Bones to Beefcakes and Parties to Premieres, Liverpool will
illuminate with the best in Queer arts, film and performance in
November. With the new 3-year funding deal from the festival's
key supporter, The Liverpool Culture Company, Homotopia is set to
reach new heights and this year has been extended to run for over 3
weeks. From a tiny pilot festival in 2003, Homotopia has grown in
reputation and size at an extraordinary pace. The audiences for
Homotopia 2005 were breathtaking and this year all the indications
show that there will be another box office breaking run. The
festival has been expanded with the launch of Queercore, which is
giving companies and artists, especially from Liverpool, the
opportunity to create and platform new work throughout the festival
Festival director Gary Everett said:- "In future years it is
our hope that Queercore will become the lifeblood and creative
artery of Homotopia. The scope, wealth and sheer depth of artistic
talent in Liverpool is a jewel in the city's crown and something
that Homotopia is proud to be associated with."
This year Homotopia is presenting over 70 events, from theatre,
film, workshops, art, heritage, live music, club nights, dance and
cabaret. Also Queer superclub, Federation, are in town to present
their inimitable party as part of the festival. Liverpool women's
music festival, Wimfest makes a special appearance this year
alongside several music nights led by local artists and musicians.
Liverpool City Council leader, Warren Bradley, said:- "We are
proud to be supporting Homotopia again this year and wish the
festival every success for their many and varied events."
Homotopia is partnering once again with Unity Theatre, Outsiders
Film Festival and the newly formed Our Story Liverpool. Our Story
Liverpool is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and the project
is researching, archiving and documenting the hidden histories of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liverpool.
Also the festival is welcoming back Outsiders - The 3rd Liverpool
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, who are presenting what is set to be
Liverpool's best ever film festival. Welcome to the festival's new
media sponsors at Gay Times, Q-Soft and Gaydar, Out North West and
Southport sees Pink
SHOPPERS at leading fashion brand
Damart’s Southport store were seeing pink this Friday 27 October
2006. Dressed head to toe in pink garments, Damart’s retail team
have been raising awareness and money for Breast Cancer Campaign’s
national Wear it Pink day.
Damart’s Southport store manager Tracey Dacre said:- “Many of
Damart’s customers are women who are at risk from the disease, and
we are only too happy to help raise awareness for the charity and
maybe a few smiles on wear it pink day.
We have been collecting donations from customers all week and hope
that our contribution will help fund research to find a cure. The
team have all been joining in, wearing everything from pink wigs to
tights, t-shirts and trousers.”
Damart designed a limited edition pink vest this year, worn by
actress Gaynor Faye and her screenwriting mum Kay Mellor, to raise
money for Breast Cancer Campaign.
Tracey added:- “Our limited edition pink vests have been
really popular with our customers because not only do they look
great and keep you warm, but all profits from sales of the vest will
be going direct to the charity to raise even more money.”
The Southport outlet, which opened at the end of September 2006, is
Damart’s flagship store.
It is the first of a new kind of
shopping experience, selling a range of women’s ready to wear
fashion and footwear and provide personal shopping advice for
There will also be
the opportunity for customers to pick any items from the extensive
Damart catalogue that may not be in store and have them delivered
either to the store or to their home.
PEOPLE A DAY CONDEMNED TO BLINDNESS
a year in England are being condemned to blindness because health
bodies are refusing to fund a treatment that could save their sight,
a report published by AMD Alliance UK shows. Primary Care
Trusts (PCTs) are responsible for funding anti-VEGF drugs. These are
the only treatments that treat all types of wet age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) - the leading cause of sight loss in the UK.
Currently, only 1 anti-VEGF drug is licensed in the UK - Macugen,
which became available in May 2006.
However, the report, called Left to pay their own way, suggests that
90% of PCTs have so far failed to fund the treatment. Even when a
PCT has funded Macugen, the number of patients involved has been
minuscule. In a region covering 8 PCTs, for example, out of 450
potential patients, only 36 received the drug.
Steve Winyard, Head of Campaigns at the Royal National Institute of
the Blind (RNIB) and co-author of the report, said:- "This
report confirms what we have long suspected and what wet AMD
patients have been telling us: that PCTs are refusing to fund a
licensed treatment, even though it could save patients' sight. 50
people a day are being condemned to blindness - the actions of the
PCTs are simply unacceptable."
Shockingly, the report reveals that most PCTs are waiting until a
patient has lost their sight in 1 eye before considering treatment.
Others are waiting for guidance from the National Institute of
Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), due in August 2007, before
they fund the treatment - yet the Department of Health advised that
patients should not be refused treatment on this basis.
The situation is leaving patients with the bleak prospect of either
paying for private treatment (at costs ranging from 10,700 to 25,000
for a year's treatment6) or going blind. And the situation is
unlikely to improve in the near future, because most PCTs have not
made plans to fund anti-VEGF treatments. This is despite the fact
that treatment options are expected to grow: Lucentis, another anti-VEGF
drug, is due to be licensed in early 2007.
The report from AMD Alliance UK also shows that leaving people to go
blind impacts upon more than their physical health - sight loss has
a devastating impact on mental and emotional wellbeing too. In some
cases, the effect on quality of life is comparable to having cancer
or HIV, the report shows. The sight loss associated with wet AMD and
the threat of blindness also increases depression and the risk of
Betty Burgess, 78, from North Devon, a retired paediatrician, was
diagnosed with wet AMD in her left eye in February 2006. Her sight
deteriorated rapidly and her consultant recommended that she have
Macugen. Betty's PCT and her private health plan refused to
fund her treatment. She currently faces a bill of more than
600 every 6 weeks.
"It's shocking that I have to pay for this treatment. Where am I
supposed to find that kind of money? We're always being asked to
fund medical research. But what's the use if, at the end of the day,
we can't access the treatments? It's most cruel. I try to be
philosophical about the situation but I do have days where I feel
very down. If I lose my sight, I'll become dependent on an
85-year-old husband and a son - and I don't like that. I'll have to
cope with my loss of freedom and independence. I try not to dwell on
AMD Alliance UK is calling on PCTs to expand their services and
provide speedy access to anti-VEGF treatments now.
Steve Winyard continued:- "Health officials are only fooling
themselves if they think they can save money by refusing to fund
anti-VEGF treatments. The cost to the state of supporting someone
with sight loss far outweighs the cost of treatment. We have a
real chance now to turn wet AMD, which devastates so many lives,
into a largely treatable condition. But only if it is detected and
St Helens lads win cash award to help keep youngsters off the
(14), Ricky Murray (15) and Chris O’Neil (17) from St Helens in
Merseyside have won the opportunity to turn their dreams into
reality and help change lives. Music FP Sound have won a £3,000
4Front Award funded by the Camelot Foundation, which are awarded to
young people aged 11 to 25.
The group intend to buy equipment and run a weekly music workshop in
an area of high deprivation as an alternative to hanging around the
streets and to help the community have a more positive image of
young people. At present they only have access to youth facilities
once every six weeks.
Chris said:- “At the moment there’s not that much for
teenagers to do where we live – this money will help us get more
space for our music workshops and mean we can help keep young people
off the streets.”
The 4front Awards 2006 are designed and judged by young people and
awarded to individuals or small groups who can show that their idea
will make a real difference to both themselves and their community.
Martin Brooks, Director of the Camelot Foundation said:- “This
year the standard of entries was amazing. We saw an incredible range
of diverse projects from around the UK. The judges, who are all
young people, were really impressed with the motivation and sheer
determination of Music FP Sound. Their belief that they could really
make a difference for themselves and other young people, through
their own efforts, was an overwhelming factor in our decision.”