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Grants to help reduce social isolation

Local groups have been given a boost now that wellbeing organisation Living Well Sefton has launched the fifth round of the Community Resilience Grant.

Community groups and community-minded individuals are being encouraged to apply for funding for projects designed to get more people out of their houses and linking in with their communities.

Michael Swift, who runs Southport’s Stepping Stones social group for those with health conditions, was successful in securing funding from a previous round and said: “We wouldn’t have been able to do the drama without the funding and it has helped give people confidence and bring them closer together.”

Karen Nolan, co-ordinator of Living Well Sefton, explained: “The focus of our latest funding is about helping people get out and about so they feel less lonely. So we want to hear from community groups that have ideas on how to make this happen.”

The Community Resilience Grant has supported local communities with a range of projects from enhancing wellbeing through gardening or craft workshops to providing cooking classes that improve healthy eating.

There are grants of up to £2,000 for organisations and £500 to individuals, who are supported by a organisational partner. Grants are subject to specific criteria being met and will be approved by a judging panel. The deadline for applications is Friday, November 30.

Anyone interested in applying can complete the application form on the Living Well Sefton website where there are guidance notes on how to complete the form as well as the criteria for applying – www.livingwellsefton.org.uk

Paper versions of the application form can also be downloaded from the website.

Call the team direct on 0300 323 0181 or email LWS@seftoncvs.org.uk for further details.

Sefton Businesses receive more than half a million pounds in help with Business Rates

Businesses in Sefton have received more than half a million pounds from Sefton Council in rate support.

Enterprises across the borough that faced large increases in their businesses rates bills following a national revaluation in 2017, have benefited from additional relief to help keep their bills down.

In March, 2017 the Government made additional funding available to Sefton Council to assist businesses with their rates bills in 2017/18.

As at October 31, 2018 the Council has been able to use the additional funding to assist 1,140 businesses in the borough to financial assistance totalling £542,973 when the final relief payments were distributed. This represents 98.4% of the total available funding of £551,739 made available for businesses in Sefton.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “At a time when our high streets are facing unprecedented challenges, we are delighted to able to help so many businesses keep their bills to a minimum through this support.

“The money distributed across Sefton will help retain people in employment and make a significant contribution to the economic well-being of our residents.

“We actively support businesses of all shapes and sizes throughout the borough and will continue to do so enforcing our position that Sefton is well and truly open for business.”

Volunteers brave the cold to explore Sefton’s Sand Dunes

Wintry showers didn’t put off a team of green fingered volunteers, as they explored Sefton’s sand dunes last week.

 The Gems in The Dunes, series of talks and walks, ran a training day all about Bryophytes, the smallest plants on the borough’s coast.

The session took place at Ainsdale Discovery Centre on Thursday November 1.

 Green Sefton’s Land Management Unit Apprentices, also went along as an early part of their training. They are spending the next 2 years with Sefton Council, working towards an NVQ II in Horticulture, through Myerscough College.

 In the morning attendees learnt the theory behind Bryophyte conservation and were given training on how to survey Bryophytes including Bryums and Petalworts. The day also included lessons on identification, life cycle and habitat requirements.

 Afterwards the group donned their warm waterproofs and took a field trip to Birkdale to see the plants in their natural habitat.

 For more information about future training call 01704 571 575 or email gems-in-the-dunes@arc-trust.org.

Beyond the War Memorials launch

Sefton’s ambitious Beyond The War Memorials project has officially launched this week, with thousands of homes across the borough set to take part.

Created by the local authority’s Libraries team, and funded through a Heritage Lottery grant, Beyond The War Memorials aims to tell the stories of the heroes and heroines of conflict who are listed on memorials across the borough.

Almost 2,000 households in Sefton will now receive Last Post packs through their door, detailing the name and wartime heroics of the former occupant of their address.

It is hoped the campaign will inspire families to take up their own historical detective work and find out more about those who may have lived in their home and fought in conflict.

As part of the project, a dedicated website, created in conjunction with Southport web-design team 67-70 Media, has also launched detailing Sefton’s 11 Civic War Memorials and those names listed upon them.

School children from across the borough have worked closely with Sefton artist Angie Thompson to create images for the Last Post packs, and 15 local volunteers have worked alongside professional researcher Kathryn Rogerson to uncover the stories.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This is one of the most detailed, emotive and thought-provoking project we have ever done and we are incredibly proud of the hard work which has gone into it.”

“We want to highlight the brave men and women who gave their lives during conflict for the freedom from oppression that we enjoy today, we also hope that residents will treasure their packs and hand them on to future generations”

“Beyond The War Memorials is a living digital biography for most, if not all, the heroic residents of Sefton, who are listed on our Civic War Memorials.

“So keep an eye out for Last Post packs coming through your door and be sure to visit our Beyond the War Memorials website to contribute, learn and remember.”

Throughout the geographical area now known as Sefton, almost 4,000 men and women lost their lives during the Great War and their names are listed on one of 11 memorials throughout the borough.

To find out more visit www.seftonwarmemorials.org

Local schools feature on Children in Need single

Seven Sefton schools have come together with other schools from the region to sing and record a charity single in aid of Children in Need.

Pupils from Bedford Primary School, Freshfield Primary School, Formby High School, Redgate Primary School, Trinity St Peter’s Primary School, Valewood Primary School and Waterloo Primary School sang on a new track titled, ‘We Are All Stars’, which shines the spotlight on young people and celebrates their talents and learning gained through the world of education.

To help raise money for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK, the team behind the Educate Awards partnered with Formby High School’s senior assistant headteacher, Steve Cook and music technology teacher, Gary Heatherington, to write the song.

Schools were notified about the exciting opportunity and were encouraged to write in for a chance to take part.

After an intensive teacher training session and a month of top secret rehearsals, over 300 students from primary and secondary schools in Chester, Lancashire and the Liverpool city region, recorded the single at Parr Street Studios.

Cameras also captured the once in a lifetime opportunity so that a music video detailing the process will accompany the track at a later date.

Other schools that took part included; Bickerstaffe Primary School, Brownedge St Mary’s Catholic High School, Queens Park Primary School, Riverside Primary School, Saughall All Saints Primary School, and Whitefield Primary School.

The recording also features the voices from members of the G:Force Gospel Choir.

Kim O’Brien, founder of the Educate Awards, said:  “There is an incredible amount of talent within primary and secondary schools today and what better way to showcase this than with a song dedicated to Children in Need.

“Everyone worked so hard to make this unique song come to life and we’re thrilled with how it has turned out – they have really helped us put a spotlight on education in the North West.

“We’re looking forward to playing the music video at the Educate Awards ceremony on Friday 16 November which is also when Children in Need takes place.”

The song is available to download on iTunes and Spotify. All proceeds will be donated to Children in Need.

The Educate Awards, in partnership with Copyrite Systems and Ricoh, is now in its seventh year and is the largest education awards in the North West, taking place at Liverpool Cathedral.

Since launching in Liverpool in 2012, the awards has grown rapidly, now recognising schools and colleges right across the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

From inspiring teachers, superb support staff to innovative projects across the curriculum, the awards identifies the work of schools and colleges which are delivering outstanding education and helping students achieve their full potential.

For more information, visit:  www.educateawards.co.uk.

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