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Sefton warns prospective tenants of rental property scam

Sefton Council is warning tenants in the borough to be vigilant after a renting scam was uncovered in Southport.

The local authority’s Trading Standard’s team are investigating after a rental property in the town was advertised on a popular classified advert website, in a bid to lure potential tenants into paying deposits overseas.

While the property was legitimately on the market via a local letting agent, it was also fraudulently placed online at a significantly reduced rental.

When a prospective renter made an enquiry to the online advert, they were told ‘the owner’ had emigrated overseas and they would be required to pay a large deposit before they could access the property.

It was then that the alarm was raised and Trading Standards began their investigations. 

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “As soon as we were made aware of this scam we have requested that the fraudulent listing be taken down and we are investigating the matter further.

“In this instance the person who was being scammed raised the alarm in plenty of time and thankfully did not part with any cash, but others may not be so lucky.

“If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is and we would encourage everyone to be vigilant.

“Trading Standards regularly receive complaints about scams across the borough, ranging from rogue traders and doorstep salesmen to phone calls and letters designed to trick people into providing bank details.

“If you suspect any kind of fraudulent activity please report it on the Action Fraud hotline via 0300 123 2040 or by calling the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06.

For more information on tackling fraud and spotting the signs, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/fraud.

Meet the Sefton mums pushing their way back into shape

New mums in Sefton are bouncing back into fitness with the help of Active Sefton’s Active Buggies.

Active Buggies is an energising fitness class that helps new mums kick start weight-loss, feel fabulous and meet like-minded mums. The best thing is that there’s no childcare needed and children of all ages can attend.

The buggy friendly classes make the most of prams as exercise aids with mums jogging, squatting and lunging their way back into shape.

Mums are invited to join the classes following their six week doctor’s check and the first session is free.

Led by Active Sefton’s trained fitness instructors, classes are tailored to meet specific fitness goals with alternate activities offered to meet different abilities.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It can be so difficult for new mums to juggle their new arrival with keeping fit and healthy.

“I’m so happy that there are classes like Active Buggies available in Sefton that can help women feel confident and make those first steps back into fitness.”

Kate Wilkie takes part in the sessions held at Dunes Southport. She said: “This is an awesome class! The instructor is so passionate about exercise that you can’t help but enjoy it. I really like that she’s a mum herself so she understands the challenges we face as new mums and never makes a big deal out of a meltdown or emergency nappy change!”

Anne-Marie Watson attended the classes following the birth of her first child and couldn’t wait to return after baby number two. She added: “This is a great class tailored for new mums and the best thing is that it’s child friendly.

“It has allowed me to meet other mums who are on a mission to gain confidence and get back to their healthy lifestyles. I love it!”

Classes are held at Litherland Sports Park, Meadows Leisure Centre, Crosby Lakeside, and Dunes Splash World. The full schedule is available online at https://www.sefton.gov.uk/activebuggies.

Watch this short video to find out more about what the sessions offer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA6vdaAVyqk

For more information contact the Active Sports team on 0151 288 6286 or request to join the Facebook group ‘Active Buggies’

Combined Authority Establishes Task Force to Tackle Poor Air Quality

At its meeting on Friday (16/11/18), the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority voted to establish a new Air Quality Task Force.

Made up of elected representatives from the city region’s six local authorities, as well as representatives from organisations across the city region, the Air Quality Task Force will work to raise awareness of the issue and make recommendations to progress action to tackle poor air quality.

The work of the task force will also help to deliver Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s broader environmental pledge to make the city region the greenest in the UK.

Speaking about the new task force, Steve Rotheram said: “Poor air quality is a national public health crisis which is shortening the lives of people across our city region, and disproportionately affecting the old and the young, those who are already sick, and our most deprived communities.

“That is why we have established this Air Quality Task Force, to raise the profile of this issue and help us, as a Combined Authority, to improve air quality in our city region.

“I have previously called on central government to take action in this area but we are determined to do all that we can as a city region to help clean up the air that we all breathe.”

Councillor Liam Robinson, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Air Quality, said: “We are already taking action, through practical measures, such as making it easier to walk and cycle safely, helping schools with travel planning and rolling out low-carbon vehicle technology, such as more car charging points.

“However there is more that we can do, particularly around transport, as nitrogen dioxide from vehicles is the main pollutant affecting people’s health.

“While we will do everything in our power to tackle air pollution we also need action from central government through measures such as vehicle scrappage schemes and funding for behaviour change programmes.”

The new Air Quality Task Force builds on recommendations made by the Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny committee, accepted by the Combined Authority earlier in the year.

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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