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Sefton promises festive fun for all the family this Christmas!

A host of festive treats, fun filled activities and shopping bonanzas are in store this Christmas across our beautiful borough.

Sefton has already started to buzz with merriment as thousands of residents get into the Christmas spirits, whether it be sampling wonderful Christmas ice rink, donating to the Mayor’s Toy Appeal, enjoying a day out at our leisure centres or taking advantage of late night local shopping!

We’ve put together all the info you need to know to make sure you have the most wonderful time of the year!

Shopping

Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of South Road, the bargains of Bootle Strand, the boutiques of Lord Street, Formby’s Chapel Lane or Central Square in Maghull, Sefton is a huge shopping spree waiting to happen all year round.

And it’s no different at Christmas! A number of retailers across the borough are taking part in Late Night Shopping hours on Thursday evenings in the run up to Santa’s arrival, while local businesses are well prepared for a surge in present buying, last minute scrambles and a flurry of winter buys.

A host of Christmas chalets surround an incredible ice rink in the Town Hall Gardens, Southport from December 7 with yuletide treats galore!  The rink compliments Southport’s other vibrant shops, stunning Christmas lights and the amazing new 60 foot digital Christmas tree.

In Formby Chapel Lane is already buzzing with festive shoppers while South Road, Waterloo is the perfect place for a mouth watering meal and a warming drink!

You can book an ice skating session in advance by visiting www.visitsouthport.com

Toy Appeal

Christmas is a time for giving. And what better way than to donate to the Sefton Mayor’s Toy Appeal?

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, is asking as many people as possible across the borough to get behind this year’s Christmas gift appeal.

toyappeal

The annual request asks all residents in Sefton to try and provide presents for some of the borough’s most deserving children and make this Christmas extra special for them.

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

 

Splash World & Leisure Centres

Splash World is open as usual every weekend on the run up to the festive period until December 17.

During Christmas, Leisure Centres across the borough, as well as Splash World, will have a temporary change to its opening times.

To find a full list of festive opening hours for your local leisure centre, please click here

 

Sefton services throughout Christmas and New Year

Restricted services will be in place during Christmas and New Year as most Sefton Council staff are required to take unpaid leave as part of continuous cost-saving measures.

Similar to previous years, residents can still access a range of information and transactions via the council website – sefton.gov.uk.

Emergency contacts on December 24, 27, 28, and 31 between 9am-5.30pm:

Children’s Social Care: 0151 934 3114
Adult Social Care: 01704 704389 (North)
Adult Social Care: 0151 529 3761 (South)

For Social Care emergencies at all other times call the Emergency Duty Team 0151 934 3555

This includes checking bin collections, applying for licences, reporting environmental issues or paying Council Tax and business rates.

As a result of the unpaid leave, to be taken on December 24, 27, 28 and 31 most council buildings will be closed, contributing to significant savings as part of the budget setting process.

Services that will continue to operate include critical social care services for adults and children, a limited street cleaning service, Registrars, domestic and commercial waste collections and urgent highways issues, including gritting.

Residents are also being encouraged to recycle as much waste as possible and use the household waste recycling centres across the borough.

Similar to other years, the green wheelie bin collection for garden waste will be suspended from the end of November and will return in March, 2019.

Some Sefton Council-run leisure centres will be open at varying times during these dates and users are advised to check here for opening times.

Merseytravel is once again offering free bus services on Christmas Day, to help people make hospital visits or to spend time with their friends and family.

Buses will operate a limited service from around 12 noon until around 6pm on routes serving hospitals across Merseyside.

A list of social care emergency phone numbers is attached below (see notes to editors).

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, said: “The Christmas shutdown has been in operation for a number of years now and it contributes to the savings we have to make due significant reductions in Government funding.

“Over the course of the financial year, our hard working staff have their pay reduced in order to take four days unpaid leave.

“Other savings from the closure period come from the reduced need for heating, lighting and running buildings, equipment and vehicles. This all helps contribute to the £64m of saving we need to make a balanced budget by 2020.

“While reduced services are being operated, we will still maintain key services for some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities. However, it is still clear to see that austerity is not over and the harsh Government cuts are still biting us with a noticeable impact on our residents.”

To access a range of service and transactions online, visit sefton.gov.uk. An automated phone service will be in place between December 22 and January 1, 2019 (inclusive) on 0345 140 0845 and most service requests will only be actioned beyond January.

 

School Children Plant Time Capsule at new look Play Area

Pupils at Kew Woods primary school in Southport have planted a time capsule to help mark the planned opening of a new look play area they helped design.

The time capsule was planted by pupils on the school council to mark the construction of Ovington Drive play area in Kew – right outside the school gates.

Earlier this year, pupils worked closely with Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team to come up with a number of designs and suggestions for a revamped Ovington Drive play area.

Their ideas were presented to the surrounding community and have now been realised with the new play area set to open shortly.

It will consist of a newly designed gated area with swings, slides and other play equipment aimed at younger children, costing more than £43,000 to build. Money came from a number of sources including the school PTA, Sefton Council and Kew ward Section 106 funds.

The metal time capsule, which includes items of school clothing and the school logo, a letter from the school council about what they love about the year 2018, and photographs of pupils along with details about their aspirations for the future, is set to be opened in 100 years-time.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We were delighted with the response from children at Kew Woods who came up with a wealth of fun, interesting and quirky ideas for the new look Ovington Drive play area.

“Those ideas have now been realised with the planned opening of a fun and vibrant play area that is inclusive and welcoming for all which I’m sure will be well used.

“By planting the time capsule it will be a lasting memory for everyone who has been involved in this important project.”

Christina Jackson, headteacher at Kew Woods primary school, added: “We have been fully behind this project and it was a great idea to get pupils thinking on what to put in the time capsule to mark the opening of the new play area.

“Things will change so much in 100 years-time but we want whoever opens the capsule to get a real understanding of what life was like at Kew Woods primary school in 2018 and how the play area has an important part in our community.”

Council’s ambitions for Sefton recognised in independent review

Sefton Council has shown it demonstrates real ambition for Sefton and has a strong track record of partnership working and place leadership, according to the Local Government Association’s (LGA) peer review team.

The six-strong team of expert local government officers and councillors were invited in by the Council and spent four days in Sefton during September talking to over 140 staff, councillors of all parties, and public and private partners.

They considered five core themes: understanding local context and priority setting; leadership of place; financial planning and viability; organisational leadership and governance; and capacity to deliver.

Their independent findings, which are being presented to Cabinet on Thursday November 29th, praised the Council for listening to and serving its communities well through a challenging period of austerity.

They also highlighted the Council’s knowledge of Sefton, combined with strong political and managerial leadership and successfully managing a 51% reduction in grant funding through effective budget planning.

Throughout the review, the peer team commented on how impressed they were by the energy, commitment and appetite for change held by the workforce which they felt put the Council in a strong position to continue its transformation journey and effectively play its role in achieving the Sefton 2030 vision.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “The Peer Review provided us with a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Sefton and all the things we have done that we are proud of, despite difficult financial challenges. We are very much a listening Council, with clear ambitions for our communities and I’m glad that this has been recognised by the team.

“I know I’ve said it before but I must reiterate how amazed I am by how passionate and adaptable our workforce is despite constant change and how they continue to strive to provide the best services they can to our communities despite these challenges. I’m delighted that the Peer Review team have highlighted it in their report findings.

“Their independent check on how we are doings in terms of planning for and delivering for the future has provided us with confidence that we’re definitely on the right track. Their suggestions going forward will support us our continuous journey of improvement and will help us deliver the best services to local people.”

A Peer Review is not compulsory and provides an informed and independent assessment of a Council’s direction of travel and makes recommendations for its future improvement and learning.

The Peer Review team has suggested some areas for the Council to consider in the full feedback report, which includes prioritising the refresh of the core purpose, accelerating work on a local economic growth strategy and clearer parameters around commercialisation.

On Thursday, Cabinet will be asked to comment on the feedback received and authorise officers to develop an associated action plan to be considered by January 2019 Cabinet.

For a full copy of the report visit http://modgov.sefton.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=9379&x=1&

Sefton celebrates #SmallBusinessSaturday to honour borough’s brilliant businesses

Sefton Council is once again supporting Small Business Saturday to honour the many impressive independent traders who set up shop in the borough.

Small Business Saturday, which takes place on December 1, is a grassroots campaign to celebrate and recognise the hard work and dedication of restaurateurs, family businesses, small scale manufacturers, online entrepreneurs and corner shops throughout the UK.

The annual celebration comes hot on the heels of Sefton announcing more than half a million pounds in Business Rates support for local businesses.

As at October 31, 2018 the Council has been able to use additional European and government funding to assist 1,140 businesses in the borough to financial assistance.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Small Business Saturday and it gives us great pleasure to be able to help so many businesses keep their bills to a minimum through our business rates support.

“On Small Business Saturday, and throughout the year, we encourage as many people as possible to go out and support all types of small businesses in our thriving borough.

“At a time when our high streets are facing unprecedented challenges, we continue 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.”

For more information about Small Business Saturday visit www.smallbusinesssaturday.co.uk.

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