THE team building the Mersey Gateway bridge is launching a new initiative to provide opportunities for people living and working in Halton.

The Merseylink time bank is offering to share the skills of their experts and suppliers with the community.

Hugh O’Connor, general manager of the Merseylink consortium said it is a way to give practical help and support to organisations, community projects, educational establishments and the local authority.

He said: “As we work through the construction phase of the project over the next three-and-a-half years, the Merseylink time bank will provide an innovative way of matching the skills of our expert team with local needs to provide long-lasting benefits to the community.”

Each of Merseylink’s partner organisations and major suppliers will offer an amount of time to provide real, practical support to those who need it.

Neil Wilcock, Merseylink’s employment and skills co-ordinator said: “A minimum of 100 days per year will be committed through the time bank to offer support in the community. This could range from providing construction and engineering expertise, to environmental or human resource support.

“Individuals from the partnership will also offer more personal commitments such as mentoring, coaching, fundraising or presentation skills to help young people or jobseekers in the area.”

Merseylink will work with Halton Council and Halton and St. Helens Voluntary and Community Action to ensure the scheme is effective and developed to its full potential.

Halton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will give back to the community as the building work on the Mersey Gateway bridge progresses.

“I would encourage anyone that feels they would benefit from this expertise to get in touch with Merseylink and apply for assistance.”

Any Halton residents or organisations wishing to take part can apply to or e-mail

Partners and major suppliers participating in Merseylink time bank are: Macquarie Capital (Australia), FCC Construccion S.A. (Spain), Bilfinger Project Investments (Germany), Kier Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd (England), Samsung C&T Corporation (Korea), Sanef S.A. (France), Flint & Neill and URS Infrastructure & Environment UK.