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Soft play centre has officially opened its doors to dogs

Good idea?

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Pipsqueak Play Cafe / Facebook

A soft play centre has made the very important decision to welcome dogs following its reopening after the pandemic.

Pipsqueaks Play Cafe in Wigan now allows families to bring their four-legged friends onto the premises, where they can sit and socialise in the newly-launched ‘dog-friendly’ area.

Parents can socialise their dogs while their children play in the soft play area – sadly, dogs aren’t currently allowed in this part of the centre due to hygiene reasons, but Pipsqueaks owner, Wendy Unsworth, is planning on allowing it ahead of the next deep clean.

Pipsqueaks Play Cafe / Facebook

She told the Manchester Evening News: “We first became dog friendly last summer, as we have some lovely walks around the centre and lots of free parking, so it made sense to section off an area of the cafe for dog walkers.

“This is totally separate from the soft play. The rationale behind the exclusive dog-friendly play sessions is that adults and children have missed out on so much social contact and by allowing dogs, particularly lockdown pups, to come along, we remove a barrier to visiting soft play – lots of people don’t want to leave their dogs or would need to arrange for someone to pop in and check on them.

“It’s not just for puppies either – we had some older dogs in September who don’t walk much now and their owners said it was perfect socialisation for them too.”

She added: “The cafe part now always has a dog-friendly seating area, except for a couple of times a week when classes are taking place in there.”

Pipsqueak Play Cafe / Facebook

As for the doggy soft play sessions, there’s no set date yet, but Wendy is hopeful that the idea can soon become a reality.

She said: “The next idea is that before we next have a professional deep clean, we will hand the centre over to the dogs for a play session… Apparently swimming pools do it before they are emptied and refilled and also Chill Factore before they replace all their equipment. The dogs would love it.”

Pipsqueak has also launched a ‘newborn baby’ section reserved exclusively for parents and their newborns – the space is aimed at babies who can sit and roll, featuring lots of lights and high contrast monochrome images to complement early vision development.

For more information and bookings, visit the Pipsqueak Play Cafe here.

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Supermarkets and petrol companies issue update on current fuel situation

They have urged motorists to stop panic buying fuel

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@snb19692 / Twitter & @Razzo / Twitter

As frantic motorists across the region continue to panic buy and stockpile fuel, supermarkets and petrol companies have issued an update on the so-called ‘fuel shortage crisis’.

Now, this fiasco has never been about a shortage of petrol – it is about a shortage of HGV drivers, the very thing that has been causing minor food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants. Three of the UK’s biggest petrol suppliers did initially report some fuel shortages as a result of the driver crisis; however, only a small fraction of their petrol stations were actually impacted.

But this hasn’t stopped thousands of drivers descending into a panic and rushing to their local petrol station to stock up on fuel, causing lengthy queues and, ironically, the actual shortage of petrol in a number of stations across not only Manchester, but the rest of the country.

Well, amid the frenzy and the chaos, supermarkets and petrol companies have now given an update on the ‘crisis’ and have urged people to stop panic buying.

Firstly, a Tesco spokesperson acknowledged that while the supermarket chain is experiencing ‘temporary outages in a small number of areas’, there is no need to panic buy and stockpile fuel, saying: “We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.”

A Morrisons spokesperson also said: “It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep our pumps open and serve our customers.”

Similarly, a BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites. This is being caused by a shortage of qualified drivers. The majority of the 1200 sites we supply remain supplied and open.

“However, at the moment we estimate that 10 to 15 per cent of sites in this network currently may not have one grade of fuel or another.”

A spokesperson for Shell added: “We are working hard to ensure supplies for customers. Since Friday we have been seeing a higher-than-normal demand across our network which is resulting in some sites running low on some grades.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also weighed into the equation during a TV appearance this morning, saying: “The good news is there is plenty of fuel, the bad news is if everyone carries on buying it when they don’t need it then we will continue to have queues.”

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Woman sparks outrage after advertising cans of petrol for sale on Stockport Facebook group

As people queue for miles for fuel, one woman decided to cash in on the crisis

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@snb19692 / Twitter & Facebook

A woman sparked was met with a wave of backlash this morning after she advertised two cans of petrol for sale in a local Facebook group.

The controversial advert was posted in the Marple, Romiley & Bredbury Community Facebook group this morning, where two cans of petrol were being flogged for £50 or the nearest offer.

The ad read: “10L e10 petrol. Collection from Romiley. £50 Ono. Cans not included but can fill up on collection.”

The post, which has since been deleted, instantly racked up a number of angry reactions, with one social media user asking, “Is this a wind up?”

Facebook

The woman’s attempt at cashing in on the ongoing ‘fuel shortage’ crisis comes shortly after the government urged people to not stock up on fuel, explaining that there is no shortage.

Chairman Brian Madderson said the shortages were actually down to ‘panic buying, pure and simple’ as he slammed whoever leaked BP’s original supply concerns to the media following a meeting with Government earlier this month.

Madderson added: “Whoever leaked it to a main broadcaster must have known the chaos that would ensue as soon as it hit newspapers, and that’s what we’ve had.”

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North West residents urged to cut back on water as reservoirs run low

United Utilities has suggested a number of ways in which residents can cut back on their water usage

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Andres Siimon / Unsplash & Pixabay

United Utilities has issued a water usage warning for North West residents as reservoir levels plummet. 

While reporting that the region’s supply of tap water is ‘less than half what it should be’ at this time of the year, the water supplier has offered an array of suggestions as to how residents can lower their water usage.

In an email to customers, United Utilities said: “To keep precious water in the reservoirs until they have a chance to recover and help protect local wildlife, save water and only use what you need.

Jorge Franganillo / Flickr

“We can do this with very little impact on our usual routine and every drop is precious, so swap a bath for a four minute shower, use the washing machine once less each week and re-use water where you can.”

The water supply across the North West comes from Haweswater and Thirlmere reservoirs in the Lake District, which are both only 36% full – usual levels in September would be around 70%, according to ITV News.

The shortage comes as a result of an unusually dry summer; although there were plenty of wetter days in North West cities and towns and even flooding in some areas, it has been the driest June to September in over 130 years in the Lake District.

Harry Grout / Unsplash

There has also been extra demand on water being used as a result of more people staying at home and taking holidays in the north west during the pandemic.

Over on their website, the supplier also suggests a number of methods to lower water usage, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, using a washing up bowl when washing the dishes, and refraining from overfilling the kettle by only boiling what you need.

For those with a garden, United Utilities also suggests investing in a butt, a device which collects rainwater to be used in the house, and to fully ditch the hosepipe while watering plants and washing cars, noting that using a watering can for your plants and a bucket and sponge for your car will not only save water, but will do wonders for the environment.

See their full list of tips here. 

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