Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest blog: Newsham Park is bursting with wild life

Newsham Park, Liverpool is almost bursting with wildlife, from mini-beasts, to wild fowl, mammals.

We have a few firsts, the first Redwings to be photographed in Liverpool, a nesting pair of Sparrow Hawks and two nesting pairs of Kestrels.

The list of wild fowl is amazing; We have, eight Coots, ten Moorhens, up to fifteen Mallards, four hybrid drakes, twenty five Canada Geese, four common Geese and three Muscovy Ducks.

At one time we had eleven Cormorants, but two were killed recently (most probably by humans) which was upsetting as this was a pair getting ready to nest. The other nine were driven off the lakes through the actions of some park visitors.

We haven't had any resident Swans for a few years now, they always hatched six cygnets every year but for some reason these got killed several years running. The swans must have got fed up with this and left for good, the last cygnet to hatch in Newsham Park left two years ago. But it is not all bad news. 

We do have a  diverse range of birdlife that can be found in the park.

All the different Finches, Nuthatches, Tree Creepers, Pied Wagtails, Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrush, Robins, Blue Jays, Magpies, Crows, two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. We also have migrating birds visiting the park, the Swifts have just arrived from Africa and will stay with us for several months before heading back.

We also have several different species of butterflies, bees, wasps and ladybirds.

We have two families of Foxes, a possible third family of foxes, to be confirmed and obviously our Squirrels

We also have a diverse range of wild flowers, trees, fungus.

The diversity of wildlife and plant life in the park is such that Merseyside Biobank take a active interest in my photography work.


I have set up a Facebook Book Group called Wild Life of Newsham Park if you want to see more.

Richard Milligan, 
Wildlife Photographer
Friends of Newsham Park

Friday, April 19, 2013

Volunteer Co-ordinator Vacancy at Merseyside Polonia

More details here:

Merseyside Polonia aims to develop better relations between the Polish Community and local Merseyside residents

Dear Friends!
We would like to share with you our good news.
Over the last few years Merseyside Polonia has been very active developing many new projects and reaching new audiences. Success of our events brought many new volunteers interested in being involved in our activities and with over 30 of them we felt there was a need for a Volunteer Coordinator. We wanted to be able to support Merseyside Polonia volunteers better, open up to them new opportunities through training as well as offer better volunteer management. So we decided to look for appropriate funding for such post.
Merseyside Polonia's application to Liverpool City Council Community Resource Unit was successful and we will be receiving funding for this financial year. It's a big step in the development of our organisation and we believe it will really help us grow.
From this April we have our new office space at Gostin Building - we hope to get it ready soon and invite you all for an open day.
The funding is for a Volunteer Coordinator and currently we are advertising this vacancy: please find more details on our website:
We would like to thank you all for your support and promise you to bring many more exciting events.
Hope to see you soon
Merseyside Polonia Team
Drodzy Przyjaciele!
Chcielibyśmy podzielić się z Wami dobrą wiadomością.
W ciągu ostatnich kilku lat Merseyside Polonia bardzo aktywnie rozwija wiele nowych projektów i dociera do nowych odbiorców. Sukces naszych spotkań przyniósł ze sobą wielu nowych wolontariuszy zainteresowanych zaangażowaniem się w naszą działalność i gdy doszło do ponad 30, to poczuliśmy, że jest zapotrzebowanie na Koordynatora Wolontariatu. Chcielibyśmy móc lepiej wspierać wolontariuszy Merseyside Polonia, otwierać dla nich nowe możliwości poprzez szkolenia, jak również oferując lepsze zarządzanie wolontariatem. Zdecydowaliśmy się poszukać odpowiedniego finansowania dla takiego stanowiska.
Wniosek Merseyside Polonia do Liverpool City Council Community Resource Unit został zaakceptowany i będziemy otrzymywać dofinansowanie na ten rok budżetowy. To duży krok w budowaniu naszej organizacji i wierzymy, że to naprawdę pomoże nam się dalej rozwijać.
Od kwietnia tego roku mamy biuro w budynku Gostin - mamy nadzieję, że niedługo będzie już urządzone i zaprosimy wszystkich na dzień otwarty.
Fundusz jest przeznaczony na stanowisko dla Koordynatora Wolontariatu i obecnie ogłaszamy nabór na tą posadę. Więcej szczegółów na naszej stronie internetowej:
Serdecznie dziękujemy wszystkim za wsparcie i obiecujemy wiele nowych ciekawych spotkań.
Mamy nadzieję, że zobaczymy się wkrótce
Zespół Merseyside Polonia

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Substantial fines for dumping rubbish in Liverpool

Fines for dumped bin bags

TWELVE householders who left bin bags in alleyways near their homes have been fined by Liverpool magistrates in prosecutions sought by the city council.

The following were found guilty in their absence and each fined £200 and ordered to pay £95 costs with a £20 victim surcharge. All had been given the option of paying an £80 fixed penalty notice but had not done so.

Colin Allan, of Connaught Road, Kensington; Gina Braithwaite, of Portman Court, Wavertree; Donna Davies of Walton Breck Road,; Charlie Leary  of  Andrew Street Kirkdale; Susan Leonard of Woolton Road, Garston; Hannah McGiveron of Ritson Street. Toxteth; Gemma McMullan of Portman Road , Wavertree; Nicholas McRea of Edinburgh Road Kensington; Sandor Milan of Childwall Avenue Wavertree; Anthony Phillips of Andrew Street ,Kirkdale; Louise Porter of Asbridge Street, Toxteth and Kishore Ramamoorthy of  Ashfield, Wavertree.

Nick Hughes, of Mill Street, Toxteth, who pleaded guilty was given a six months conditional discharge, ordered to pay £20 costs and £15 victim surcharge

Nicola Garman, of Goodison Road, Walton, who left bags near a public litter bin, was also found £200, ordered to pay £95 cots and £20 victim surcharge. The same penalty was imposed  on Joaquin Franco of La Vina Restaurant , North John Street,  and Mathansurdar Sockalingham,, of Rice Lane, Walton, who left business waste in alleys. They were found guilty in their absence.

Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have a real problem with people dumping bin bags in the alleys of terraced houses. Often this is because householders leave their bin bags out at the wrong time for collections – but that is no excuse.  Everybody should be aware of what days their waste is collected and if they are not sure it is easy to find out.

"Leaving bin bags out means that they can be ripped open, causing litter and potentially attracting vermin. These fines are a warning to people not to dump bin bags in alleyways and only leave them out when they are due to be collected.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Selections open for the Parliamentary Labour Candidate for Sheffield Hallam

Do you fancy taking Nick Clegg on?


You may be aware that the procedure to select our parliamentary candidate for the next general election is now underway. The selection procedure is by self-application, followed by nominations, short-listing and finally a selection by local members in a one-member one-vote (OMOV) ballot.

Any member who wishes to be considered as the candidate must apply using the standard form available from by 9am on Monday 22nd April.

Send CVs to Max Telfer

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A cormorant - a Liver Bird - on Newsham Park Lake. Photo by the excellent Richard Milligan

There was a letter in the Echo on Thursday 4th April which was critical of Newsham Park

I did write one in response but it must not have arrived in time for inclusion - and it was time limited, so it wont be printed thereafter. For completeness I wanted to reproduce it here anyway in the hope that the writer might come across it at some point. The offer to join the Forum still stands - to any of you who are interested - just email me

With the reference to the letter of April 4th 2013 in respect of Newham Park

I would like to extend an invitation to the anonymous writer of the letter (and anyone else who is interested) to meet members of the Newsham Park Forum on Saturday April 6th at 10am at the Sheil Road/Gardners Drive entrance to the park for our twice yearly walk about.

The Forum is made up of local residents, councillors, council staff, the model boat lake club, the Citysafe team and representatives from Glendale who garden the park.

We meet every couple of months to discuss progress on many exciting initiatives within Newsham Park and the letter writer would be very pleased, I am quite sure, to hear about those.

If he or she wants to come along and meet us, and join in on the walkabout, we can point out the new Pavilion that has recently opened, with the kiosk serving refreshments (and indeed ice-cream). We can see the special changing facilities for disabled park users; have a go on the new exercise equipment; admire the enhancements to the Boating Lake (now the home of Liverpool Model Boat Club); we can look at the site of the new fountain in the main lake and the floating refuges for the ducks and other water birds. We will certainly want to look at the new cricket strip and perhaps there will be someone playing there. And we can talk about where our new benches are going to be placed. I am sure we will want to look at the progress with the new cycling facilities too. There is so much good happening in Newsham Park that I can only assume the critical letter writer has not visited lately.

Do come on Saturday and if you like what you hear, you are welcome to join our Forum and play a full part in making decisions about other future improvements.

Best wishes

Councillor Louise Baldock
Chair of Newsham Park Forum 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Liverpool Labour and the Bedroom Tax

We have been asked a few questions by activists in the city about what Liverpool Labour is doing to combat the bedroom tax. This is our current position.
a) What you are doing and what do you intend to do to prevent Liverpool residents from being evicted from their homes?
Labour councillors in Liverpool have established a grassroots Labour members’ campaign which has been rolled out nationally to other grassroots Labour members, to demand that the Government abolishes the bedroom tax and which calls upon the Parliamentary Labour Party to commit to abolish it when they are able to form a Government. We have funded this campaign ourselves personally – most of the expense being in the establishment of a website where tenants can share their stories and where Labour campaigners can access campaign materials to use in their local areas. The website can be found at

We also unanimously passed a motion in the Town Hall which you may have read about in the Liverpool Echo a few weeks ago.

You will be aware that the council itself has no housing stock, all homes having been transferred through stock transfer some years ago under the Lib Dem administration. That said, many Labour councillors are members of Housing Associations, either independently or as appointments from the local authority, and they will be party to discussions about how each association can best manage the bedroom tax – and the introduction of universal credit paid directly to tenants – to minimise the threat to tenancies. Some of them may well be discussing non/eviction policies. Some of them are also discussing measures to help fund the cost of moving, or support with caretaker services to make it easier to do so on the day for those who want to move. And some HAs with our support have set up hardship funds to pay the bedroom tax on  behalf of tenants where appropriate.

We hope very much there will not be mass evictions – Housing Associations are always reluctant to evict tenants and do so only rarely – more usually because of crime or anti-social behaviour. We don’t believe they will be in any hurry to evict tenants who are not able to make up their rent and we also don’t believe that such applicants would find favour with judges who need to sign such eviction orders off. Quite apart from anything else, it will take a long time for sizeable arrears to build up. That said we are not remotely complacent about it and will be doing all we can to support any tenants who find themselves in this invidious position.

HAs are also keenly pursuing mutually agreeable swaps and indeed one Liverpool landlord managed a five-way swap last month, to support tenants who are prepared to move and need help. This was with the support of a Labour councillor who sits on the board of that HA.

All the Liverpool Housing Associations working together have formed a group called the Registered Providers Welfare Reform Group and are committed to funding independent benefits advice and benefits maximisation workers to help tenants and we have met with members of that group to talk about how we can further support them to protect tenants from this crippling financial blow. They are also working on how they can find loopholes or make changes to policies that will in any way protect the tenants they were established to support. You will be aware that many HAs are charities and have been in operation for decades to support social tenants.

You may also know that the Labour council has given £1million to a consortium of 7 credit unions to help local people to manage their limited budgets and keep them out of the hands of loan sharks. We also believe that with our support the credit unions will be able to offer so called “jam jar” accounts so that tenants can ensure their rent (and other bills) are paid when their benefits arrive. 

We have also given £50,000 to local food banks and many Labour Councillors volunteer in foodbanks or support them in their area with extra funds from their devolved budgets. 

We have also set aside £400,000 for a hardship fund. 

And we ensured that the council tax benefit cuts passported from the Government have not been applied in full, but half of that shortfall of 17.5% to working age claimants has been met by the council itself (and some from a grant from the Government) so that residents in receipt of council tax benefit will only have to pay 8.5% of council tax instead of the full 17.5%. It still means people paying who have never had to do so before, but it is half of what it would have cost them.

We also wrote in the strongest terms to the Government to object and indeed the Mayor has sent Eric Pickles, Tory Minister, the money for a train ticket to Liverpool so that he can come and see the problems himself (he wont come of course) as well as organising a nationwide conference on the austerity cuts which was attended by council leaders and bishops from around the country, objecting to the unfair cuts heaped on our city. 

b) Will your political organisation repeal the legislation in its entirety if elected - for everyone who is affected?

We are not in a position to speak for the Labour national front bench who have not yet stated whether they will repeal this. They have said that they believe it is perverse and unfair and that they want it to be scrapped now, by this Government, with many shadow Secretaries of State speaking at demonstrations on 16th March, giving that message. But so far they have not actually said they will repeal it. We continue to call for them to say that they will, we believe that it is our duty to provide the powerful voice of grassroots Labour Party members so that they will ultimately give that commitment.

c) Will your organisation be organising further protests against the bedroom tax?

Liverpool Labour Party will go on protesting against the bedroom tax for as long as it takes. We have been out knocking on doors in affected areas, going to local Tenants and Residents Associations, taking petitions into local shopping centres like Fairfield, Anfield, Walton Village and Norris Green for instance, and tackling cases through our advice surgeries – of which dozens take place every week. We won a case for a tenant on Friday and expect to win further cases this coming week (and hopefully in the months to come of course). We would expect all of this to continue. We will also be continuing to promote stories of affected tenants on our website.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Support for Armed Service Veterans in Liverpool

One-stop shop for veterans opens

A one-stop shop to support armed forces veterans and their families in civilian life has opened in Liverpool.

The shop, in Breck Road, Anfield, opened on Wednesday 20 March

The one-stop shop will be staffed by trained buddies all of whom are either ex military personal or related to veterans.  They will provide expert advice and information on several issues affecting former servicemen and women including housing, health, and employment.

"There are 32,000 armed service veterans in Liverpool and with the coming defence cuts there will be many more servicemen and women returning to the city" said Bob Blanchard, of Breckfield and Everton Neighbourhood council and co-chair of Liverpool City Council’s Veterans Partnership Board.

“Many of them will be looking for help with housing, finding schools for their children and looking for advice on their CVs. They may also have health issues which need addressing.

“The one-stop shop will enable them and their families to get a wide variety of help, advice and information under one roof. It will be an invaluable help for those people who have served their country.”

The opening of the new facility follows the signing by the city of Liverpool of a community covenant which commits it to working closely with the military in support of serving personnel, ex-service and their families.

Mayor Anderson said: “Liverpool has a great tradition of supporting our armed forces and we are now taking that much further by making it easier for veterans to get the help they may need in settling into civilian life. It is also important that we also care for their families and the on-stop shop will do that.

“This is a practical way of showing the value we place on those people who have risked their lives for their country.”

Councillor Peter Mitchell, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, added; “We are fully committed to making sure that support is readily accessible to veterans and their families and we providing help on their doorstep.”

Kensington and Fairfield Councillors helped pay for the One-Stop Shop service by utilising some of their devolved budget in conjunction with colleagues across the city.

Nice bit of coverage on Bay TV