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A landmark moment as decision is made for Sefton Council to re-enter into social housing

Sefton Cabinet members have given the go ahead for the Council’s re-entry into the social housing market for the first time in nearly 15 years.

The Council’s first new rented housing since its stock transfer in 2006 will begin with nine apartments on the Sefton Grange development at Buckley Hill Lane. These homes will be acquired from Sandway Homes, the housing development company launched by the Council in January 2019.

Sandway Homes is also building 30 new homes at Hey Farm Gardens in Crossens and 47 more at Sandy Brook in Ainsdale. Due to be completed in 2021, these two schemes will add to the supply of housing in the north of the Borough.

Next steps are for the Council to register with the Regulator of Social Housing as a social housing provider. It will also need to become an ‘Investment Partner’ with Homes England, the public Government body that funds new, affordable housing in England.

This exciting new project will also see the formation of a delivery team and the development of a business plan.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “This is an historic moment for Sefton, and I am extremely proud that after 15 years we will be able to provide our most vulnerable residents with a range of good quality, affordable housing.

“This is just the beginning, but this move shows how the Council is committed to supporting those residents to get the homes they need and deserve.”

Leader of Sefton Council Ian Maher said: “I am delighted that this decision has been made as I know that there are residents across the borough who are trying to find housing which is more suitable for them, but the housing stock is currently low.  Having the ability to acquire these properties means we can support our communities by giving them more housing options.”

Stuart Barnes, Head of Economic Growth & Housing said: “It is an exciting time for Sefton to be re-entering the social housing market. We will ensure that we have the support from Homes England and the right team and infrastructure in place to enable the Council to best serve its new tenants, but also to enable this tenure and initiative to grow.”

Christian Rogers Managing Director of Sandway Homes, said: “ We are delighted to be working closely with the Council as delivery partner, excited to be currently delivering our two developments in the north of the borough, and eager to secure planning permission for the development in the south and to facilitate the provision of additional social housing in the borough.”

New talking therapies provider launches service to support thousands across Sefton

Mental Health Matters (MHM) has successfully launched Talking Matters Sefton. Talking Matters Sefton is the new name for the support service that borough residents can access for help with their mental wellbeing.

Developed in partnership with NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups, the service ensures that patients can continue to access high-quality talking therapies as conveniently as possible, which is more important than ever in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on mental wellbeing.

Talking Matters Sefton (TMS) is designed to help anyone aged over 16 in the borough, to deal with common mental health difficulties. These may include depression, anxiety, panic, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder. Staffed by a team of highly skilled mental health professionals, the service is focused on delivering a person-centred approach to help people achieve positive outcomes.

Individuals looking to access support from the service can self-refer online, via email, or over the phone. Referrals can also be made through a Sefton GP.

Those that were accessing the previous talking therapies service have been contacted to confirm that they can expect a consistent level of care and continuity of support.

Victoria Malone, Head of Talking Matters at MHM, said: “We are proud to be running Talking Matters Sefton and to be able to support those in need. Our priorities are to deliver a high-quality service to those already accessing support and to reach out to people across the community, to ensure that residents know that we are here to help during difficult times”.

 

Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Mental Health Matters has worked hard to ensure that existing patients won’t notice any difference to the high quality of support they receive from professionals as a result of the organisation taking over the running of our talking therapies service on 1 January, so services continue to be there for our residents when they need them.”

Dr Sue Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Talking therapies provide a range of support for our residents who’re experiencing common mental health issues and these services are particularly important as we deal with the impact of COVID-19.

“We would encourage anyone experiencing things like stress, anxiety or depression to make contact with Talking Matters Sefton, it’s easy to do and the skilled team of professionals can really help.”

Mental Health Matters is a third sector organisation providing a wide range of support to people with mental health needs offering a welcoming, safe, comfortable, non-judgmental, and non-clinical environment.

MHM has experience in successfully delivering IAPT services for over 12 years and continue to leverage their wealth of experience and clinical best practice to expand services and reach more patients in need.

Learn more: https://www.mhm.org.uk/

Sefton Council apprentice ‘Lottie’ awarded Highly Commended in prestigious North West Apprenticeship Awards 2020

Sefton Council is delighted that Digital Marketing Apprentice Charlotte Callister, who works in its Communications Team has been Highly Commended for the BT Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year at the North West National Apprenticeship Awards 2020.

Back for the 17th Year the awards, which were held virtually on Tuesday 3nd November, are a fantastic opportunity to highlight business and individual success in apprenticeships.

Over 1,100 entries, from apprentice employers, apprentices and apprenticeship champions from all industries, were received nationally, from the public, construction, health, IT, science and digital sectors.

Digital Marketing Apprentice Charlotte, or ‘Lottie’, who is from Litherland, is a valued member of the Communications Team helping to manage the Council’s corporate social media accounts during what has been a challenging time during the pandemic.

After receiving the news Charlotte said; “I am delighted to have been highly commended for this award. I have overcome many personal barriers to not only undertake but excel in my apprenticeship, with the main obstacle being my own Epilepsy. To receive recognition of my hard work so far, at such prestigious awards, is truly humbling. My apprenticeship with Sefton Council, has not only given me confidence, but I have also found my professional passion. I will continue to be an advocate for our community and want apprentices and employers alike, to know that there are no limits on what can be achieved with an apprenticeship.”

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said; “Congratulations to Charlotte in receiving her Highly Commended Award. The awards are particularly poignant, given the challenges many employers and apprentices have faced during the pandemic.  It is very well deserved, and we thank Charlotte for all her hard work.

 “We are committed to our apprenticeship programme which helps individuals to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen profession. Apprenticeships can be so important in giving valuable on-the-job experience, which prepares people for the working environment.”

If you would like to know more about Sefton Council’s Apprenticeship Programme, please email; Apprenticeships@sefton.gov.uk

 

Sefton Council urges residents to stay safe this October/ November

This Halloween and Bonfire Night authorities across the Liverpool City Region are urging residents not to gather or arrange events.

With the Liverpool City Region under Tier 3 restrictions, the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly higher than in other areas so mixing with other households should be avoided.

Major outdoor events scheduled to take place this over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period have been cancelled to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and all requests to hold events such as firework displays, no matter how large or small, will be refused for public safety reasons.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“We understand that this is a difficult period as this time of year families would usually be taking part in Halloween and Bonfire Night activities however, this year traditional ‘trick or treating’, parties and firework events are not permitted as this could increase the risk of spreading infection.

“Protecting our residents especially those who are vulnerable is our main priority and I know our communities will work together to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

Local authorities will continue to work with the Merseyside Police to help protect residents by ensuring that the restrictions are followed.

Chief Inspector Peter Clark, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said:

“As you know there are a number of rules and restrictions in place in relation to Covid-19 – that means that the planned displays and events we normally attend, will not be happening this year. We know that this is another sacrifice we are having to make, however now is a time to pull together, follow the guidance and help to stop the spread.

“We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy this period. We will maintain a common sense approach during the Halloween and Bonfire night period – and are working to encourage people to respect the restrictions and explain why they are so important. Where people are flouting restrictions, we will however take action.

He continued: “Our message regarding anti-social behaviour during this period remains simple – it will not be tolerated and anyone caught committing this type of offence will be dealt with firmly and robustly. No one should have to suffer being the victim of anti-social behaviour and I would like to reassure everyone that there will be extra high-visibility patrols during this time.”

Local authorities are encouraging members of the public to find alternatives to trick or treating and gathering at bonfire or firework displays this year.

As in previous years, council officers will be working with both the Police and Fire services to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect the vulnerable, as well as removing fly-tipped waste and illegal bonfires.

Joe Cunliffe, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know things won’t be the same this year and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service still wants people to enjoy this period, but now is the time to pull together, follow the guidance and help stop the spread – it’s more important than ever that we all work together to protect our communities and the most vulnerable among them.

“Deliberately started fires in the run up to bonfire night put a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. You can help to reduce the number of incidents this bonfire period by never giving combustible materials to anyone, especially young people, and making sure your wheelie bin is out of sight – only put it out on collection day and bring it back in in as soon as possible.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging members of the public not to have bonfires on public land this year in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Station Manager Cunliffe added: “Community bonfires must not take place on public land, as this will encourage people to gather in breach of current restrictions. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will respond to reports of fires and will extinguish them throughout the bonfire period. We would urge people to report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via our website www.merseyfire.gov.uk, by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our social media pages.

“If you decide to have fireworks at home, only buy them from reputable retailers registered with MFRS. Please observe the restrictions and always follow the firework code.”

For further information on how to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night follow the Police and Fire service social media channels who will be sharing tips and information over the next few weeks. In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the service you require.

The Environment Agency is advising people to:

  • Think twice about having a bonfire this year.
  • Only burn small amounts of dry paper, leaves, clean wood and cardboard if you do decide to have a bonfire. Make sure materials are stored securely before being burned and always check the bonfire for wildlife before setting it alight.
  • Avoid burning waste such as treated wood, tyres, plastic, rubber and oil as these can seriously harm health and pollute the environment. It is illegal to burn most types of waste.
  • Make sure you know where the materials for your bonfire have come from. If you suspect illegal activity report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • Read Environment Agency advice at https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules to make sure you’re disposing of waste on your bonfire safely and legally.

Sefton Council joins forces with partners to tackle Hate Crime

National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from 10th – 17th October 2020. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of what hate crime is and how it affects people, encourage people to report hate crime, and let people know what is happening in the local area to tackle hate crime.

Raising awareness and encouraging the reporting of hate crimes and incidents is a priority for the Council and partners throughout the year, but we can also take the opportunity to join with national groups across the country to highlight issues during campaign weeks.

What is Hate Crime?

A hate crime is defined as ‘Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’

A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.

Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police

Cllr Ian Maher Leader of Sefton Council said:

“Sefton Council take all incidents of Hate Crime very seriously and we are working hard with our partner agencies to tackle this problem.

 “I would encourage people to tell and partner agencies such as the Police, support charities such as Stop Hate UK and housing providers who can help take action and support victims and witnesses.

“You don’t have to be the victim to be able to report a hate crime or hate incident, anyone can make a report a crime. Please help us make Sefton a safer place for everyone.”

Click here for more information about hate crime from the Sefton Council website.

Click here for more information from Merseyside Police, including an online reporting.

Click here for more information about National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Click here for more information about the Stop Hate UK national hate crime helpline.

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