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Don’t be afraid to ask when it comes to sexual health advice

This week (24–30 September 2018) is Sexual Health Week, with the local NHS telling us to ask for advice if we have questions or concerns.

In 2017, there were more than 400,000 diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) made in England.  During the same time, one in 10 sexually active 16-24 year olds also admitted that they never used a condom.

Colette Page, practice nurse lead at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport & Formby CCG, said: “It’s so important that we practice safer sex – not using protection can lead to STIs as well as pregnancy.

“It’s also good to remember that some infections never show any signs and can go completely undetected unless tested for.

“This is why we advise you are screened regularly – before you have unprotected sex in a new relationship or after having sex with a new partner without using a condom.

“Most STIs can be treated easily, so don’t be scared of having a test and getting a positive result. However, if you leave an STI untreated it could go on to cause infertility and other complications.”

Another focus of this year’s awareness week is to highlight the issue of consent – non-consensual sex is a criminal offence and is punishable by law.

Overall, good communication throughout, between sexual partners is key to making sure consent has been given and neither partner has changed their mind.

Colette Page added: “If someone has forced or persuaded you into a sexual situation you are uncomfortable with, there is help available.

“You are not alone, there is help and support for you and you should never feel like it is your fault.”

The Sefton Sexual Health Service is free and confidential for everyone, offering walk-in or appointment clinics and designated under 25 only sessions.

Services provided include all contraceptive methods, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatments including HIV, free condoms and pregnancy tests.

For more information go to www.seftonsexualhealth.co.uk or call 01695 656 550.

You can call the national sexual health helpline free on 0300 123 7123 where your call will be treated with sensitivity and in strict confidence.

You can find out more about sexual health, on the NHS website – www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health

Counterfeit One Direction perfume case ends in successful prosecution

A recent court case involving counterfeit goods seized in Sefton was only ever going to end in one direction, thanks to the dedicated work of the local authority’s Trading Standards team.

Sefton has welcomed the successful prosecution of a Formby man after he plead guilty to the manufacture and possession of counterfeit goods potentially worth around £1million.

In 2016, Sefton Council’s Trading Standards team seized vast quantities of materials and packaging capable of producing approximately 2000 Jo Malone candles and 80,000 bottles of One Direction perfume, from an industrial premises in Formby.

It was thought the goods were destined for car boot sales up and down the country in the lead up to Christmas.

Christopher Costello, aged 48, was arrested in connection with the offences and pleaded guilty to four offences at Sefton Magistrates Court on September 17.

He was sentenced to 9 weeks custody, to be suspended for 12 months, and has been made to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

He will also have to pay £715 in costs and victim surcharge.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “I am delighted at the outcome of this case and would like to thank our hard working Trading Standards team who have worked tirelessly from start to finish on this investigation.

“Importantly, this not just about inferior quality merchandise but also about public safety and making sure that the products you purchase are safe.

“We continue to warn the public to be wary of any potential counterfeit goods as there have been serious safety concerns with candles and perfume in the past.”

Anyone who suspects the manufacture or sale of counterfeit goods should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Next phase of Southport Pier improvement works set to begin

The next phase of multi-million pound improvement works on Southport Pier is set to start in October.
Phases one and two of the Pier project are now complete which includes extensive structural repairs and painting – all completed ahead of programme and below budget.

More than 800 individual repairs have been completed by a specialist contractor and the work has also seen the construction of a new kiosk on the Pier incorporating seating and improving the overall offer of the Grade 2 listed building.

The third phase will begin on October 1 and will see the construction of a second retail kiosk, essential power upgrades, a refurbished pavilion and timber decking repairs.

The work is scheduled to run until the Christmas period and during this time the seaward pier and pavilion will be closed to the public from the halfway house to the pavilion. The landward section will remain open to the public, including the recently completed kiosk.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This important improvement work on Southport Pier is really starting to take shape.

“The first two phases went really well coming in under budget and ahead of schedule so we are delighted the next phase will start in October.

“While not all of the Pier will be open during the next phase, we believe it is a small price to pay for what will be crucial to this important scheme.

“Hundreds of thousands of people visit Southport Pier every year boosting the local economy and this whole scheme will secure an important landmark for generations to come.”

The final phase of works planned in 2019 will see improved access and restoration of the Marine Lake railings.

The £2.9 million project is funded via The Coastal Community Fund and Sefton Council.

Get a first look: full-size replica of new Merseyrail trains on public display

People from across the Liverpool City Region are being invited to come and experience the new trains coming to the Merseyrail network.

A realistic, full-scale mock-up of one of the train carriages will be on public view on the Wirral and in Liverpool City Centre.

The detailed and lifelike replica train is fully interactive, with working doors and an automatic sliding step which will bridge the gap between the train and platform edge, making the network more accessible to all users – including wheelchairs users.

Visitors will be able to walk along the open and spacious aisles, try the new wider seats and even take a look at the state-of-the-art technology inside the driver’s cab.

Staff will be on hand to talk through the features of the new trains, designed and built by Swiss company Stadler.

These features – chosen with the input and guidance of Liverpool City Region residents and rail network users – include phone charging points and bike racks.

The mock-up trains will be on display
• Pacific Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1LJ: 1-14 October, Mon-Sun 8.00 to 17.30, Tues 8.00-19.30
• Liverpool Lime Street, L1 1JD: 5-18 November, Mon-Sun 7.00 to 18.30

More information can be found at the following link: merseytravel.gov.uk/newtrains

Take control of your energy bills with the Merseyside Collective Switch

Switching your energy tariff with the Merseyside Collective Switch is both quick and easy, and it could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

Run by local charity Energy Project Plus, in partnership with your local authority, the Merseyside Collective Switch aims to negotiate the cheapest energy tariff on the market, available exclusively to its members.

Once you’ve registered, you will be able to access exclusive offers and can make sure you’re not missing out on a great deal on your energy.

Most of the big suppliers have increased their prices this year. If you haven’t switched recently you may be on your suppliers most expensive tariff. There are savings to be made by shopping around, and you may find a better deal with your existing supplier with no disruption to your service or billing.

The winning tariffs have often been the cheapest on the market, so better than you could get elsewhere. Previous winners have included Big 6 suppliers such as British Gas, E.on, SSE and EDF Energy as well as smaller suppliers such as Ovo and Green Energy.

Offers have been included for prepayment meter (or pay as you go) customers as well as direct debit and pay on receipt of bill customers, so there’s something for everyone.

The Merseyside Collective Switch also includes a full market comparison, so if the winning deals aren’t right for you, you can find one that is.

The service is free, and there’s no obligation to switch if you decide not to.

It only takes 15 minutes to switch and members saved an average of £260 a year on their energy bills in our last Autumn Collective.

Registration for this round closes on 23rd October.  We will then contact you to let you know about the deals that have been negotiated for the group.

To join the Collective Switch visit www.LCRenergyswitch.co.uk or call the local Save Energy Advice Line on freephone 0800 043 0151, where you can also get other free and impartial support to help you save energy at home.

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