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Issue:- 02 June 2011

Getting to the root of culture

GRASS ROOTS culture grants aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Liverpool’s residents has been launched on Friday, 27 May 2011.  Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Primary Care Trust have £150,000 to award to grass roots community organisations which can develop a project to reinforce the 5 themes of the Decade of Health and Wellbeing which are:-

Be active…
Take notice…
Keep learning…

The fund is aimed at not for profit organisations involved in arts and cultural activities, who can put together an initiative which has a positive impact on the community and the people who live there. Maximum allocations of £5,000 can be handed out and interested parties can fill in the application form found online at:-

From the end of May, briefing sessions will be held in all of Liverpool’s neighbourhoods, giving an overview of the grant scheme, the eligibility criteria and advice on how to fill in the application form. Booking is essential.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- “We are delighted to be working with Liverpool PCT again to bring the benefits of culture to our neighbourhoods.  Liverpool has a rich, cultural landscape, and this scheme gives smaller organisations the opportunity to create a real impact in our communities by putting a creative spin on health and wellbeing. By working together we can extend the benefits of culture to those who may not normally engage with the city’s cultural programme, with the aim of improving quality of life through the uptake of a healthier outlook and lifestyle.”

Chair of Liverpool PCT, Gideon Ben-Tovim, said:- “The Decade of Health and Wellbeing is continuing the great work started during 2010, and the community grant scheme forms a key part of the overall programme to encourage people to improve their health by building the five ways to wellbeing into their lifestyle. The grants available will provide community organisations with an opportunity to make their own contribution to improving the city’s wellbeing through culture at a grassroots level, and I’m sure they will make a real difference to those involved and everyone around them.”

This scheme follows the success of the 2010 grass roots grant programme which supported 46 projects and in turn paid for 440 artists who produced work which reached more than 70,000 people at 907 different events across the city.

Last year’s funded projects, which were also on the theme of health and wellbeing, included storytelling in hospitals with FUSE Theatre, comedy sessions for older people at the Royal Court and local grandmothers who worked with Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto.

Deadline for applications for 2011 is Monday, 4 July 2011 and projects should start running from 1 September 2011 up to 1 March 2012.

Briefing sessions will take place:-

Friday 3 June from 1pm to 2.30pm at the FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ

For more information please go online on to the projects website:-


UNISON Chief, Dave Prentis, has written to the Acting Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), warning over the dangers of cutting funds paid to councils for caring and supporting unaccompanied child asylum seekers.   Cuts of up to 15% to some local authorities are set to create a 2 tier system, with child asylum seekers receiving significantly worse care.  Under the Children’s Act, and equality duties, local authorities have a legal duty to all young children, regardless of where they are from, and these cuts mean many councils are in danger of flouting these duties.   The union is urging the Home Office, which is ultimately responsible for the UKBA, to think again about the needs of these vulnerable young people and restore funds to care for and support them properly.   Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:- “Unaccompanied child asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. They come to the UK alone, seeking safe haven from terrible situations, and we should help them to rebuild their lives.  Councils have a legal duty to protect all children, wherever they come from. Not only is it deeply worrying that children from abroad could get worse care than local citizen children, it is also illegal.  We are calling on the Home Office and the UK Border Agency to think again about the needs of these vulnerable young children and stop these damaging cuts.”

One of the worst affected local authorities, standing to lose £1.2 million or 15% of their grant for unaccompanied asylum seeking children is Solihull.   The cuts mean that plans are being drawn up to change the arrangements for caring and supporting these children, including removing those aged sixteen and a half from care, and putting them into independent accommodation.   The council is also planning to cut the number of social workers and support workers working on unaccompanied child asylum seeker cases, making them deal with higher caseloads.

Recognition for Green Civic Halls

LIVERPOOL’S civic halls, including the Town Hall and St George’s Hall, have achieved a prestigious environmental standard.  They have been awarded ISO 14001, an internationally accepted standard for the environmental management of the halls. It demonstrates they have reduced their environmental impact while still delivering value for money services.

Assessors noted:- ”Staff seen during the day were competent and knowledgeable of the work undertaken.”

As well as the Town Hall and St George’s Hall, the award covers the Lord Mayor’s office and all City Council events.  Among the environmental initiatives which have helped the city attain the standard are:-

► Using ,wherever possible, sustainably sourced products

► Ensuring events are carbon-neutral wherever practical

► Promoting environmental awareness at, and through, the events programme

► Recycling of waste in the civic halls and at all city council events.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, said:- “This award is a recognition of the work done over the last 12 months and has the support of politicians from all parties. It was particularly supported by the former Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Williams.  It shows our commitment to the environment and climate change agenda...  But we regard this as a beginning and we want to build on what we have achieved so that we have the most environmentally-friendly civic buildings and events in the country.”

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