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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.

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.

New Sefton base for Police Community Support Officers

A team of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from Merseyside Police has moved in to a new base at Magdalen House as part of Sefton Council’s move to locality-based working.

PCSOs Emma Cooke, Anthony Holden and Helen Holt will work from the ground floor of Magdalen House alongside a range of council services focusing on early intervention and prevention.

Magdalen House PCSOs Emma Cook Anthony Holden and Helen Holt

This way of working will allow the council and its partners to share information, resources and data more collaboratively. The PCSO team will also be able to work from agile suites at Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall.

Formerly based at Marsh Lane Police Station in Bootle, the PCSO’s relocation to Magdalen will see them collaborate with colleagues across the council to help children, families and vulnerable adults in Sefton tackle problems at an early stage.

Their immediate focus will be to identify people who regularly contact Sefton Council and Merseyside Police for help.

Emma Cooke, who has served as a PCSO for 10 years, says the team are already seeing the benefits of working at Magdalen House after moving in eight weeks’ ago.

PCSO Cooke said: “It’s great to be part of a big team and be able to share information immediately with partners. The aim of the Early Help plan is to work together to help our communities become more resilient, and having a base at Sefton Council means we take a more joined-up approach.

“Everyone at Sefton has been really welcoming and we are looking forward to getting to know everyone in the different teams.”

PCSO Helen Holt said the move will help all partners focus on the needs of local partners and communities more cohesively. She said: “Working together will help us identify areas of demand and allow us to share that information quickly with teams at Sefton Council.

“We’ll be able to cooperate and offer a service that is structured, focussed and tailored to the needs of the community.”

Anthony Holden, who has served as a PCSO for three years, says he is enjoying being in the new environment and is looking forward to closer partnership working. He said: “We already feel at home in Magdalen and it’s great to working with colleagues at Sefton as part of a ‘one-team’ approach.

“We hope our work will help reduce demand and allow us all to work smarter together for the benefit of individuals and families across Sefton.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:” This move will really help us work as one team with partner agencies, to share resources and information to make us more resilient and effective.

“Having the PCSOs in Magdalen House means we can easily work together to help vulnerable people across Sefton, getting them help at an early stage to prevent their problems from escalating and ensuring they are well supported.”

Can you make a difference to a vulnerable teenager’s life?

Sefton Council has launched a recruitment campaign to attract foster carers interested in looking after teenagers.

The Council has created new specialist teen foster carer roles and is looking for people who can provide intensive one-to-one care to some of Sefton’s most vulnerable young people who would otherwise be placed in residential care.

A package of support has been developed to reflect the complexities of this challenging but rewarding role, which includes a bespoke training package, peer support and competitive pay.

Council John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:

“There are many different reasons why a teenager has come into our care. Most will have had a difficult start to their life, often including problems related to drugs or alcohol, physical or emotional abuse. Young people may appear angry, resentful or stressed, when really what they need is the love, stability and support of a good caregiver.

“Because we recognise the complexities of fostering a teenager we have created these new roles as foster carers could really help to make a difference and re-write a teenager’s story for the better. We’re looking for carers who can build and maintain a meaningful relationship with young people, and understand the impact of a young person’s past experiences and how that affects their behaviour. There is a misconception that teenagers can be a handful, however, what we have to remember is that the behaviour of each individual has been influenced by their past. We need carers to help them develop and provide them with a sense of belonging.”

A job advert has been launched and is targeting professionals who have some prior experience of working with young people in a structured environment, such as policing, emergency services or youth work/probation.

If this sounds like a role for you, visit; http://ow.ly/qXLG30myBH for more information, together with a job description and application process.

Sefton Council loses judicial review against Highways England

Sefton Council has lost its legal fight to order Highways England to re-consult on proposals to ease traffic on the A5036  (Dunnings Bridge Road) by building a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park.

Following a High Court hearing in Manchester on October 23, a judgement was issued today (November, 16) dismissing the application. Mr Justice Kerr ruled that he would not order Highways England to re-consult and include the tunnel option for the proposed Port Access route through Rimrose Valley.

Despite the strong case the Council made that Highways England had failed to include the tunnel option in its consultation or in any event failed to include it in a lawful way, the High Court ruled in favour of Highways England.

The Council believes the judgement was lost because the Government and Highways England failed to make adequate financial provision for the full range of options including a tunnel. The judge was clear in his statement that the budget for the scheme was a political decision and not a decision for the courts.

Sefton Council’s decision to apply for a judicial review was agreed to be valid by Mr Justice Kerr.

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, said: “I’m really disappointed by this decision and I will be seeking legal advice to see if there’s anything else we can do as I firmly believe that the tunnel option is the only option which could balance the need for improved access to the port with the needs of the local community.

“Their failure to include the tunnel as an option in the consultation process has deprived our residents of the opportunity to express a view and this is wrong. It is also completely at odds with the Government’s agenda to improve air quality and a slap in the face for local residents who suffer the resulting implications including the loss of a much loved urban green space.

“This ruling is a further blow to us, especially after learning that Highways England has backed a multi-billion-pound tunnel crossing under the River Thames between Essex and Kent. They have agreed to spend billions on a tunnel under the River Thames but ruled out building one in Sefton because it cost too much. It just smacks of double standards and reinforces my belief that we are treated as the poor relation in the North.

“Throughout this process it seems that all Highways England has been concerned about is the cost of the scheme and not one thought has been shown towards the detrimental impact on our communities. In his judgement Mr Justice Kerr said the scheme and allocated finances was ultimately a political decision so I call on the Government to now show some steel and really reconsider this, make the money available as they have done in the South and start to put the health and wellbeing of our communities first.”

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