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Get your skates on – Southport is well and truly set for Christmas!

Southport is well and truly set for Christmas!

Southport’s amazing new 60 foot digital Christmas tree is lit, the town centre streets are lined with decorations and the  open-air ice skating rink is now  frozen and ready for skaters!

The ice skating rink in the Town Hall gardens is set to open today (December 7) and is organised as part of a partnership  between Southport BID and Sefton Council and will be at the heart of the town’s Christmas activity.

Winter chalets will be selling festive food and drink in the gardens and the tree’s amazing light show can be viewed from  both the outside and inside of the impressive structure.

Visitors and residents can skate beneath the tree from as little as £4.50 and enjoy a magical Christmas experience,  making  memories with friends and family.

Throughout the festive period businesses across Southport will host various themed events including lunch with Santa,  grottos and the ‘Dear Santa’ production at The Atkinson.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member, Regeneration and Skills, said: “The skating rink is back due to its popularity last year. It really puts Southport on the map as a leading Christmas destination and gives both  residents and visitors a wonderful festive experience when in the town.

“As well as supporting local businesses by shopping whilst here, visitors can also enjoy seasonal fare in the town’s restaurants and bars.

“Local businesses really benefit from the increased footfall to the town throughout December and the skating rink, Christmas tree and food and drink chalets make the Town Hall gardens the hub of Christmas.

“We are also actively encouraging local schools to get involved by offering a discount for group bookings.”

Hugh Evans, Southport BID CEO also added “The BID funded ice rink last year was hugely popular and we are extremely pleased to be bringing it back in partnership with Sefton Council.

“We wanted to make Christmas a great season in Southport, starting with the switch on. Centred around the new tree and its light display which we have entirely funded, the open-air rink will be something new for Southport and provide a real draw to the town centre in the build up to Christmas.”

You can book a skating session in advance by visiting www.visitsouthport.com. Tickets can also be bought on the day but are on a first come first served basis so it’s best to buy as early as possible online.

 

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.”

Children from Sefton get involved in anti-bullying awareness workshops

This week, November 12 – 16, is National Anti-Bullying week focusing on the theme of Respect. During the week, the Bullybusters team will be completing workshops and assemblies around schools in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley. Conferences will also be held for secondary school children to attend and get involved in the education and awareness regarding anti-bullying.

The theme of this year’s national anti-bullying week is to ‘Choose Respect’, as respecting yourself and others both face to face and online is a vital message for young people.

‘Respect for me is one of the most important qualities to have and show. If we can’t respect ourselves then how are we supposed to respect others. I feel it is something we should all have and work on daily, not only learning to love and respect ourselves but also showing this to fellow peers and professionals.’ – Fran

The Bullybusters team work hard all year round to spread the anti-bullying message and help young people affected by bullying. The work they carry out within schools around Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley is recognised and praised by school children, teachers, governors, parents and carers.

Bullybusters offer lessons, assemblies and workshops for young people and parents in primary and secondary schools, as well as providing anti-bullying peer mentor training for children to appropriately act upon issues of bullying within their peer group. As well as this, Bullybusters also provide a free and confidential helpline service for young people, parents or teachers available 3pm – 6pm weekdays. For anyone being affected by bullying, or know someone who is, they can call the helpline on 0800 169 6928.

Sefton Businesses receive more than half a million pounds in help with Business Rates

Businesses in Sefton have received more than half a million pounds from Sefton Council in rate support.

Enterprises across the borough that faced large increases in their businesses rates bills following a national revaluation in 2017, have benefited from additional relief to help keep their bills down.

In March, 2017 the Government made additional funding available to Sefton Council to assist businesses with their rates bills in 2017/18.

As at October 31, 2018 the Council has been able to use the additional funding to assist 1,140 businesses in the borough to financial assistance totalling £542,973 when the final relief payments were distributed. This represents 98.4% of the total available funding of £551,739 made available for businesses in Sefton.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “At a time when our high streets are facing unprecedented challenges, we are delighted to able to help so many businesses keep their bills to a minimum through this support.

“The money distributed across Sefton will help retain people in employment and make a significant contribution to the economic well-being of our residents.

“We actively support businesses of all shapes and sizes throughout the borough and will continue to do so enforcing our position that Sefton is well and truly open for business.”

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