Mersey Gateway bridge building team shares their expertise with community organisations

Halton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill

Mersey Gateway

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Five community organisations in Halton are set to receive expert assistance from Merseylink's bridge-building team.

West Bank Community Centre, Daresbury Primary School, Riverside College, Milner Church Institute and the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust have all been successful in their applications to the first round of the Merseylink Time Bank.

The organisations will now benefit from professional consultancy services on offer from the Mersey Gateway Project team.

West Bank Community Centre will receive technical advice on plans to build a special outdoor play area at the centre for local children.

Daresbury Primary School in Runcorn has asked for technical help to determine if it is feasible to build a tarmac bike track in the school grounds.

Riverside College has requested public relations expertise to support the opening of its new skills centre.

Milner Church Institute in Daresbury has asked for help to plan a redesign of the local village hall, and for support to develop a business plan for the Lewis Carroll Centre.

The charity, Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust is receiving advice on the development of a digital communications project.

Halton Council leader, Clr Rob Polhill said: "I'm delighted to see our community directly benefitting from the Merseylink Time Bank initiative.

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“ I have always said that the Mersey Gateway is much more than just a construction project, and this is a great example of the wider socio-economic benefits that it is bringing to our local area.

"The next round of Time Bank opens on September 15 and once again, I would encourage anyone that feels they would benefit from the expertise on offer to get in touch with Merseylink and apply for assistance."

The Merseylink Time Bank, which launched earlier this year, aims to provide practical help and support to local organisations, community projects, educational establishments and the council.

Successful applicants are matched with a relevant Merseylink partner who can provide the specialist skills and assistance required. This includes an initial consultation with an industry expert to understand their project requirements.

Merseylink is working with Halton Council and Halton & St. Helens Voluntary and Community Action to ensure the Time Bank scheme is used effectively to secure clear and measurable community and regeneration benefits.

As work ramps up on the construction of the new £600 million bridge, the Merseylink team is keen to start sharing its skills.

Hugh O'Connor, general manager of the Merseylink consortium, said: "The Time Bank initiative enables us to share the skills of our expert team with the local community to provide long-term benefits.

“With access to a huge amount of expertise through our partners and suppliers, we are in a position to offer help with anything from corporate, financial and commercial advice to more technical areas such as construction and engineering."

The second round of Time Bank applications opens on September 15 and will run until October 15.

Local organisations can apply to the scheme at merseygateway.co.uk/merseylink/time-bank.

For more information about the Merseylink Time Bank contact Neil Wilcock, employment and skills co-ordinator, on 07773 806270 or e-mail neil.wilcock@merseylink.com.

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