A TEAM of Liverpool City Council social work staff who help keep families in crisis together have won a top industry award.

The Instant Response Team in the Family Support Service scooped the prestigious ‘Public Sector Children’s Team Award’ at the Children and Young People Now awards in London.

They respond to referrals where there is an imminent risk of family breakdown, often in extremely difficult and challenging circumstances, to ensure children and young people can safely remain at home with their families by providing timely, intensive, targeted support.

They saw off competition from councils in Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire Council, Lancashire, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City to scoop the prize.

Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our social work staff are unsung heroes, who spend every working day helping keep vulnerable young people safe, often in very traumatic circumstances.

“I am so proud that the Instant Response Team’s diligence, passion and commitment to their work has been rightly recognised and rewarded in this way.

“This is a vindication of the investment we have made in our Early Help teams and the impact it has on children’s and families before they get into crisis.

“All the evidence shows that keeping families together and working proactively alongside mums, dads and carers to resolve their issues is far better in the longer term.

“The value of their work is truly immeasurable and we should all be grateful that we have among our workforce so many compassionate staff.”

Between April and September this year, a total of 97 children were referred to the team – of which 79 were able to stay with their families rather than being placed in foster or alternative care. A further three were eventually able to return home after support was provided.



GET those Christmas jumpers at the ready as two of Liverpool’s most beautiful buildings unveil a host of special festive frivolities

St George’s Hall and the Town Hall are to stage a series of magical events throughout December to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit. 

At St George’s Hall tickets are available for:

  • Christmas Jumper Ceilidh on Friday 1 December from 8pm. Expect a night of incredible live music, including a set by resident band Gallimafaury and The Secret Ukulele Band, ‘nice knit’ competitions as well as a whole host of other festive surprises. Home baked pies and a selection of goodies from the Liverpool Cheese Company will be available to buy on the night. Tickets are £16, including a welcome drink on arrival.  The ceilidh is open to over 18s only.
  • Nothing says Christmas like a carol concert, so warm up those vocals as there are FOUR opportunities to hark the herald!  Christmas Carols in the Concert Room will see opera singer Danielle Thomas, the Sing Me Merseyside Choir and Allerton Brass Band take to the stage to perform an array of much-loved songs, from traditional carols right through to modern classics. Tickets are £15 and include a mince pie and glass of mulled wine. It will take place on Thursday 7 and Thursday 14 December at 2pm and 8pm. 

Throughout December, the Town Hall will be playing host to a very special guest, as Father Christmas himself hosts Story Time With Santa. Aimed at children up to the age of 12, tickets are £12.50 for a 45minute story session, and it includes a free gift and two adult places. There is a maximum of 30 children per show so early booking is advised. The dates and times are:

2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th,17th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd December 
10am 11.15am, 12.30pm, 2.15pm, 3.45pm, 5pm

18th, 19th, 20th December

11.15am, 12.30pm, 2.15pm, 3.45pm, 5pm

24th December

10am, 11.15am, 12.30pm, 2pm

All tickets can be bought from

Following the hugely popular afternoon tea sessions which were held at the Town Hall in August, there are plans in place for them to return with a Christmas twist. The Town Hall will also host a pop-up hot chocolate bar – full details to be announced in the coming weeks. 

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Christmas events at St George’s Hall and the Town Hall have proved hugely popular in previous years and so I’m delighted we have this exciting, new festive programme.

“There really is something for everyone – a chance for adults to let their hair down in the beautiful surroundings of the Great Hall, an unforgettable story-telling moment with Santa himself which is perfect for youngsters and a carol concert to get all the family in the Christmas spirit. 

“Celebrating this magical time of year in what are regarded as some of the city’s finest Grade I listed buildings is an unmissable experience – so get your tickets soon before they’re all gone!” 

For more information, visit  


BEAN Coffee has opened a new concept store at Princes Dock, Liverpool Waters, with an emphasis on local produce and artisan goods.

The team at Bean Coffee have agreed a new lease on a neighbouring unit to their current premises at Princes Dock where The Store is located. It is the first time the Bean Coffee brand, which also has existing units in, St Paul’s Square, Exchange Station, Liverpool Innovation Park, Brunswick Business Park, and other locations in Manchester, has introduced a retail offering of this kind.

The Store offers a new concept; retaining the food and beverage offering of a traditional convenience store, whilst complementing this with other amenities including dry cleaning and courier services, an off licence and a florist. 

The newly refurbished store also includes a ‘pop-up’ area which will play host to craft retailers, artisan bakers and even a Friday Farmers’ Market.

Speaking about the new offering, Jon Whyte, director and co-founder of Bean Coffee said: “There’s lots of people on-site at Liverpool Waters, whether they are workers, residents or visitors, and we absolutely want to cater for their varying needs. We will be bringing together the everyday services they need under one roof, right on their doorstep. The Store will also be a great opportunity for us to collaborate with other independent, local businesses – we’re really excited to open our doors.”

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, said: “With an established brand, recognised for offering quality, local produce, Bean Coffee is an ideal partner for our growing community here at Liverpool Waters. There’s already been a lot of interest in The Store from residents and workers. Their new range of goods and services will further enhance the current amenity offer at Liverpool Waters and Peel is delighted to be collaborating with an existing tenant as they develop their concept.”


EVERTON Stadium Development Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Everton Football Club) and Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited have formally signed an agreement for the club to lease land at Bramley Moore Dock, Liverpool Waters.

The lease, which is conditional upon gaining planning consent for the proposed new stadium and securing funding for its construction, will run for a period of 200 years at a peppercorn rent.  

The signing of the agreement is a significant milestone in the project and means Everton effectively now controls the land upon which a new stadium would be built. This follows several years of searching for a new site and is the culmination of an exhaustive search across the city.

Robert Elstone, Chief Executive at Everton Football Club said: “Clearly this is very positive news. Gaining control of the site was essential for us to be able to move forward with the next stages of the project – finalising the funding agreement with the Council and preparing for the submission of a planning application – both of which we hope to do in the New Year. I’d like to thank Peel as well as Mayor Anderson and his colleagues at the Council for their support in getting us to this point.”

The proposed new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock will be a catalyst for the £5.5bn regeneration proposals for North Liverpool which is set to be one of the largest and most transformational in the city’s history.

The stadium will help accelerate Peel Land and Property’s Liverpool Waters development – which stretches along Liverpool’s waterfront and is made up of five neighbourhoods. The new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock will be complemented by a host of leisure amenities and facilities to enhance the visitor experience. Plans also include two new river terminals – a new cruise liner facility as well as the Isle of Man ferry terminal – and a range of office and residential developments alongside a waterfront cultural complex.  

Ian Pollitt, Assistant Project Director at Liverpool Waters, said: “2017 has been a landmark year for Liverpool Waters with a series of planning permissions granted for both Princes Dock and Central Dock, including the plans for a new cruise terminal and a collection of residential developments. We know that a world-class stadium, on the banks of the River Mersey, will act as a trigger for even more investment and jobs which will be of huge benefit to the whole city region. We’ve been working very closely with all partners to get to this stage and we’re excited to move on to the next phase of the project.”

CBRE, who are acting as advisers to Everton, estimate that a new stadium at Bramley Moore will provide a £1bn boost to the local economy, with a contribution of more than £900m to the region before the stadium is even completed.

The huge financial boost to Liverpool’s economy will see more than £255m spent through local supply chains during the construction phase and once completed, the creation of more than 15,000 jobs for local people and an annual boost to the city of £94m through hotel occupancy, retail and tourism.  

Iain Jenkinson, Senior Director, Planning and Development at CBRE said: “This scheme is hugely significant, not just for Everton and for Peel’s Liverpool Waters project, but for the entire city region. The social and economic impact presented by this once-in-a-generation opportunity will be a game-changer for the city. And it’s a game-changer not only in terms of the measurable regeneration benefits to the city through jobs, supply chain contracts and all the other benefits associated with a large-scale project, but also through the unique ‘brand value’ that will be development will bring to the city through having what will become a globally recognised stadium on one of the world’s most famous and spectacular waterfronts.”




By Lisa Worth

THE Women’s Health Information and Support Centre (WHISC), is a Liverpool charity using Zumba in the fight against mental health issues.

Every Saturday Latin American music rings out of their Bold Street base, as a diverse group of women samba their way to the feel-good factor.

Before the door has even opened a queue has formed, and numbers are increasing weekly for the free class.

Lisa McLoughlin has worked at WHISC as administrator for 3 years.

She said: “Our ladies come here for all sorts of reasons. Some just need a break from the pressures of family life, but others are dealing with very big and complex issues, and this provides some respite for them”.

When the women first gather, there is a polite, but reserved hum. But once the class starts, all inhibitions are forgotten and it’s beaming smiles all round.  

Nicole Stevens is part of the Community Health Ambassadors team, and a professional fitness instructor. She takes the weekly class.

She said: “I really believe in exercise when dealing with any kind of mental health problem. Science has shown that it helps, but I have personal experience of mental health issues, and I know how it provides a healthy way to cope”.

Rahena is 37, and she’s been a regular visitor for 9 months. Saturday is her favourite day of the week. 

“I always feel good after Zumba”, she said. “Not tired, but like I can go and get on with everything. Dancing makes you feel great”.

WHISC has been a pillar of Liverpool community health for 33 years.

It is run by women, for women who feel in need of support, regardless of background, nationality or age.

Lisa McLoughlin explained: “We offer a safe space for women to come together, share their problems, get some professional help, or just have a laugh and a natter with other women”.

Currently, the government has placed mental health high on its agenda, but with NHS resources decreasing, places like WHISC play a vital role in primary care.

Lisa said: “We’re a lifeline for a lot of women, in difficult times. None of us know when we might need support”.

For further information go to or visit their Facebook page.


Barrie Rutter as Fuller in For Love or Money

By Nigel Smith

AT the close of the current season, legendary actor-manager Barrie Rutter is standing down from his position as artistic director of Northern Broadsides, the company he founded 25 years ago, making this the final time that Liverpool audiences will see him perform with them.

We’ve seen Rutter play a huge range of roles with Broadsides over the years, from comedy classics to Shakespeare greats. His King Lear in 2015 was a revelation, but he will probably be remembered by most for the blustering patriarchal roles created for him in the company’s uniquely northern comedies.

This adaptation of Lesage’s Turcaret, an 18th century French comedy, seems an ideal vehicle for his final outing, but somehow it brings his tenure to an end with more of a whimper than a bang.

Sarah Jane Potts has wonderfully coquettish elegance in her reading of Rose, a widow who, having spent all her late husband’s money, is looking for a new suitor. But will she aim to find a match for love or for money?

This being a comedy of manners (or lack thereof) translated into 1920s Yorkshire, the answer, naturally, is both. On the one hand she strings along a wealthy, pompous, ageing banker Algy Fuller (Rutter), bleeding him for every penny she can extract. On the other, she plays fast and loose with the freeloading dandy Arthur, played with exuberant vivacity by Jos Vantyler. It’s all going to end in tears…

Arthur has an ally in the cheerful Jack (Jordan Metcalf), and the two bounce off one another splendidly in some really well choreographed conspiratorial scenes. There’s something about Vantyler and Metcalf, especially in these costumes, that puts me in mind of Cornelius Hackle and Barnaby Tucker, and I could easily see them heading off to New York in search of a more colourful life – but that would be another show entirely – I digress…

When a disenchanted housekeeper, solidly characterised by Jacqueline Naylor, decides to throw a spanner in the works, the various lovers’ schemes begin to unravel.

There is a lot going for this show, but somehow it never quite feels as though it stops idling and revs its engine. Whilst there is a clear narrative, the series of vignettes that make it up feel rather limply stitched together.

You really want to care about the characters, however everything is stylised in such a mannered and episodic fashion that you keep wanting to tell them to get on with it. Jessica Worrall’s four-square, beautifully distressed set and delightful period costumes are well lit by Tim Skelly and the movement on the stage is as elegant as anything, but there’s something missing to set the show alight. Maybe it’s the rumbustious music that we’d normally expect to appear in a Broadsides comedy, but there’s no context for any of that.

For Love or Money is exactly the sort of story that Northern Broadsides do well, but there’s a feeling that this adaptation has been hurriedly put together, leaving it lacking the vital spark that makes audiences love their productions so much.

All this said, the commitment of the performers to their characters, all of whom deliberately ignore the fourth wall and conspire with the audience out front, makes for a curiously low key but warmly presented piece of near-farce, and it certainly has plenty of laughs.

For Love or Money is at the Playhouse until Saturday 25th November and ends its 9 venue tour the following week at York’s Theatre Royal.


A MAJOR new community in Anfield is to take a major step forward this week.

Liverpool City Council is set to approve a plan to assemble and transfer land earmarked for 85 affordable new homes and a row of new shops, near to Liverpool Football Club’s world famous stadium.

A report to the council’s cabinet is recommending two development deals as part of the £260m Anfield regeneration project.

The first three phases of the development have already been completed and the fourth is nearing completion, bringing more than 500 homes to the area.

The deals with Keepmoat Homes and Priority Space will see a further 85 new homes built, as well as up to five new shop units facing Walton Breck Road, which is itself undergoing a scheme to create a new high street.

The new houses for sale are a mix of affordable and private sale, energy-efficient two, three and four-bedroom properties with private gardens and off-street car parking, their design in keeping with housing types that have proved a success in earlier phases.

The Phase 5 site includes land between Burleigh Road South, Robson Street, Venmore Street and Walton Breck Road, where terraced housing and the old Breckfield Primary School once stood.

The site also features a number of roads, including Viceroy Street, Vanguard Street and Vyrnwy Street, which will be remodelled with a landscaped boulevard that will link Robson Street to the stadium.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, said: “This newest phase in the comprehensive £260m regeneration of Anfield is a critical piece of the jigsaw in creating a more vibrant and successful community.

“As well as paving the way for a healthy mix of new affordable homes, all with private gardens, we’re also creating new shops and much needed greenspace.

“There is much still to be done but this phase marks yet another milestone in our ambitions to create a brighter Anfield for everyone.”

The council, which has already bought most of the land and demolished 275 properties, is also seeking authority to use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) in case of any contested plots.

If these plans are approved by cabinet, a planning application could be put in later this month and building work could start next May.

As part of the wider Anfield regeneration project, a £2m environmental programme is now underway to create improved public realm around “Anfield Village” on Burnand Street, with phase 2 to begin in Spring 2018 on Blessington Road and Hayfield Street.

A further £2.5m of environmental works will take place later in 2018 on Walton Breck Road, from Sleepers Hill to Oakfield Road, which will include tree planting and pavement resurfacing.

The Anfield project is one of 250 schemes Liverpool City Council’s Regeneration Department is supporting, worth a combined total value of more than £14bn.


Photo: Bob Edwards

LIVERPOOL Christmas Ice Festival has returned to the Pier Head this winter with a super-sized triple-lane ice slide, larger ice rink, enchanted forest-themed Ice Bar, Santa’s Grotto, Ferris wheel, UK’s only Ice Jet ride and market stalls. The festival is home to the city’s biggest ever ice slide allowing racers to skim along the high-speed 30-metre run from six metres above the festival.

The attraction is certainly proving to be popular with crowds of people attending over the opening weekend – we certainly enjoyed ourselves!

Another addition to the festival is the spectacular Ice Jet ride – a unique bobsleigh ride which recreates the high speed twisting thrills of a real ice run. And, because no ice festival would be complete without a chance to skate, the huge covered outdoor rink has been expanded by almost one third allowing even more space to glide.

After all of the fun, guests can relax in the Après Lounge and indulge in a hot chocolate or mulled wine, or to feel the freeze, they can head to the Ice Bar to enjoy a shot (there’s a children’s option available too!). And there’s no need to worry about being too cold as ponchos are provided to keep you warm.

Those visiting the Ice Festival can get into the festive spirit and enjoy the fairground rides, before having a wander around the market stalls. And guests can keep the hunger pangs at bay as the whole family can tuck into a German Frankfurter or a sweet treat from the bakery, or even visit the chocolate fountain for some extra indulgence.

The Ice Festival is at Pier Head until January 7 and bookings for Ice Skating, the Ice Bar and Ice Slide can be made at

MARCO Pierre White has opened a brand new restaurant in Liverpool.

Pullman Liverpool on the edge of the River Mersey at Monarch’s Quay is perhaps the finest location, given its maritime history, for the high-profile chef’s Wheeler’s of St. James’s.

It’s the world’s oldest fish restaurant and diners over the decades include Walt Disney, British painter Lucian Freud and many notable historical figures since it was established in 1856.

Marco has kept the original recipes at the heart of the menu and has added his renowned flair and originality to the seafood offerings.

Oysters Rockefeller is a signature dish on the menu and is inspired by the original created at the famed Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans in 1899.

The incredible dishes are classics with Marco twists, like the lobster macaroni with black truffle and mango and coriander fish curry.

But it’s not all about seafood. The menu has succulent Scottish Buccleuch beef steaks, which are aged for 35 days, when the flavour of the meat is at its best, before being cooked to perfection by the touch rather than time, roast rump of lamb with cockles, Mr. Lamb’s shepherd’s pie and more.

The luxury Pullman Liverpool opened in early 2016 and has become one of the city’s most popular hotels. It is the first Pullman hotel to open in the UK outside of London.

The chic Liverpool hotel was crowned the Best Newcomer to the Visitor Economy at this year’s Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.

For visitors to the Merseyside city over the festive season, the restaurant will be serving ‘a white Christmas by Marco Pierre White’ with a stunning menu from the master chef, which boasts traditional turkey with all the trimmings and Wheeler’s Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.

Succulent roe deer venison and guinea fowl are also choices for Christmas day giving Wheeler’s a menu that harks back to the time of Charles Dickens and, of course, his literary creation Ebenezer Scrooge.

The seafood signature theme is a welcome alternative to the classic Christmas dinner. The menu also features divine seabass with cassoulet of peas and pan-fried cod with clam chowder and samphire.

Marco Pierre White, who creates all of his restaurant’s menus, said: “Pullman Liverpool is the perfect setting for Wheeler’s, which is an iconic brand with an unmatched standard of excellence.

“Liverpool is an amazing city and its renaissance in recent years has given new life to its history, particularly its maritime past. Wheeler’s has a new home and I’m sure the food and the experience will be enjoyed by everyone who visits the restaurant.”


EACH evening throughout December, the Albert Dock will be presenting a magical light display.

In collaboration with National Museums Liverpool, the Grade I Listed Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building (originally built as the Dock Traffic Office) will become the canvas for an intricate light projection centred around the theme of “Unwrapping Christmas on Albert Dock”, incorporating origami and hand-crafted paper designs in the style of a pop-up book.

Clare Rawlinson, marketing manager, Albert Dock Liverpool, said: “Our projection last year was a huge hit, especially with local families bringing the children down to see the lights, and it created quite a stir on social media. If you loved last year then you are in for a big surprise – what we have in store this year is nothing short of amazing.

“Whether you’re here for food and drink, to take in the culture of Tate Liverpool, museums and attractions, to browse the independent shops, or to simply soak up the scenery with a wintry stroll, visitors of all ages to Albert Dock will instantly get that Christmassy feeling this festive season!

“We continue to work closely with our city and waterfront partners to create a truly wonderful destination for our visitors this Christmas. And a special thank you must also go to National Museums Liverpool, for allowing us use of the iconic Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building once more.”

Janet Dugdale, director of Merseyside Maritime Museum, commented: “The Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building has become synonymous with welcoming people to Albert Dock. Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum are in great company with all our neighbours across the Dock, and there’s so much going on over the festive season. It’s fantastic to be involved again in highlighting the vibrant cultural scene that can be discovered in this part of the city”.

The projection runs each evening from December 1 to and including January 1, 2018, every 20 minutes on a loop from 5pm-10pm.

The “Unwrapping Christmas on Albert Dock” commission is part of One Magical City, a programme of festive activity which takes place across Liverpool, from its waterfront to the retail heart and historical areas. For a full programme of all of the events across the city visit

For details about this and all other upcoming events at Albert Dock,  visit the Albert Dock website




A TEAM of Liverpool City Council social work staff who help keep families in crisis together have won a top industry award.The Instant Response...


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