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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-   31 July 2006

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Spaceport celebrates successful first year

ON 27 July 2006, Spaceport, the UK’s best space-themed tourist attraction, is celebrating its first birthday with a thank you for visitors. So every visitors coming to the attraction where given a slice of a giant Spaceport birthday cake.

The £10 million venture, based in a listed building at Mersey Ferries Seacombe Terminal in Wallasey, is proving a to be a major success in the region and beyond.

It has reached sky-high visitor numbers totalling more than 100,000, it is successfully reaching out to the school and corporate market and it is due to host one of the country’s biggest and best Dr Who exhibitions from September – called ‘Dr Who Close Up’.

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, which owns both the Mersey Ferries and Spaceport, said:- “We said Spaceport would be educational and entertaining and it is proving to be exactly that. The response from visitors and schools has been brilliant. One year on it is continuing to go from strength to strength.”

Free educational activity packs have been launched to help teachers guide school parties on their journey through space – and the demand from the schools market has been overwhelming.

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel said:- “It’s been a fantastic first year for Spaceport. The demand for visits from schools has been way above our expectations. We’re seeing primary and secondary schools visiting Spaceport from around the North West and beyond. Teachers see it as a way of delivering part of the national curriculum in educational and enjoyable way.”

Spaceport is also being boosted by its venture into the corporate market. A range of corporate functions and awards ceremonies has been held at the attraction, which has an unsurpassed view of the world famous Liverpool Waterfront and River Mersey.   The attraction is part of Merseytravel’s major drive to improve facilities at all of the three ferry terminals.

Merseytravel has funded the multi-million transformation of Seacombe ferry terminal, which also now boasts a new children’s ‘Play Planet’, a bigger and better café area, new toilets and ticket sales points.  Neil Scales added:- “Spaceport was launched as part of our overall strategy to ensure a sound financial future for Mersey Ferries which are already the most popular paid-for tourist attraction in the region. Its success will also provide a welcome boost to the local economy.”

Spaceport opens at 10.30am six days a week and seven days a week during the whole of August. Last Admission is 4pm and it closes at 5.30pm.

Excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, Spaceport is open on Bank Holidays. Prices for admission are Adult £6.95, Child £4.50, Concession £4.95 and Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £18.95. Adults must accompany children under 14 years.

Sofa so good for recycling!

A MASSIVE drive is being launched to encourage people in Liverpool to keep council tax bills low by accessing local authority services online.  It is estimated that people could save the city council hundreds of thousands of pounds every year by accessing a wide range of services at www.liverpool.gov.uk. Information about everything from rubbish collection to school term dates is now available online.

In Liverpool, if a customer visits their local One Stop Shop to request a recycling pack, the average cost to the council is £8.43. If they request a recycling pack via the council's call centre Liverpool Direct it costs the council an average of £2.20. But if they log-on to get recycling, the cost to the council is just 8p! Customers who log-on save the cost and time of making a phone call, or the cost and time of travelling to a One Stop Shop.

And free internet access at each of Liverpool's 24 libraries means it's easier than ever to connect to the council on-line.  Bulky Bob's, a social enterprise which collects bulky household waste, free of charge, is encouraging Liverpool people to log-on and find about recycling bulky items.

It forms part of a wider, national 'e-Government Take-Up campaign' by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which aims to free over £1.1bn to frontline council services through on-line services and make queues at council offices a thing of the past.

Business Development Manager at Bulky Bob's, Alan Smith, said:- "It's vital that people don't throw their bulky household goods away or fly tip them, because we can reuse and recycle the items we collect. There's so many ways for people to get recycling, and with many Liverpool people now having access to computers, what better way to find out about recycling than by logging-on to the internet?  Bulky Bobs has made over 220,000 collections throughout the city - reusing and recycling around 40% of this furniture. Hopefully, by getting people to find out about our services on-line, we can encourage even more people to recycle their household goods.

And by encouraging people to choose the 'paperless' way of finding out information, we can also help to save trees!"

Set up in 2000, Bulky Bobs works in partnership with the council to collect bulky goods, providing paid training opportunities for long term unemployed people. It collects everything from fridges to washing machines and from sofas to wardrobes. Residents can then buy the restored goods at reduced prices at the Revive store, London Road.

The city council's executive member for environment and heritage, Councillor Berni Turner, said:- "We all have a responsibility to protect our environment, We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get all the recycling information they need. By getting people to log on to recycling services, hopefully we can get many more people doing their bit to create a greener Liverpool."

The council's executive member for central services, Richard Marbrow, said:- "Our on-line services are all about using new technology to bring council services closer to our customers and give them more choice about how they contact us.  Thousands of Liverpool people now have access to a computer at home, or through their local library, and by logging on to council services, they can access a huge range of services, from recycling to council tax, and from benefits to library services at a time that suits them."

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