CYCLISTS flocked to the Wirral coast to enjoy Bike & Go’s second Cycle to the Sands wellbeing event.

Held to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until this Sunday (May 19), the event was hosted by Bike & Go to highlight the feelings of positivity that cycling can bring.

Participants were taken on a guided bike ride from West Kirby station along the Wirral Way overlooking coastal views. They then took part in a mindfulness session by Yogasmiths Paul and Stephen Smith followed by a free picnic too.

With cycling proven to boost wellbeing – a report published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal last August revealed that regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week could reduce poor mental health – Mental Health Awareness Week offers a great opportunity to take to two wheels.

With this year’s event focusing on how we think and feel about our bodies, taking time out to go on a bike ride is a good way to boost fitness levels too.

Suzanne Grant, Bike & Go Director, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many people to our second Cycle to the Sands event, and to remind those who hadn’t been on a bike for some years of just how much fun cycling can be.

“This week, I’d urge people to make the most of the sunshine and go on a ride to enjoy an escape from the routine of day-to-day life, and get out into the fresh air.”

Bike & Go offers bike hire facilities from 22 participating train stations across the Merseyrail network, including Liverpool Central, Moorfields, Aigburth, Southport, Ormskirk and West Kirby. There are also bike hire facilities at Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Leasowe Castle, in addition to a further 49 participating train stations across much of the North West, North East and Yorkshire, East and South East of England, and Scotland.

Picture by Gareth Jones

AS part of ongoing company expansion, BLJ Solicitors has invested in a full-scale brand overhaul to bring the company firmly into the modern age as it approaches its 200th anniversary.

First established in 1821, the North West based legal firm has welcomed a new brand identity, including the introduction of a new logo, to better reflect its modern ethos and forward-thinking approach to its services.

With locations in Liverpool, Warrington and Runcorn, BLJ Solicitors prides itself on embracing innovations within the sector, such as its recent utilisation of technology to offer clients a fluid digital service alongside its adoption of a paper-free initiative.

Managing Partner at BLJ Solicitors Mike Leeman said: “As we approach a significant business milestone, we are delighted to reveal this new look which we feel really reflects BLJ Solicitors’ forward-thinking attitude in an industry that can sometimes harbour traditional and often old-fashioned working practices and views.”

Photo: Jason Roberts Photography

OFFICIAL club partner StubHub marked Mental Health Awareness Week (Monday 13- Sunday 19 May) with a special mental health training day – ‘MindFairGame’.

The event was held at USM Finch Farm for some of the club’s academy players and hosted by Leon Osman.

At the event, Leon shared some of his personal experiences as a young player, with the academy boys also hearing from the PFA’s Director of Player Welfare Michael Bennett and Mind charity ambassador Matt Johnson. The session finished with a mental health awareness training session led by ‘Chasing the Stigma’ which gave the youngsters the opportunity to learn more about the importance of looking after their mental health and where to signpost people if they need support.

The MindFairGame event aimed to communicate to young players and young people that speaking up about mental health is a strength, not a weakness.

Last year, Everton launched a new mental health focused fundraising campaign to raise funds to build a permanent facility – called ‘The People’s Place’ – in the shadows of Goodison Park. 

As part of ‘The People’s Place’ campaign, the club has also made a commitment to equip all of its staff with an understanding of mental health through accredited training delivered by ‘Chasing the Stigma’ and in undertaking the training at the recent mental health awareness event, the Academy’s Under 14s joined Manager Marco Silva, Director of Football Marcel Brands, Everton CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Phil Jagielka in being among the many staff who have already received the training.

Leon Osman said: “An event like MindFairGame by Stubhub is so important in getting young people to talk about mental health, helping signpost to these young Blues where they can find support.

“Everton and Everton in the Community have been at the forefront of mental health provision for more than a decade, providing life-changing and life-saving support to thousands of people across Merseyside.

“When I was playing, I felt that there was a stigma attached to saying how I felt emotionally, and that just shouldn’t be the case. Thankfully, that isn’t the case in youth football these days.

“I want everyone to be able to talk openly about their feelings and I’d really encourage everyone to take a moment to talk about their mental health with their mates, parents, coaches or teammates.

“The key must be to educate people from an early age so that it becomes a natural process.

“Even if you’re in a good place now, at some point you are going to need the tools to get past the difficult times that arise in everyone’s lives.”

StubHub’s UK Country Manager Wayne Grierson added: “At StubHub, we’re proud of the work Everton does in this area and it’s a pleasure to host the MindFairGame event in conjunction with the Club. It’s a football club that is devoted to helping its community, putting its fans first and raising important issues around mental health awareness in the world of sport and beyond.” 


STUDENTS from St John Bosco Arts College have recently returned from an eight day trip to China.

36 students from years 9 and 10, plus four members of staff, embarked on the 10 and a half hour journey from London in April.

Arriving in Shanghai, the students and staff immediately commenced their whistle stop tour of some of the sights of China by visiting The Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai and one of the most famous tourist destinations. 

The following days saw visits to The Shanghai Museum, The Yuyuan Garden and the Yuyuan Bazaar, Zhujiajiao Water Town, Jiangxin Island on the Oujiang River at Wenzhou city and Wuma Street Shopping in Wnenzhou and the magnificent views from Wenzhou Jiushan Park.

Everyone entered into the cultural experience with enthusiasm using chop sticks and eating the local food at the numerous local restaurants.

The group then travelled by fast train to Wenzhou at speeds of up to 217 mph to visit its sister school, Wenzhou No.2 Foreign Language School. 

Over the two days at the school the students engaged in calligraphy, tennis and singing classes, watched a singing competition and learnt the basics of the martial arts with sticks.  Two students, Ellie and Mollie, took part in the singing competition performing in front of a packed auditorium and representing St John Bosco Arts College.

The students and staff formed firm friendships with the Chinese hosts who gave their visitors a very warm welcome. After a busy few days, the group said farewell and travelled back to Liverpool.

Headteacher Darren Gidman, said:  “The visit to China to see our sister school is a fantastic opportunity for our students to meet young people their own age from different cultures.

“They have talked non-stop about the trip since they have returned and it is wonderful to hear all their stories. I hope the memories of this incredible experience stays with them for many years to come.”



Photo: Manuel Harlan

AN all-female cast will fly into Liverpool for five nights this spring, as a family production of The Worst Witch visits the Playhouse from 28 May to 1 June.

The Worst Witch follows Mildred Hubble: an ordinary girl who finds herself in an extraordinary place… a school for witches. Accident-prone Mildred and her fellow pupils leave a trail of mayhem behind them, as they find themselves at the centre of a battle that’s being fought for their future.

Based on the children’s novels by Jill Murphy, the stage adaptation is an original story written for the stage by Emma Reeves featuring songs, music and magic. The Worst Witch series has sold over five million copies worldwide and has been made into films and TV series by HBO, ITV and CBBC.

Jill Murphy said: “My first trip to the theatre aged four, opened up a magical world – so real to me, that I had to be restrained from climbing onstage to help the children in peril!

“My mum was quite cross with me, but I never wanted the show to end and sang the songs loudly all the way home on the bus. Imagine how proud I feel, all these years later, seeing my own Mildred Hubble on stage with all the characters from Miss Cackle’s Academy. I still feel thrilled to bits when I go to the theatre and The Worst Witch is a magical production.”

Playing the hapless Mildred Hubble is Danielle Bird. Taking the roles of Agatha and Miss Cackle is UK Theatre Award-winning actor Polly Lister, with Rachel Heaton as Miss Hardbroom.

Rebecca Killick plays Maud, Rosie Abraham plays Ethel and Consuela Rolle plays Enid. The cast is completed by Molly-Grace Cutler as Miss Bat/musician, Megan Leigh Mason as Miss Drill/musician, Emma Lau as Drusilla and Meg Forgan as Fenella/musician.

The Worst Witch is brought Liverpool by Kenny Wax Family Entertainment. Theresa Heskins directs the production – who also directed the award-winning Around the World in 80 Days, which visited the Playhouse in April.

Theresa Heskins said: “We’ve seen the start of a rebalancing of power within our society and it feels like an important time to be creating a play about young women who are learning, collectively and individually, to use their power; and the danger if they decide to use it not for good but for ill.”

Tickets for The Worst Witch are on sale now and available by calling Box Office on 0151 709 4776 or at:



LIVERPOOL FC Foundation, the club’s charity, has teamed up with The Street Soccer Foundation, to help tackle youth homelessness in Liverpool and the North West.

Launched in 2015, The Street Soccer Foundation provides development programmes for vulnerable and homeless 16-24 year olds across the UK, offering them a fusion of professional football training, positive mindset coaching and employability-driven workshops.

In Liverpool, both foundations will co-deliver the Street Soccer Academy course at Anfield.

Matt Parish, Director of Liverpool FC Foundation, said: “The Street Soccer Foundation brings a wealth of experience in tackling youth homelessness, and together with our work and networks in the local community, we will be able to make a real difference to the lives of young people facing such difficult challenges.”

Keith Mabbutt, CEO of The Street Soccer Foundation, added: “We’re thrilled to be a part of the Liverpool community and working alongside the club’s own Foundation, especially at this pivotal moment in the team’s history.

“We hope to raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness in the city, and working with the LFC Foundation, we can provide a nurturing and educational environment for the most vulnerable in the local community.”

The Street Soccer Foundation, which already works with a number of Premier League partners, raises funds through its award-winning corporate initiative, Goal 17. Companies who adopt the Goal 17 initiative are guided through an employee mentoring programme, which sees members of staff buddied up with a young person to mentor and support throughout a 10-week process.

Liverpool FC staff will be also supporting the programme, with employee volunteers coaching and mentoring local young people during the course.  

Street Soccer Foundation will host an introductory event for Liverpool businesses on 30 May to grow awareness of their work among the football and business community.

In addition to showcasing how football is being used to engage and inspire vulnerable young people; the event will demonstrate how companies can use CSR initiatives such as Goal 17 to positively impact local communities.

Mabbutt continued, “Usually any corporate CSR support which takes place in a business is on a national scale, leaving employees disenchanted about whether their contribution has made a difference.”

“Our event will demonstrate that by taking part in local issues, employees not only benefit from knowing they are playing their part in their hometown, but companies also hugely benefit from increased employee engagement, staff retention, skills development and team mentality. It will be a fantastic opportunity for attendees to meet other like-minded business leaders and get involved.”

The Street Soccer Foundation introductory event will take place on Thursday 30 May from 4pm to 6pm at Anfield. Business leaders are requested to register their interest via email to


A CARNIVAL parade, workshops, film screenings, food tasting and craft sessions are just some of the activities on offer across Liverpool this weekend as the city celebrates Community Business Weekend (May 16-19).

Community-run projects across the city will be throwing open their doors and showing what they can do as part of the annual awareness event.

Festivities for the whole family to enjoy over the course of the four-day celebration include:

  • Squash on Windsor Street, L8 will be kicking off the celebrations with a free exhibition displaying portraits from acclaimed photographer Tricia Porter whose portraits contrast Liverpudlian life in the 1970s and modern day. They’ll also be co-hosting the Windsor Street party with their neighbouring community organizations for the Liverpool Light Night celebrations on Friday 17th May and to close the weekend celebrations they will have a film screening of Hands On: Women, Climate, Change on Sunday 19th
  • Homebaked in Anfield are inviting people to sample their world-famous, award-winning pies and take a ‘walk down memory lane’ with their volunteers – who will take a walking tour of Oakfield Road documenting the areas rich and hidden history.
  • Kitty’s Launderette a new commercial launderette and social space opens in Everton in time for Community Business Weekend. The official opening will take place on Saturday 18th May with an exciting programme of social activities including live music, children’s story time, games and of course, laundry.
  • Lister Steps The Old Library on Green Lane are inviting people to pop in, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake over the course of the weekend. Children can take part in free arts and craft activities while parents learn more about what’s happening in the area.
  • Rotunda Garden Bistro in Kirkdale are welcoming people in to enjoy their scrumptious breakfast and lunch menus over the course of Community Business Weekend. 

Community Business Weekend is run by independent trust Power to Change to highlight the power of England’s 8,000 community run businesses and raise awareness of the growing sector.

Last year, more than 17,000 people visited 225 community businesses over the course of the national event – before going on to join the movement and get involved.

A full list of activities taking place across the city can be found by searching the map at

Speaking about the programme of events, Squash Co-Founder Clare Owens said: “We can’t wait to take part in what’s become a really important event for us. Community businesses are a growing sector, not just here in Liverpool but across the wider UK too.

“We’re really looking forward to having the opportunity to show more people what we do and how they can use our services or get involved. Above all we want people to pop in and have fun- with some good food and drink thrown in too.”

Speaking about plans for this year’s weekend, Power to Change CEO, Vidhya Alakeson, said it was a great way to celebrate amazing projects transforming communities across England.

“Community Business Weekend is an amazing way to both celebrate and uncover the skills that can bring vibrancy and economic growth to local areas. The beauty of community business is that anyone can get involved, from setting one up, to becoming a shareholder, trustee, volunteer, employee or valued customer.  One of our core priorities at Power to Change is to help communities to harness the skills, leadership and entrepreneurialism that already exist at the local level.”

For more information about Community Business Weekend visit:



Credit: Adam Trigg

By Nigel Smith

LAST week I reviewed a piece for Good News that suffered from being too clever for its own good. This week’s offering at the Playhouse, by complete contrast, is so clever that it’s simply jaw-dropping.

Dead Centre originally presented Chekhov’s First Play in Dublin in 2015, and they have toured it extensively. How it took so long to find its way to Liverpool is a mystery in itself, but while it’s here it deserves to pack houses.

The play now known in the UK by the title Platonov remained unpublished until some 20 years after the author’s death. It was missing its title page when the text was rediscovered among his papers, so it acquired the name of a central character who everyone seems to be awaiting the arrival of. Unlike Godot, Platonov does finally turn up, but his presence causes ructions.

Originally some 5-6 hours in length and with a cast list long enough to send any theatre producer into therapy, the work is widely considered unperformable and, frankly, pretty awful. Directors Ben Kidd and Bush Moukarzel have prepared what might best be thought of as a performing version of the text. Running at 75 minutes flat, it begins by attempting an almost straight performance and then rapidly spirals into an immensely engaging exploration of the difficulties in staging it. Beyond this, it plays with the conventions of theatre altogether and demolishes the whole process before our eyes and ears with immense dexterity.

Entering the theatre, we are asked to take care of the wires, as every seat is provided with a pair of headphones. Through these we hear not only the voices of the actors but also a soundtrack that immerses us completely in their world. Jimmy Eadie and Kevin Gleeson are justly award winners for the sound design, which uses binaural audio to surround us completely.

Bush Mouzarkel begins with his own introduction in front of the curtain, then he steps aside as the play begins but continues to talk us through the action from the wings. It’s like watching a Blu-ray with the director’s commentary turned on, but his voice is right inside our heads and we almost feel as though we are inside his.

If this is beginning to sound like a recipe for a tedious evening then fear not dear reader, for things are not all that they seem. As the actors begin to miss cues, drop entire pages of dialogue or forget where they’re supposed to be moving, Moukarzel descends into despair. Not only are his cast ruining the play, but he’s not even sure any more about his own decisions to cut so much of the text, as it doesn’t make sense.

The eventual arrival of Platonov is little short of genius – a plot and performance twist that ramps the strangeness of the piece up to a whole new level of weird. The director stops talking to us, the cast remove their microphones and parts of their costumes, and the whole thing acquires a dreamlike quality as the deconstruction becomes complete.

Leave all your expectations outside the door, fasten your seatbelt and prepare for an hour and a quarter of theatrical wizardry after which you’ll never look at a play in the same way again.

Chekhov’s First Play is at the Playhouse until Saturday.


Wicker Woman Ceremony

AS LightNight Liverpool returns next Friday 17 May, the city’s one-night arts festival is exploring the theme of Ritual with over 100 free events.

Here are some of the highlights:

Wicker Woman Ceremony, Blackburne House, 19:00-22.15

Coach House Theatre Productions, LJMU, Brazilica, Opera Viva and Bring the Fire Project provide the setting for The Wicker Woman, a three-act ceremony across the course of the night challenging the nature of rituals and gender over time, symbolically setting women free. Tying in with light, dusk and then the dark, the Wicker Woman is released from her shackles in a breathtaking night of performance.

Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil, Victoria Gallery & Museum, 17:00-22:00

A multi-screen immersive AV installation by international artist duo Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon. Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil is a sumptuous, cinematographic meditation on sacred Brazilian culture, taking audiences on an ethnographic exploration of diverse sacred ceremonies progressing through a sensorial realm of movements, dance and music.

Chant Workshop, Liverpool Cathedral, 19:00-19:40

Participate in learning the ancient art of Gregorian Chant as sung daily by monks all over the world. After a brief introduction to reading chant you will learn two chants, the Kyrie & Sanctus from the ancient Missa de Angelis. The sanctus will be included as part of a new commission by David Terry in which the workshop participants will perform alongside the excellent chamber choir Liverpool24.

Ancient Egyptian Rituals & Mummification, World Museum, 18:15-19:00 & 19:15-21:00

The Ancient Egyptians ritualised the daily workings of life and death. Death was ruled by mummification rituals and life was ruled by the movements of the stars, which even influenced the positioning of the great pyramids. Explore the process of mummification though World Museum’s handling collection, and the ancient knowledge of the night sky with an interactive map installation.

Music, Movement, Ritual, Adornment, Walker Art Gallery, 17:00-22:00

Performances by LIPA students at intervals throughout the evening, featuring garments by students from LJMU School of Art & Design.

Exhibition: Arrival City. FACT, 16:00-23:00

A portrait of Liverpool, and more specifically Toxteth, as a city of immigration. Come and learn more about the project and share your own stories and experiences to become part of this collaborative archive. Liverpool’s historic status as an important port city makes it one of the most unique ‘arrival cities’ in the UK, with many layers of history still making up the identities of people who have lived here for generations. This past has influenced the architectural character of the city – we walk through streets named after celebrated anti-abolitionists and past grand buildings paid for by slave-traders.

Early Settlers & the Calderstones, Museum of Liverpool, 17:30, 18:30 & 20:30

Glimpse into the lives of the first people to settle here and gain some understanding of a society and culture far removed from our own at this series of talks. Connect with a people who did not see the divide between the supernatural and natural worlds as we do today.

LightNight at Merseyside Maritime Museum, 17:00-22:00

A full family friendly evening of creepy crafts, stories of folklore and legend, ghostly goings on, terrifying tours and more. Hear the creepy coincidences in the untold story of the Titanic and Liverpool, what ties Spring-Heeled Jack and Sherlock Holmes to Liverpool and discover the tale of smugglers and Mother Redcap.

Tony Conrad: 10 Years on the Infinite Plane, Tate Liverpool, 19:00-20:30

Head to the Wolfson Gallery for a special commissioned performance of Tony Conrad’s audio-visual meditation. Pairing hypnotic film loops with droning strings, this is a rare chance to see a pioneering work of minimalist cinema and sound.

Brunt Boggart: A Tapestry of Tales, Snuffwidget & the Crow Dancers, Blackburne House, 20:15 – 20:45 & 21:00 – 21:30

Snuffwidget and the Crow Dancers combines a backdrop film of ritual dance, folk fiddle and drum music with live narration of a story taken from the book Brunt Boggart: A Tapestry of Tales by David Greygoose, published by Pushkin Press 2018 and nominated for the Cilip Carnegie Medal.

Open House at the Athenaeum, 17:00-22:00

Founded in 1797 by famous Liverpool figures including Roscoe and Case, for two centuries the Athenaeum has played host to the rituals of friends meeting and exchanging information. Home to a famous library of over 60,000 items, its Reading Room has been called ‘one of the handsomest rooms in Europe’. One of Liverpool’s most beautiful spaces, it opens its doors to the public only rarely.

LightNight 2019 celebrates the 10th year of the free independent festival, produced by Open Culture and is always a memorable night. Guides, containing the full festival programme, can be viewed online at or purchased at selected stockists

THE city council has made plans for two victory parades if Liverpool Football Club win the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League Final.

If Jurgen Klopp’s team triumph in either competition, the City of Liverpool will formally invite the club to hold a victory parade.

A Premier League win would see the parade take place on Monday 13 May and a parade for a UEFA Champions League Final victory would take place on Sunday 2 June. Both dates have been requested by Liverpool Football Club.

The team which lifts the trophy will not be confirmed until Sunday 12 May (Premier League) or Saturday 1 June (Champions League), however due to the major logistical challenges needed to arrange parades of this scale, the announcement is being made in advance so residents and businesses in the city can prepare.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Anyone who is a football fan can’t help to have been impressed by Liverpool’s performance this season – whatever their allegiance. The twists and turns have kept us all gripped and as a result it is going right down to the wire. We can’t wait until the result to plan for a parade because it is a complex logistical challenge with many partners involved and simply can’t be organised overnight.

“Whichever team you support, there is no doubting the positive impact sporting success for each of our clubs has on the city, not just economically but also in terms of a feel-good factor. It rightly generates huge pride and attracts massive international attention. If the Reds win one or two trophies, they will receive a well-deserved heroes’ welcome and we will put on a show to make the city proud.

“Even though the Champions League parade would potentially take place on an already busy day in the city, we are working closely with LFC, Merseyside Police, and our travel partners to ensure that all events taking place on June 2 run smoothly and safely so everyone can enjoy our city, and everything it has to offer.”

The Champions League parade would take place when Liverpool is already staging two major events – River Festival Liverpool and the Bordeaux Wine Festival – which are already expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the waterfront.  

Both parades would start at 4pm, and would see the Liverpool FC team parade their newly acquired trophy on an open top bus, along Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront.

The route starts at Allerton Maze and will travel north bound on Queens Drive towards the Fiveways roundabout and Rocket flyover. From there it will journey along Queens Drive, Mill Bank, West Derby Road, Islington, Leeds Street, The Strand with the route finishing at Blundell Street.

The River Festival Liverpool event would start earlier than advertised on Sunday to accommodate a parade. Details to be announced at a later date.

The parade is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people, so the city council is issuing key advice for fans:                 

  • Use the full length of the route. The open top bus won’t be stopping so take advantage of the full length of the route from Queens Drive all the way to The Strand.
  • Decide which part of the route you want to wait at and arrive in plenty of time.
  • Be patient – it is impossible to predict how long it will take the team bus to travel along the route.
  • Due to the number of people coming in to and out of the city, there will be significant demands on public transport, with queuing likely.

Motorists are advised that the city centre is expected to be extremely busy, and with this in mind they should plan their journeys in and out of the city carefully.  

As crowd volumes increase, it is expected that there will be periodic closures of the Queensway Tunnel, as the parade passes close by, and an extended closure of the dock branch exit.

Travel advice is available at  to help spectators, workers and residents plan their journeys in advance.

Key points include:

  • Consider walking, cycling or use public transport wherever possible.
  • Be prepared for some changes to services, particularly for bus due to delays and diversions.
  • Allow time for and plan your journey. The transport network is expected to be very busy before and after the parade.
  • Check timetables – be prepared for some changes to services, particularly bus for which some diversions will be in place.
  • The Mersey Ferries are a good cross river option, with regular services running between Seacombe and Liverpool – check for journey times on the day of travel.
  • Passengers travelling on the Wirral line before, during and after the parade should get on and off at Liverpool Central, and Northern Line passengers should use Moorfields. These stations are best set up to manage significant numbers of people.

‘Live’ travel updates and alerts will be available from Merseytravel at, or via the journey planner app, and on Twitter @Merseytravel, #LFCparade


CREATORS behind new Liverpool leisure destination, Lane7, have been creating a stir shead of opening.Bowling shoes have been spotted on some of the city’s...


CREATORS behind new Liverpool leisure destination, Lane7, have been creating a stir shead of opening.Bowling shoes have been spotted on some of the city’s...