Smarta Business Starter team to run a Start Up Weekend!

Our Smarta Business Starter team are running a FREE Business Start Up Seminar in January with the aim of helping people launch a new business in only 48hours!

A new year is the perfect time to review your goals & start turning your business dreams into a reality!

Ever wanted to be your own boss; but did’nt know how to set it up? With our help, we take you through to launching your new business in a single weekend!

With a series of easy to follow sessions, we will prepare you for starting up and running a successful business plus the support provided is completely FREE!

The sessions are delivered by qualified Business Advisors and the programme is funded through the ERDF Enterprise Hub project at no cost to you!

Spaces are limited so please book early to avoid any disappointment!  Register today with Kayleigh or via Eventbrite 

Alt Valley Voice: December 2017 Edition

Alt Valley Voice wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And for your New Year’s resolution we appeal for you to get more involved in your community and the causes that are important to you. This is now our third edition, and in each new edition, contributions from the community keep growing. Read the latest edition here: Alt Valley Voice December 2017 Edition

We want to hear even more of your voices so that this paper can better represent the whole of our community. If you would like to get involved writing or taking photos for Alt Valley Voice please contact community engagement worker or email any comments, complaints or ideas!

New Nursery Opens on Disused Pub Site

Croxteth residents received an early Christmas present with the news that a new nursery is being built at the old Stand Farm pub site.

Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC) has recently taken ownership of the site, which sits on the edge of Croxteth Park and for years has fallen into disrepair, and hope to have an operational nursey by January 2018.

Lisa Jennions, Business Development Manager at NSC, said, “We are really excited about the plans for the site. We know that there’s been a demand for nursery facilities in the area and we have experience running nurseries elsewhere in Croxteth and in Dovecot so it seemed a perfect fit.  We hope this can be the beginning of an exciting period of regeneration for the area!”

Originally the Fir Tree pub, it closed in 2008 before unsuccessfully reopening in 2010 as the Stand Farm pub.

Since closing again in 2013, the site has become an eyesore for community members as it has become increasingly dilapidated.­­

With the threat of the site being left empty, on October 1 NSC agreed a deal with the previous owner Enterprise PLC to let Enterprise buy out their contract at a reduced rate.

Since then, NSC has not wasted any time in developing plans to restore the site, which were unveiled at a well-attended residents meeting in November.

Croxteth councillor Anthony Lavelle said: “I fully support the plans and what NSC has proposed to do, and the majority of residents also support the idea. This has been something that residents have wanted to see happen and it’s been long overdue.”

William Smith from the Croxteth Park Residents Association said: “It’s a big relief to see such an amazing building put into good use once more, this is an opportunity to employ local people and give parents a convenient place to put the children in safety. Already the landscapers are making a difference and this will really lift the area. Well done to the new owners.”

At the meeting, there were further plans discussed for the site such as room space to hire for activities, an events space for weddings and other special occasions. There were also hopes for a potential mini-supermarket development for the area.

Cllr Lavelle said, “The building has been an eye sore for the best part of a decade for the estate. Part of it fell into decay, so it’s great that NSC are spending the time and money in order to bring it back into use. People in general are just happy that the grass is being cut, the fence is being pulled down, the shutters are coming up and the windows are being restored. I think people welcome the estate looking nicer and the nursery facility and an events space is an added bonus!”

New Partnership: Smarta Business Starter team & Kirkby Market

Last week the Smarta Business Starter team launched a ‘Drop In’ Surgery at Kirkby Market. Mark Bingley, the market manager, is fully supportive of the work that the team are doing and would like to see more stalls within the market being fully utilised.

Each Tuesday & Friday; business advisor Caroline will be on hand to answer any queries for Knowsley residents who are in the early stages of thinking of becoming self-employed.  Caroline will be at Unit 95 from 9:30am – 3:30pm on a weekly basis.  The support offered is fully funded through the ERDF Enterprise Hub Project; providing free business start up support to residents of Merseydie 16+.  AVCT are a delivery partner on this project, which runs to December 2018.

Whilst at the market; the team met some market traders who clearly enjoy their jobs.   The team  chatted to Gill of ‘Distinct Fashion Boutique’ Unit 89, who specialises in ladies French and Italian clothing.  Gill explained how she has been a market trader for 5 years.  Prior to this she was an office worker but enjoyed fashion so much and had a real passion to begin working with the public a lot more.   She also explained how being self-employed did not limit her home life. “Being self-employed allows me the freedom to run a family; as I am my own boss; I make the rules!” 

If you are thinking of starting your own business, whether it is a sole trader, Limited Company or Social Enterprise; the Smarta Business Starter team can help.  Call Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514 or alternatively email

Alt Valley Voice: October – November 2017 Edition

Alt Valley Voice aims to represent voices of grassroots community members, promoting and sharing news stories – good and bad – from the Alt Valley area of North East Liverpool.

We are honest and transparent in our reporting and unapologetic in highlighting the issues and interests of communities we represent.

However, while the local press seems to be obsessed with highlighting bad news, we celebrate the success stories of our area: from winners on the sports pitches and boxing rings to local people making exceptional contributions to their communities. Read the latest edition here Alt Valley Voice October November Edition

We publish every two months and are searching for members of the community to contribute to our next edition. If you would like to get involved writing or taking photos for Alt Valley Voice, or have any comments, complaints or ideas for new stories please contact Likewise, if you are interested in advertising your business in our publication please email for further details

Recruitment for Adult Education Courses to begin next week!

Are you thinking of learning a new skill?  Why not enrol on to one of our exciting Adult Ed courses! Beginning on Monday 09th October at Elleregreen Comunity Centre;

1: Introduction to Cookery – Specialising in vegan cuisine 

2: Introduction to Basic Counselling

Enrolment begins at 6pm.  Courses run will run each Monday evening 6pm – 9pm, both for 10 weeks.     To register your interest please call the team on 0151 233 3337 or alternatively email

Ellergreen Community Centre, Ellergreen Road Norris Green Liverpool L11 2RY

AIM Liverpool – Story of a CIC that is going from Strength to Strength!

Autism in Motion is a Community Interest Company with three founding co-directors – Joanne Galbraith, Hannah Tickle and Terri Norton.

The company has been established with one clear objective: To support and enhance the lives of families and children on the Autism Spectrum.

Hannah, Jo and Terri are all parents with autistic children and they were all too aware of the challenges that exist in accessing support and information in addition to the provision of activities to stimulate development and social interaction.

They are passionate about ensuring that other parents in a similar position and also carers can enhance their children’s lives through accessing the right educational support through working with parents who fully understand through their own personal experiences.

They decided it was important to set up an organisation in Liverpool to facilitate support, networking, activities and events to raise awareness of autism however they were unsure how to go about it.

Following a conversation with their local councillor in Norris Green, Barry Kushner, Jo Hannah and Terri met with Business Advisor Ian Marshall from Alt Valley Community Trust.

Alt Valley provides support to individuals who are looking to set up a business and need advice and guidance about the steps they need to take. This support is provided free through a programme called the Enterprise Hub which is available across Merseyside.

Following the initial meeting, the three partners were enrolled onto the programme attending workshops in addition to the one to one support from their Business Advisor.

They benefitted from Alt Valley’s workshops on subjects including ‘Starting your own Business’, ‘How to set up a social Enterprise’ ‘How to Market your Business’, ‘Social Media for Business’ and ‘Setting up a WordPress website’.

Given the community and social values, it was agreed that the business would be established as a Community Interest Company which offers a flexible approach to managing a social enterprise. In addition, such a business has the potential to apply for grant funding in order to enhance its support services.

Alt Valley assisted Jo, Hannah and Terri through the application process and ‘Autism in Motion Liverpool CIC’ was incorporated in January 2017.

They are delighted with the support they have received from Alt Valley Community Trust which has helped them access grant funding through the National Lottery’s ‘Unlimited’ fund in addition to other sources.

The company is now renting office space and continues to grow through enhanced activities for children, presentations and events for parents and carers.

On Sunday 2nd April – World Autism Day – the directors organised an event in Norris Green Park which was a huge success. The aim was to raise awareness of autism through providing information and partnering with other organisations to enhance health and wellbeing.

There was also entertainment, craft and gift stalls and it was very well attended exceeding all expectations!

Hannah says “We started Autism in Motion because we realised through our own experience that there was very little support for families like our own in the north part of the city. We began with monthly coffee mornings for parents and occasional activities to engage with the whole family. 6 months later demands of the business mean that we have now increased our parent meetings to twice a month with guest speakers, specialist courses and activities for the children and their siblings 6 days a week. It is amazing!!”

Terri says “We were looking for a way that we could bring all of the specialist services together in one place for our families to be able to access the support that they may need. From this idea ‘picnic in the park’ was born. We liaised with local and more experienced community groups, councillors and council officers to hold an Autism awareness event in Norris green park on April 2nd to celebrate world autism day. The event was a huge success with more than 500 people from the local and wider community joining us for a fabulous day. We were completely overwhelmed by the turnout.”

Joanne says “I can’t believe how far we’ve come already, when we first met Ian we were just a couple of mums with a vague idea of what we wanted to do but no clue about how to do it. With the guidance and support we have received from Ian and the rest of the team we are now a viable business. we have new families coming to us weekly and we love seeing the impact the support and activities have on them, its just wonderful.”

If you are thinking of startting your own business…but unsure how to start.  Contact Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514 or email

Funded support available through the ERDF Enterprise Hub Project

New Business in the Pipeline for Francis

Having been in pipe and metal fabrication for over 14 years, Francis Patterson had a dream of doing things in a different and better way that suits him and his young family and the way of life they all want.

Francis had become bored with doing things the way he’d always done them; he had the dream of wanting to use different welding methods and new materials to create high quality products for his customers using the latest design technologies.

So the first thing Francis did was speak to the Smarta Business Starter Business Support Team at Alt Valley in Croxteth; they help people like Francis get started through the Enterprise Hub start up programme which is co-funded through EU funding. Francis met Business Advisor Roy Meredith who helped Francis evaluate the business opportunity and assisted with the production of a business plan and cash flow forecast.

“I hope to bring a fresh approach to fabrication” says Francis. “I want to build up a trusted client base, and also help anyone who is thinking of choosing this industry as a career, by training them to a high standard getting them fully qualified as highly skilled. These aspects will help differentiate my business from many others.”

During discussions with his ddvisor, the process for applying for start-up loan funding through the Government-backed Start Up Loan scheme was pursued, resulting in a robust business plan and cash flow that was successful in attracting the funds required to get his new business off the ground.

Francis has now set up his new fabrication company – FJP Fabrication Ltd

Francis adds: “ I plan to make innovation the cornerstone of everything my new business makes; I will use new materials, the latest welding methods, bespoke bracketry and pipe spools combined with the latest CAD/CAM design programmes to create unique work. I also want to use my interest in metal sculpture as an add-on to the business. All in all, a fresh approach in a quite conventional industry.”

Enterprise Hub Business Start Up support is available to anyone over the age of 16 yrs thinking of starting a new business in the Liverpool City Region area.

Alt Valley Community Trust is one of several partner organisations in Merseyside delivering the free business support through a high quality team of experienced business advisors.

Business Advisor Roy Meredith commented:

“Francis is typical of many of the young entrepreneurs we get through the Enterprise Hub support programme. He adds business passion to innovation and imagination and it’s no surprise that his application for loan funding has been accepted. I fully expect his new business to go onto great things.”

If you are thinking of starting your own business but unsure how to start, then please conatct the Smarta Business Starter team on 0151 546 5514 or alternativley email

Always Grave Care – An Inspiring ‘Business Start Up’ Story…

After losing several close family members over the last couple of years, Gail recognised what an important part of the grieving process a loved one’s final resting place can be. She noticed that quite a few grave sites were becoming overgrown or had dead flowers on the headstones. After a bit of research, Gail was saddened to learn that a lot of people didn’t live close enough to regularly maintain graves and that this was the cause of some guilt and frustration.

As people move away from areas for work or family reasons, this is becoming a common scenario! Gail had the idea for her business three years ago, but at the time was working for the NHS and wasn’t sure about giving up her job. She knew that redundancies were looming and started to look into her idea by carrying out some market research.

Gail was encouraged by the positive responses that she received, but was dealt a blow when she found out that she had breast cancer. After receiving treatment and being given the all clear, Gail took redundancy from her position and decided that she wanted to pursue her dream of having her own business.

She contacted Alt Valley Community Trust earlier in the year and started working with the Enterprise Hub team, receiving one to one support. Gail got help with completing her business plan, putting together her financial forecast so she could decide if her idea was viable. She was also signposted to banking, loan and website services and undertook training in keeping records for tax.

Gail was relieved to know that there was assistance for her at the early stages of start-up; “If it wasn’t for the help that was available through the Enterprise Hub, I wouldn’t have known how to get started, where to go for a website or what prices to charge, I am really grateful for the service I received.”

Best of luck with your business Gail!

If you or anyone you know is thinking of starting a business then please get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team at Alt Valley Community Trust – Kayleigh Clarke – 0151 546 5514 or email

What a Summer at Lifestyles Croxteth Sports & Wellbeing Centre!

During the summer break, Lifestyles Croxteth Sports & Wellbeing Centre was packed out with young people from our local community and beyond! There was plenty on offer to keep everyone very entertained and motivated; as well as helping working families too.

Croxteth Sports Summer Play Scheme:  Coaches from our centre were on hand to provide fun to our young people during the six week break.  Plenty of sporting activities were available from table tennis, football, tag rugby as well as a mixed ‘Mini Metafit’ session…which proved very popular!

LFC Foundation hosted a 3 day football campMore than 50 children attended this camp.  Everyone enjoyed playing football for 5 hours a day, learning new skills…plus learning from some of the best coaches!

Merseyside & Cheshire Elite Boxing hosted a 4 day boxing camp:  The boxing camp was attended by 75 participants from clubs across the area and was headed by the England & Regional coach; John Warburton.  On the final day we had the pleasure of Mayor Joe Anderson visiting who was very impressed with all who was involved.  The Liverpool ECHO were on hand to capture this and produced an article about how well the camp went.  To read more click here   

We also had another special guest; Undefeated WBA International Champion Tom Farrell; who popped in to give the boys and girls some words of encouragement! Thank you Tom…much appreciated!

Centre manager, Colly Whitty commented how proud she was to see so many young people during the half term break; as well as praise the partners / volunteers who made it successful  “What a pleasure to work in partnership with LFC Foundation and Merseyside & Cheshire Elite Boxing   as well as all the lovely people that came through the doors! I would like to personally thank all the volunteers in particular who gave up their valuable time to make the kids summer a good one!”

To keep up to date with all activities that go on here; please do via the Facebook page or alternatively contact 0151 548 3421.