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Sefton celebrates #VolunteersWeek and says THANK YOU

Sefton Council is showing its support to the hundreds of volunteers across the borough as part of the national Volunteers’ Week celebration.

Volunteers have a huge impact on the lives of residents across Sefton, not just during this time of crisis, but all year round.

Working with Sefton CVS, Sefton Council has created a volunteer network to help coordinate and share resources.

This has been vital in helping to support our elderly and vulnerable residents at this time.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Sefton working hard to ensure that we support local people during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Throughout our incredible borough we have seen an amazing community response.

“These are difficult and challenging times for us all. Sefton’s response means that we are confident that by continuing to work together we will be able to support local people.  We are so proud to be part of Team Sefton.”

Tanya Wilcox, Sefton Council’s Head of Communities, said: “Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to our communities every day. This support has really come to the fore at this time. As a Council we are delighted to support Volunteers’ Week and salute the hard work of people who make such a difference to so many lives in Sefton.”

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Volunteers are an integral part of our borough. Year after year volunteers give up their own time to step up to the plate and help others, from delivering food parcels to running food banks. Our volunteers are so important in these hard times, helping us deliver the services that people need. Since COVID-19 we now have an extra 2,000 volunteers. We have such a strong, dynamic volunteer system in the borough and it exemplifies the spirit of the people of Sefton.”

For more information about volunteering in Sefton during this time visit https://www.sefton.gov.uk/miscellaneous-pages/volunteering-during-covid-19.aspx

Joint plea asking public to be sensible and respectful at Sefton’s beauty spots. 

Sefton Council has joined forces with Merseyside Police and Mersey Fire and Rescue Service to remind people to continue to be sensible and respectful if they choose to spend time outdoors during the warm weather.

Since restrictions were lifted allowing people to spend more time outside we have seen a rise in the number of people using local beaches, parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve and Formby, Ainsdale and Sefton beaches.

The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times and that people should only meet up with the permitted number of people from other households when outdoors.

Guidance on staying safe outside your home.

Public transport should also be avoided other than for essential journeys, and people should only make journeys by cycling, walking or driving in a private vehicle. People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.

We are also asking people to remain respectful and protect our public spaces.

In recent days, there have been reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “Our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“We understand that some lockdown measures have been eased nationally but that does not mean that we are through the worst of this and as ever, the health and safety of our communities comes first.

“For those few who do visit our coastline at this dangerous time, they are advised that stringent parking restrictions are in place, all rubbish must be taken home and BBQs are strictly prohibited along the entirety of the Sefton coastline.

“At this time we need people to think about their safety and the safety of others, as well as the wellbeing of our communities and Council staff.”

Sefton Superintendent Graeme Robson said: “We understand how frustrated people have been at not being able to leave home for a number of weeks.

“However our current advice remains that people should remain at home wherever possible and if they choose to leave home they should continue to socially distance and only meet up with the permitted number of people.

“We would also continue to ask people to be respectful if they are visiting local beauty spots. Please don’t leave your litter behind or use camp fires or barbecues. And if you must use your car please have consideration for local residents and other road users.”

Mersey Fire and Rescue Service station Manager Lauren Woodward said: “We understand that people want to enjoy the current spell of nice weather, but this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t create risks of fire. We have seen a significant increase in our attendance to grass fires in recent weeks. Not only do they cause extensive damage to our natural environment and public amenities, but they also take crews away from dealing with other potentially life-threatening incidents.

“We would urge the public to be especially careful in the hot weather and make sure they dispose of their rubbish, cigarettes and barbecues safe. People should not be lighting fires or barbecues in woodland, on our beaches or in open countryside and they definitely should not be leaving these fires unattended.

 “We would also like to remind people, particularly parents, that deliberately setting a fire is arson. Deliberate fires and investigated. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Arson Team will be working with Merseyside Police, Local Authorities and other partner agencies to identify offenders. Please speak to your children about the very real consequences of arson for them and others.”

Online Book of Remembrance launched at St Paul’s Cathedral

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way mourn our loved ones; altering the way we say goodbye.

Tragically, members of our community in Sefton have died of coronavirus over the last two months and these people ought to be honoured and remembered.

 

Today, St Paul’s Cathedral are launching ‘Remember Me’, an online book of remembrance for all those who have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People of any faith or none are invited to contribute to Remember Me.

 

From Friday 22 May 2020, family, friends or carers of those who have died can submit, free of charge, the name, photograph and a short message in honour of a deceased person via the Remember Me website.

 

The initiative is being supported by HRH The Prince of Wales and it is intended that there will be a physical Remember Me memorial at St Paul’s Cathedral in the future. In addition to this, the choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral have recorded a special anthem for the book of remembrance.

 

Join with people across the UK in sharing stories and pictures of your loved ones and contributing to this mass remembrance.

Sefton Council urges residents to be ‘Kind to Your Mind’ during Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and focusing on our mental health and wellbeing has never been more important. In these challenging and difficult times, people in Sefton should take time to consider their mental health, reach out if they need help and know that it is ok to not feel ok.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. Not only can acts of kindness improve our own Mental Health but reaching out to others and offering support has benefits for everyone in Sefton.

Helping others creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation and being kind to ourselves can help boost our self-esteem and improve our mood.

This help can be as simple as picking up the phone and checking in with someone we love or a quick text message to let someone know that you are there.

Many people are experiencing low energy, stress, anxiety and low mood; this is normal and reaching out to others and talking about our Mental Health is positive and healthy.

Residents in Sefton should know there is a wealth of support available if you are struggling with your mental health.

You can visit our health and wellbeing page on our website for advice and support from topics ranging from mental and physical health, to domestic abuse and financial concerns that may be putting pressure on your mental health.

We also have a dedicated page for resources and support for Children and Young People and those who care for them as we know children are finding this time away from friends, school and routine particularly challenging.

The Kind to Your Mind website is designed for people living and working in Cheshire and Merseyside, has lots of advice and useful resources to help you through these challenging times.

This includes ALMA, where you can access a range of free online therapy programmes which include short modules on dealing with stress, getting better sleep, improving resilience and coping with your emotions during the pandemic.

There’s also free approved health and wellbeing apps and some great podcasts to listen to with guest including Andy Cole and Dr Chatterjee, providing tips and advice to help you get through this difficult period.

For people who require urgent mental health support, the Kind to Your Mind website also contains a number of crisis helplines, which have been recently launched and offer 24/7 support for those living in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

‘People in Sefton have shown their kindness throughout the COVID-19 situation, helping others, offering support, reaching out to family and friends and even strangers. These acts of kindness give everyone a boost and the importance of that cannot be overstated. I hope we  will see this during Mental Health Awareness Week too.’

He added, ‘Most people are finding this time difficult and talking about how we feel makes those feelings normal so we can say it is ok to not be ok. It is more important than ever that we look after our mental health and wellbeing and we know where we can go for support. The ‘Kind to Your Mind’ website has lots of great advice and resources, from clinical professionals to get you through these challenging times.’

 

If you are in crisis and need urgent support, call the MerseyCare crisis line on 0151 296 7200

Residents warned to be on their guard against cyber criminals

Residents across Sefton are being urged to be on their guard against cyber criminals who may try to exploit the coronavirus outbreak and prey on people and their businesses.

These criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching people for their scams, hoping that people let their guard down for just a moment.

They can contact people by phone, email, text, on social media, or in person. They will trick people into parting with their money, personal information, or buying goods or services that don’t exist.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “It is shocking to see cyber criminals and fraudsters preying on people in such a callous and predatory way during this difficult time”

“The council is committed to making our communities aware of these criminals preying on individuals and businesses and making sure they have the tools to keep themselves safe”

You can keep yourself safe by staying vigilant and reporting anything suspicious immediately.

If you think you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Alternatively, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via Action Fraud

The National Cyber Security Centre has advice for businesses to protect themselves against fraud and cyber criminals.

Citizens Advice offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. You can contact them for support on issues you might be facing, if you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam.

How to protect yourself against cyber crime and fraud:

  1. Stop

Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

  1. Challenge

Consider if it could be fake – it’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account – they will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN

Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails

Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

  1. Protect

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops – update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry

Visit Take Five for more advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and Cyber Aware for advice on how to keep yourself secure online

 

How to protect your business

  1. Stop

If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details, or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

  1. Challenge

It could be a fake – verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first

  1. Protect

Contact your business’s bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed and report it to Action Fraud

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