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Baroness Newlove to visit Sefton school for anti-gang initiative

A scheme which sees schoolchildren across Sefton receive vital advice and tips on staying safe from gangs and crime is being honoured by the government’s Victim’s Commissioner.

Baroness Helen Newlove will visit St Oswald’s Primary in Netherton later this month to observe the successful partnership between Sefton Council and the Get Away ‘N’ Get Safe (GANGS) initiative.

GANGS course leader James Riley, a former probation officer, works closely with Sefton Council’s Localities teams to deliver an intensive educational, preventative and diversionary programme to schools across the borough to warn young people on the dangers of gang lifestyle.

The work by GANGS and Sefton Council has now been recognised on a national level, with Baroness Newlove observing a session at St Oswald’s on January 25 as an example of best practice.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Through our Sefton Safer Communities Partnership we identified that there was a need for a project that could be implemented at an early stage to deter children from making bad life decisions.

“The impact that James’ sessions have had is incredible and we are always receiving feedback from schools and parents commending the work that GANGS have done

“We look forward to showing Baroness Newlove the incredible work we have done in our communities.”

James Riley, founder of GANGS, added: “The partnership between GetAwayNGetSafe and Sefton has developed incredibly well over the last few years.

“We want to use GANGS to inspire young children at an early age to make positive decisions about their lifestyles in the future.

“Through our early intervention work and by changing attitudes and behaviour, we will continue to make Sefton a safe and secure borough for all.”

Emma Murtagh, Head Teacher of St Oswald’s, said: “James has worked with a number of our pupils over the years and the partnership has been invaluable.

“The workshops are informative and provide an insight into the dangers of being in a gang, as well as how the law works.

“I hope that this work will continue to keep our younger generations from harm.”

For more information about the GANGS initiative please visit www.getaway-n-getsafe.co.uk/

Still time to give views about same day healthcare in south Sefton

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding people that there is still time to give their views and experiences about using and choosing different urgent care services when they need immediate or same day health advice or treatment.

The commissioner, which plans and buys the majority of healthcare for south Sefton residents, has been out and about encouraging people to get involved as part of a review of ‘urgent care’ services since early December 2018.

Urgent care includes services for physical and mental health problems ranging from pharmacies, GP practices, GP out of hours services, the NHS 111 phone line and website, walk-in centres, accident and emergency (A&E) departments/ and 999.

Up until 31 January 2019 the CCG is asking people to complete a questionnaire about these services for adults, children and young people. The information gathered will be used to help develop proposals for how urgent care could look in the future.

Dr Craig Gillespie, GP and acting chair for NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “From our conversations with residents over the past few years we know that some find the current range of urgent care services difficult to choose from and confusing. Sometimes when people don’t know which service to choose they use accident and emergency, which puts extra pressure on hospitals, and means that people might have to wait longer for their treatment.

“This review is the first step towards making sure that our services really meet local needs, so we have been encouraging as many people and NHS staff as possible to get involved and tell us what it’s like to use or work in these services and how they could be better and easier to choose from in the future.

“We’ve been out and about across south Sefton encouraging people to take part and would like to thank the organisations who have helped us reach residents so far, also a big thank you to those who have filled out a survey already.”

The review will also consider how new NHS national guidelines for urgent care services and the introduction of ‘Urgent Treatment Centres’ might be put into place in south Sefton.

NHS South Sefton CCG is carrying out its review with partners across north Merseyside as patients often use urgent care services across this wider area. So, the CCG is also encouraging residents in Southport and Formby who use urgent care services in north Merseyside to complete a survey.

Complete an online questionnaire and find out more on the CCG website: www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk

Healthwatch Sefton is helping us to make the questionnaire available to anyone who may find it difficult to take part online. So, for help to complete a questionnaire, request a paper version, or for another format call Freephone 0800 206 1304, email info@healthwatchsefton.co.uk or text 07434 810 438.

Is it time to ditch those stabilisers?

Sefton Council is excited to be bringing back our poplar, ‘Ditch Those Stabilisers’ cycling events.

During the session, children aged for and above can learn to ride a bike unaided.

Children who attend can have lots of fun, whilst learning lifelong cycling skills. The events, which take place a number of times throughout the year, always have a high success rate, as our enthusiastic staff from the highway safety team of a range of practical advice.

Sessions are free but you must book in advance.

Get involved at Litherland Sports Park, Boundary Lane on Tuesday, February 19 or Shoreside Primary School, Westminster Drive on Thursday February 21.

To register, call Sefton Council, on 0345 140 0845.

Sefton reaffirms commitment to tackling homelessness with updated strategy

Sefton Council’s commitment to tackling homelessness has been reaffirmed with an updated Homelessness Strategy for 2018-23.

The Homelessness Act 2002, requires every local authority to carry out a homelessness review in its borough every 5 years and use the results of this to develop and publish a Homelessness Strategy.

This is Sefton’s fourth review and builds upon the work of the first three carried out in 2003, 2008 and 2013.

homeless

A consultation was also carried out in 2018 including involvement with other statutory and voluntary organisations.

Today (January 10), Sefton Council’s Cabinet agreed to the Homelessness Strategy 2018-23 and will now develop an action plan with a number of key objectives.

This includes how Sefton Council will:
1. Monitor the current and future likely levels of homelessness
2. Resource a variety of activities to tackle homelessness
3. Do more to prevent homelessness
4. Secure accommodation for those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness
5. Support people who are, or have been, homeless

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, said: “After several years of hardship to Sefton residents as a result of the Conservative austerity agenda, tackling homelessness is one of our key priorities and the updated Homelessness Strategy will go a long way in tackling this very emotive issue.

“A stark reality affecting our communities shows that just under a quarter of all children in Sefton are living in poverty.

“Similarly, just over a quarter of all people aged 16-64 years living in Sefton are economically inactive.

“What really concerns me is that future levels of homelessness are likely to increase due to wider social, economic and housing market factors. A particular concern is that many people will not be able to afford to buy a home, putting further pressure on an already limited supply of affordable housing.

“The Sefton Homelessness Review paints a picture on homelessness issues locally, and the Sefton Homelessness Strategy sets out how to address these issues.

“From this we will now work on and develop an action plan to tackle this very worrying matter.”

If you have nowhere to stay or if it is unsafe for you to return home, or you will be homeless within the next 56 days, you should contact Sefton Council’s Housing Options Team on 0151 934 3541.

The team will assess your case and will be able to provide housing options advice for you and your family.

For emergencies out of hours contact Sefton Council’s Emergency Duty Team on 0151 934 3555.

Council to support those affected by decision to close Sand Dunes Nursery School

Sefton Council has vowed to ensure pupils and staff are fully supported following the decision that Sand Dunes Nursery School in Seaforth will close this summer.

The nursery has faced financial challenges for several years and the governing body at Sand Dunes felt they had no alternative but to formally ask Sefton Council to begin a statutory consultation to close the nursery.

After carefully considering all the information, Cabinet, at its meeting on Thursday, January 10, took the difficult decision to approve the closure of Sand Dunes Nursery.

Councillor John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said:

“I understand that this conclusion will be very upsetting for all those involved. It has been a very emotive time for everyone involved as it’s clear that it is a very much-loved nursery. I have been moved by the passion shown from parents and staff who have shown a huge amount of support for Sand Dunes remaining open.

“After spending a lot of time with the governing body and officers to explore every other option, there was just no other alternative to address the financial crisis the nursery is in. With no foreseeable increase in pupil numbers, increasing costs, and no way to balance the budget there was just nothing else that could be done.

“Our biggest priority now is to make sure parents are fully supported and that there will is no disruption to the education of the children who attend. I know that a small number of the children who go to Sand Dunes are vulnerable or have a special educational need or disability and we will make sure that their needs will be met when helping them to find alternative nursery places.”

To ensure everyone is fully supported when Sand Dunes closes on August 31st 2019, a closure project group will be established to address the many issues associated with a school closure. Support will also be provided for parents seeking alternative nursery places.

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