Saturday, 26 January 2013

Do They Eat Culture in Preston?

They Eat Culture and Lancashire Writing Hub are looking for two established spoken word performers and one newcomer to the spoken word scene, to take part in a unique spoken word performance at Preston’s iconic bus station on Saturday 23rd March 2013. The role of MC, or Performance Tour Guide, is also up for grabs.

Northern Elements, a project funded by Arts Council England and managed by ARC to support the development of spoken word promoters in three Northern regions: North East, North West and Yorkshire, has commissioned They Eat Culture and The Lancashire Writing Hub to curate and stage a spoken word event in and around Preston Bus Station, a site currently under threat of demolition.

The event at Preston Bus Station will be centred around a performance of ‘A Journey To The End of The World’ from the writer, Phil Ormrod, and will be supported by the three spoken word performers sought in this call out.

They Eat Culture and The Lancashire Writing Hub are looking for performers who are currently developing pieces of writing , or who have already written pieces of writing, which fit along side the central themes of ‘moments of life’; ‘apocalypse’; ‘death’ and maybe even what happens to bus stations when they die.

Fees are attached to all roles and there will be two performances over the evening. Interested writers and performers should send in the following information to by 6.00pm Friday 1st February 2013: a sample of work, a brief synopsis of how this work current relates, or will relate, to the themes outlined above and/or location of Preston Bus Station, and your spoken word / writing / performance. CV

For more information about the project and the opportunities on offer, here's a PDF document link:

• Lancashire Writing Hub:


Friday, 25 January 2013

Road fatalities drop after six month education campaign

The number of young drivers killed or seriously injured on roads in the north of the county has fallen significantly following a six-year education and enforcement campaign.

In 2006, nine people under the age of 30 were killed in road collisions in Lancaster, Morecambe and Wyre. 48 people in the same demographic were seriously injured and 376 people suffered minor injuries.

Officers in the road policing unit realised the need to take firm action to reduce these high numbers, and Sergeant Nigel Ralphson led the team with a tough enforcement strategy, backed up by a strong educational campaign. The officers worked together with Lancashire Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire County Council’s road safety partnership team, to demonstrate the wide consequences a serious collision has on families and friends of young people

As a result, in 2012 there were no fatalities in this age group - and just 27 people seriously injured.

“Young drivers are less experienced behind the wheel but they often take more risks on the road," says Sergeant  Ralphson from the force's road policing unit, "which is why they can be more likely to be involved in a serious collision.

“It has been very important that we get a clear message across to young motorists that their driving behaviour could have a direct impact on the safety of both themselves and their passengers, with potentially devastating consequences. At the same time we do not want them to feel that they are being persecuted just for being young.”

Tactics employed by the road policing team have involved indentifying a ‘top 10’ list of anti-social behaviour drivers, who are then targeted by individual officers. The motorist will be visited, often in the presence of their parents, and a frank discussion is held detailing the potential outcomes if they continue to drive irresponsibly. They are then given the chance to sign up to an ASB driving contract and their future driving is monitored.

“We often find that many of the young drivers stopped by us are using their parents’ vehicles, and the parents are not aware of the manner in which the car is being driven," Sergeant Ralphson added. "Where we give out a section 59 warning letter, stating that a car may be seized, we now send a copy of this to the registered keeper, along with a letter of explanation and a copy of Missing Matthew, a partnership road safety DVD which covers the death of a young driver from Blackburn and the effect it had on his loved ones.

“The owner of the vehicle – invariably a parent – is then offered the opportunity to speak to an officer if they want further guidance on trying to change the driver’s behaviour on the roads. We have found this to be an effective method of getting parents on board with what we are trying to do - which is ultimately to save lives.”

Since the top 10 ASB driver scheme began in June 2011, 33 drivers have been specifically targeted. Of these, three have been imprisoned, 11 have been disqualified and the rest have either responded to being targeted and improved their driving behaviour, or else suffered prosecution and had their vehicle seized as a direct result of ignoring the intervention.

Sergeant Ralphson said: “One of our targets had 13 vehicles seized from him before he changed the way in which he drove. Until that point, every time he got behind the wheel he was putting people’s lives at risk. Thankfully he was an extreme case – most young drivers are sensible in their cars or respond well when we suggest they need to be more responsible on the roads.

“The Missing Matthew project, which is run in conjunction with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Road Safety Partnerships’ Wasted Lives programme, has been particularly impactive when it comes to getting messages across to school and college pupils. Coupled with the enforcement work we have been doing, fewer youngsters are now dying or being seriously injured in collisions in the north of the county.”      

Lancaster asault - police still hunting for assailant

Lancaster police are appealing for information after a man was assaulted in an unprovoked attack in the city centre.

Around 2.00 am on Sunday 16th December 2012, a 52-year-old man was walking along Market Street when he noticed a man and woman arguing on Horseshoe Corner.

As he passed them by, he turned to see if the woman was all right – at which point the man lunged and punched him several times in the face, knocking him to the floor.

The man is described as white, aged in his early 20s with short, dark brown hair and was wearing a black jumper and jeans.

Police have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to.

PC Sally Ward said: “This was an unprovoked attack and we need to find the person responsible.

“If anybody thinks they know who the man in the CCTV is then I would urge them to come forward as we would like to speak with him in connection with this incident.”

Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at

Bus pass users urged to check renewal dates

NoWcard holders are being urged to check their travel smartcard in case it needs renewing.

Around 300,000 NoWcard bus passes in Cumbria, Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool expire this year with most needing to be renewed by the end of March.

Lancashire County Council has sent letters to people whose passes expire in March or April explaining the renewal process.

If you haven't received a letter or haven't applied for your new pass please contact the NoWcard helpline on 0845 058 1096 or visit

Passes that are not renewed before the expiry date will no longer be valid for free travel on bus services.

Eve Ensler to visit Lancaster on Sunday 3rd. One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising is a global women's movement that isn't afraid or embarrassed to speak out about the oppression and abuse that affects the daily lives of millions of ordinary women globally.  Enough already! It's time to get a grip. This year Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues is coming to Lancaster on Sunday 3 February to join us for One Billion Rising!

I'm told the local group will be celebrating One Billion Rising at 1pm in Market Square, Lancaster on Sunday week with a flashmob of the One Billion Rising dance routine performed by the cast of this year's Vagina Monologues production, followed by an event at Lancaster Library involving performances, poetry readings and the chance to meet Eve Ensler, before moving onto a bar in town for music and celebration.

Join in with what is going to be an amazing event, entry is free and donations are welcome. This year money raised will be donated 10% to the V-Day campaign and 90% to Lancaster & District Women's Aid; your donation helps support women and girls in the local area.

Sign up for the Open Mic is now open! This is an opportunity not to be missed - the chance to perform in front of Eve Ensler! Music, poetry and performances are welcome. Slots will be 5-10 minutes depending on what you have planned and please ensure the material is appropriate.
For more information about One Billion Rising, the performance or how you can be involved please contact Sam Aldridge -

Saturday 9 February will see Off the Rails big band, Latin, Funk, Swing. Dot Crotchets, Ann the Poet, plus many more at a live Fundraiser for Beyond FGM at the Gregson from 8.30pm.  To recognise and commemorate violence against women and girls, 1 Billion Rising & Anti-FGM day. FGM cripples millions of women worldwide and must be stopped. Here's how you can help: £5 on the door please!
This is a mixed event. It promises to be a great night of entertainment!

This year's V-Day  Vagina Monologues production will be performed by a student cast at Lancaster's Sugarhouse at 7pm on Monday 11, Tuesday 12 and Thursday 14 February (Valentine's Day). Last year I took my Valentine and it all went rather well, and that's all I'm saying.  Tickets are just £5 from the LUSU info desk on campus (under Spar). See

At the moment donkey sanctuaries alone get more money donated to them than all the main UK womens' aid charities put together. I love donkeys too, it's not an either/or thing, but there are women getting beaten, trafficked and killed daily folks. Apparently it's better for the economy to keep women cheap and pulling extra weight unpaid. Ask your MP. Or your bishop. He can explain it better.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lancaster district to benefit from new funding to help end rough sleeping

Lancaster City Council is set to benefit from a grant to help get rough sleepers off the street and back on track.

Lancashire-based charity The Foxton Centre has been awarded £197, 360 which will fund No Second Night Out Together - a project that will establish outreach teams across Lancashire who will make contact with rough sleepers in their area and provide a quick route off the streets.

The grant from the Government’s £20 million Homelessness Transition Fund will help Lancaster City Council increase its level of outreach support for rough sleepers such as helping them into accommodation and any other support which will prevent them from returning to the street .

Councillor Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said:  “This is great news for our outreach support service.  Our dedicated and committed team of staff is on call 24/7 to respond to any new alerts of rough sleeping.  With the cold weather upon us, the speed and effectiveness of their response is more crucial then ever.”

Local people can now get involved in helping to identify rough sleepers via the StreetLink Scheme - a simple, quick and effective way of connecting any rough sleepers they might come across to the support services that they need.

• To alert the council to a rough sleeper call the StreetLink phone line - 0300 500 0914 or visit . You can also download the StreetLink App from the iTunes or Google Market store free of charge.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Police seek Scotch Quarry muggers

Police are appealing for information after a man was attacked by two men in an attempted robbery as he walked home in Lancaster on Sunday 20th January 2013.

The 31-year-old victim, who is from Lancaster, was walking alone through Scotch Quarry around 1.30am when he was approached by two men who asked him for a light.

One of the men then grabbed him from behind and demanded his laptop which he was carrying in a rucksack, but the victim fought with the attackers and managed to run away from them with his property.

Both men are described as white, medium build and aged in their early twenties. They are around 5ft 8 inches to 5ft10 inches tall and were wearing dark hooded tops and jeans. One of the offenders is described as having a well groomed handlebar moustache.

Police are appealing for anybody that saw anything that could help them to come forward.

DC Trevor Walker from Lancaster CID said: “The victim sustained a hand injury during the attempted robbery and it is also likely that the offenders had facial injuries after the victim bravely fought back in self-defence.

“The offenders were sat on a nearby wall prior to the offence so I would appeal to anybody that has seen them or knows who could be responsible to call Lancashire Police on 101.”

People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Morecambe Youth Centre celebrates talents

Stanley’s Youth and Community Centre, Morecambe, is celebrating a year of successes for its young people and are entering 2013 on a high note – literally.

Two of the centre’s members have achieved great success in the regional talent show, Lancashire Association of Boys and Girls Clubs Got Talent. India Pattemore, from Morecambe, won first place in the junior heat, and Cara Hughes, also from Morecambe, won first place in the senior heat for their singing talents. This month [January] India and Cara will record a track each at a recording studio in Forton, Lancashire, owned by one of the event’s judges. Cara will also compete in the Furness Building Society Charity Challenge’s Grand Final which takes places at The Grand Theatre, Lancaster, on Saturday 19 January. Winners will donate a share of a £3,000 prize fund to their chosen good cause.

Senior Youth Worker and Centre Manager, Lauren Denman, who runs Stanley’s on a day to day basis, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant that our young people are being given opportunities to show off their talents to a wider audience and be able to experience a day in a recording studio. All the work my staff and I put in to the centre to provide our members with positive activities and new experiences to engage in is really starting to pay off.”

The centre, which has over 400 young members and is based on Stanley Road in Morecambe’s West End, has also just set up a social enterprise. Run from Stanley’s kitchen, and led by Young Leader, Andy Creech, ‘Empty Bellies’ sees the young people providing food for the club members at their after school session ‘Aloud’, provides young people with various activities to engage in including cooking, music, art and sports. It runs from 3:30-6pm, Monday to Friday, each week for young people ages 8-12. Plans for a breakfast club are also afoot.

Local Councillor Ron Sands, a keen supporter of Stanley’s, said: “People are always saying to me ‘why aren’t there more activities to keep youngsters out of mischief’. Well, Stanley’s is providing that right here in the heart of the West End. The centre offers all kinds of enjoyable and purposeful activities in a safe environment, supervised by experienced and dedicated youth workers. It’s never been more difficult to guide young people away from bad to good behaviour. But we know for sure that when diversionary projects are offered, problems of vandalism and nuisance shoot down. And the happiness, satisfaction and behaviour of young people shoot up. This benefits all parents and residents living in the neighbourhood. Stanley’s needs our support - it’s a beacon of light in a very challenging area of Morecambe.”

Stanley’s Youth and Community Centre runs sessions for 12-18 year olds from 7-9pm on a Tuesday and Saturday night. Stanley’s Youth and Community Centre are still looking for funding for their projects to continue to provide a positive youth service for young people in the local community to engage in.

· If you would like to join Stanley’s Youth and Community Centre contact Lauren on 01524 410076 Email: or pop on in to the Centre at 79- 83, Stanley Road, Morecambe.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Urban Splash Prom plans back before Planning

Revised proposals from developers Urban Splash for the Central Promenade area of Morecambe to be considered by councillors next month.

The revised proposals to redevelop the Central Promenade area of Morecambe will be presented to Lancaster City Council's Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee on Monday 4th February.  The meeting is scheduled to start at 10.30am at Lancaster Town Hall.

One of the original designs proposed for the Central Promenade by Urban Splash
Objectors argue the new buildings are too high.
The outline planning application, submitted by Urban Splash, has been the subject of statutory and public consultation since the plans were amended last year and there was plenty of hot debate about their plans at the time (see news story).  Since then, council officers have been assessing the comments received and will make their recommendation to the committee.

The firm previously submitted plans for the area in 2007 and 2010 but both were rejected following local opposition.

The report and officer recommendation will be available for viewing on the city council’s website later this week.

Should anyone wish to register to speak at the meeting, they can do so by contacting the council on 01524 582903 before noon on Thursday 31st January.

Monday, 21 January 2013

NHS scheme is helping Lancaster veterans return to ‘civvy street’

Former Royal Marine Christopher Harrison (with white belt) has been helped by a new service for military veterans
A new service is helping veterans and their families cope with the often difficult transition from service to ‘civvy street’, offering support on a number of issues be it substance misuse, unemployment, debt, family breakdown or housing issues.

NHS programme Live At Ease now offers free one-to-one support to veterans and their families so they can cope with the practical and emotional issues that often arise when people make the switch from service to ‘civvy street'.

Christopher Harrison from Lancaster served in the Royal Marines. “I was discharged from the Navy because of back problems," he explains. "Now my back is worse than ever and I can’t find suitable accommodation. We’re in rented accommodation but it’s been tough to get my landlord to make any adaptations. The council are also refusing to put us on the list for a bungalow.”

“I contacted Live At Ease a few months ago," he continues. "They’ve helped me to get my landlord to make the adaptations. They’ve also put me in touch with social services so I can get further home improvements made.”

The North West of England is the largest recruitment ground for the British Armed Forces and North Lancashire is home to 29,332 veterans – the majority, nearly 62%, over 65. Nearly 1,500 of them sustained an injury significant enough to receive a War Pension or Armed Forces Compensation, indicating their potential health or care needs.   

Live At Ease was commissioned after research showed that treatment for conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression were much more effective amongst the ex-forces community if practical issues were dealt with first.

Veterans may find themselves drinking too much to cope with big life changes or they might struggle to deal with the strain that resettlement puts on family relationships. Housing is another issue, as many veterans have relied on forces accommodation in the past.

Many ex-forces personnel find it hard to translate military skills to civvy jobs and have problems finding work. Others have difficulty managing money as they find themselves in charge of bills again and often have to survive on a low income.

Live At Ease does not replace existing Armed Forces organisations, NHS or Probation Services; rather it works to join them together to provide the best support, including those offered by military charities as well as non-military voluntary groups and organisations. They provide one point of contact for veterans and their families who are seeking help.

Each client has a dedicated adviser who puts a support plan together and ensures they quickly get the right support.

Anyone who has ever served in the forces and lives in the North West can use the programme, whether they left the military yesterday or 40 years ago. It is also available to their families.

Michael True, head of service for Live At Ease said, “Research shows that many ex-forces men and women find the transition to civvy street challenging. Live At Ease provides immediate support to help with these practical and emotional challenges. If they aren’t addressed they can often lead to long term physical and mental health problems.”

• For more information on Live At Ease call 0808 123 1 123 (free from landlines), text for free 07537 404 535, email or visit

Corrie actors get set for roles at The Dukes

Barrie Rutter in the lead role of industrialist and tyrannical patriarch, John Rutherford

Northern Broadsides return to The Dukes in February with a play directed by Jonathan Miller and featuring a former Coronation Street favourite.

Rutherford & Son, an unflinching portrayal of an industrial family on the brink of collapse, sees Jonathan Miller returning to direct a British theatre stage production for the first time in six years.

Northern Broadsides own artistic director - Barrie Rutter - takes the lead role of industrialist and tyrannical patriarch, John Rutherford, and also among the cast is Wendi Peters, best known for her role as Cilla Battersby Brown in Coronation Street.

Wendi Peters
Wendy is a Northern Broadsides regular and plays working class widow, Mrs Henderson in Rutherford & Son.

“It's a lovely cameo,” said Wendi. “Mrs Henderson is the mother of the young lady in the glass factory who is accused of stealing. A little bit of Dutch courage is what she needs to knock on industrialist Rutherford's door. She's slightly tipsy, a little the worse for drink and has a go at Rutherford. It's really good one-to-one with him.”

Kate Anthony
Another face from Coronation Street - Kate Anthony who plays Auntie Pam Hobsworth - will be joining Wendi on stage for Rutherford & Son.

The text of the play has been edited by Blake Morrison who wrote We Are Three Sisters which played to packed houses at The Dukes in 2011.

Ranked by the National Theatre as one of the Top One Hundred Plays of the Century, Rutherford & Son has class, capitalism and gender at its heart.

Set in early 1912, it tells the story of iron-fisted John Rutherford as he battles the scheming rebellion of his younger son and his daughter’s scandalous love-affair, while fighting to prevent the legacy of the family glassworks from shattering. Tackling timeless issues of family dynamics both at home and in business, this remarkable drama is as relevant today as it was when it was first performed.

The success of the family-owned glassworks, Rutherford & Son, takes precedence over everything - even happiness - and in a household run on fear, cracks begin to appear and the emotional pitch builds up like a pressure cooker.

As Rutherford's absolute authority is challenged, a catastrophic family mutiny begins to unfold, threatening to destroy his world and his factory.

“As soon as I read Rutherford & Son I was attracted to its straight forward dramatic simplicity and the fact that it seemed unexpectedly relevant to the current difficulties that businesses of this sort are undergoing," said Jonathan Miller. "I suspect that the audience will be drawn to the play by the fact that it represents circumstances with which they can undeniably sympathise with.”

Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Its most recent production at The Dukes was The Government Inspector last autumn.

Rutherford & Son runs from 19th - 23rd February and there will be a post show talk-back with Barrie Rutter and the cast following the first night performance. To book tickets priced £8-£18.50(concessions a further £2 off, excluding matinees), ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit

Lunesdale CAMRA announces Fourth Dark and Winter Ale Festival

Lunesdale CAMRA has announced the fourth Dark and Winter Ale Festival, which will run from Monday 28th January and runs until Sunday 10th February 2013.

A 14-day festival offering darkly delicious and seasonal brews the across 42 pubs across the Lunesdale area from Garstang to Carnforth and Heysham to Clapham - all offering a range of Milds, Porters, Stouts and Winter Ales.

Sponsored by five local breweries - Lancaster, Cross Bay, Old School, Kirkby Lonsdale and Hawkshead - and featuring ales from across the county, region and country.

The opening event takes place at 7.30pm on Monday 28th January at The White Cross, Lancaster, including “Meet the Brewers” from the sponsoring breweries. The Festival will close at 7.30pm on Sunday 10th February at The Water Witch, Lancaster, a night which will include the announcement of the ale of the Festival award.

• For further information, live updates on ales available by pub, comments on ales by members and further dark ale events during the festival please visit or

A quilt with a difference on display at Morecambe Library

An exhibition with a difference is coming to Morecambe Library.

A special patchwork quilt, created by young people who are supported by Lancashire County Council, will be on display at the library from 4th February 2013.

County council workers helped young people to express their ideas and feelings by making their own squares for the quilt, and the end result includes key themes of gratitude, strength, protection and comfort.

The quilt has been put together by young people in care and those who use the county council's short break, fostering, youth offending and leaving care services, as a way of sharing their experiences and aspirations.

The 17ft by 14ft quilt was first unveiled in September at a major conference which brought together councils from across the North West to share learning and good practice in being a good 'corporate parent' to children and young people in their care.

County Councillor Tony Winder, chairman of Lancashire's corporate parenting board, said: "It is hugely important that young people feel free and comfortable to have their say on any issues that affect their lives or which they are concerned about. The production of this quilt has been just one way among many in which young people who use our services can express their views.

"I'm very happy that the quilt is going to be showcased at locations throughout Lancashire as well as at its previous display at County Hall. This will enable more people throughout Lancashire to see all the time and effort the young people have put in to this innovative project.

"It is no wonder that this lovely quilt is going on tour because every patch tells a different story. It is a magnificent reflection on the benefit that being in residential care or recei ving other kinds of help can have on a young person.

"I have no doubt that these further exhibitions will be just as successful as the last."

The quilt will be on display from 4-15 February.

• Morecambe Library is at Central Drive, Morecambe LA4 5DL