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Campaign highlights parent victims of loan sharks

Sefton Council is backing a campaign by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) which aims to bring awareness to the issue of how parents are affected by loan sharks.

The campaign is designed to shows the devastating effect illegal money lending  has on residents in the borough and beyond, in a bid to raise awareness of the rights of victims, and the help available to them.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The Council is fully committed to highlighting the issue of loan sharks so that we can tackle those responsible.

“By working with a number of other organisations, we can make sure that our resources are more effectively targeted to help victims or anyone affected by this illegal activity.”

Tony Quigley, head of service for the Illegal Money Lending Team added; “There are many misconceptions surrounding illegal money lending, in particular the ‘sort’ of people targeted and exploited by loan sharks.

 “We hope this new video will help to dispel some of those myths and encourage anyone affected by illegal money lending to get in touch, so we can help.

“We have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. We have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.

“The message is clear; you are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender, the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.”

To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 or text a report to 078600 22116.

Hundreds of volunteers help launch Green Sefton

Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help celebrate the launch of Green Sefton on World Oceans Day (June 8).

Litter picks and waterside clean-ups were held across the borough ahead of a special launch event at Crosby Coastal Park to welcome the formation of Green Sefton, a brand new team to help keep Sefton clean, green and beautiful.

Clean-ups were held at Southport’s Marine Lake, Ainsdale Beach and the Brewery Lane stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Green Sefton brings together Coast & Countryside, Parks & Greenspaces, Flooding & Coastal Erosion, Risk Management and Grounds Maintenance teams all together to ensure a joined up approach to the vital management, development and oversight of Sefton’s beautiful coastline, parks and green spaces for years to come.

Residents had the chance to meet the Green Sefton team who explained the work they will do, from land management and community engagement to vital work surveying the changing shape of Sefton’s coast and what this means to residents and visitors.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We want to to say a massive thank you to all the community groups, volunteers and green-fingered helpers who came out to help on World Oceans Day.

“Sefton is a clean, green and beautiful borough that is internationally recognised for its natural beauty and we will build on this through the work of Green Sefton and working closely with our volunteers.

“Green Sefton has been created to make sure we continue our focus on a collaborative approach to the management, development and oversight of our beautiful coastline, parks and green spaces.

“We believe this will also encourage more community cohesion, more involvement with our volunteers and residents, as well as eco organisations.”

For updates on Green Sefton events, activities and partnership opportunities, check out Sefton Council’s social media channels.

Record crowds flock to Southport Food & Drink festival

A record 36,000 visitors enjoying all of the delights of the 12th Annual Southport Food & Drink festival last weekend.

Food such as Persian lamb dishes, award winning oriental food, wild boar burgers, vegan food, waffles and chicken to name a few, were on offer from over 80 street traders.

Local producers were joined by businesses from over the North West and sold food such as cheese, pies, scones, brownies and fudge with many selling out each day and leaving with smiles on their faces.

As a family event the little ones enjoyed the children’s entertainment where there were regular magic shows, grass sports, face painting, slime making and crafts. Inflatables and water walking also provided plenty of entertainment.

Families and groups of friends attended the event and thoroughly enjoyed their visit with many setting up a picnic area on the grass and enjoying the entire day and beautiful surroundings of Victoria Park.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Record numbers of both visitors and traders enjoyed this year’s Southport Food and Drink Festival, which continues to be bigger and better each year.

“We had really good weather this, combined with an array of delicious food and mouthwatering drinks, led to a fantastic three days at Victoria Park.

“This is just the start of an exciting events programme organised by Sefton Council, with the Air Show taking place in July followed by the British Musical Fireworks Championship at the end of September – there really is going to be something for everyone.

“The excellent events programme coupled with other tourism activity demonstrates Sefton’s commitment to the visitor economy, with the determination to facilitate its growth across the borough.”

Sefton welcomes over 8.7 million visitors a year contributing over £518 million to the local economy.

Bliss to revitalise Southport Theatre in major investment project

Sefton Council has successfully engaged Bliss, a leading Hotel and Leisure company, to revitalise the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre (STCC) as part of a major investment in the town.

Bliss is already well established in Southport, owning and operating the Waterfront complex, which includes the Ramada Hotel, winner of the Hotel of the Year 2017.

The Council owned STCC, which adjoins the Bliss complex, is a crucial part of Sefton’s visitor economy as the primary conference venue. It is also the biggest theatre in the borough with a seated capacity of over 1,600.

The new plans for the STCC put it at the heart of the Bliss strategy to develop the Waterfront as one of the best and most vibrant coastal destinations in the UK attracting new investment, new visitors and providing a significant boost to the local economy.

This will include new facades and landscaping to create improved flow and visibility around the Waterfront and encourage 360’ usage of the complex and promenades.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We are totally committed to ensuring that the STCC has an ambitious future and are delighted that Bliss are confirmed as the new operator.

“Bliss are as ambitious as the Council for the waterfront area and we look forward to seeing great improvements in the overall quality of productions and increased conference numbers at the important STCC as well as wider enhancement to the whole waterfront.

“We strongly believe the STCC is a great asset for Sefton and a building that benefits visitors and residents in a key location in Southport.”

Robert Agsteribbe, Co-founder of Bliss Hotels and Bliss Investment Partners, said: “Together with Sefton Council, we will create a lively, world renowned Waterfront by stimulating growth and economic activity with everyone enjoying the next generation of elevated theatre entertainment with amazing new performance experiences.

“It is our shared ambition that this partnership will lead to Southport being a new leader in Leisure and Entertainment.”

Consider becoming a School Governor during Year of the Volunteer

Sefton Council is encouraging residents across the borough to consider becoming a School Governor as part of National Volunteers Week.

Serving as a school governor is a significant way of making a difference to your local community through what is both a challenging and rewarding role.

Now, as part of Sefton’s Year of the Volunteer campaign and National Volunteers Week (June 1-7) the Local Authority is encouraging a new generation of governors to take up the distinguished role.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “Becoming a school governor is a great thing to do, especially during the Year of the Volunteer.

“An ideal govenor has a committed interest in our children’s education, a desire to make a difference to their communities and the ability to work as part of a team.

“As well as attending meetings of the full governing body and committees with special duties, such as staffing, governors are encouraged to visit their school to see at first hand the different activities under discussion.

“There is no requirement to become directly involved day to day but many governors choose to visit their school to gain a greater understanding, perhaps by taking an interest in a specific subject or non-academic aspect such as safety.”

For more information or to apply to become a school governor visit www.sefton.gov.uk/beagovernor.

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