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Plans to build UK’s largest indoor arena in Manchester have been revealed

What do you think?

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The Oak View Group

Manchester could be home to the UK’s largest indoor arena if ambitious new plans are approved.

The proposals would see a huge arena built next to the Etihad Stadium, and with a capacity of up to 23,500 it would overtake both the Manchester Arena (21,000) and London’s 02 Arena (20,000) to take the crown as the country’s biggest.

It would cost £350 million to build, which would make it Europe’s most expensive arena, and it’s projected to create roughly 3,500 jobs during construction and over 1,000 new jobs once completed, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The Oak View Group

It’s main focus will be big music tours, with a huge standing section that could fit 10,000 people, and the people behind the project hope to one day host the Brit Awards there – potentially stealing the event from London for the first time ever.

The American firm behind the project, the Oak View Group (OVG), also claim they’ll be ‘aggressive’ in their attempts to bring a whole host of different events to Manchester, like basketball, boxing, tennis, MMA and ice hockey.

If planning approval is given – a planning application is set to be submitted ‘in the coming weeks’ – the group say it would take three years to build, with the possibility of the first event happening as early as 2023.

Matthew Hartley / Flickr

In terms of competition with the Manchester Arena, OVG claim our city can sustain two arenas as we’re a ‘cultural capital’, adding that it’s ‘not designed to eliminate the current arena but to compliment the demand in the area.’

If the new arena is constructed, it would mean Manchester is home to the UK’s two biggest arenas.

What do you think? Is this a good idea, or is the existing arena enough?

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Asda shoppers spot brilliant ‘hidden message’ on delivery driver’s badges

This is amazing!

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Asda

Asda has launched a brilliant new initiative to help combat loneliness this Christmas, which has been especially heightened by recent lockdown measures.

With help from the Royal Voluntary Service, Asda is working with delivery drivers and in-store Community Champions to tackle social isolation in the community.

From yesterday, Asda’s 7,500 delivery drivers will have the option to add something new to their uniform, a ‘Happy to Chat’ badge.

Asda

The message on this new badge lets customers know they’re happy to have a quick chat with them while their shopping is being delivered.

And it’s needed more than ever at the moment, as according to the Royal Voluntary Service 13% of people are experiencing loneliness, with over a third (39%) unable to see friends and family, and a quarter left without any support nearby.

A lot of people only see delivery drivers and other delivery workers while they self-isolate, and 1 in 4 said they looked forward to seeing them just to have someone to talk to.

The badges will be particularly useful for some, as 42% of people said they shy away from starting a conversation as they don’t want to be a burden, while 25% would be more likely to start a conversation if they knew the other person was ‘Happy to Chat’ too.

Anna-Maree Shaw, Asda’s chief customer officer, said: “It’s a challenging time for everyone, especially those experiencing loneliness.

“While Asda colleagues have always made an effort to have a quick chat and raise a smile, we want to make sure that whether it’s in our stores, at the doorstep or in the community – we’re here for customers this Christmas.”

Asda

Sam Ward, deputy chief executive at the RVS, said: “Royal Voluntary Service is incredibly proud to be part of such a wonderful initiative alongside Asda.

“We all understand that Christmas can be difficult for those who are on their own and that this year stands to be trickier than ever.

“With the help of this fantastic project, it shows that even just a little Christmas kindness will go a long way in making the festive season easier for those in need.”

You can find out more here.

 

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M&S confirms it will close all stores on Boxing Day to give staff a break

Well done M&S!

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Jaggery / Geograph

M&S has confirmed it will be closing all of its operations on Boxing Day, so workers can spend some quality time with their families.

It has announced its plan to reverse the decision to open on Boxing Day, which will be welcome news to staff.

As such, the 200 stores that were going to remain open on December 26th will now be closed.

According to M&S, the decision was made so that all workers can spend time with families and loved ones, following the government’s plans to relax rules over Christmas.

Mtaylor848 / Wikimedia

M&S CEO Steve Rowe said: “Throughout the pandemic, our colleagues have gone above and beyond to deliver for our customers and as we enter the busy festive season they are doubling down on their efforts once again to help our customers deliver the Christmas magic for their families and friends.

“2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever.

“That’s why in the run up to Christmas we are opening longer hours and have accelerated the launch of new digital services such as Sparks Book & Shop to help our customers prepare, but it’s also why we have taken the decision to close our operations on Boxing Day, so that our colleagues can enjoy more special time with their loved ones.

“This is a big decision, but it is absolutely the right one given the incredible effort everyone has made in the most challenging of circumstances.”

The move means all M&S owned stores, the Customer Contact centre and its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington will be closed on both December 25th and 26th.

Well done M&S!

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Government release statement on why Greater Manchester is going to Tier 3

Thoughts?

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No10 / Flickr

It was confirmed earlier today that Greater Manchester will be heading into Tier 3 when lockdown ends next week.

From next Wednesday, December 2nd, the whole region will be placed in the strictest tier, despite our infection rate reducing faster than any other part of the country.

So why is Greater Manchester being placed into Tier 3?

David Dixon / Geograph

This morning, as part of the announcement on which area will be placed in which tier, the government published a written ministerial statement.

These outline the rationale for why each region in England has been placed in the tier they’re in, including why the whole of Greater Manchester is in Tier 3.

The government said: “While there has been continued improvement in Greater Manchester, weekly case rates remain very high, especially amongst those aged over 60, at around 260 per 100,000 people.

“The pressure on the local NHS is decreasing in some areas but remains a concern; Manchester University hospital and Pennine Acute Trust remain under significant pressure.”

Earlier today Andy Burnham responded to the news that Greater Manchester is heading to Tier 3, saying that cities in the North will be ‘levelled down’ by the new tier system and that it is ‘the opposite of what the government has promised to do’.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester also said that he will be asking for the region to be moved into Tier 2 in a few weeks time if rates continue to fall like they have been.

According to Matt Hancock, there are five indicators for making a decision on which tier a region is in:

  • case rates in all age groups
  • cases in over 60s
  • rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • positivity rate
  • local pressures on NHS

The tiers are set to be reviewed on Wednesday December 16th, so there is still a chance Greater Manchester could be in Tier 2 in the run up to Christmas.

The new rules across all tiers include:

  • Uniform set of rules, there will be no negotiations by different regions
  • Everyone should work from home if they can
  • Shops and personal care services can open
  • Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities remain open
  • Registered childcare, other supervised activities for children and childcare bubbles allowed
  • Indoor leisure – gyms and swimming – can open
  • Elite sport, under-18 sport and disabled sport can continue
  • Police will get new powers to close down premises breaking the rules

What Greater Manchester can expect in Tier 3:

  • No mixing of households indoors or most outdoor places – rule of six in outdoor spaces such as parks and sports courts
  • Hospitality venues closed, except for takeaway, drive-through or delivery
  • Indoor entertainment venues closed
  • Avoid travelling outside the area other than where necessary
  • No overnight stays outside local area, unless necessary for work, education or similar reasons
  • Accommodation closed (with limited exceptions such as work purposes)
  • Places of worship open but people cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests – but no wedding receptions allowed
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but avoid higher-risk contact activity
  • Group exercise and sports indoors should not take place, unless with household/bubble
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events banned but drive-in events permitted.

Tier 1 Rules:

  • Households can mix inside and outside, but the rule of six applies
  • Bars, pubs and restaurants must be table service only, last orders at 10pm, closing by 11pm
  • Entertainment can reopen
  • Avoid travel into Tier 3 areas
  • Overnight stays permitted with your household/bubble, or up to six people from different households
  • All accommodation can reopen
  • Places of worship can reopen but more than six people from different households cannot interact
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but rule of six indoors
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events can take place with 50% capacity, or 4,000 people outdoors/1,000 indoors (whichever is lower) – social distancing applies

Tier 2 Rules:

  • No mixing of households indoors apart from support bubbles – rule of six outdoors
  • Pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • Last orders at 10pm, close by 11pm
  • Reduce the numbers of journeys made and avoid travel into Tier 3 areas
  • Overnight stays permitted with your household or support bubble
  • Accommodation open
  • Places of worship open but people cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but not indoors if there is any interaction between different households
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events can take place with 50% capacity, or 2,000 people outdoors/1,000 indoors (whichever is lower) – social distancing applies

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