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Sefton Council continues free school meal vouchers scheme for summer holidays

With support from local schools, Sefton Council will again assist eligible families with free school meal vouchers during the long summer holiday.

 

In addition to the rollout of vouchers, worth £15 per child per week, the Council is encouraging as many residents as possible to find out from their child’s school if they are eligible so than claim the support, which can be used to buy food in supermarkets and online.

 

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

“With local families struggling to cope with the spiralling cost-of-living, I am pleased that Sefton Council, with support from schools to distribute, has again been able to continue providing these holiday vouchers.

 

“This additional £15 per week for each eligible child will help families manage over this difficult period but if people are experiencing severe hardship, a disaster or emergency over the long summer break, or at any other time, details of our Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme can be found at the ELAS webpage.”

 

Sefton Families that don’t receive free school meals at the moment but think they might qualify should contact their child’s school or visit the Free School Meals webpage.

 

The vouchers, which the Council is providing through its Household Support Grant funding allocation from the Department of Work and Pensions, are for buying food and essentials only. They cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top-ups or stamps.

 

Cllr Hardy added:

 

“In addition to the school meals vouchers, we have now paid out over £12.5 million of the one-off, £150 Council Tax Energy rebate payments to the almost 83,500 eligible Council Tax Band A to D households, which will also provide them with some help.

 

“And, over 20,600 households have responded to the letter we sent them by using the secure code to provide their details and register to receive the payment.

 

“I would urge anyone who has received the letter to register today, and if they have any concerns about the process to visit the Council Tax Energy Rebate webpage where they can find out more.”

Sefton Councillors meet the future for National Apprenticeship Week

Apprentices employed by Sefton Council, took the opportunity to share their experiences at a recent virtual ‘Meet and Greet’ with local councillors ahead of National Apprenticeship Week.Councillors meet apprentices in Microsoft Teams video call

With apprenticeships spanning health and social care, energy and environment, HGV driving and more besides, the Councillors, including Council Leader Ian Maher, joined by Chief Executive Dwayne Johnson, took the opportunity to listen to the stories of staff who took part and to celebrate not only their achievements, but also Sefton Council’s strong record of developing apprentices and retaining them at the local authority.    

National Apprenticeship Week takes place 7-13 February. Organisations throughout the UK will celebrate apprenticeships and apprentices, by sharing their successes and busting common myths.

Sefton Council will mark the week with a series of drop-in sessions for its staff to hear about apprenticeships available to them, as well as a series of case studies to be shared with residents in the hope of inspiring more people to take this route to further their career prospects.

In attendance at the ‘Meet and Greet’ with councillors, was Macy Loasby, who recently secured a full-time position in the local authority’s security service, having gained a Level 2 qualification in Business Administration. Macy said:

“Taking up my apprenticeship has been an amazing experience for me and has given me a clear pathway to a career I want to pursue. I’m now studying for my Level 3 apprenticeship while working for the Council and am excited for what the future holds. It’s been hard work up to now, but totally rewarding and something I would encourage anyone to do.”

Councillor Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: 

“Speaking to apprentices throughout the year I’m always inspired hearing where they’ve come from and what they’re achieving, even more so in the last two years when working conditions, and the way we work, has been so greatly altered. They deserve great credit for their ability to adapt in such trying circumstances, as well as for their skill, passion and hard work.

“What some people I speak to don’t realise, is how challenging an apprenticeship is, and in many cases how academic – it’s very far from an easy route into the career of your choice, but it is an enjoyable and effective one.

“Whether you’re starting out on your career, or want to change your career path, then give apprenticeships serious consideration, as the chances are there will be one to suit you and the direction you want to take.”

To find out more about apprenticeships in Sefton, visit the Sefton Apprenticeships webpage or email Sefton Council’s Apprenticeship team.

To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week and how you can support it, visit the National Apprenticeship Week website.

 

A Christmas wish for Sefton residents from Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones

Sefton residents have been wished a happy Christmas and new year by Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones, but with a clear n0te of caution:

“I want to wish all of our residents a very Merry Christmas and a happy festive period. I’d like to say a big thank you for all of the efforts you have made over the past two years, and continue to make to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our families, friends and communities.

“Unfortunately, as we move towards 2022, we are facing a new variant of COVID-19 – the Omicron strain. The impacts of this variant are still far from fully understood, however we do know that we are seeing record numbers of national infections. We need to continue to do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe throughout the festive period and beyond.

“It is important that people continue to access asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing (LFT), stay at home and get tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19, wear face coverings in public spaces, wash hands regularly, use tissues to catch sneezes and try to keep rooms well-ventilated when meeting people from outside your household. I also encourage everyone to get vaccinated, whichever dose is offered to you.

“Please have a lovely Christmas with friends and family, but above all, do so safely.”

Sefton Council will once again be providing meal and fuel vouchers over the holidays for more than 8,000 families who are most in need

This Christmas Sefton Council will once again be providing meal and fuel vouchers over the holidays for more than 8,000 families who are most in need.

The Local Authority has already provided 8,171 vouchers to schools across the borough, which are then allocated to eligible families.

Further vouchers are expected to be given out in the coming weeks.

Vouchers will allow families to purchase much-needed food produce for their tables, as well as fuel, during the two-week Christmas half term.

More than £450,000 has been invested by Sefton Council into the scheme to help combat food and fuel poverty among communities within the borough.

As with the October half-term scheme, the vouchers will be valid to buy food in-store and online at local supermarkets.

It will not be possible to use the vouchers to buy alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top ups or stamps.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “In October, Sefton Council funded meal vouchers for around 8,500 children as part of an initiative which receives widespread public support.

“We are determined to be able to provide an additional level of support and security that some families will need during the holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period.”

Cllr Hardy added: “Thanks to the massive effort of our teams across Sefton Council, we estimate that we will be providing 8,900 vouchers in total for the Christmas period via local schools.

“We are only too aware of the significant difficulties some families are experiencing at the moment across all our communities and we know this scheme will provide direct and much-needed support to them over the Christmas break.”

Families across Sefton who do not currently receive free school meals but think they might be eligible can visit www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.

Additional support services, advice and help is also available via the brand new Sefton Support Hub via www.sefton.gov.uk/seftonsupporthub.

Sefton urged to keep safe and well during cold snap

With the Met Office issuing a weather warning for the North West, healthcare leaders in Sefton are sharing advice for keeping safe and well this weekend.

The weather warning means that from Friday evening through to Monday there is a high chance of very strong winds, cold temperatures, rain and sleet, which can be hazardous for vulnerable people or those with long term health conditions.

Sefton residents are being asked to look out for their relatives, friends and neighbours, and to follow the NHS advice on keeping safe and well, below.

Keep warm

If you are aged 65 or older, or have long term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, diabetes or breathing conditions, you should keep warm by heating your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You should also wear several layers of light clothes to keep warm, as multiple layers will trap warm air better than one bulky layer of clothing.

Keeping warm over the winter months can also help us all to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

If you do go outside during the wet and windy weather, remember to wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and fall. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.

Be prepared

Ensure you have stocked your cupboards with food and medications in advance, to avoid going out in the bad weather. There are a variety of items you can keep at home to keep healthy and treat minor illnesses, such as pain relief medications, lozenges, cold and cough syrups, antihistamines, and much more.

Susanne Lynch MBE, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“The cold weather can make us all more vulnerable to illness, but help is available from all local pharmacies in Sefton, who can advise on treatment for minor illnesses and what to keep in your medicine cabinet.”

“If you do become ill, we ask that you think about self-care, speaking to your local pharmacist, or calling NHS 111 for non-emergencies.”

Know where to get help

If you have an urgent medical problem, but not an emergency, get help from NHS 111 by visiting: www.111.nhs.uk online, or calling 111.

For help with treatment for common illnesses like coughs, colds or earache contact your local pharmacy who can give advice and recommend medicines and are happy to help. You can also access NHS advice and information at www.nhs.uk.

Cllr Ian Moncur, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Sefton Council, said:

“During the poor weather this weekend we encourage everyone in our local communities to keep an eye out for vulnerable residents and neighbours, or anyone living alone who may need advice or support.”

“If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.”

Support with energy bills

Anyone living in fuel poverty, or who knows someone who is, can be reassured that there is help and support available for those worried about keeping warm or paying energy bills.

To seek advice and information about the support available, people can call Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth Service on 0151 934 2222 or the local Energy Advice line managed by the charity EPPlus Freephone 0800 043 0151. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

More information is available on the Sefton Council website:https://www.sefton.gov.uk/housing/fuel-poverty-and-energy-efficiency/

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