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‘Open’ For Refuse Collections

Bin collection days for residents who live near Royal Birkdale golf course in Southport will not change during the Open Golf Championship.

Letters have been issued to more than 888 properties near the course informing them that their brown bin collection and food caddies will take place as usual on Thursday, July 20. 

The prestigious Open Golf Championship runs from Sunday, July 17 with four practice days followed by the actual tournament which is scheduled to finish on Sunday, July 23.

Residents are asked to leave their brown bins and food caddies within their boundary wall and collections will take place between 8pm-10pm on July 20.

Normal kerbside collections will continue after the golf championship and any green bin collections scheduled on Monday, July 17 should not be affected.

For further information on the Open Golf Championship and bin collections, visit sefton.gov.uk.

Tobacco seized in North West

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco across Greater Manchester and Merseyside uncovered nearly two million cigarettes and more than 80 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, all believed to be illicit.

Around 120 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from local council trading standards, police, and British Gas, visited 82 retail premises and eight self-storage units on 28 and 29 June.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco being seized and other potential offences being detected at 26 premises. This included:

  • 1,815,960 cigarettes, with an estimated £453,241 duty and VAT evaded
  • 83.3 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £21,343 duty and VAT evaded

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.4 billion a year. By combining intelligence and resources with other agencies we are able to disrupt suspected criminal activity including but not exclusively tax evasion. These offences undermine legitimate traders and we want to level the playing field for all businesses.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact us on 0800 788 887.”

In addition to the HMRC tobacco seizures:

  • Eight properties were targeted on suspicion of energy theft by British Gas’ revenue protection team, with more than £40,000 of energy thought to have been stolen from four of the properties alone
  • a cannabis farm including 29 plants was dismantled in Liverpool
  • one van, being used to transport tobacco that was believed to be illicit, was seized
  • each premises where a suspected offence was detected will now have the business accounts audited and the owner and employees may be subject to personal financial scrutiny by HMRC.

Andy Norman, Head of Customer Services Field Collections, British Gas, said: “Electricity and gas theft in homes and businesses is a serious issue, which places lives at risk and adds unnecessary costs to customers’ bills. This latest joint operation proves, together, we can tackle energy theft more effectively.

He added: “I’d urge anyone who suspects cases of energy theft in homes and businesses in their local community to call our British Gas tip-off line on 0800 587 2737.”

Pupils Practice Their Putting Skills

Primary school pupils from across the borough got into full swing ahead of the Open Golf Championship heading to Southport later this month. 

Sixteen schools took part in a mini golf tournament at Greenbank High School, just a short pitch away from the famous Royal Birkdale course which will host the 146th Open in July. 

The special tournament was organised by Greenbank High School to leave a lasting legacy of the golf championship for young people across the borough. 

Schools involved included: St Philip’s CofE, Kew Woods, St Andrew’s CofE, Trinity St Peter’s, Norwood Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes, Thomas Grey, St Luke’s, Holy Trinity, St John’s Primary, Farnborough Road, Bishop David Sheppard, Holy Family, Churchtown Primary, Linaker Primary and Birkdale Primary.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Regeneration and Skills, said:

“It was great so many young people took part in the mini golf tournament at Greenbank High School – just yards away from Royal Birkdale. 

“We want the legacy of the Open Golf Championship to be a lasting memory for as many people as possible, especially young people.

“Playing in a tournament like this and seeing the world’s best golfers head to Royal Birkdale will hopefully ingrain a passion for the game or any other sport for many young people.” 

Following two golfing sessions on Greenbank’s astro-turf, run in partnership with Elite Sports Academy, St. Luke’s in Formby won the morning event and Holy Family Catholic Primary from Southport were crowned champions in the afternoon. 

Ian Raikes, headteacher at Greenbank High School, added:

“As part of Sefton’s commitment to ensuring a legacy is left to hosting The Open Golf Championship at Royal Birkdale, we thought it would be great way to bring schools together and celebrate this sporting spectacle.

“The mini tournament was an astounding success with pupils able to see the venue of this major world sporting event in the background giving them instant inspiration.” 

Children aged under 16 years of age will once again be admitted free of charge to The Open with a paying adult. For tickets visit TheOpen.com.

Sefton 4 Good Appeals for Support for Free Summer Holidays Meals for Children Scheme

A Sefton charity is appealing for community groups and individuals to support a scheme to provide free summer school holiday meals for children across the borough.

Fundraising initiative Sefton 4 Good, which is managed by Sefton CVS, says that many families find the holidays difficult because they rely on the free school meals their children receive during term time.

As a response to this situation, organisers are looking to co-oordinate a borough-wide network of local voluntary organisations and community venues who will be able to plug the gap by offering free meals to children and young people aged between five and 18 in the holidays.

Seven local organisations have already pledged their support to the scheme – two in Bootle, one in Litherland, two in Crosby and a further two in Southport.

Now Sefton 4 Good are appealing for specific support for this initiative and have set up a dedicated BT MyDonate page in a bid to generate crowdfunding support for the initiative. Donations can also be made by phone by texting SEFT44 followed by the amount to 70070.

Funds raised in these ways will help groups with purchasing supplies of food and drink, and organisers are also appealing for volunteers to help in the initiative. 

Volunteers are needed to help prepare and cook meals, and also to assist with running activities at the various centres across the borough.

Nigel Bellamy, Deputy Chief Executive Sefton CVS commented: “This scheme aims to provide much-needed support to disadvantaged families who can face real financial problems in the school holidays.

“We’re hoping for a really good response from community groups and individuals, to enable us to provide a free meals service in as many borough locations as possible.”

Organisers are also looking for support and donations from local businesses for specific food supplies and equipment, and those who can support are asked to contact Sefton 4 Good for full details of what is needed.

* Groups or individuals who want to get involved, or for those wishing to make a donation, can contact Sefton 4 Good by ringing 0151 920 0726 or by visiting www.sefton4good.org.uk.

King’s Garden for The Senses

A new sensory garden has been created within the community area of King’s Gardens in Southport thanks to the hard work of local volunteers. 

The ‘Friends of King’s Gardens’ group worked together the Green Machine – which is made up of representatives from Holy Family, Holy Trinity, Meols Cop, and Linaker Primary School to plan, design and plant the garden for everyone to enjoy. 

As part of the project the children learnt about the five senses and how these could be applied to create a unique sensory garden. Sefton Council’s parks and greenspaces team supported the project and a detailed plan was developed.

The sensory garden includes grasses to make gentle sounds when the wind blows, herbs that smell of coca cola, curry, peppermint, and lavender, strawberries to taste, flowers to create a stunning visual effect, and touch boards that were made by the pupils with objects from Sefton’s coast.

The garden is open every day and can be easily accessed via a ramp at the end of the Lower Promenade. For more information about King’s Gardens visit www.kingsgardens.sefton.gov.uk or find the Friends of King’s Gardens Southport on Facebook

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