Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Morecambe campaigner fights for NHS at Labour conference

Dilys Greenhalgh with Labour's David Milliband last year.
84-year-old Morecambe resident Dilys Greenhalgh gave an impassioned speech against the dismantling of the National Health Service at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today, receiving a standing ovation from delegates.

Dilys has worked in children’s hospitals, including Manchester’s Booth Hall, even before the National Health Service was formed, and based her speech on a lifetime’s association with healthcare and

Dilys has become a well known figure with parents on the streets of Morecambe, often campaigning outside the resort’s schools and Sure Start Centres in her attempts to safeguard health services and children’s facilities.

She has been accompanied in her campaigning by Councillor Margaret Pattison and Councillor David Whittaker who are both with Dilys at the Conference today.

Local public services consult on family services

Which public services are most important to your family?

Local people are being urged to have their say on which public services are most important to themselves and their families, as Lancaster City Council and other publicly-funded bodies face further government funding reductions in coming years.

For the second year running, the City Council has joined forces with Lancashire County Council, NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, Lancashire Constabulary and Lancaster and Morecambe College to gather and hear your views.

This year the theme is 'families'.

"Families are at the heart of our society and it is important that the right services needed to support them are available," said a spokesperson.

With less than two weeks to go before this major consultation ends (Monday 15th October), they want to hear from all families as soon as possible, be they those caring for an elderly relative, or other dependant, or those with children.  Everyone taking part will be entered into a prize draw for £100 Booths voucher.

Questionnaires can be completed online at www.lancaster.gov.uk/haveyoursay (current consultations) before Monday 15th October.

You can also contact the council for a paper copy by email to haveyoursay@lancaster.gov.uk or by calling 01524 582000.

More Music Presents: Public's gig choices at the Hothouse

Claude Deppa

Some of the UK’s most acclaimed musicians will be performing at Morecambe’s newest music venue this autumn.

Acts including award-winning jazz vocalist Ian Shaw and Roddy Woomble, lead singer of rock band Idlewild, will be joined by new artists like Rae Morris who has just been signed by Atlantic Records and is tipped for great things. They will all be performing at the Hothouse in the Lancashire seaside resort this autumn/winter - the latest venture of community music and education charity More Music, which is also presenting a Community Open Day this Saturday from 1-5pm.

The first More Music Presents gig features seven artists from Grand Union Orchestra who take to the stage on October 20. The line-up features one of the UK’s most influential jazz musicians, trumpeter Claude Deppa and sitar player Baluji Shrivastav who performed at the Paralympics closing ceremony. All of the artists will be supported by and play alongside  local musicians; Grand Union Orchestra will share the stage with Chas Ambler and The Long Walk Chinese Ensemble. Members of the orchestra will also be taking part in workshops in the resort earlier in the day.

On November 22, Roddy Woomble will be supported by Cumbrian banjo player Bill Lloyd and The Lakeland Fiddlers; Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris will be at the venue on December 7 performing alongside local youngster Katy Pickles.

The final concert this year will be Ian Shaw, who has twice been named ‘Best Jazz Vocalist’ at the BBC Jazz Awards. He will be performing a version of Steve Wonder’s Heaven Help Us All at the end of his gig on December 15, alongside Lancaster musician Howard Haigh and The Millennium Choir.

All of the acts have been chosen by a committee made up of members of the public which was set up by More Music Presents this summer. Development director Kathryn MacDonald said: “We want to bring in professional musicians and encourage them to work alongside the wealth of local talent there is out there.  It’s not just another concert venue, we will only be booking interesting music and something you wouldn’t hear anywhere else locally.”

The building in Devonshire Road has recently been completely refurbished through a  £30,000 Paul Hamlyn Foundation grant and now has a lift, performance space for 250 people, bar and a new PA and light system. Other events being staged at the venue include a selection of short films about the best disability arts events around the world. The afternoon event on December 6 is hosted by Twisted Blister.

Tickets for all events are priced from £6.
For more information and to book tickets for the gigs and workshops go to www.moremusic.org.uk.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sugarhouse to Host Festival Finale

The finale of the Lancaster Music Festival will this year be held at Lancaster University Students’ Union venue the Sugarhouse.

The festival promises an eclectic mix of bands and soloists bridging a spectrum of genres and the finale will be headlined by the winners Live and Unsigned 2012: Coco and the Butterfields supported by Freerunner, Kaitain, Hannah Nicole Gorge and Katie O’Malley.

Lou Davies, Sugarhouse Venue Manager said “I am delighted that the Sugarhouse is going to be part of the festival this year and we look forward hosting the new event, rounding up a wonderfully musically diverse 48 hours across the city.”

• The event is on Sunday 14th October at 7.30pm, and is open to over 16’s; tickets cost £5 or £4 for concessions and are available at the LUSU shop on Lancaster University campus or from skiddle.com

Greens call for urgent action on pedestrian safety at Stonewell

Picture l-r: Local student Davey Ryuzaki, City Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox, County Councillor Sam Riches and North Lancashire Green Party Co-ordinator Gina Dowding.
(Updated 3/0/12, County Council comment added): Green Party councillors protested at the closure of Lancaster's Stonewell pedestrian crossing on Lancaster's one-way system yesterday, highlighting safety concerns during upgrade works.

The heavily-used pedestrian crossing at Stonewell is currently being upgraded to a Toucan crossing, which can be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians. This is a welcome move, but during the ten weeks that the work is scheduled to take there is a clear risk to pedestrians as no alternative temporary crossing has been provided.

"I started to be contacted by residents almost as soon as the work started last weekend," explains Sam Riches, who is County Councillor for Lancaster East. "A lot of people are very concerned about the situation as it is an accident waiting to happen.

"I carried out a site visit on Wednesday 26th September with a Highways engineer and a representative of the contractors, and during the half-hour I was present on site at least 50 people tried to cross the road, including senior citizens and those pushing children in buggies. Some of the people were walking out into moving traffic.

"The situation is even worse at night," she added, "when there is poor visibility for drivers and pedestrians alike.

"We have Freshers' week events taking place at present, with lots of new students finding their way around our city, some of whom will have been drinking, so there is clear potential for a serious accident. I have now liaised with the police about this.

"I was surprised to hear from Highways that the site has been assessed as safe," she says. "People are expected to use the crossing at Dalton Square - which is up a hill and round a corner, so it is not even visible from some places that people are trying to cross Stonewell, and it is completely the wrong direction for anyone wanting to cross between Church Street and Moor Lane or St Leonardsgate.

"It was entirely predictable that people would attempt to cross the road by the pedestrian crossing they are used to using - and I feel that a temporary light-controlled crossing, and quite possibly a speed limit, should have been brought in.

"I have requested that Highways urgently consider making the site safer for pedestrians, and I have also raised the more general concern that I was not fully consulted about this work," says Sam. "I am sent lots of information about any roadworks which involve digging up the carriageway, but because the work on this crossing does not directly impact on drivers I was not sent any plans or details.

"Pedestrians are meant to be at the top of the County Council's hierarchy of road users - just below disabled people - but on this occasion they seem to have been forgotten about," Sam feels.

"If I had been consulted about the plans I would have asked for a temporary crossing and a speed limit to be put in place, and I would also have been active in publicising what was going to happen. This could have avoided most of the current problems.

"I have now made a formal request that County Councillors should be consulted about any planned work which affects pedestrian crossings, whether or not the carriageway will be dug up."

Commenting, Jim Robson, assistant director for the County's environmental services, told virtual-lancaster: "The works on Stonewell are part of an improvement scheme to construct a shared crossing to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel across the city's gyratory system.

"To allow the work to take place, the existing signal controlled-crossing point at Stonewell has been closed, with pedestrians advised to use the nearest alternative controlled crossing at Dalton Square.

"Signs and barriers have been put in place to guide people towards the alternative crossing point and to encourage them not to cross elsewhere.

"The county council takes road safety very seriously and, having reviewed the temporary traffic management arrangements at this site, is satisfied that they work in practice and meet the necessary guidelines. We will continue to monitor the traffic management arrangements throughout the works."

Luducrious Street Dance Crew seeks New Members

If you have a talent for street dance, local group Luducrious needs you.

Luducrious street dance crew is recruiting new members on Saturday, 13th October from 1-3.00 p.m. in the Ludus Dance studios at the Assembly Rooms, King Street, Lancaster.

The street crew, created by Ludus Dance and run by street dance specialist Jerry Jack, has already enjoyed huge success with recent performances in Market Square in Lancaster, and now wants more teenage and adult dancers to audition.

The fee for crew member is £60 per term with rehearsals every two weeks and additional performance dates. Flexible payments can be arranged.

• To get involved and to find out more, either email sarah.lyonATludusdance.org or call 01524 35936. For young people who want to learn street dance skills, Ludus Dance has classes for first time street dancers or those wishing to develop their skills: Tuesdays 5 p.m. for 12-17 years, and 4 p.m for 7-11 years, all £3.80 a per session.

• For more details, visit the Ludus Dance website on www.ludusdance.org

Appeal to trace Morecambe man’s next of kin

Police are appealing for relatives of a 51-year-old man who died in Morecambe to come forward.

Gary Lamb, was born in the Northwich area of Cheshire on 9th November 1960 and died naturally from a pulmonary thromboembolism in the Westgate area of Morecambe on 26th August this year.

Gary lived alone and police believe he has lived in the Morecambe area for many years now but are struggling to find any relatives.

Coroners Officer PC Sue Thompson said: “Gary’s death is not being treated as suspicious but we are struggling to trace his next of kin so I would urge anyone who knows of any family member for Gary to make contact with Lancashire Police on 01524 63333 and leave a message for the attention of the Coroner’s Office.”

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lancaster Steiner School celebrates 10th Anniversary

Lancaster Steiner School celebrates its 10th anniversary this October, since moving to its Lune Road site from Roeburndale in 2002.

Sporting a new look, the School will be holding an Open Day on Friday 26th October, between 2 – 4.00 pm.

This summer, parents and staff re-decorated the school under the supervision of parent and interior designer Heidi Bairner.

"All the parents pitched in," says Heidi, "and we are proud of how the school community has worked together to create a bright new warm and welcoming environment for the children."

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school, several ex-students who are now working or doing their A-levels, reflected on their experiences at the school.

Sam Randall, now a technician said, "I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't gone to the Steiner school as I really enjoyed, enjoying your education is how you learn, you have to have interest to remember things."

Kameela Kaur-Tisdall, who is now doing science and Maths A-levels at Ripley St. Thomas High School said, "I believe that it was my wholesome and warm start to education that encouraged my love for learning and broadened my way of thinking.

"The Steiner school education system is not a system that strives to teach children how to pass exams, but how to develop in themselves while providing a substantial foundation for further education. I would strongly suggest for any parent to at least consider this education system for their child because you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain."

For interested parents, the Open Day will be an opportunity to see what happens in a Lower School day, as well as a chance to sample some Kindergarten activities, such as milling corn.

• Lancaster Steiner School: 01524 841351