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Sefton Council Proposes Changes to Council Tax on Long Term Empty Homes

Sefton Council is running a consultation on a proposed change in Council Tax charges for empty homes across the borough.

New legislation will give Sefton Council additional powers to increase the Council Tax premium charged to properties that have been empty and largely unfurnished for more than two years from 50% to 100% with effect from April 1, 2019.

There are about 645 homes in Sefton that have been empty for two years or more (excluding those that are exempt from Council Tax, for example where the owner has gone to live elsewhere to receive care, or provide care to someone else).

The proposed increase in the empty homes premium is intended to encourage owners of long term empty domestic properties to bring them back into use and to increase the amount of Council Tax income raised from those that continue to leave their properties empty.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Regulation and Compliance, said: “We are currently seeking views on the on the proposed changes to the premium charged in Sefton from April 1, 2019, as well as other potential changes to the premium that could be made in the future. Please take the time to give us your views and get in touch.

“As well as charging the empty homes premium, there are other Council initiatives to help bring empty homes back into use like the property accreditation scheme that also helps empty owners find tenants for their property.”

The consultation is open until December 3, 2018. For more information and to share your views please visit https://www.sefton.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-empty-homes-consultation.aspx

Bootle schoolchildren set to raise their aspirations

Two schools in Sefton are set to benefit from a new programme aimed at getting their pupils to think about their futures.

The Raising Aspirations programme, designed by Positive Footprints, aims to improve the life chances of young people by building resilience, developing employability skills and opening up the world of work.

Students at Springwell Park Primary School and Netherton Moss Primary School are set to be the first two schools in the borough to benefit from the programme.

Raising Aspirations is a fun and engaging way to get primary school children to start thinking about their futures and developing skills which will benefit them as they move through life. The programme includes a number of business events, which give students the chance to speak to a range of businesses. In the past, this has included large multinational companies, such as Santander and North West based businesses, such as M&Y Maintenance and Construction.

Lesley Burrows, Managing Director of Positive Footprints, said: “We are delighted to bring our programme to pupils in Bootle and to be partnering with these two fantastic schools.

“Children are now forming opinions on their future career when they’re as young as seven, so it is really important that we open the world of work in primary schools.

“Raising aspirations and improving life chances for our young people should be high on everyone’s agenda. These pupils are not just our future workforce, they will form our future society, and we believe this programme will set them up to win.”

David Hird, Deputy Headteacher at Netherton Moss Primary School: “It is never too early to have an aim in life, even in Primary School, we all need something to work towards.

The final destination may change over time but the skills and experiences gained along the way help to ensure future success”

The Raising Aspirations programme is being supported by the Sovini Group, which is funding 10 schools across Merseyside.

To find out more about Positive Footprints, visit positivefootprints.co.uk

Sefton’s Community Learning Service celebrate learners and staff!

Sefton’s Community Learning Service held its annual awards ceremony on Tuesday (August 7) to celebrate the hard work and dedication of both its learners and staff.

Now in its 15th year, the awards are seeing an increase in the number of participants achieving qualifications. This year 40 residents achieved a recognised qualification this year with over 400 qualifications between them.

The awards also present an opportunity for staff to be recognised for their hard work and this year tutors Carol Ann Duffy, Alyson Davies, Jayne Moss, Maureen Cant and Karon McGeer were all awarded for their services.

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

“Congratulations to all of the learners this year who have managed to achieve over 400 qualifications between them. This is a huge accomplishment and fits in with our 2030 vision of building resilient communities by supporting residents gain skills and qualifications.

“The awards are also a great way to celebrate the tutors who continue to dedicate time and support to help Sefton residents gain new skills and recognised qualifications that can help to improve their employment prospects in the future.”

 To find out more about Sefton’s Community Learning Service visit www.sefton.gov.uk/communitylearning

 

Formal Consultation on Sand Dunes Nursery School

Sefton Council has been formally asked by the governing body at Sand Dunes Nursery School, Seaforth to start a statutory consultation on proposals to close the nursery from July, 2019.

 At a Cabinet meeting held on July 26 at Bootle Town Hall, it was agreed to start with a formal consultation in August.

 Sefton Council’s multi-agency consultation and engagement panel will meet on August 16 to outline the formal process and offer support, advice and guidance to ensure that communities have an opportunity to express their views during this time.

  The nursery will reopen at the start of the next academic year in September and the consultation will run until October to give parents and the local community the chance to have their say on the future of the school.

 Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “It’s heartbreaking that governors at Sand Dunes Nursery school have had no alternative but to request a formal consultation to close the building because it is no longer financially viable.

 “This nursery is a crucial part of the community and has been for many years but has been struggling financially for some time despite their best efforts to balance the budget. I have no doubt that this will be a difficult time for all those involved and we will do our best to support pupils, parents and staff during this difficult process. The school will continue to provide quality early years support while it remains open during this extremely challenging time.

“We will ensure that the consultation period includes meetings with staff, governors and families to give them plenty of chances for open discussion and for people to express their views.

“We will advertise how to take part in the consultation after the panel meeting on August 16 and continue to make sure the community are continually updated throughout the process.”

 To take part in any Sefton Council led consultations visit www.sefton.gov.uk.

Sefton Council Help to Launch a New Regional Adoption Agency

A Regional Adoption Agency covering Sefton, Liverpool, Knowsley, and Wirral has been officially launched.

 AIM (Adoption in Merseyside) brings together a team of around 50 staff from across the four councils who have been seconded into the new organisation.

 Responsibilities include recruitment, approval and ongoing support for adopters, tracking, linking and matching of children and the training and development of staff.

 Councillor Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Adoption really can change a child’s life so I’m delighted that the Regional Adoption Agency could offer greater opportunities for children in our region.

“Having shared resources, expertise and processes will provide enormous benefits to our children and young people, as well as the local authorities taking part.”

 Although the Regional Adoption Agency has a centralised hub, staff still have a presence in each of their local authority areas to ensure they retain close links with social work staff.

 Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet member for children’s services in Liverpool, said: “AIM means we are able to provide a better service for children and adopters.

“Previously, each local authority has effectively competed with each other for adopters and there has been a great deal of duplication of effort.

“By creating a regional agency, we have widened the net of potential adopters, shared expertise and ideas and are making sure adopters and children get a consistent level of support, regardless of where they live.

“This shows the potential of working across authorities and further collaboration on residential care, fostering and leaving care.”

 Every year, the four local authorities approve around 100 adopters each year and place approximately 140 children for adoption.

 Councillor John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding at Sefton Council, said: “We know that we often receive enquiries from across the Liverpool City Region, so it makes sense that we are collaborating with our neighbours to meet the challenges we face together and increase the potential for our vulnerable children to find a forever family.

“I’m looking forward to this new regional adoption agency making the process for would-be adopters quicker and more effective as both they and children in Sefton and the wider region are matched so they begin their new family life.”

 The launch of the new agency follows a successful bid to the Government by local authorities on Merseyside to create a new shared service to get more children with a plan for adoption placed successfully and as quickly as possible.

 Councillor Bernie Mooney, Cabinet member for Children and Families in Wirral, said: “It is vital we are able to offer fast, effective and safe support to those children who need to be adopted.

 “Working with our partners throughout the City Region should mean we are able to offer more support to more children, through a quicker and more efficient service.”

 People interested in adoption can find out more by visiting http://adoptioninmerseyside.co.uk/ or calling 0151 477 8700.

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