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Welfare support

Sefton Council is continuing to support some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents by earmarking more than half-a-million pounds to help them.

 Despite a continued reduction in support from the Government, the council has committed £500,000 to its welfare support scheme. The scheme was established to provide support for vulnerable, low-income families hit by unexpected financial crises, domestic emergencies and the impact of welfare reform.

 This funding will be monitored closely and may be re-evaluated if the demand for services exceeds the current budget. 

 The council has committed to continue to fund the administration of its local welfare services to ensure that those who need support are able to access it when support is needed. Financial resources will also be used to support Sefton’s helping hand service which manages the provision of essential household items.

 South Sefton and Southport foodbanks will also benefit from a tranche of the funding which will help the services to maintain the necessary levels of food and other items in response to referrals from the council’s local welfare scheme. In addition, a significant portion of the budget will help to support the provision of gas and electricity awards to applicants.

 Without this funding, many people across Sefton would not have access to vital hardship support, forcing them to go without or faced with no option but to take out high cost loans to pay for basics such as food, energy or furniture.
 
 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s telling that due to the Government’s austerity measures we are seeing an increase in residents who need additional welfare support. It is clear that food bank usage is growing and more and more people, including those who are in work, are finding it difficult to support themselves as a result of welfare reform.

“The Council has rightly set aside a significant budget to help keep essential welfare services running, but the hard truth is that even this extra financial support may not be enough for these vital services to meet the increased demand.”

 Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, added: “It is a shame that in 2018 we are still seeing so many Sefton residents who are finding themselves impacted by welfare reform and facing poverty.

 “Government cuts have meant that services that provide support to vulnerable people are finding themselves at breaking point and local charities are finding it increasingly difficult to cope and offer support.

 “It is so important for the council to ensure that its local communities are able to receive the support they need when they are experiencing severe financial hardship. We are doing all we can when sadly we know more needs to be done.”

Leading Sefton health figures say ‘no’ to sugary drinks!

Sefton Council is working with Food Active to promote the new GULP (Give Up Loving Pop) Early Years campaign called ‘Kind to Teeth’.

 The campaign aims to improve knowledge and raise awareness of the health risks associated with consumption of sugary drinks in under-fives. 

 Developed by registered nutritionists, the campaign has been launched as part of National Smile Month and is the UK’s largest and longest running campaign to promote good oral health.  

 Research shows that by the age of five, nearly a third of children had obvious decay in their milk teeth.  In another study, 12% of three-year-olds were found to have evidence of tooth decay having on average three decayed, missing or filled teeth – and sugary drinks are a major part of the problem.

 This is despite the fact that babies are only recommended to consume breast milk (or formula milk if necessary) until six months and then milk and water are the best sources of hydration for babies and young children.

 Sugar is not necessary for the diet, especially for children and when consumed in the form of sugary drinks, can cause a whole host of health issues, from tooth decay to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Lots of sugar can often be hiding in many baby juices and other sugary drinks marketed at the early years.  

 The Kind to Teeth campaign has been developed by registered nutritionists, dental health and early year’s specialists and forms part of the well-known GULP campaign.  It is aimed at parents of children under five years of age, to help promote healthier drinking habits in the early years and will involve a number of electronic resources for local authorities to utilise.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Improving the health of Sefton’s young children is a key priority for us, so I am very pleased that the Kind to Teeth campaign is being promoted in Sefton. 

 “Nearly a quarter of our 5-year-olds start school with dental decay and a quarter in Reception year are overweight or are an unhealthy weight by the time they start school. Tackling unhealthy drink habits in the early years is a crucial preventative measure to protect our young children against poor dental health and weight gain”

 Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley, added: “When children are young, we have a fantastic opportunity to influence healthy food and drink patterns, as habits are often established when children are young.  

 “This campaign will help to educate parents on the health risks associated with consuming sugary drinks in the early years, and emphasise that water is the best source of hydration for their young one. We hope it will help to influence healthy drinking patterns from the early years and throughout their growth and development into adulthood.”

Have your say on Sefton’s Equalities consultation

Residents and visitors still have time to have their say on Sefton’s Council’s updated Equality and Diversity Policy.

The refreshed Equality and Diversity Policy 2016 – 2020 helps set out Sefton’s approach to making sure all staff are equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills to meet the diverse needs of the borough.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This is a very important policy and we encourage as many people as possible to take part in our consultation.

“The policy sets out our approach to equality and diversity for the next three years and shows how we meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

“In everything we do as a council, we make sure that our services are accessible and that we encourage supportive and cohesive communities.”

Those wishing to have a say on the policy have until June 29 to make their views known.

A draft copy of the refreshed policy is available to view online via www.engagespace.co.uk/sefton or by calling 0151 934 3202

Ditch Those Stabilisers returns for Bank Holiday

Back by popular demand during the May half term school holidays, Sefton Council is proud to offer a number of ‘Ditch Those Stabilisers’ cycling events.

Children aged four and above can learn to ride a bike unaided at sessions in Litherland and Southport.

The events have a very high success rate and staff from the Council’s highway safety team will offer a range of practical advice to young riders and their parents.

Sessions are free but pre-booking is essential.

Join in the fun at Litherland Sports Park, Boundary Lane on Tuesday, May 29 between 9am-12pm or Shoreside Primary School, Westminster Drive on Thursday, May 31 from 9am to 12pm.

To register, call on 0345 140 0845.

Sefton Libraries help champion Dementia Action Week

Sefton Libraries service are helping to champion Dementia Action Week (May 21-27) with a number of special events across the borough.

A number of events, including a Memory Walk at Formby Library and a Chit & Chat reminiscence session at Netherton Library, will help mark the week of action which calls on all residents to help improve the everyday lives of those affected by dementia.

Residents are being encouraged to join library staff at the library on Duke Street, Formby on Thursday May 24 from 1.30pm for a leisurely walk through Formby Village.

Taking around an hour, the Memory Walk is designed to raise awareness of Dementia and Alzheimer’s as part of Dementia Action Week between May 21 and May 27.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Dementia Action Week is so important, especially in Sefton as a dementia friendly borough.

“One person develops dementia every three minutes, yet too many face it alone.

“This Dementia Action Week, we’re calling on everyone to take action to improve the everyday lives of people affected by dementia.”

“I encourage everybody to try and take part in some form of action to help a family member, a friend, anyone who may be affected some way by this horrible disease.

“If you would like to take part in our Memory Walk, staff and guests will, under a leisurely pace, walk through Formby village which will take around 60 minutes.

“Please come prepared for all weathers! There will be tea and coffee on return to Formby Library.”

Anyone interested in joining the Memory Walk is asked to arrive at Formby Library from 1:15pm on Thursday May 24.

Over at Netherton library, residents are warmly welcomed to take part in a Chit and Chat reminiscence session on May 22 from 2.30pm.

All other Sefton libraries will have a specially selected display of ‘Book on Prescription’ which support people who are living with or affected by memory loss.

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