Foodbanks expect demand to surge as Christmas draws near

Merseyside foodbanks are launching their Christmas appeals to make sure no one goes hungry in the festive season.

Thousands of local families and people have turned to their local foodbanks for help as a last resort, with one food bank manager praising the courage of families in asking for support.

In many cases, people look for help after their benefits were delayed – often for weeks at a time – while others used the services as they were simply not earning enough to make ends meet.

Walton MP and Merseyside Mayor candidate Steve Rotheram has already said the high usage of foodbanks in the city was “ridiculous” last week, and has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damien Green to discuss the issue.

Here are what some of Merseyside’s foodbanks are doing this winter and how you can help them.

“Often people are very embarrassed or ashamed when they come to the foodbank”

The Bridge Chapel Centre based in Garston supports those in need in South Liverpool. The centre fed 3,890 people in crisis last year, offering food parcels of up to three days’ worth of items.

Coordinator at the foodbank, Nicola Hawkes, appealed for residents to donate festive types of food to the branches throughout Merseyside in the run-up to Christmas.

Mrs Hawkes said: “Often people are very embarrassed or ashamed when they come to the foodbank. They see it as a failure on their part, when often it’s a failure on the part of the system.

“Every story is unique. We see a quite a few referrals from the South Liverpool domestic abuse services. In the winter months we see people who have to choose between paying for their heating or eating.

“We’ve had grandparents come in that have taken over custody of their grandchildren and they’re waiting for the benefits to be transferred to them, and they’re really struggling because it’s taking an age for the welfare to go through. They’re trying to provide a stable and happy home for those kids and the money is just not there to help them through.”

Mrs Hawkes added that Bridge Chapel has had families in the past where things like the simple cost of a funeral completely tips them over the edge, and noted that there are a huge number of reasons why people are struggling.

Mrs Hawkes explained the foods needed by foodbanks during the winter months: “Every foodbank runs low on long-life milk and long-life juice. At this time of year we have more sponge puddings, or jam puddings which, when they’re tinned, last until 2018 and 2019, and are great for us to use.

“Things like hot dogs, or corned beef, or tins of stewing steak which cost a bit more but they’re a much better quality meat are great for us.

The Address for the centre Heath Road, Liverpool L19 4XR, or you can call on 07760 718640.

‘Liverpool as a city is doing a really good job in organising support for people’

The Liverpool North branch, part of the Trussel Trust network and based in West Derby, has given out more than 2,600 emergency packages in the last six months.

Kevin Peacock, Chief Executive of St. Andrew’s Community Network at Liverpool North foodbank, says over half of users accessing his foodbank have had issues with their benefits.

Mr Peacock added that locals are forced to use the foodbank due to low-paid work with fluctuating hours.

He explained: “Some people have an eight-hour or a 15-hour contract, but that’s all they will work that week, whereas they might have worked 30 hours the week before.”

But, Mr Peacock praised the council for its work in stopping people going hungry.

He said: “Liverpool as a city is doing a really good job in organising support for people who are desperate for food.

“I think the city council is getting better and leading the approach to coordinate this support”.

The charity can be reached at 0151 226 3406.  People with a voucher can receive free food for up to three days worth of meals. The centre is at St Andrew’s Community Network, Roscoe Primary School, Ballantyne Road, West Derby, L19 3AL.

‘This is not a lifestyle people choose’

Manager of the Wirral Foodbank Richard Roberts said as well as normal food parcels, the centre is relaunching its Chocolates For Children project.

More than 3000 Wirral children used the service in 2016, and the foodbank are appealing for locals to donate anything from chocolate bars & sweets to full selection boxes to local children in need.

He said: “One of our volunteers came up with the idea- it’s nice at Christmas time to have a treat given out by our foodbanks.

“If the school is looking to help out the area then this is one of the methods so they can do that”.

Richard added: “It takes a lot of guts for someone to go to the organisations that issue the food vouchers to actually say ‘I can’t feed my family’.

“The key thing is that this is not a lifestyle that these people choose. Our aim is to help people move up into the area where they don’t need foodbanks.”

The manager of the project said benefit delays mean residents have struggled to make ends meet, and is one of the reasons why there has been an almost 20% increase of service users this year.

Mr Roberts said: “We had a gentleman in last week saying his first benefit payment which included housing benefit is due on December 14, a month away. What can he do until then?”

Users of the foodbank have praised the service and highlighted the importance of donating to local centres in times of high demand.

One user said: “I used to own my business, then the recession came along, causing work to dwindle, which ultimately ended my business. I tried to scrape a living from self employment, but ended up breaking up with my partner and Universal Credit did not leave me enough money to survive.  The foodbank has kept me fed and stopped me from becoming depressed”.

Richard said the public had donated seven tonnes of food in four weeks to the foodbank during their harvest appeal earlier this year, and their help will be vital over Christmas and the New Year.

Those who wish to donate can do so by calling  at 0151 638 7090. The address is Unit 14, Wirral Business Centre, Dock Road, Birkenhead CH41 1JW.

Debbie Shelley, centre manager of at the St. Leonard’s Community Centre in Bootle, said 12,000 people accessed their foodbank last year, with under 3000 vouchers issued to locals since April.

Mrs Shelley noted that while locals are entering the foodbank at a steady rate, those on low income are beginning to use the service more often.

She said: “At Christmas time we welcome any types of Christmas items and games, we give out festive bags at Christmas time to give everyone something to play with, so Christmas gifts are needed.”

Mrs Shelley added that foods including pasta, soup, and stuffing are also sought after by the foodbanks during this time.

Get in touch with the centre by calling 0151 9331300. The location is 60 Peel Road, Bootle, Merseyside, L20 4RW.

This article was written for the Liverpool ECHO.


Merseyside roadworks guide: What’s happening in the run up to Christmas

Drivers in Liverpool are used to battling through roadworks all year, with the last few weeks seeming to bring an extra surge of cones on to our roads.

The Liverpool ECHO has taken a look at the roadworks taking place across Merseyside in the run-up to Christmas – think of it as helping you to avoid the jams as opposed to dampening your Christmas spirit.

Please note that road and construction works may not be in place for the whole periods stated and plans may change. Read the Liverpool Echo to stay updated.



No-go at the hospital

The redevelopment of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital has resulted in the cars not being allowed to drive down West Derby Street, while the left-turn from West Derby Street onto Low Hill will be closed until May 31 2017.

The redevelopment of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital has resulted in lane restrictions and a temporary one-way system from Crown Street to Low Hill until October 13 2017. Bridge reconstruction works on Great Howard Street– between Oil Street and Paisley Street– have resulted in continuing road closures until March 31 2017.

Traffic Control


Stonebridge Lane to Back Gilmoss Road, Croxteth , has lane restrictions until November 25 due to junction improvement works from Dowhigh Construction.

Highway drainage works from Amey LG on Lower House Lane to Townsend Avenue have resulted in lane restrictions until November 25.

The redevelopment of Edge Lane Retail Park from AE Yates has resulted in off-peak lane restrictions, with lanes closed to traffic depending on the needs of the work, from Mill Lane to Montrose Way until August 2017. There is also a left-turn ban for HGV’s from Mill Lane onto Edge Lane Drive until August 2017.

Beechurst Road to Grange Way have off-peak two-way signals until November 25.

Childwall Park Avenue and Blackwood Avenue on Woolton Road will have multi-phase traffic signals until November 25.


Roads closed

Thompson Street in Tranmere will be closed from November 28 until December 16 due to sewer works by Wirral Council.

Maple Street in Tranmere is also closed from November 15 to 19 for essential gas works by the National Grid, while Woodchurch Road in Prenton is closed on November 27 from 9am to 4pm under the railway bridge for a structural examination by Network Rail

It will then be closed again from December 15 to January 3 2017 for United Utilities to replace an existing damaged meter frame.

Town Meadow Lane in Moreton will be closed on December 4 by United Utilities to replace a manhole frame, while School Lane in Wallasey Village is closed from November 23 to March 6 2017 so that Network Rail can reconstruct the railway bridge.

Telegraph Road in Heswall will have one lane closed until November 24 by Wirral Council to remove a large electrical box, and restrictions will be in place between December 9-15 so a cable can be installed.

Traffic control

Oxton Road is due to be closed from December 1-7 due to a new gas pipe being fitted by Wirral Council, and traffic restructions are in place



Roads closed

Breeze Hill in Bootle will be closed from the junction of Southport Road to the junction of Stuart Road until December 21 for underground electrical services, as will Fernhill Road between December 13 and February 13 2017 for the same reason.

Hartwell Street in Litherland is due to be closed from December 12 to December 28 at the junction with Linacre Road due to sewer branch repairing. Road users will be diverted down Towcester St.

Blenheim Avenue in Litherland will be closed until November 28 due to carriageway resurfacing from Sefton Council. Car users can use St. Matthews Avenue instead.

Crosby Road North in Waterloo will have one lane closed until January 5 2017 from Haigh Road to the opposite petrol station, for pipes to be replaced by the national grid

Carr Meadow Hey in Netherton will be closed on November 21 & December 8 for the replacement of a manhole frame and cover. Work will be done from outside Lam’s Restaurant to Simon’s Croft road.

College Road North will be closed from Nov 28 to December 7 for carriageway resurfacing works by Sefton Council.

Moss Lane in Little Crosby is due to be closed until December 5 on the approach to Little Crosby village. Sefton Council will be carrying out speed improvements – speed cushions, zebra crossing facility and signs.

Traffic Control

Bridle Road in Netherton will be under traffic controls from November 21 until November 23 outside Sefton House due to the installation of a new 25mm water connection from United Utilities.

Ormskirk Road in Aintree , has its footpaths closed until November 23 for improvement works from Sefton Council.

Traffic controls will also be in place on Coronation Road in Crosby, with multi-way signals from December 2 to December 16 because of essential gas maintenance from National Grid.


Traffic Control

Knowsley Lane will have two-way traffic signals on November 25 to December 1 outside No. 315, as the National Grid will be connecting properties to the network.

United Utilities will be repairing a water main on Abercrombie Road on the Knowsley Industrial Park on November 21.

One lane will be closed at the corner of Bewley Drive, Valley Road and Whitefield Drive in Southdene, Kirkby, until March 31 2017 due to improved junction works by Knowsley Council.

This article was written for the Liverpool ECHO.

14 jobs you could apply for in Liverpool city centre right now

Looking for work can be tricky at any time of year – but if you look around Liverpool city centre at the moment there are plenty of opportunities out there.

We went out for a look around to see what you could do if you’re looking for something part-time or a bit more permanent.

Recruiting for bar & kitchen staff – The Abbey

Part-time hours available. Apply within. No experience necessary. Must be able to work Christmas and New Year. 85-89 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 3DZ, tel: 0151 708 5688

Experienced staff required – Yanni’s Traditional Fish & Chips

Yanni’s is looking for help

Apply within. 31-33 Lord Street, Liverpool, L2 9SA, tel: 0151 345 3794

Young assistants wanted – Voodou for Him (Hairdressers)

School leavers, young aspiring hair dressers wanted. Hand a CV in store or call. 88 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4HY, tel: 0844 445 7889

* Looking for a job? Click here to search online

Temporary Christmas Sales Associate – Ernest Jones

People with experience in sales/customer service preferred. Knowledge of jewellery products and brands needed. Apply online.

Marketing staff required – Johnny Goggles

A job sign in the window at Jonny Goggles

Apply within. 32 North John Street, Liverpool, L2 9QJ, tel: 0151 227 3132

Part-time floor team members required – O’Neills Pub

Apply within. 68 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 4AG, tel: 0151 709 7360

Staff wanted – The Faculty (Bar)

You could get a job at The Faculty

Apply within. 24 Slater St, Liverpool L1 4BS, tel: 0151 707 2900

Hiring full-time and part-time staff – Burger King

Must have no holidays in December. Apply in-store. 7 Queen Square, City Centre, Liverpool, L1 1RH, tel: 0151 709 3178

* Looking for a job? Click here to search online

Christmas opportunities – Scotts

Apply in-store. 11 Paradise St, Liverpool, L1 3BL, tel: 0151 559 1257

Staff wanted – MAMOS

Mamos is looking for help

Apply within. 43 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4EU, 0151 709 9111, tel: 0151 709 9111

Bar staff on Whisky bar – Mackenzie’s Whisky Bar

Previous experience preferred but not essential. 15-20 hours, more available during Christmas. Apply online. 32 Rodney St, Liverpool L1 2TP, tel: 07746 577028

Part-time bar and kitchen staff – George Hotel

Must be able to work any shifts and work over the Christmas period. Apply online or within. 1 Liverpool Rd, Crosby, Liverpool L23 2SE, tel: 0151 924 4753

Temporary waiting staff – Aloft Hotel & NYL restaurant

The new Aloft hotel on North John Street, Liverpool

Apply online. 1 North John Street, Liverpool, L2 5QW, tel: 0151 294 3970

Part-time waiting on staff required – Sapporo Teppanyaki

16-hour weeks to begin with. Can increase hours during Christmas time. Experience preferred but not essential. 134 Duke St, East Village, Liverpool L1 5AG, tel: 0151 705 3005.

This article was written for the Liverpool ECHO.

Government and council slammed over Liverpool cash woes

Mayor Joe Anderson’s warning that Liverpool faces running out of money has sparked a strong reaction on social media.

The Mayor, who said Liverpool cannot afford to “pretend we don’t have a budget deficit”, added services such as adult social care and children’s care could be affected if cuts in funding from central government continue.

Mayor Anderson has also alluded to a possible rise in the city’s council tax of 10% to fight the deficit.

ECHO readers on social media have criticised a lack of Government support as well as the Mayor’s claims, with many disagreeing with the city’s spending decisions and questioning where funds brought into the city have been spent.

Joanne Denise said: “If the MPs didn’t spend so much money on fancy meals and drinks plus ridiculous expenses the country would be in a better state.”

Cobain Schofield argued: “The real issues are that the council is very conceivably going to run out of cash, while central government offer no support.

“People are going to lose jobs, services are going to be cut and people are going to be left unhappy, but moaning about the council solves none of these issues.”

Richie Graham said: “I find it staggering in 2016 that our own Mayor is having to publicly announce he is being flat out ignored by our government about a crisis such as this. Because that’s what it is.”

Emma Kettle, commenting on Facebook, said: “I don’t agree with government cuts, but I don’t agree with Joe spending funds on his schemes.”

Catherine Marland said: “£7million from cruise ships docking there last year, the Labour party conference was held there and many other conferences that use Liverpool’s facilities. The Giants as well, to name but a few. Where does all the extra money go that Liverpool brings in?”

Elain Dutton said: “My brother in law suffers from Alzheimer’s and goes to a day centre two days a week. He started going in May and although my sister had repeatedly asked the council for an invoice to pay for her husband’s care, to date nothing has been received.

“Liverpool city council need to get their act together by collecting money that is owed before asking people to pay an extra 10%.”

This article was written for the Liverpool ECHO.

Asda cuts petrol prices by 3p per litre

Supermarket Asda has announced today that it will be cutting up to 3 pence per litre off fuel from its 294 filling stations across the nation.

The announcement, which will come into effect on from Tuesday November 15, will bring prices down to a national price cap of 110.7ppl on unleaded and 112.7ppl on diesel fuels.

The decision will come as welcome news for car users, who have seen a rise in fuel prices of up to 14 pence per litre since the beginning of the year.