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Mayor launches plea to find family of Seaforth war hero

The Mayor of Sefton is asking for help to trace the family of a Seaforth World War One hero.

Arthur Evans received the Victoria Cross after an incredible act of single-handed bravery under heavy German fire in France, 1918.

On the day in question Lance Sargeant Evans’ patrol spotted an enemy machine-gun on the east bank of a river.

Heroically Evans volunteered to swim across and singlehandedly forced four German soldiers to surrender after shooting two others.

Later Evans’ fellow soldiers came under fire and he again, singlehandedly, used cover fire to help withdraw the injured.

Little is known about Arthur’s life away from the battlefield and he sadly passed away in Sydney, Australia at the age of 45.

He is one of five local Victoria Cross recipients who are being honoured by Sefton Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government with special commemorative stones at civic memorials across the borough.

Ahead of Arthur’s stone being laid on August 31, the Mayor of Sefton is urging any members of his family to come forward to be a part of the service.

Cllr Dave Robinson, Mayor of Sefton Council, said: “We know Arthur was born and raised in Seaforth and after the First World War emigrated to Australia.

“All efforts so far to locate any family have proven unsuccessful and now we are hoping a public appeal may bring to light any existing family who still live in the area or perhaps further afield.

“Arthur was a true hero and his actions on the battlefield of Etaing, France, are something of legend.”

Any one who believes they may be related to Arthur Evans or knows more about his family are encouraged to email shaun.pimblett@sefton.gov.uk or call 0151 934 2062.

Sefton Council’s Southport Heritage project wins National Lottery support

Sefton Council has received initial National Lottery support for the Southport Townscape Heritage Project.

The Council managed to beat off fierce competition from 23 other submitted bids nationally to be one of only 5 areas within the UK awarded the grant.

The grant (which is made possible by National Lottery players), will fund a project which aims to:

• enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the Seafront so that the two become better integrated: and
• increase the levels of economic activity within the target area to reduce the number of vacant and underused properties.

The project will focus on historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade in order to complement the previously awarded Heritage Lottery Funded restoration of Kings Gardens and the recent £2m award from the Coastal Community funds for the pier.

Development funding of £70,100 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help Sefton in partnership with Southport BID progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £1.6m at a later date, which it is hoped will contribute to a combined funding pot of around £2.4m.

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, involving structural and external repair of historic buildings; the reinstatement of authentic architectural features (e.g. traditional shopfronts, windows) and works to bring vacant floor space in historic buildings back into use.

The project will also bring community and educational benefits to the town and in conjunction with partners such as Southport Civic Society and education and training providers, will include a programme for promoting the heritage of the town including education, training and skills development for the repair and looking after historic buildings. It is hoped that this will bring about significant volunteer opportunities.

The target area for the project is located within Lord Street and the Promenade Conservation Areas which includes a rich and nationally significant collection of historic buildings, layout and landscaping. This heritage is important to residents, businesses and visitors alike, contributes to the economy of the town as well as giving a strong sense of identity, local pride and community value.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Planning and Building Control, said: “Considering we were competing against other local authorities for this funding and how massively oversubscribed it is, the fact we are successful is a testament to the strength of our bid.

“This was a real team effort and involved a lot of hard work with our planning and conservation officers along with partners.

“The project will focus on the areas between Lord Street and the Promenade linking up the town centre with the seafront to build on the recent Heritage Lottery Funded restoration of King’s Gardens and the Coastal Communities Fund of £2m for Southport Pier.

“We strongly believe the money will enhance these links so that the two areas become more integrated while increasing economic activity with the aim of reducing the number of vacant, underused and poorly maintained properties.”

Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport Business Improvement District, said: “This is a great example of an effective and strong public and private sector partnership working together to attract external funding to Southport.

“BIDs aren’t just about delivering events and organising marketing and promotional campaigns. There is increasing evidence that investors and funding bodies are becoming more attracted to areas where BIDs operate and that has to be good news for the future development of our town”.

Southport Townscape Heritage Project has initially been granted round one development funding of £70,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £1,625,000.

Atkinson to put the spotlight on volunteering heroes

Sefton residents will be able to find out more about hundreds of volunteering opportunities across the borough at an upcoming event in Southport.

Volunteer Centre Sefton will be holding a Volunteer Fair at the Atkinson on Lord Street in the town from 11am until 3pm on Wednesday 6th June, as part of Sefton Council’s 2018 Sefton’s Year of the Volunteer initiative.

Volunteer Centre Sefton – which is part of Sefton CVS – has more than 40 years’ experience of helping local people to find the right volunteering roles, as well as offering advice to organisations who are looking to recruit volunteers.

Information on a wide range of opportunities will be available at the Volunteer Fair, from groups seeking green-fingered residents for gardening projects to organisations looking for people who can support families in crisis or ex-offenders.

Organisations attending the event will include the Friends of Kings Gardens, literacy charity Beanstalk, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Southport FC, the Orrell Trust and Sefton Community Learning Service.

Representatives will also be attending from Citizens Advice Sefton, Parenting 2000, Home-Start Southport and Formby and Merseyside Offender Mentoring.

Mike Howlett, Volunteer Centre Sefton’s Senior Citizenship and Volunteering Officer, said: “At this event we’ll be looking for people to join our existing volunteers in the borough who do such a fantastic job in terms of helping to improve the lives of thousands of local people.

“As well as being a good way to meet new people, volunteering can be tailored to the lifestyle of each individual – what you do, where you do it and how much time you give is totally up to you.

“We’re hoping for a very good turnout at this Volunteer Fair at the Atkinson. Our message to everyone is that communities across Sefton need your knowledge, skills and commitment.”

* Anyone unable to attend the event who would like information about the opportunities on offer can get in touch with Volunteer Centre Sefton on 0151-920 0726 or email info@volunteeringsefton.org.uk.

Day Centre puts the spotlight on dementia

A Southport day service for Sefton residents with dementia staged a series of special events recently in support of a national initiative to raise awareness of the condition.

Staff, service users and families at the specialist Brookdale Resource Centre in Ainsdale took part in a range of activities to mark Dementia Awareness Week which is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Highlights of the week at the centre – which is run by Sefton’s leading adult social care provider, New Directions – included two fun afternoons of reminiscence and musical memories.

One featured popular Southport vocalist Sophie Bennett, making a return visit to Brookdale with her wide-ranging repertoire of classic songs from the last half-century and beyond.

The second featured music from Remember When, the three-piece jukebox band of Bootle-based charity Sefton Opera, which provides health and wellbeing therapies to older people.

However, there was also a more serious side to the week, which included an information and advice event on dementia issues with representatives of the Alzheimer’s Society, and a training session on how to become one of Sefton’s many Dementia Friends.

Brookdale Manager, Salwa Moustafa, said it’s important for the service to lend its support to campaigns like Dementia Awareness Week.

She explained: “A key objective of this week’s events was to provide fun for our service users, and thanks to the efforts of our staff and the entertainers they all joined in and had a really enjoyable time.

“However, it’s also important to use national events like this to raise awareness of dementia in our area, and the effect it can have on local sufferers and their families, and in doing also challenge the stigma associated with the condition.”

Figures indicate that someone in the world now develops dementia every three seconds, and that by 2050 around 131.5 million people around the globe will be living with the condition.

Brookdale Resource Centre enables the carers of service users with advanced dementia to have an important respite break.

Clients enjoy a wide range of activities at the centre including arts and crafts, sensory stimulation and music and reminiscence therapies.

Southport BID launch new shopping directory for resort

Southport BID has launched a brand new shopping directory for Southport.   

The website shoppinginsouthport.com has been created as a sister site to VisitSouthport to capitalise on it’s high number of visitors and help promote the range of things on offer in the town.

The site, a directory of all Southport town centre shops allows shoppers to search any store by name or to explore to find what they are looking for and discover shops near them. 

The website will also list all the current offers and promotions and any upcoming sales. It will regularly feature news and updates from shops and brands across the town centre.

Shopping in Southport also has a great ‘Where to eat’ guide to help shoppers find the perfect spot for a coffee or lunch during a day’s shopping or the nearest bar for a cocktail at the end of it all!

Shoppers can also find out more and keep updated about latest sales, new lines in store and more by following Shop Southport on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or using the hashtag #shopsouthport

Hugh Evans of Southport BID says of the site “We wanted to create a site that pulled together all the great brands that Southport together with the superb independents that can be found throughout the town centre and help shoppers discover what is on offer if you explore!”

“The partnership with Visit Southport will really allow the site to reach as many people as possible and give the shops great exposure and help promote the town centre’s retail core alongside the tourist attractions. It is a great tool for businesses to promote offers and news and for shoppers to discover them!”

Head to www.shoppinginsouthport.com to find out more or follow on social media

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