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Almost £2 million of payments issued to 650 Sefton businesses from latest rounds of COVID-19 funding

Sefton Council’s Business Grants and Business Rates teams have now issued approaching £2 million to over 500 local companies from grant funding schemes announced by the Government in January and February.

Over £1.6 million

Over £1.6 million of Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grants have been paid to almost 500 companies across the Borough with the few final payments due to be paid by the end of March.

Additionally, more than 150 of Sefton small and micro businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors have received nearly £340,000 from the third round of the Additional Relief Grant scheme.

Sefton Council has paid out over £100 million of grant funding to the Borough’s businesses during the pandemic.

Huge efforts

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Over the past two years Sefton’s businesses of all sizes and sectors have faced major challenges and made sacrifices to protect their employees and customers from COVID-19.

“Thanks to the huge efforts of our officers, we have been able to help thousands of those businesses with payments to help them survive and recover from the pandemic.

“I would like to thank our officers who have made this possible but also the Borough’s businesses who have worked with us while we have carried out the stringent processes and checks when administering this financial support.”

Proud

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said:  “This has been an unprecedented time and we have all had to adapt quickly to working and operating within restrictions designed to keep us safe, while at the same time supporting those who are most vulnerable.

“I am proud that Sefton Council has been able to provide this financial support, as well as practical support, such as PPE and testing vital infrastructure and would like to add my thanks to everyone involved.”

Find out more about how Sefton Council supports business and investment. 

Community grants available to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

A new community grant scheme has been launched to help enable local community groups to participate and deliver social activities in recognition and celebration of the 70th year of the accession to the throne by HM The Queen.

Civic pride

The Platinum Jubilee Fund is open to Sefton-based voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector groups who wish to host a range of activities and events including street parties and community events, as well as educational activities and heritage and civic pride projects.

The fund is a joint initiative between Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), Sefton Council, The Duchy of Lancaster’s Benevolent Fund, local fundraising platform Sefton 4 Good and Living Well Sefton.

Groups and organisations are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £1,500, and activities and events are aimed to be held during the Jubilee Central Weekend (Thursday 2nd June-Sunday 5th June 2022). However, the grants are open to proposed projects that will run between April and December 2022.

Recognition

Councillor Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “On behalf of Sefton Council and as Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing, I am delighted to support the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Fund Grants which will enable local community groups to participate and deliver social and community activities in recognition of the 70th year of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne”

Sefton CVS Chief Executive, Angela White, commented: “Sefton Platinum Jubilee Fund will provide a unique opportunity for local groups and residents across Sefton to come together and celebrate this historic national occasion through local projects, events and initiatives in recognition of Her Majesty The Queen’s outstanding service.”

“The fund will be open for applications for a month and Sefton CVS can provide further advice and support to local groups who are interested in applying.”

Sefton CVS will be holding an online information session for groups who may be interested in applying on Thursday 31st March 2022, 10am-11am via Zoom Video Conferencing. To book your place, please email groupdevelopment@seftoncvs.org.uk

The deadline for applications for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Community Fund is 12 noon on Thursday 14th April 2022

For more details about the fund and how to apply, visit seftoncvs.org.uk/jubileefund or email jubileefund@seftoncvs.org.uk. Alternatively, groups and organisations can also contact Sefton CVS by calling 0151 920 0726.

Walk-through COVID rapid test centres winding down ahead of Government end date

With the Government ending funding for local testing from the start of April, Sefton Council is winding down the Borough’s COVID 19 Test Centres for people without coronavirus symptoms.

This week

Since Monday 14th March, the hours at Sefton’s Bootle Town Hall, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre and Southport Splash World rapid test centres have reduced to 8am to 4pm, from Monday to Sunday. The Strand Shopping Centre remains open 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

Free, rapid LFD test kits remain available at the test centres.

People who require support with testing can also get their test, and advice, at one of the Centres.

Next Week

From Monday 21st March, hours will be reduced to 8am to 3pm. On Sunday 27th March the Test Centre at The Strand will be open from 10am to 3pm.

During the following week, from Monday 28th March all three sites will be closed with dates still to be confirmed.

PCR tests

For the rest of March, people who do have coronavirus symptoms of a new continuous cough, a fever or a loss of smell or taste, can still get a PCR test at one of Sefton’s four local walk-through test centres.

These are located at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Haigh Road, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall and are open every day from 8am to 6pm. They will also close after Friday 1st April.

Drive-through Mobile Testing Units will also be visiting Litherland Sports Park, Maghull Town Hall and Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride through March.

You can find a link to the schedule here.  

Book a test

People can book a PCR test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or calling 119.

Sefton Council is now working to help the people who have been working at its Test Centres through redeployment into other roles.

The Government has informed Sefton Council that it could take up to six months to dismantle PCR test centres after they close.

Sefton Health Chief’s concern about possible rise in COVID cases when Government ends free LFD testing in April

Photo of Home Testing Kit components
Home Testing Kit components

With the number of COVID cases in the UK once again on the rise, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Ian Moncur, has expressed concern that the Government is ending free LFD COVID testing from Friday 1st April,

Protect

Cllr Moncur said: “From Friday 1st April rapid LFD tests that people can use to make sure they are not carrying the coronavirus without showing symptoms, will no longer be available free for most people.

“Using regular LFD tests has let us know when we have the COVID virus without feeling unwell or showing the symptoms, and as a result we have been able to protect others and not pass it on unwittingly.

“I am worried that with COVID case numbers and hospitalisations in the UK already rising, people will not be able to afford to start paying pay for tests when they face huge rising prices in the shops and at petrol stations, an eye-watering leap in the cost of domestic fuel, increased train fares and, from next month the Government’s National Insurance hike.

“This could lead to a rise in infection levels across Sefton’s communities and increased pressure on our medical services again.”

Support

Currently, people in Sefton can collect free, rapid LFD test kits from the Borough’s COVID 19 Test Centres at Bootle Town Hall, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre and Southport Splash World rapid test centres. People who want support with testing can also get their test, and advice, at one of the Centres.

However, with the Government ending funding for local testing from the start of April, these test centres will close.

Cllr Moncur also says he is worried that the charges for tests, which could be as much as £6 each, will mean households on the lowest incomes, already making difficult decisions about whether to eat or heat their homes, will have to make a further choice on whether they can afford a COVID test before visiting someone who is potentially vulnerable.

Vulnerable

He said: “Once again, despite the Government’s talk about levelling up, those least able to pay are being put at the most risk with a greater chance they might unknowingly passing on COVID to those vulnerable relatives, friends and colleagues.

“We will continue to give out the free test packs at our Test Centres while stocks last until Thursday 31st March when we have to close them.”

Sefton Council is continuing to advise that people remain cautious and considerate to others, continuing to wear face coverings in busy indoor areas and on public transport and maintaining social distancing where necessary.

For the rest of March, people who do have coronavirus symptoms of a new continuous cough, a fever or a loss of smell or taste, can still get a PCR test at one of Sefton’s four local walk-through test centres. These are located at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Haigh Road, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall and are open every day from 8am to 6pm. They will also close after Friday 1st April.

Drive-through Mobile Testing Units will also be visiting Litherland Sports Park, Maghull Town Hall and Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride through March. A link to the schedule can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/testing-in-sefton

People can book a PCR test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or calling 119.

Sefton Council celebrates its social care workforce this Social Work Week

A group of people stand outside the front entrance of Magdalen HouseThis week is Social Work Week (14th-18th March) and Sefton Council is shining a spotlight on its Children’s and Adult Social Care workforce; from Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Social Care Practitioners to Business Support Officers, Family Support Workers and everyone in-between who helps to make a difference and support both services to run effectively.

The week, organised by Social Work England, coincides with World Social Work Day which recognises the hard work and dedication of social workers on an international stage. The theme for the day is ‘Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’ and the theme for the week is ’Social Work and Me’.

Sefton Council will be hosting several events across the week and is encouraging staff to attend as many as possible. Highlights include an inspirational talk from brothers Andy and Matt Smith (Smash Life), a celebratory cinema night at local community cinema, The Plaza and various health and wellbeing drop-in sessions that will explain more about the Council’s offer to employees.

As well as the events, the Council is encouraging teams to take some time for themselves and step away from the desk, allowing time to reflect. Activities being promoted include taking part in a team beach litter pick, enjoying a team breakfast whilst reflecting on the challenges and achievements throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and taking the time to find out about local community groups and initiatives teams could get involved with.

Cllr. Mhairi Doyle, M.B.E., Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, said:

“Social Work Week and World Social Work Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate and shine a spotlight not only our Social Workers, but on every single person who plays a part in making a difference to our communities right across the Borough.

“Social work can be an extremely tough job, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. I hope by taking the time to reflect on their amazing achievements, our teams can see the amazing work they do day in, day out.”

Cllr. Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“I’d like to wish everyone a great week of celebrations and reflection. I know how hard both our adult and children’s teams work every day for the benefit of our communities, so I hope everyone can find the time to take a moment to reflect on that hard work.

“It has been an incredibly challenging couple of years for our workforce and this week is all about celebrating our people and their dedication to their roles and Sefton.”

Sefton Council currently has a range of exciting opportunities within its adult and children’s social care services. To find out more about our adult social care opportunities, please visit: https://ats-sefton.jgp.co.uk/vacancies?ga_client_id=b69e7212-766a-46c6-ab54-991244d24d0c. To find out more about our children’s social care opportunities, please visit: https://ats-sefton.jgp.co.uk/vacancies?ga_client_id=b69e7212-766a-46c6-ab54-991244d24d0c&occupational_areas=Children%27s+Social+Care.

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