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Social Workers Jenny and Justine gear up for epic charity cycling adventure

Two best friends of two decades who have worked together at Sefton Council for 20 years will undertake the challenge of a lifetime for three women’s cancer charities in 2020.

Social Workers Jenny Stuart (pictured with blonde hair) and Justine Hoiles (pictured with brunette hair) will embark on a gruelling 416km cycle challenge from Bangkok to Koh Samui in Thailand to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

The Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge will take place over nine days in October 2020, with around 60 female challengers cycling a stunning route that takes in the Sam Roi Yot National Park and the Gulf of Thailand.

Jennifer and Justine, who first became friends in September 1998 on their first day at Riversdale College in Aigburth, Liverpool where they both undertook an Access to Higher Education course, are hoping to raise almost £7,000 between them in sponsorship to donate to the charities.

Jenny, who lives in Formby and now works as a psychotherapist with Sefton Council’s Therapeutic Support Team in Ainsdale, is taking on the challenge after her mum was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy.

Justine, a Sefton Council Social Worker from Crosby, has lost several family members to cancer and decided to take part in the event after spotting an advert for it in a magazine.

Both women are now completing a training programme to ensure they are fit and ready for their epic adventure, and planning a series of fundraising events to help raise their sponsorship money.

Jenny said: “When my mum was diagnosed with cancer I felt so helpless and I wanted to do something massive to try and make a difference. I had always thought she was indestructible and then I suddenly realised she wasn’t, so I wanted to do something to help.

“Justine and I are both Social Workers and our instinct is to fix things; we both wanted to do something on a big scale that would raise a significant amount of money and make a difference in some way.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and really exciting. It will definitely push us out of our comfort zone but we are both pretty active and we have been doing lots of cardio and cycling to prepare for it – I have never pushed myself so hard.

“Next year, 2020, both Justine and I will have worked for the council for 20 years and we have been best friends for 20 years so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.

“We met on our first day at training college and we have been best friends ever since. We’ve been there for each other every step of the way and I can’t think of anyone else I would want to do something like this with. It will be an amazing experience.”

Justine said: “Cancer has affected so many people and it’s so common. I have lost family members to it and I know how devastating it can be.

“This is a daunting challenge, not just in terms of the route itself but also the training and the fundraising, and we both feel quite exposed, nervous and vulnerable. But our friends, families and colleagues have been so supportive and we will be taking on the challenge with 60 other wonderful women so we know we’ll achieve it.

“Neither of us has ever done anything like this before and we’re so excited. To be doing it together, and sharing the experience with all the other cyclists who have all lost people to cancer too, will be a very special experience.”

To support Jenny and Justine on their incredible journey visit their Just Giving pages at https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Stuart76 and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Justine-Hoiles1

To find out more about the Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge visit https://www.dream-challenges.com/challenges/women-v-cancer/women-v-cancer-cycle-thailand-2020/

Reviewing Officer Audrey celebrates 40 years at Sefton Council – and counting!

A Reviewing Officer from Sefton Council’s Adult Social Care team is celebrating after spending 40 years working for Sefton Council – and plans to continue until her retirement.

Audrey Forkings, 56, began her career with the authority as a carer in July 1979, helping vulnerable adults across Sefton.

She has since progressed to work as a Home Care Supervisor and on to her current role as Reviewing Officer with Sefton’s Adult Social Care team, providing help and support to people in the borough when they need it.

Her long career has seen her support individuals and families in the borough through difficult times and crises, and she has twice been nominated for a Sefton Council ‘STAR Award’ – awarded to employees who go the extra mile and achieve exceptional results in their roles.

Looking back on her 40 years Audrey, who has lived in Southport for most of her life and has three children aged 12, 16 and 22, says she feels “proud” to still be working in a job that makes a difference to peoples’ lives.

She said: “I am so lucky to be able to say I still love my job after all these years. Being able to help people going through tough times is a real privilege and never stops being rewarding.

“My job is so diverse and every day brings a new challenge and opportunity. I still go in to work each day looking forward to what the day will bring.

“I work with an amazing team and over the years I have worked with so many lovely colleagues who I now class as great friends.

“A career highlight was when my team and I were twice nominated for a STAR Award, which we won at last year’s event. It was a wonderful moment for us all, and we all felt very honoured.

“I still plan to stay in my role for many years yet and I look forward to what the future holds. I don’t have a set date in mind for retirement yet, but when I do I’ll look back on a job that’s made me feel very happy and fulfilled. I’m proud to have helped make a difference.”

Jerry O’Sullivan, Project Manager for Adult Social Care at Sefton Council and Audrey’s manager, says Audrey is a “great asset” to the team and continues to go the extra mile.

He said: “Audrey is a joy to work alongside. Not only is she conscientious and hard-working, she is also a brilliant practitioner who delivers everything with a smile.

“Even in very difficult situations, her warmth and understanding helps service users, their carers and families achieve the very best outcomes and she is regularly complemented for her compassion and support.

“She is a great asset to the team and she still goes the extra mile and gives 100%, even after 40 years. Her length of service, commitment, hard-work and dedication are all things she should be incredibly proud of. It’s a fantastic achievement.”

Deborah Butcher, Interim Director of Adult Social Care at Sefton Council, said: “We are incredibly lucky in Sefton to have such dedicated staff across all of our teams. Audrey is a great advocate for vulnerable people and their families in Sefton.”

Pride, friendship and new beginnings for LGBTQ+young people

In Sefton’s Year of Friendship, LGBTQ+ young people from Sefton will show solidarity with their peers and represent the borough at the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Pride March this weekend (July 27, 11:45am).

The young people form the New Beginnings LGBTQ+ youth group are stalwarts of the march, and will this year welcome a special guest along in the form of Sefton Council CEO, Dwayne Johnson, as well as staff from the local authority.

The group, whose ages range from 11-18, will also play an active role in the newly introduced youth zone, hosted by the Michael Causer Foundation.

Formerly Liverpool Pride, it has been rebranded following the creation of the LCR Pride Foundation, extending the Pride ethos beyond Liverpool and across the entire city region, with the aim of making it the most LGBTQ+ friendly in the UK.

Dwayne Johnson, CEO at Sefton Council said:

“New Beginnings not only gives the group the chance to mix with their peers in a safe space, it also helps them to form long standing friendships as they overcome the social isolation and loneliness that can all too often be part of being an LGBTQ+ young person.

“They also benefit from the fantastic support of youth workers, who equip them with the advice and tools to stay safe, including mental health, self-esteem, sexual health, hate crime, substance abuse and more besides.

“The Pride March is the highlight of the year for New Beginnings, and our Year of Friendship is the perfect time to shine a light on them ahead of the big day. They are, and will be, a credit to Sefton.”

Cllr. Ian Maher, Cabinet Member for Communities said:

“It’s Diversity month in our Year of Friendship and a great time to champion inclusivity, which we do in Sefton throughout the year.

“It gives me optimism to see our young people representing us so well at Pride, but also real pride, no pun intended, to see our youth workers give them the space, support and platform to grow, forge bonds and develop their confidence.”

To join New Beginnings at the LCR Pride March, register to take part and download the route at the LCR Pride Foundation website https://www.lcrpride.co.uk/march/

Learn more about New Beginnings at the Sefton Youth website http://www.seftonyouth.co.uk/lgbtq

Supporting refugees in Sefton throughout Year of Friendship

This month, as part of our Year Of Friendship campaign, Sefton is celebrating diversity across our borough.

In the same month that will see the first Liverpool City Region Pride event take place in Liverpool this weekend (Saturday July 27 and Sunday July 28), extending the values and reach of Pride across the whole Liverpool City Region, we’ll be shining a light on the many groups, teams, individuals and organisations who promote diversity across Sefton.

One of the support programmes we offer here at Sefton Council are language courses for refugees living in the borough. The courses support them on their journey of learning English and also helps them integrate into our communities.

Classes are accessed through the Council’s Sefton Community Learning Service, which offers high quality adult learning programmes to help people make positive changes. Many current learners began their journey without English speaking skills and have progressed rapidly through the levels. Other courses are also available to help them improve their Mathematics and ICT skills.

Earlier this month, Sefton Library Service also announced it has been awarded almost £240,000 in National Lottery funding to support the Human Library project. The award will provide three years funding to Sefton Libraries to offer a programme of creative activities that invite local people to meet spend time together, making their neighbourhood a better place to live.

Part of the project will be dedicated to refugees in Sefton, with a tailored programme of activities involving culturally diverse artists, poets and writers aimed at refugees aimed at helping them feel welcome at our libraries.

The Sefton Library Service team will work with the refugee community to plan activities that celebrate their cultural heritage. Planned projects include a multi-language story and rhyme time in English, Arabic and Kurdish and a women’s weekly craft club. Although the activities will be aimed at refugee and asylum seekers, anyone from the Sefton community is encouraged to join in and take part.

To find out more about our refugee language programme, or any other courses at the Sefton Community Learning Service, contact 0151 934 4546 or visit https://www.sefton.gov.uk/schools-learning/community-learning.aspx

To find out more about The Human Library Project visit www.thehumanlibrary.co.uk

Bespoke job club for transgender and transitioning community launched in Southport

A bespoke monthly job club called ‘Butterflies’ is being launched in Southport to support transgender people and those undergoing transition when looking for work.

Following feedback from the transgender and transitioning community, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is working with Find The Light Foundation to help trans people address the additional barriers they face when seeking employment.

The Butterflies Job Club will include support with:

  • Confidence building and personal development
  • Mindfulness and stress reduction
  • Job and training opportunities
  • One-to-one support from DWP staff
  • Support from a specialist adviser regarding health conditions

The job club will take place at Southport Jobcentre, 68b Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1HE from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on the following dates:

  • Friday, July 26 2019
  • Friday, September 6 2019
  • Friday, October 4 2019

If you are interested in attending the course, or if you would like some more information, contact Jan Morrell on 07880 275 733 / Janice.morrell@dwp.gov.uk or Gary Bell on 0755 725 4010 / gary.j.bell@dwp.gov.uk

If you are a benefit claimant, speak to your work coach about support with travel costs.

 

 

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