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Wildcats Girls’ Football on the prowl for new talent in Sefton

Sefton’s young girls are invited to show off their football skills at Dunes Splash World’s new 3G sports pitches from Tuesday, April 24.

 SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centres from The FA will provide Sefton’s girls aged 5-11 with regular opportunities to play football as well as promoting opportunities to progress to local clubs within the Southport area.

 Created exclusively for girls, the weekly sessions will take place every Tuesday from 4-5pm and will provide a fun and engaging environment for girls who are keen to try their hand at a game of football.

 Active Sefton hopes the initiative will inspire participants to engage with football, meet new friends, develop fundamental skills, learn new things and create the foundation for a lifelong love of football.

 In addition, Active Sefton will be developing further opportunities to be involved in football, including walking football and soccercise sessions in the coming months. 

 Tina Pilkington, Health and Wellbeing Development Manager at Sefton Council, said: “Women’s football has truly gained momentum in recent years and this makes it all the more important for local authorities to ensure that doors are open for young girls to have access to the sport.

 “The Wildcats will give Sefton’s girls a taste of football at a grassroots level and when better to launch this than during National Girls Football Week?”

 Kelly Simmons, FA Participation and Development Director, said: “Since the launch of SSE Wildcats we have seen great enthusiasm from the girls taking part to continue learning and playing football.

 “The centres have proved a huge success and we are pleased to be able to considerably grow the size of the initiative in 2018, offering a much higher percentage of girls across the country the opportunity to enjoy football in a safe and inspiring environment.”

 The first session in free and sessions thereafter will cost £3 each. For more information about the Wildcats visit   

Sefton health commissioners recognised for improving patient safety

NHS commissioners in Sefton have been shortlisted for a national award after setting up an innovative programme which aims to reduce the number of people being readmitted to hospital.

The medicines management team at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (SSCCG) has been shortlisted for the ‘Improving Safety in Medicines Management’ category at the prestigious HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2018. This is the second national award that the team have been shortlisted for in a month after being shortlisted for the HSJ Value Awards last month.

Approximately one-fifth of hospital readmissions are related to medication and up to half of these may be preventable. In order to address this, SSCCG and the Aintree University Hospital pharmacy team set up a service to review patient medicines in their own home, once they had been discharged from hospital.

The project used a pharmacist and pharmacy technician in SSCCGs medicines management team to undertake the review and advise patients in regard to lifestyle advice, their medical condition and disease management.

The results of the programme were very promising with an initial evaluation showing that 81% of patients reported that they were more likely to take their medicines correctly, as prescribed.

The winners of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards will be announced on 9 July at a ceremony in Manchester.

Speaking about the shortlisting, Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton CCG, said:

“This scheme was just one part of our innovative, system wide approach to medicines which has allowed us to deliver significant improvements to safety and patient care.

Dave Thornton, Assistant Clinical Director of Pharmacy at Aintree University Hospital, said:

“Being shortlisted for this award recognises the importance of the link between hospital and community care when it comes to ensuring medicines are used safely and effectively and the benefits that can be realised from a joint approach.”

The NHS South Sefton CCG website contains information about where you can find help and advice about your health. Visit for more information.


Hightown Surgery

Sefton Council is strongly opposing NHS England’s decision to close Hightown village surgery.

 NHS England has just announced that the surgery, which serves Sefton residents, will shut later in the year with Sefton Council now calling on the decision to be reversed.

 A special Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting is now scheduled for March 22 as Sefton Council believes NHS England has not followed the right process or engaged with the public properly about this.

 Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council, said: “We as a Council are dismayed and extremely disappointed at the way NHS England has handled this matter.

 “The closure decision was made and then communicated to residents in advance of any meaningful dialogue with the community and ourselves and taken without any reference to the statutory role of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 “This really exposes wider concerns about the willingness of the NHS to engage with the Council on significant matters affecting health services in Sefton and the apparent lack of any strategic commissioning approach to the provision of primary care to Sefton communities.

 “Our ultimate concern is the safety and wellbeing of our communities and we would again request NHS England to review this decision and keep the surgery open while a meaningful engagement takes place.

 “This is going to be extremely difficult as the closure decision has already been made, patients notified and allocated to new practices. The last thing we want is patients being confused about the process – something NHS England should be ashamed of.

 “As a result we are arranging a special Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider this matter and to seek assurance from NHS England and the CCG that the health and wellbeing of the people of Hightown has been paramount in this decision.

 “We have written to NHS England expressing all of our concerns and hope they react and respond in the way that betters the communities we serve.”

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Launches Plan to Increase Apprenticeships

As part of National Apprenticeships Week, Liverpool City Region has published its Apprenticeship Growth Plan setting out how it will increase the number of apprenticeships over the next three years.

The plan sets out the city region’s aspiration to deliver 20,000 apprenticeships per year by 2020.

This ambitious target is in spite of figures showing a sharp fall in the number of apprenticeship starts nationally, following the introduction of the funding reforms, including the Government’s flagship Apprenticeship Levy policy.  The number of national starts dropped by 41% – a fall of 111,000 new starters – in the first six months since the introduction of the funding reforms. 

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council and Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Skills, said, “Ensuring that local people have the skills needed to be successful is vital both for their future prosperity and that of the city region as a whole. 

“Apprenticeships are a hugely important part of that process and we intend to ensure that many more are available across our City Region.

“As a Combined Authority, we commissioned this plan to create the right environment to grow the volume and breadth of apprenticeships available locally.

“The plan sets out how we will support colleges and providers to better respond to local skills needs and support more employers to understand and access high-quality and relevant provision.”

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said:

“This plan sets out how we will work with our partners, including colleges, other training providers and employers, to increase the range of gold-standard and degree level apprenticeships available in the city region.

“We are broadly supportive of reforms of apprenticeships but there are clearly issues with the Apprenticeship Levy which is simultaneously costing businesses more and delivering fewer apprenticeships.

“We need Government to be more flexible.  For example, I have repeatedly lobbied government to allow us to use residual local apprenticeship levy to increase the number of apprenticeships, by providing us with the flexibility to design opportunities to address skill shortage areas and respond to employer demand. 

“Even though these initiatives would not have cost the government a single penny, my appeals to date have been steadfastly refused.”

The Plan aims to improve the way the apprenticeship system and reforms work for the City Region and sets out a vision for apprenticeship growth through:

  • Increasing the volume of apprenticeships opportunities available;
  • Expanding the diversity of frameworks and standards available to residents and employers;
  • Improving an apprentice’s ability to progress to higher qualification levels including degrees; and
  • Developing a higher standard of quality for apprenticeships offered and delivered.

The key actions to drive apprenticeship programme performance locally include:

  • The Combined Authority will explore alternative sources of funding for the Apprenticeship Hub to provide greater stability and allow it to take the lead on the implementation of the Apprenticeship Growth Plan;
  • The Combined Authority will launch an Apprenticeship Pledge to gain commitment to apprenticeship growth from public and private sector employers, Colleges and providers and other stakeholders;
  • The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership will facilitate greater employer engagement in the planning and delivery of apprenticeships;
  • The Combined Authority will continue to lobby Government as part of ongoing devolution discussions to retain unallocated levy funding within the Liverpool City Region;
  • The Combined Authority will seek to commission a capacity building fund via European Social Fund (ESF) to support colleges and providers based in the City Region to establish provision of new standards, test new markets or deliver different sector subject areas than they have previously delivered to City Region residents, to enhance the breath of provision available locally; and
  • The Combined Authority will seek to commission, via ESF, a Quality Improvement Fund, providing a package of support for Colleges and providers to improve the quality of apprenticeships.


Rave reviews for Sefton’s pool parties

Be Active’s ‘wave rave’ pool parties entertained hundreds of Sefton’s young people and families during February half term.

 The wave raves are part of the new swim offer heading to Sefton that will see a major revamp of pool time-tables, the sessions on offer and vast improvements to changing facilities at Dunes Splash World, Southport and Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull.

 More than 250 people from across Sefton enjoyed coloured pools, disco lights, music, floats and water cannons at Bootle Leisure Centre (BLC), Meadows Leisure Centre and Dunes Splash World.

 As a result of the huge success, the wave raves will be made a regular event across the three centres with those interested invited to book a place in advance to avoid disappointment.

 Brand new lighting and sound systems installed across the three centres have paved the way for a new era of pool based activities including wave raves, calm waters and a variety of sessions suited to all ages and abilities.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We have been blown away by the success of the wave raves with pools reaching capacity at BLC and Meadows!

 “The feedback from attendees has been incredible and I’m so happy that young people and families throughout the borough have found an activity that they can enjoy while keeping active at the same time.”

 Rave reviews of the parties have been sent back to the organisers. One happy resident said: “I would just like to say thanks again for the two brilliant wave rave pool sessions that my family experienced.

 “The floats were amazing and every child was encouraged to use the equipment and they were supervised in a safe, friendly environment.”

 There are more rave waves planned in Be Active’s Easter half term line-up. Call the Active sports team on 0151 934 4799 for more information or to book you place.

 In addition, wave raves will take place on the last Friday of every month at BLC and Meadows. Contact the centres for more information or to book a place at the next session.

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