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Sefton Projects for £6m Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund Announced

Sefton Council has put forward Bootle and Southport to benefit from up to £1 million investment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s £6m Town Centre Fund.

At its meeting on Friday, 26 July, the Combined Authority will be asked to approve up to £6 million – up to £1 million for each of its six local authorities – to support plans to revitalise town centres across the Liverpool City Region.

The Combined Authority agreed to commission the £6 million fund in October last year and since then the local authorities have been working up high-level investment programmes, identifying which town centres they wish to nominate, along with proposals for what they intend to do.

Those interventions include masterplan strategies, public realm improvements, physical and digital infrastructure, business support, town centre management and events and marketing activities.

Sefton Council plans to diversify Bootle town centre, including developing creative and digital sector opportunities, while there are a range of proposals for Southport aimed at making the town a classic seaside resort, including redeveloping the market, improving its historical features, and creating better links between the town centre and the seafront.

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Thriving town centres are a crucial element in delivering economic growth throughout Sefton. To support this goal, we have developed town centre investment and development frameworks for each of our town centres and the funding that we are bidding for will help us to meet some of our aspirations.

“If we secure investment from the Liverpool City Region it will allow us to diversify Bootle town centre with more creative, digital and health and wellbeing opportunities. While in Southport funding would support us to make the most of Southport’s seaside resort assets, mixing the old and new, and ensure we have a high quality leisure, retail, historic and public space offer.”

Liverpool City Region bus reform on Combined Authority Agenda

24 hour buses on key routes, at least one bus an hour on all routes between 5am and midnight and zero emission fleets … these are just three elements of a new proposed ‘Vision for Bus’ to help shape plans for the future of bus services in the Liverpool City Region.

At this week’s Combined Authority meeting (Friday 26 July), Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, and City Region leaders will be asked to approve the principles of the ‘Vision for Bus’ and will be updated on progress in developing the options for reform of bus services.

Under the powers afforded to a Metro Mayoral Combined Authority, the Bus Services Act 2017 allows for the options of franchising, along with Enhanced Partnership or a continuation of the Bus Alliance– a voluntary partnership.

The ‘Vision for Bus’ is based on themes identified across 1500 responses to an online survey that formed the first phase of the Liverpool City Region’s ‘Big Bus Debate’ which was launched by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in November 2018.

Punctuality, reliability, ticketing complexity, the overall cost of travel and service frequencies, coverage and hours of operation were all key themes identified for improvement.

The report highlights that even without meeting the ambitions of the new ‘vision’, keeping bus services at even a static level under any of the three models could require up to an additional £35m of public subsidy a year by 2030 through the Combined Authority. The current subsidy, around £60m a year, funds concessionary travel and supported services –those services that are essential to the community but not commercially viable for private bus operators. The estimated additional investment factors in naturally increasing costs as well as forecasting a need to plug more gaps in commercial operations as less profitable routes are cut in response to operator costs rising faster than passenger revenues.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, said:

We have big ambitions for bus in the Liverpool City Region. The Bus Alliance has allowed us to make good progress in modernising our bus network but, as the ‘Big Bus Debate’ has shown, we have to go much further and faster, ensuring bus services are developed around people, supporting them getting to and from work, accessing health care and enjoying all the City Region has to offer.

Eight out of ten public transport journeys are made by bus. The network has to be robust and sustainable, otherwise we’re putting economic growth at risk. We need to put people with opportunities and deliver our commitment to air quality and health improvements.

It’s clear that whatever bus reform option is right for our City Region, there will be additional and significant cost to the public purse. We have to meet this challenge head on and work through it. Doing nothing is not an option.”

The Combined Authority is expected to receive a recommendation on the preferred option in early 2020.

The next phase of the Big Bus Debate will take place later this summer, with more detailed face-to-face surveys and further community engagement in the autumn

Formby Pool Trust open new gym and fitness studio

Impressive improvements at Formby Pool are now complete with the opening of a state-of-the art gym and studio extension.

Formby Pool Trust, the Freshfield Foundation and Sefton Council are pleased to announce the grand opening of the new facilities thanks to a donation from the Freshfield Foundation of just under £1million.

The finishing touches to the new studio were made last month with extra classes and facilities now available at the Elbow Lane complex.

Dympna Edwards, Chairman of Formby Pool Trust, said: “Our aim has always been to provide an outstanding environmentally and economically sustainable high-quality leisure facility, accessible and affordable to all, that improves local people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life.

“We warmly welcome this generous donation from the Freshfield Foundation and investment by Formby Land Trust in improving local facilities and services for the benefit of local people.”

David Kiernan, Formby Pool Trust Head of Operations, added: “We are delighted with the new facilities and to see our vision become reality. We are thrilled to showcase the new studio to the community who have been so supportive throughout the process.

“The team have worked tirelessly to ensure we are able to deliver the best possible customer experience and as a result believe we have a facility that can compete with the very best in terms of quality.”

The new studio has already facilitated an increase in group exercises classes from 21 to 43, with a further increase expected in the coming weeks. The Trust is now able to offer a wider variety of classes, such as Zumba, HIIT, Spin, Strength and Conditioning, Bodycombat, Bodypump, RPM, Pilates, Yoga, Chi Ball, Kettlebells and LBT.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The improved facilities at Formby Pool are second to none and will greatly benefit our communities in and around Formby.

“We all know the health benefits of regular exercise and the new look gym and studio area are perfect settings to get active.”

Dave Pugh, Project Coordinator on behalf of Formby Land Trust, commented: “It has been a privilege to work on this important community building and help develop the facilities to meet the needs of customers. We are delighted with the completed work and hope it encourages more people to try the new facilities.”

Celebrate the NHS with tea and cake

Health professionals in Sefton came together on Monday 8 July to hold a ‘Big Tea’ and cake bake event to raise money for a local NHS charity.

‘Big Tea’ events are being held across the country raising money for NHS Charities Together on and around the 71st birthday of the National Health Service. These donations will be distributed to a number of NHS charities throughout the UK to help further support and benefit local patients.

As NHS charities make a huge difference to the lives of patients and their families and the wonderful staff who care for them, members of staff from NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG decided to bake cakes and raise money for The Walton Centre Charity, one of the many NHS charities that will benefit from the ‘Big Tea’ events.

Located in Liverpool, The Walton Centre is a specialist hospital trust dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “It was great to take a break and celebrate another fantastic year of the NHS. Thank you to everyone at the CCGs who participated in the bake sale by baking or buying some of the delicious treats here today. All the money raised will go to our local Walton Centre Charity, which helps so many people in our area.”

“I would also like to take this time to thank all of our staff, who work tirelessly to support people in our community. Last year was a big birthday for the NHS but it’s still nice to mark the occasion by doing something like this for charity this year. “

The CCGs are now encouraging others to hold their own ‘Big Tea’ celebrations in appreciation of the NHS. You can hold a tea party with friends or organise your own charity bake sale.

Further information, resources and a Plan a Party guide are available at www.nhsbigtea.co.uk

Families brought together by Macmillan fun days

A family fun day held by Southport and Formby Macmillan Information and Support Centre was a real success and brought parents,carers and children in similar situations together.

The event, held on 22 June at The Salvation Army on Shakespeare Street, Southport, aimed to raise awareness of the support available to children, whether they have a close relative who has had cancer, is undergoing treatment, or has passed away.

Over 30 adults and 17 children attended the day and there has been some extremely positive feedback about the event.

One parent said: “Me, my twins, two of their great aunties and cousins went to the Macmillan family fun day for families affected by cancer. Lots of local organisations and support groups provided a free, fun afternoon for us all. But what else they did was give me a smile, made my children laugh, and gave me a day to feel comfort, support and kindness of others.”

Tanya Mulvey, Macmillan Information and Support Centre manager at the centre, said: “When a family member is diagnosed with cancer, the effects on children are often underestimated – children, even the youngest, can sense that something is wrong and if they’re unable to understand they may become withdrawn or distressed. We wanted to put on an event for children and their parents going through difficult times so they could meet other families and get the support they might need.

“We really could not have put this event on without the support like this so we’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Starkidz, The Salvation Army, The Creation Station, Wobble Tree Yoga, Child Bereavement UK, Sefton Young Carers, Parenting 2000, Queenscourt Hospice, ASDA, Harribo, Project Linus and Everton Football Club.

“All of the children were also given beautiful handmade quilts donated to the centre by Project Linus West Lancs, a fantastic charity that make these to help comfort children going through tough times.”

The parent continued: “I felt so lifted when I got home. From that night my babies are now snuggled up in their new blankets from Project Linus, magic blankets that will provide a mummy hug when I physically can’t give it to them. I’m going to bed smiling; something I haven’t done a lot of recently, so sweet dreams everyone.”

The children were entertained with crafts, yoga, outdoor games and a chill-out zone. There was even a surprise visit from Spiderman and Moana! While the children were busy, their parents and loved ones had the chance to talk to centre staff and other professionals about any concerns they had and support available locally.

Set up by Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and St Marks Medical Centre, Southport and Formby Macmillan Information & Support Centre is located on 20 Stanley Street and is open for drop in Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

For more information about the work of the Macmillan Information and Support Centre on Stanley Street in Southport, please see the website: www.southportmacmillancentre.org.uk

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