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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 05 February 2007

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2 CULTURE Company-supported projects have been short-listed for an environmental award.  The Groundwork Merseyside Environmental Awards is a showcase event that gives community groups, businesses, schools and public authorities an opportunity to demonstrate they are playing their part in improving the environment on Merseyside.

The 2 projects up for the Merseyside 21 award are Meadow, an art project creating wild flowers from used plastics, and Stories of Steps which charts people’s feelings towards the Herculaneum Steps in Liverpool.

Liverpool City Council Leader, Cllr Warren Bradley, said:- “It’s fantastic to see that environmental projects like these are getting the recognition they deserve. Enhancing the quality of our surroundings is vital to improving the quality of life for every resident of the city. These 2 schemes do just that - let’s keep our fingers crossed that both of them do well at the awards!”

Ticky Lowe from the National Wildflower Centre has been running the Meadow project. She said:- “I am really pleased that Meadow has been short-listed for the award, it is project with exciting plans in the pipeline for this year - Meadow seems to be getting bigger and better all the time."

Janette Porter from Living at the Edge (Late) devised and managed the Stories of Steps project. She said:- “As an artist I have been challenged and inspired by the people I have met and the stories they have shared with me. This project leaves their legacy within an already vibrant community. The project participants listened to and gathered the stories, and then worked together to create a platform for the sharing. We look forward to our next phase of story sharing and gathering!”

Organisers are rewarding projects which make an effort to reverse the unsustainable impact people are having on the planet and are taking positive action to help the environment.

The North West is the most relaxed region in Britain

RESEARCH released by Barclaycard Business has revealed that retailers in the North West are the least stressed in their work than any other region in the UK. The research, of more than 1000 retailers across the UK, has found that 35% of the North West’s retailers consider their jobs stressful, this is 12% lower than the South East whose retailers were the most stressed.

The research comes from the 1st Barclaycard Business Retail in Detail Survey, an annual survey of more than 1000 retailers across the country which aims to build a comprehensive picture of the nation’s high street and to gauge the view of retail owners in the UK today. 

The survey also revealed that concern for the retail economy has less of an impact on retailers in the North West than the South East. 23% of retailers in the North West say that the health of the retail economy contributes to their stress level, 6% less than South East retailers (29%). Only retailers in the South West say the health of the economy contributes to their stress levels less than the North West, with 22% saying it affects them in this way.

Bill Thomson, Commercial Director, Acquiring from Barclaycard Business said:- “Our research confirms that stress is a problem faced by many of Britain’s retailers. Stress in the workplace is an important issue as it can impact on managerial effectiveness and can affect all retail workers. Retailers in the North West appear to be dealing with stress better than the rest; setting an example for other regions to follow in 2007.”

Barclaycard Business also unveiled the stress levels of retailers in other regions. Following the South East at the top of the list were the East and South where 44% of retailers rated their job as stressful.

Stress levels of retailers by region:-

Region %
South East 47
East 44
South 44
North East 43
West Midlands 42
East Midlands 41
South West 38
North West 35

At a national level, stress among retailers appears to be increasing, particularly among young retail managers. 70% of Britain’s young retailers aged 24 or under consider their jobs stressful, almost 30% higher than the national average (41%).

Bill Thomson, Commercial Director, Acquiring from Barclaycard Business added:- “The young generation represents the future of the retail industry. Their performance in the workplace will help to shape the future of the retail landscape so it is crucial that industry bodies support them and help improve the wellbeing of the UK’s retail owners.”

Tourist board hugely disappointed Blackpool loses out on regional casino licence

LANCASHIRE and Blackpool Tourist Board, the official tourist board for the Lancashire and Blackpool sub-region, is very disappointed to hear the news on Tuesday 30 January 2007 that Blackpool has not been recommended for the licence to run the UK’s first regional casino.

Lesley Lloyd, chair of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board said:- “This is a disappointing day for Blackpool and also the wider Lancashire visitor economy which was also set to benefit from the extra visitors who would have been attracted to a rejuvenated Blackpool. We know from our research that many visitors to Blackpool do take days out to the rest of the county. Perhaps the Casino Advisory Panel did not fully appreciate the benefits the regional casino could bring to an area heavily reliant on tourism.

But we are heartened to hear that Blackpool Council will continue its fight to secure casino-led regeneration to the resort. We share their view that this is the right approach to take, despite today’s disappointing news.

However, Blackpool is still the nation’s number one resort and we, and our partners, will continue to actively market the resort and attract the millions of people that visit and enjoy this unique place.

We look forward to continuing to work very closely with all key stakeholders, to ensure that the benefits from the recently published visitor economy strategies for the area are realised not just in Blackpool, but in the county as a whole.”

Letters To Editor:- "Casino = devastating effects of problem gambling."

"MUCH has been made of the potential economic benefits of a casino, but that needs to be balanced against the potential devastating effects of problem gambling to individuals, families and organisations in our community. There are already around 370,000 problem gamblers in the UK. Evidence suggests that the new casino could have resulted in an increase in the number of people in Blackpool and the surrounding area experiencing problems related to excessive gambling.

The Salvation Army has consistently warned that an increase in opportunities to gamble could lead to a rise in problem gambling, resulting in long term detrimental effects not only for individuals, families and communities but for society as a whole. Experience in the US shows a rise in gambling-related debt, crime, bankruptcy, and associated social problems including unemployment and family breakdown.

Any rise in problem gambling is far too high a price to pay for possible economic benefits. In an NOP poll commissioned by The Salvation Army, 56% of the population, and 64% of women, said they would not be happy for a casino to open where they live.

Britain is already fast becoming a culture obsessed with gambling. Only through meticulous and objective evaluation of the social effects of increased gambling over an extended period will we begin to understand the long term damage that may result from the increased availability of gambling products made possible by the 2005 Gambling Act.

The new Gambling Act gives the green light to one regional casino, 8 large casinos and 8 small casinos. The one regional casino, or so-called ‘super casino’, will contain hard forms of gambling that have never been seen before in the UK, including unlimited-jackpot machines. Machine gambling has been called the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling, due to its addictive properties, and the lure of mega-prizes can only further compound this danger.

The Salvation Army with the Methodist Church campaigned during the passage of the Gambling Bill, requesting greater measures to protect children and vulnerable people, including limiting the number of regional casinos to one, so that thorough research can be done into its impact on the community it is built in.

The Salvation Army remains concerned that, wherever new casinos open up, there is a risk of increased problems related to gambling, the costs of which are yet unknown both socially and financially.

The Salvation Army and the Methodist Church have this week called on the government to ensure robust monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the new casinos, and other increased opportunities to gamble. We also believe it is vital that resources for education, prevention and treatment are made available and both the government and the gambling industry must be prepared to foot the bill."
Major Marion Drew Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in the North West.

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