Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from birkenhead.news. It is a round-up of important local news stories from the last seven days. Click or tap on each story to read the full article.
Consultation starts on the first major proposals to help Wirral Council close the budget gap for the coming year.
The consultations will ask for people’s views on the proposals for the closure of Woodchurch Leisure Centre, reduction in municipal golf provision, shutting the “fun” pool at Europa Pools Leisure Centre and remodelling of Wirral Tennis Centre.
The move is part of a wider package of measures to address a significant gap in the council’s budget for the forthcoming year.
A Wirral artist is to receive a unique honour this week, when he travels to Lambeth Palace to witness one of his artworks, created for the late Archbishop of Cape Town Dr Desmond Tutu, be blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, before it travels to a new home in South Africa.
Terry Duffy, born in Liverpool whose studio is on the beach at Hoylake, is an artist with an international reputation for unique and challenging work over five decades, including the creation of unique technicolour copes – a semi-circular religious vestment worn by senior members of the Christian church – depicting deeply moving and provocative historical scenes of inhumanity and terror alongside words of unity and hope.
The copes themselves are based on Terry’s enormous and spectacular paintings interpreting his response to people’s quests for truth and reconciliation in the aftermath of life-changing, horrifying, and nationally and internationally significant events.
Wirral residents who are facing a crisis situation and not able to pay for essentials such as fuel, heating or children’s shoes are being urged to apply for help from a local financial support scheme.
Thousands of local people have already been helped by Wirral Council’s Financial Support with Welfare Needs Scheme, which has contributed towards necessary items and expenses including:
- food for people with special dietary needs
- essential bills, including fuel, utilities, phone and broadband
- furniture, white goods, and other essential household items
- shoes and clothing
- essential travel costs
Central government funding to Wirral Council has dropped by around 85% between 2010 and 2020. Income from other sources such as business rates has compensated to a degree, but the overall revenue of the council was still 25% lower in 2020 than it was in 2010.
For the financial year 2010/11, Wirral Council income from central government, council tax and rates was £450m, adjusted for inflation. Ten years later for the financial year 2020/21, and again adjusted for inflation, Wirral Council income was £338m – a huge drop of £112m.
This means that Wirral Council has a seemingly impossible task of balancing its books whilst maintaining services, such as libraries and sports facilities.
On Friday 4 February Andy Rooke, 38, set off on the Snowman Challenge, when he hopes to build a seven-foot snowman on the top of each of the Three Peaks – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.
The challenge will continue throughout the month, during which he hopes to raise £25,000 for Claire House Children’s Hospice. The hospice cared for his son, Charlie, who sadly died in February 2020 at just 17 months old, after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease.
“Charlie had a short life but I’d like to leave a legacy to help other kids. The memories we have wouldn’t have been possible without Claire House, so I decided to fundraise for them,” said Andy.
Prenton, Bromborough and Birkenhead are the first in a number of areas to benefit from a ‘big clean up’ as the council utilises dedicated funding to improve the look of shopping spaces.
More than £50,000 secured from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund will be spent in the coming weeks on extra street cleaning, graffiti and chewing gum removal and new litter bins.
Work started this week, Monday 31 January, in Bromborough Village, Woodchurch Road in Prenton, Borough Road in Birkenhead and will be followed by parts of Wallasey Village, Birkenhead, Seacombe, Upton and Moreton over the coming weeks.
After nearly two years of waiting, Kevin Clifton and the worldwide Ballroom dance company Burn the Floor are back on tour and will be performing at the Floral Pavilion this month.
The tour, which was originally due to take place in the Spring of 2020, is on the road and thrilling audiences across the country.
This energetic Ballroom production is setting stages alight and showing audiences why it is still the world’s leading Ballroom show after more than two decades.
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Port Sunlight River Park is coming under new management this year as national charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) takes over the running of the popular Wirral landmark, in partnership with the Land Trust.
Bromborough-based charity Autism Together managed the site since it first opened to the public in 2014 and will continue to work within the park in partnership with the new management. Autism Together will continue running the Heritage Centre café and kiosk, and offering workplace opportunities for the autistic adults the organisation supports.
The 70-acre site was a former landfill, but was reclaimed and revitalised by landowners the Land Trust alongside Autism Together, under a succession of dedicated park rangers and volunteers.
Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West, has spoken out in a parliamentary debate on the government’s decision to temporarily lift a ban on a pesticide that can be harmful to bees and other pollinators.
The debate came after the government chose to temporarily lift the ban on Cruiser SB, a neonicotinoid pesticide that is banned under UK law except for certain emergency authorisations.
The government stated that this was necessary to tackle the threat to sugar beet crops from the Yellows Virus, carried by aphids, and the lack of alternative insecticide options.
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