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Budding volunteers urged to visit networking hub

Budding volunteers and residents who want to make a real difference to their communities are being invited to a special networking event at the Atkinson, Southport.

As part of the 2018 Year of the Volunteer celebrations, residents and those interested in getting involved in the volunteering sector are being invited to visit the Atkinson from 12.15pm on Tuesday February 6 to learn more.

As well as finding out what 2018 has in store for the voluntary, community and faith sector, residents will also be able to learn how to get involved or get advice on what opportunities are on offer.

Existing volunteers throughout Sefton are also invited to attend the networking event to share their success stories and motivate others to also make a difference.

Volunteering also has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those who participate in it be it a beach clean-up or joining a Friends of Group in one of our amazing parks.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council cabinet member for Communities and Housing, said:

“In recognising the valuable role that volunteers play, it made sense that 2018 becomes the Year of the Volunteer.

“This theme will not only celebrate the vital work that volunteers do, but hopefully it will encourage other people to get involved as well.

“Throughout the year we hope to celebrate the valuable contribution that volunteers make, highlight the volunteering opportunities available in Sefton and increase the number of people who sign up to volunteering activities.”

All are welcome to attend and there is no need to book. For more information email communications @sefton.gov.uk

Intelligent cat’s eyes to improve Switch Island road safety

Intelligent cat’s eyes, which light up in response to changing traffic lights, are to be used for the first time at a motorway junction to improve safety for drivers.

Highways England is installing around 170 of the innovative LED road studs at one of England’s busiest motorway junctions – used by over 90,000 vehicles every day.

The intelligent cat’s eyes are being introduced as part of a £3 million project to improve journeys and safety at Switch Island in Merseyside, where the M57, M58 and 3 A roads all join together.

The LED road studs light up when traffic lights turn green so drivers can clearly see which lane they should follow. Cables under the road surface connect them to traffic lights through a nearby automatic controller unit.

The studs can be visible up to 1,000 metres away – far greater than traditional reflective cat’s eyes – and have been proven to help stop drivers drifting between lanes, reducing the risk of collisions.

 

Construction work on the Switch Island scheme, which is being funded by the government’s £220 million congestion relief programme, is due to start on Monday February 5 and is expected to take around a year to complete.

The scheme is designed to improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety, following 49 collisions at the junction in the past two years – an average of one every fortnight. New traffic lights will be installed at a height of over 5 metres – higher than HGVs and double-decker buses – so that drivers approaching the junction can clearly see when the lights are changing.

Other improvements will include changes to the road layout and lane markings, new barriers between carriageways, coloured high friction surfaces and better signs. And a new 400 metre shared cycle path will be created through the junction, which will link up with the existing cycle path alongside the A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road.

Jerry McConkey, Sefton Council’s Transportation and Highway Infrastructure Service Manager, said:

“We have worked closely with Highways England and Merseyside Police to look at the issues at Switch Island and develop improvement proposals.

“As a result, we are delighted that these important safety measures are about to be introduced with Highways England implementing the latest technology solutions. This will further improve safety and give drivers a much higher level of confidence when negotiating this busy junction.”

The new intelligent cat’s eyes which are being installed at Switch Island were designed by Oxfordshire-based company Clearview Intelligence. Managing Director Nick Lanigan said:

“The introduction of intelligent road studs, reacting to traffic light changes on a busy roundabout is a continuation of the traditional cat’s eye legacy but takes advantage of new technology available. The new studs have been proven to reduce lane transgression by over 50% in certain conditions so it’s a great way to help improve the safety for all road users.”

 

Story time returns to Formby Library

Story Time returns to Formby library next week with special guest author, the talented Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes.

Sally-Anne will be reading her book The Tiger Who Slept On The Stairs during two sessions at the Duke Street library on Saturday February 10.

The event is free but booking is essential. Sessions take place at 10:30am and 11:30am.

A spokesman for Formby Library said: “Sally-Anne is a full time English teacher at Alsop High, a mum of three and an accomplished author and storyteller.

She is also a member of the Society for Storytelling and has appeared at several festivals.

Her latest book, ‘The Tiger who slept on the stairs’ is inspired by a trip to France and as with all of her stories, ‘it really happened like this!’

“She will tell tales of France and Spain and will have her books available for purchase and signing on the day.”

To book please contact Formby Library on 01704 874177.

Countdown is on for 2018 Aintree Grand National!

With ten weeks to go until the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival, Aintree Racecourse announces that all grandstand areas and Festival Zone tickets for Grand National Day are sold out with only Steeplechase tickets still available for Saturday April 14.

This announcement comes one month sooner than last year which shows the demand and the ‘feel good factor’ for the greatest horserace in the world.

All grandstand and Festival Zone tickets are sold out, but Steeplechase tickets can still be bought through randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk for £29.

Aside from Grand National Day, tickets are still available for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival on Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions, Thursday April 12; and Ladies Day, Friday April 13. Limited grandstand seats and terraces are still available for both days but are selling fast.

For Grand National Thursday, tickets are available from £29 for Festival Zone and hospitality places are available from £125 plus VAT. For Ladies Day, tickets are available from £43 and hospitality from £179 plus VAT. Racegoers can purchase by visiting randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3001.

John Baker, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, said:

“We are delighted with the sales on Grand National Day and we are ahead on ticket sales over the three days compared to this time last year, which is excellent. I’d urge racegoers to get their tickets quickly for both Grand National Thursday and Ladies Day so they don’t miss out.

“We’re all excited about the Festival and are working extremely hard to provide racegoers with the best possible experience over the three days. We’ve listened to customers and are continuing to improve many areas including toilets and seating across the site. It’s not just about selling tickets, we want racegoers to really enjoy themselves at one of the best horseracing Festivals in the world.

“With the quality of horses being entered into the Grand National race as well as across the Festival, it’s three days of fun and top class racing that’s not to be missed.”

Tickets for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival are available to purchase at www.randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3001. Racegoers can also buy tickets directly from the sales office at Aintree Racecourse.

Advocacy groups merge to better help people in Sefton

Two groups designed to help a number of people across Sefton have merged to form a supergroup.

Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre and Sefton Advocacy are very pleased to announce that they are merging and that the new larger charity will be known as Sefton Advocacy.

Following a period of talks and consultation, the two charities decided that in order to keep providing high quality advocacy services to the people of Sefton it was in their best interests to merge and become a larger, single charity.

Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre is currently a leading force in the field of older peoples’ advocacy projects, as one of the largest independent charities with an exceptional local and national reputation.

They have over 20 years’ experience of supporting the voice of older people with specific focus on people living with Dementia, Older people affected by Cancer, Housing & Care Projects and facilitating five older peoples’ forums across Sefton.

Sefton Advocacy’s expertise lies in the fact that it continues to be the only generic service within the Borough that offers one-to-one advocacy, help, information and advice.

Alison Ayres, Service Manager of Sefton Advocacy, said

“We have seen a growth of referrals with many more residents turning to our volunteer led service for support throughout the year. As a charity, we offer a wide range of benefits to ‘Our Sefton Community’, ensuring that there is a long-established service for anyone with a problem to access.

“The merger has come about in order to ensure that all residents of Sefton can continue to have the support of Advocacy.

“In these times of austerity, the board’s of both organisations decided that to take advocacy forward in a sustainable way it was in everyone’s best interest to merge. The new charity will be a single place of contact for Advocacy across Sefton and has the potential to develop new and innovative projects and areas of support.

“Providing the most vulnerable with an independent voice can have a transforming effect upon the individual and the wider community. A merging of these two organisations will strengthen this service and voice for Sefton residents.”

Andrew Booth, Director of Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre and the new CEO of Sefton Advocacy, added:

“The support of Advocates and the strategic role for Advocacy Organisations are needed now more than ever.

“This merger will help us provide more one to one independent support for our communities, across all age groups and enable us to grow to meet the needs we, and our population, are identifying.”

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