“Cinderella” town in
bid to win more money
by David Skentelbery
CINDERELLA town Warrington – one of the lowest funded boroughs in the country – is launching a campaign to attract more money from outside sources.
A special Town Hall unit has been set up to bid for extra cash and on Monday, June 27, the borough council is holding a major external funding fair at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Its aim is to promote funding opportunities available to voluntary and community groups and to council departments.
Warrington is currently the 94th lowest funded out of 111 comparable authorities nationally and 18th lowest out of 21 North West authorities.
It receives ?1,071.98 per head from central government, compared with the North West average of ?1,251.94 and the national average of ?1,287.32.
It receives less for education and social services – and has received far less in National Lottery funding – ?19,416,562 compared with the North West average of ?39,444,126 and the national average of ?39,843,438.
To make matters worse, the council levies a lower level of council tax than the average. Warrington’s Band D tax is ?1,106.00 while the North West average is ?1,248.79 and the national figure is ?1,214.00.
As a result, the council faces a ?9.9 million budget deficit next year – and is forecast to plunge ?12.1 million into the red the following year.
Coun John Morris, the council’s executive member for resources, said: “These are rather sobering figures. it is imperative that we seek to raise money in any way we can.”
Although Warrington has many strengths, such as above average educational achievement, a skilled workforce and excellent communication networks, it also faces many challenges.
These include pockets of high unemployment, areas of contaminated land from previous industrial use, more road accidents than average and pressures to accommodate new homes.
The town also has more people not working through illness or disability than the national average, more older people and a higher than average number of unemployed.
Janet Pennington, the council’s external funding co-ordinator said: “We need to maximise every opportunity to lobby central government and funding provider for increased and improved provision.
“The National Lottery is something we will be pushing – we have had ?20 million less than other authorities. We have done particularly badly with the heritage lottery.”
Monday’s funding fair will include presentations from funding providers including Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN), Big Lottery Fund, Awards for All, Heritage Lottery Fund and Lloyds TSB Foundations.
MP slams cheap booze
aimed at the young
by John Hendon
WARRINGTON North MP Helen Jones has called for a crackdown on cheap strong ciders aimed at young people.
She wants extra funding for Trading Standards to enable them to combat offenders.
Ms Jones made her plea in the House of Commons during a debate on the Violent Crime and Reduction Bill.
In a speech that welcomed the measures in the Bill the MP made a plea for even stronger measures in some areas. Citing problems experienced in Warrington she called for tougher measures against adults who buy alcohol for under-aged youngsters and for the drinks industry to take a hard look at the way it markets strong cheap ciders.
She said: “We must also tackle the promotion of alcoholic drinks that are deliberately aimed at young people, which is an issue that the Bill does not cover. It is clear that drinks with names such as Zeppelin and White Lighting are deliberately targeted at youngsters.
“Another such drink is called Frosty Jack – it is a strong cider; it is 8 per cent proof and you can buy a three litre bottle for ?1.99. It contains 22.5 units of alcohol, which is more than is recommended for an average adult male in a week, and it is drunk by kids on the streets and in the playing fields of my constituency and other constituencies like it.
“Although the suspension of licences and closure orders are welcome, they are not enough. We must act to tackle the marketing of alcohol to the young and those adults who are complicit in antisocial behaviour by buying supplies for young people.
“The Bill imposes extra duties on police and trading standards officers. While I hope that it will ultimately reduce the disorder that the police have to cope with, there is a great deal of work in it for trading standards officers too, in dealing with the sale of alcohol, airguns and imitation firearms.
“Although I have a very high regard for trading standards officers in my area, they are woefully under-resourced. I hope that the Home Office Ministers will discuss with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister ways in which resources can be made available to ensure that the provisions in the Bill are implemented. Bringing in laws that cannot be implemented on the ground destroys people’s faith in the system, and we need to ensure that that does not happen.”
“just the business”
by staff reporter
HIGHER education is just “the business” according to Year 10 pupils at Birchwood High School, Warrington.
Twenty-seven youngsters from school took part in a Business Taster programme at Edge Hill College of Higher Education in Ormskirk, hosted by its Business, Management and Leisure department.
Along with a campus tour and various workshops, pupils experienced a “slice” of the fast-food industry as they competed in groups as pizza retailers with the aim of making as much profit as they could.
Siobhan Glynn, enterprise co-ordinator for Birchwood High, said: “Events such as these are brilliant as they fully immerse pupils of mixed abilities in a higher education environment.
“The interactive sessions proved to be so enjoyable that I’m sure a number of the students will now be thinking that higher education is definitely for them.”
Neil Barlow, Edge Hill’s widening participation officer, said: “The pupils from Birchwood seemed to enjoy the day and hopefully their Edge Hill experience will have made a big impression on them.”
Fun day in aid of
hospital baby unit
by staff reporter
A FAMILY fun day to raise money for Warrington Hospital’s Neonatal Unit is being organised by staff.
The event will take place at Sycamore Lane Primary School in Great Sankey, Warrington on Saturday, June 25, from 2pm to 5pm. Proceeds will be used for the department’s new parent library.
Scores of families whose babies are currently at the unit or were treated there in the past are expected to attend from a wide area.
Attractions on the day include children’s entertainer Ian Zippy Lees, a bouncy castle, trampoline, karaoke and face painting. A partner of one of the unit’s nurses has also volunteered to be “gunged” in aid of a good cause.
Visitors to the fun day will also have the chance to win a signed Manchester United football, which is being raffled off and more prizes are up for grabs at the tombola.
Sister Debbie Yates said: “This event is always a fun day for all and everyone is welcome. The work the unit does is very important and the day is a welcome opportunity for staff to see how the babies we looked after are doing.”
People wanting to rent craft stalls or donate items for the raffle, cake, book or toy stalls should contact Sister Yates on 01925 445550.
The unit has a support group made up of parents of children who were cared for there – people like Hilary and Alan Leech whose daughter Rebecca spent nine weeks on the Neonatal Unit after being born 10 weeks premature and weighing just 2 lbs 6 oz.
Three and a half years later the little girl is thriving. Hilary said: “All the staff at the unit were wonderfully supportive and are very special people. They helped to reassure us and always explained exactly what was going on.
“Rebecca left hospital weighing 5 lbs and for the first f
ew weeks we received home visits by nurses from the unit which was very reassuring. Our daughter is fine now and it’s in no small part due to the staff, who helped give her the best possible start in life.”
Schools to take part in
national music festival
by John Hendon
PUPILS from two Warrington schools have been invited to perform at the National Festival of Music for Youth from July 11-16 at Birmingham.
More than 10,000 young musicians and singers will be taking part in the festival, which will virtually take over the city centre.
Events will be taking place at Symphony Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, the CBSO Centre and spilling out onto the surrounding streets and squares.
Broomfields Junior Voices, 46 youngsters from Broomfields Primary School, Appleton, aged 7-11, are “Gonna Rise Up Singin'” and Great Sankey High School Concert Band, a wind band made up of 47 youngsters aged 11-18, will also be taking part.
The centre of Birmingham will resound to the musical talents of the young musicians, singers and dancers as Music for Youth, the charity that encourages music education and performance, celebrates its 35th anniversary.
Young people, aged from four to 21 will perform during the six days the largest youth music festival in the world.
Following the National Festival groups will be invited to perform at the world acclaimed Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on November 7-9.
Sex attack on woman
as she walked home
by David Skentelbery
A WOMAN fell victim to a sex attack as she walked home near the junction of Rushgreen Road and Bucklow Gardens, Lymm, near Warrington around midnight.
Police are looking for a man aged about 30, of average build with a rounded face and short dark hair.
The attack lasted about a minute and left the woman badly shocked.
A police spokesman said the woman had become disoriented as she tried to find Rushgreen Road from Bucklow Gardens.
She was approached by the man, who smelled of beer. He sexually assaulted her and then made off. She was distressed but managed to find her way to Rushgreen Road.
The man was wearing a collared, dark coloured long sleeved shirt without a tie. He also wore dark coloured jeans with a belt with a large silver buckle. He had shiny black shoes on and wore a large watch on his left wrist.
Anyone who witnessed the attack, late on Friday night or early on Saturday morning, is asked to call DC Stuart Eales or DC Dave Long on 01244 613833.