Maghull – Youth Council – Nickie Smith – A big thank you and a nagging sadness

Nickie Smith writes – I am afraid I think the time is now right for me to withdraw from leading the [Maghull & District] Youth Council and the [Youth] Coffee Bar. I have been involved with the Youth Council for the last 25 years since I was 11 and with the Youth Coffee Bar since the start! In fact I was one of the members who approached the council with the suggestion of the Coffee Bar. Recent years have been very trying fighting for the Coffee Bar and the support that was once there seems very lacking these days. Now with my job and family commitments there are just not enough hours in the day and if I am honest I haven’t got the energy any more.

Nickie Smith

Nickie Smith

I hope the Town Council will continue to support the young people as the Coffee Bar and Youth Council have helped many people including myself develop and guided many vulnerable young people over the years. It seems now a days that all the good things young people do or need help with are very often forgotten or overshadowed by the minority of negative instances with young people.

I am sad to finish volunteering but I think now is the right time.

Tony Robertson writes It made me very sad to read this especially as it is from the very person who has been the guiding light for Maghull & District Youth Council and Maghull Town Hall’s unique Youth Coffee Bar from day one.

Sadly, and I think my Labour opponents will agree with me here, the Youth Coffee Bar and Youth Council have hardly been high on their priorities list since they took control of Maghull Town Council in 2011.

I have always seen young people as as a priority in my time as a councillor and that’s why I backed the setting up of the Youth Council and Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull many years ago. When we Lib Dems lost control of the Town Council it really did not enter my head that Labour would not see youth as a priority too. But you live and learn.

Nickie has done a splendid job, indeed she became a local councillor herself for number of years as a direct consequence of her work with local youngsters. She was helped along the way by many people both young and old but two people really do require a mention – Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and former now retired youth worker Nova Rimmer. Both of them stood by Nickie in the tough times and when young people came under the spotlight from those who did not support them as they did.

It can be tough working with youngsters because, by their very nature, they are trainee adults who make mistakes and sometimes act inappropriately; but we have all been there! The ethos of the Youth Coffee Bar when it was set up was that young people controlled it, looked after its finances and learned some life skills along the way. Adults were there to help when required but not to be controlling or dominant in any way.

My priority has been to put young people first and that meant the Youth Coffee Bar always being available for young people to use and it only being used by adults when young people were not using it. This was an important principle to me and indeed it used to be for Maghull Town Council. But, as I say, the priorities of one political party are not those of another and it has been obvious to me that young people are simply not near the top of Labour’s list of priorities. So much so that the Youth Coffee Bar will be closed between the 5th and 18th of November this year whilst it is used for another purpose. And yes, you have guessed it, the young people were told rather than consulted!

I have penned this tribute to Nickie and my moan about youngsters no longer being a priority more in sadness than in anger.

My previous posts on this subject are at:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/02/15/maghulls-famous-youth-coffee-bar-faces-funding-threat/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2011/07/11/maghulls-execellent-youth-coffee-bar/

Thornton – Switch Island Link Road

I have been tracking the progress of the building of this new road, on this blog site, for a while now having spent years campaigning for it with Thornton Parish residents in particular.

It was one of the highlights of my 30 years as a local councillor when the Coalition Government gave the project the green light but the real credit, as I have said before, goes to the people and Parish Council of Thornton who resurrected the previously killed off project. My contribution was to raise the issue within Sefton Council and then as Council Leader to take it to Regional political forms to gain support for the project. The rest as they say is history.

Here are a couple of shots of how things are changing around the junction of Long Lane and Southport Road in Thornton, where the new road will join the road through Ince Woods:-

Long Lane junction with Southport Rd, Thornton 22 10 14

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Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Maghull Wind Orchestra Fundraise for Woodlands Hospice

Maghull Wind Orchestra put on a concert at Maghull Town Hall on 28th October to help the Mayor of Maghull raise money for her charity Woodlands Hospice.

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The concert was Halloween themed and many of those in this large and excellent orchestra dressed up for the occasion.

These photos are not particularly good as the light levels were very low but have a look at Phil their conductor dressed as a pumpkin! Cllr. Jen Robertson can also been seen with her cat ears amongst witches and a skeleton.

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Liverpool – Strawberry Fields Gates

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/historic-strawberry-fields-gates-returned-7899629

Could these be the gates to one of the most well known places in the world at least in music rather than seen directly? The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.

“SOUTHPORT SHOULD SEIZE CHANCE TO QUIT SEFTON”

Press Release from John Pugh MP

Southport’s Lib Dem MP John Pugh believes Sefton Council has failed Southport and crucially failed to respond to the concerns raised and expressed by the Local Authority Boundary Commission when they last looked at Southport’s position in Sefton.

The MP, who introduced a bill in this parliament to give local people power to request a review of council boundaries, believes that there is a clear need to re-visit the question of whether Southport’s future lies in Sefton.

“Sadly recent events, the closure of libraries, the disappearance of council offices and the lack of democratic debate on important planning matters underline all those problems identified by the Boundary Commission when they last did a review.

They put Sefton on notice but, if anything, things have sadly worsened since then.

Sefton used to be the “push me /pull you” borough with Southport and Bootle as the two centres with different priorities. Now Southport’s priorities are in danger of being totally ignored by a council firmly based in Bootle.

In tourism, in transport,in business its hard to see how Southport’s distinctive voice can be heard if we remain in Sefton.”

Eric Pickles the Secretary of State for Local Government throughout the coalition years has been adamantly opposed to any local government re-organisation. However, John Pugh believes whatever government we have post May will be more responsive to requests for boundary reviews. Devolving real powers to local communities is very much on the agenda following the Scottish referendum.

EDITORIAL NOTE – The 1997 Review urged upon Sefton “‘the encouragement of a culture within Sefton Council which recognises the distinctiveness and importance of Southport ”