Tuesday, 31 January 2017

My Visiter column: local success in Britain in Bloom and Citizen Advocacy

At a packed reception at the Town Hall we were celebrating our borough’s success in the Britain in Bloom competition. There was a time, not so far distant, when the only entry we had was from Southport Town Centre. Last week I presenting certificates to acknowledge and thank the volunteers who support over thirty schemes. Southport is no longer alone there were brilliant projects from Birkdale, Ainsdale, Crosby and Waterloo, Litherland, Netherton and Bootle.

Southport in Bloom exceeded expectations by coming out as overall national champions in the ‘large seaside resort’ category. But the great thing was that there were so many community projects that make a real difference who were also winners. We all know of the excellent work done by the volunteer schemes at Rotten Row and the Botanic Gardens (who have clocked up over 10,000 volunteer hours) to these were added projects like The Queensway Allotment and Green Gym, Bedford Park, St Luke’s churchyard in Crosby, Maghull Railway station and The Grange Primary School.  There are too many to mention here but I have put a full list on the Mayoral Blog with lots of photographs http://themayoralblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/a-blooming-success-photos-from.html

On Friday night I was privileged to have been invited to the 25th Anniversary of Citizen Advocacy charity. I have watch with admiration as this organisation has grown. It began when a group of people met together because of their concern about how people labelled as having learning difficulties were treated. The objective was to build up communities where everyone could make their contribution and be supported. They promote a form of active citizenship, in which one member of the community makes a commitment to the rights of another who is in a position of particular disadvantage and/or social exclusion. These rights focussed relationships are what they call citizen advocacy partnerships.

The focus of the party was on friendship. We were entertained by the amazing Liverpool Voices choir who sang songs about friendship. They were followed by three talented young people Hannah Monaghan, Tom and Rachel Murphy who played their musical instruments. They have been supported by the Sefton Music Service and fully deserved the enthusiastic applause they received from the packed hall. A special mention should go to Joe Monaghan who I first met about thirty years ago. He has dedicated himself to Citizen Advocacy and their success and the warm and friendly organization he has built has improved the lives of many people.

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