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Mayor’s Toy Appeal: Make a family’s Christmas extra special

Sefton’s Mayor is once again asking as many people as possible across the borough to get behind this year’s Christmas gift appeal.

Each year thousands of kind hearted residents donate toys, gifts and stocking fillers to some of the borough’s most deserving children to make their Christmas extra special.

Gifts, for children of all ages, can be taken to either Bootle or Southport Town Halls or dropped off at any Sefton Council library or leisure centre by Friday December 21.

Residents can also donate at the Asda stores in Bootle and Central 12 in Southport. Gift tokens are particularly welcome to be given to older children.

All presents will then be distributed to children and young people throughout the borough by volunteers from Sefton Council and Sefton Children’s Trust on behalf of the Mayor.

Cllr Dave Robinson, the Mayor of Sefton, said: “Every year thousands of people who live or works in Sefton donate a present for the annual Mayor’s Christmas Gift Appeal.

“Their generosity is amazing and I’m hoping 2018 will be no different as we make Christmas that little bit more special for those less fortunate.

“Any donation is welcome and we are looking for gifts for all ages from babies and toddlers to teens.

“To ensure we can get the right gift to the right child may I please ask that the gifts be new and are left unwrapped.”

Letty Draper, ASDA Community Champion, added: “Please take the time to either donate an unwrapped new gift or toy in to the Christmas gift trolley at either of our Bootle or Southport stores.

“You can find the donation points by the in-store Christmas tree. Thank you for all your support and let’s make Christmas better by donating a gift.”

For further information on the Mayor’s Christmas Gift Appeal please call 07837863075.

Sovini Group receives Royal Gold Award for supporting the Armed Forces

The Sovini Group has been recognised for their support of the Armed Forces community in a ceremony in London, where they were presented with the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award by HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex.

On Monday 12th November, The Sovini Group received its Gold Award alongside 50 other organisations in a presentation at Lancaster House led by the Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson.

The award is the Ministry of Defence’s highest honour for organisations, and recognises their outstanding support for Reservists, Service leavers, wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the Cadet organisations and service families.

ERS Gold Awards 2018 at Lancaster House.

The Group was previously awarded Silver in 2017 and Bronze in 2016.

The property management and development group has a long standing commitment to the Armed Forces community. They work in close partnership with local organisations such as the Army Reserve unit 156 Regiment RLC, local veteran charities and Brunswick Youth and Community Centre.

The Sovini Group’s work with Liverpool Veterans HQ and Veterans in Sefton has led to over 30 local veterans being rehomed and in many cases saved from homelessness. As part of the rehoming process, the veterans are offered goods to help them furnish their new home and there is ongoing tenancy support for more vulnerable tenants.

The company also offers a volunteer placement programme, which supports veterans with their transition from the Armed Forces into employment within civilian life. Some of those who took part in the programme have gone on to get jobs within the Group, such as at Sovini Trade Supplies in Aintree.

The Sovini Group also employ a number of Reservists and support them through company initiatives such as an additional 10 days leave for training and unlimited unpaid leave if they are mobilised.

Dr Roy Williams, CEO of The Sovini Group said: “It’s an honour to achieve the Gold Award. By adopting the Armed Forces Covenant, we help to make sure the people who make huge sacrifices on our behalf receive the recognition and support they deserve in the workplace and the wider community”

Dave Smith, CEO at Veterans in Sefton, said: “It’s been amazing for us as a veterans charity to work with an organisation like The Sovini Group, who’ve put so much into the Covenant and reached Gold Award standard and put Service Level Agreements together to help veterans. It’s very refreshing to work with an organisation with that high standard and commitment.”

Private Tracy Newman, Customer Empowerment Officer, The Sovini Group said: “The Sovini Group has been fantastic from the very beginning supporting me in my Army Reserve journey. The flexibility they have given me has been invaluable. When I talk to other Sovini staff during Armed Forces partnership events I see real interest from colleagues and going forward I hope to encourage more staff to get involved.”

For more information about The Sovini Group, visit sovini.co.uk

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Sefton stands by veterans in need with £45,000 donation

Sefton Council is continuing its support of ex-armed forces personnel across the borough with a £45,000 contribution to the Veterans in Sefton (ViS) charity.

As part of the local authority’s ongoing commitment to reducing homelessness, Sefton has agreed to provide this funding to help assist ex-armed forces personnel who are homeless, or who are threatened with homelessness, to find accommodation.

£30,000 will now be handed to the charity in two stages, with £15,000 contributed in 2018-19 and £15,000 in 2019-20.

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This follows an initial £15,000 which was donated earlier this year from Sefton Council’s Combating Homelessness Budget.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Through its incredible work, Veterans in Sefton (ViS) have given immeasurable physical and mental support to ex-armed forces personnel and their families.

“ViS mentors are all ex service personnel and have a high understanding of Armed Forces culture and can understand all the difficulties that are presented in the transition from military to civilian life.

“So far mentors have been able to help 46 veterans to find a home, improve their accommodation or save them from eviction.

“This additional funding will go a long way in helping ViS continue in their efforts to combat homelessness within the veteran community. As a borough we have over 25,000 veterans living in Sefton and we want to do as much as we can to help them in any way possible.”

Dave Smith, CEO of Veterans in Sefton, added: ““We are very proud to be chosen by Sefton Council to deliver a solution to veterans’ housing issues and it is a privilege to be working together to help those in need.

“We would like to thank Sefton for all their help and continued support going forward.

For more information about the Veterans In Sefton charity and the work that they do visit www.veteransinsefton.org/

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Crosby’s Festive Switch On: All You Need To Know

Details have been revealed for Crosby Village’s annual Christmas Lights Switch on and Festive Fair.

Taking place on Saturday November 24, the incredibly popular fun day starts from 11am with a children’s funfair that runs throughout the day and into the early evening, while 24 local market stalls from across Sefton will be selling a selection of Christmas treats and presents until 6pm.

At 3pm Merchant Taylor’s Saxaphone Ensemble will start serenading the crowds before Bliss Radio take to the local airwaves with special guests from 4pm.

A performance from Waterloo and Crosby Theatre Company follows at 4.50pm and they will introduce members of the Liverpool Ceilidh band at 5.15pm.

The music continues with the Voice Pop Choir and Another Place Choir taking to the stage from 5.30pm and 5.45pm respectively. 

Make sure you find the best spot for 6pm when the big Christmas Switch on countdown begins and Crosby Village is bathed in the glow of festive lights!

#SeftonRemembers in Pictures: How Sefton marked 100 years since WW1

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Communities across Sefton fell silent on Sunday November 11 to mark the borough’s annual Remembrance services, as well as to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1.

The Mayor of Sefton, councillors and council officers all attended Remembrance Day services taking place across the borough.

They joined thousands of residents, veterans and dignitaries who remembered those who died in conflict.

Elsewhere tenants from One Vision Housing (OVH) along with members from local community groups marked the centenary of the end of WWI with a special ‘Time to Say Thank You’ event on Thursday November 8.

The event, named after the British Legion campaign, acknowledged and gave thanks to all those who served, sacrificed and changed our world.

Joining the celebrations at Bootle Firwood Cricket Club were current servicemen from the Royal Navy as well as ex-military personnel from Sefton Veterans and Liverpool Veterans HQ.

Amongst the 250 guests was the decorated war hero and OVH tenant, 99 year old John Shankland from Crosby. John was awarded France’s highest decoration, Legion d’Honneur, for his role in the liberation of France during WWII.

At the event, guests were treated to a champagne afternoon tea and live music from Liverpool Mezzo Soprano Danielle Louise Thomas and acclaimed singer Victoria Jones (Liver Bird).

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