving even more children the chance to experience the centre's unique blend of education and adventure.

"Tower Wood played a major part in shaping my future during my teenage years. It gave me a thirst for adventure; a thirst I still have today, thirty-plus years since my last visit. I'm happy to think that other young people will discover their own adventurous side at Tower Wood for many years to come."

The new building is to be known as the Windermere Lodge, with each floor being named after the bays on Windermere High Wray Bay, Belle Grange Bay and Low Wray Bay.

It has 60 beds in 18 twin-bedroom! s, a bunk room and four specialised accessible bedrooms, and built-in flexibility means that rooms can be joined together to form small suites. There are three lounge areas with kitchen facilities and a dining room with a full kitchen, a laundry and a drying room.

To score on sustainability, the building has high levels of thermal insulation, airtight construction, air-source heat pumps, and a sedum-planted roof facing east.

Tower Wood is mainly used by schools in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, for water-based activities such as sailing, canoeing and kayaking, and also rock climbing, mountaineering, caving and mountain-biking.

For years, Tower Wood has welcomed thousands of schoolchildren and young people, often giving them a real sense of achievement as they have tried out new activities and discovered what they're capable of.

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October 1, 2014

Illuminations sponsor feature: Andy Pilley

Andy Pilley, Managing Director of BES Utilities, has signed a deal to provide the electricity for the Illuminations for free in 2014, making the company the biggest contributor to the Illuminations in the last 10 years:

He said: "I've wanted to do this for a while so I'm absolutely delighted we have signed the contract and we are now the proud electricity supplier of the Blackpool Illuminations - the power behind the Lights!"
"We supply eletricity to tens of thousands of businesses nationally as well as hundreds throughout the Blackpool area and there is a clear benefit that the Illuminations bring to residents and businesses on the Fylde coast.
"It helps our customers, whether they are hoteliers, restaurants or local suppliers and I can't think of a more fitting link than us as an electricity provider and Blackpool Council who deliver the Illuminations.
"It is brilliant to see our name up in lights. The thousands of people who visit the Illuminations this year can see that BES Utilities is a supporter of the Lights and the local economy."
If you want to help keep the Lights shining, you can donate online or at the collection points at either end of the display.

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October 1, 2014

Arson probe at derelict South Shore shop

A blaze which tore through a derelict shop at South Shore is being treated as arson.

Fire crews were called to the car component store on Bloomfield Road at half past four this morning.

Three fire engines from South Shore and Forest Gate were called to the scene.

Nobody has been hurt, but Bloomfield Road has had to be closed this morning between Shetland Road and Ansdell Road to allow emergency services access to the building.

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