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Sefton businesses invited to look to the future

Over 100 business leaders from across the city region will attend the latest Sefton Economic Forum to find out how they can expand and plan for future successes.

Hosted by InvestSefton, the summer Sefton Economic Forum and Growth Hub Marketplace will take place at The Park Hotel in Netherton, June 13, 4.30pm – 7.30pm.

Helping local businesses to capitalise on the rapidly growing technology at their fingertips, with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence and how it can work for them.

This event is for businesses only and they need to book a place by contacting Invest Sefton on 0151 934 3452 or by email

Sefton looks out for best of friends as special year reaches a big milestone

National Best Friends Day (June 8), marks the halfway point in Sefton’s Year of Friendship, a perfect time for Sefton Council to look back on the year so far and look ahead to the rest of what promises to be an exciting 2019.

Throughout the Year of Friendship Sefton Council is dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation of local residents by making them aware of the many groups and activities on offer throughout the borough.

So far, the campaign has shone a light on specialist groups and organisations such as Sefton Carers Centre and the Life After Cancer group; discovered the power of companionship through pet ownership, met a very special centenarian leading a very active life and cheered on an inclusive football team making great strides for disabled young people.

Sefton communities, voluntary sector, charities and businesses have embraced the campaign, including on social media where over 270,000 people have seen the Year of Friendship, and over 6000 taking the opportunity to engage with the local authority.

Upcoming themes for the rest of the Year of Friendship include learning, diversity, food, children and young people and older people.

Cllr. Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said

“Best Friends Day is a chance for us all to celebrate the special friendships that we have, or those wonderful friends we have lost down the years.

“Social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on all aspects of a person’s life. The Year of Friendship has not only gained exposure for local groups and services dealing with these issues, it has also given people who need them a chance to discover them.

“Running through the Year of Friendship is Sefton’s warm community spirit, with those small instances of kindness that make a world of difference coming to the fore. I really look forward to seeing what the rest of the campaign holds.”

To learn more about the Year of Friendship, enjoy the many uplifting stories of the year so far and discover the many befriending services in the borough, visit the MySefton website or follow Sefton Council on Twitter and Facebook

Come along to Sefton Community Learning Centre’s Summer Fair

Sefton Community Learning Service is celebrating summer with a Summer Fair and Car Boot Sale on Saturday, June 22.

Taking place at the Sefton Community Learning Service hub at 53 Cambridge Road, Seaforth from 12-3pm, the event promises lots of fun for all the family with a variety of workshops and activities on offer.

Workshops include self-defence, Italian dessert-making, healthy pizza decorating, recycled jewellery making, self defence awareness and flower arranging.

Freshfield Animal Rescue will be at the fair running games and stalls to help support their charity.

Merseyside Police will be bringing along a ‘police media gaming van’ providing information on personal and home security (including bike marking) and Bluebell Stalls, who run local gift, craft and produce fairs will be offering plenty of products crafts to buy.

The Canal & River Trust and Living Well Sefton will also be attending the event, and there will be plenty of traditional stalls including ‘hook-a-duck’, ‘hoopla’ and balloon modelling.

To find out more about the event, book a place on one of the workshops or secure a pitch for the car boot sale, call 0151 934 4546. Admission is free and entry is £5 per car for the car boot sale.


All in a day’s work as Sefton Council Contact Centre reaches big milestone

From random queries about it being too hot in the shops, or rodents on the rampage stealing belongings, to the much-expected questions such as bin collections, it’s all in day’s work for Sefton Council’s Contact Centre who are celebrating their 15th birthday.

The Contact Centre is the first point of contact for Sefton residents and handle very difficult situations as well as the very varied weird, wonderful and rewarding enquiries that range from help with benefits to support with Council Tax payments, street cleaning, to social care enquiries and much more.

As the Contact Centre celebrates their 15th birthday, the team has been reflecting on successes and how much has changed in the ways in which residents and visitors communicate with the local authority.

Gone are the days of simply a phone call. The continued rise of digital communications now sees the small but extremely busy team at the contact centre answer many queries by email, webchat and social media messages.  In the last year alone, the team at the centre has answered over 425,000 calls, 2,500 webchats, 19,000 emails and 27,000 social media messages.

But one thing has not changed for the team over the last 15 years – they always put the customer at the heart of everything they do.

Cllr Paulette Lapin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services

“It’s said that you never have a second chance to make a first impression, which is so true for the fantastic staff in our contact centre, who have a very important role to play as a first point of contact and the eyes, ears and voice of Sefton Council.

“I wish them a big happy birthday and I look forward to watching the team evolve in line with the needs of our communities and how they want to communicate with us in the future.”

Lisa Conway, Contact Centre Manager said:

“Time has really flown since we established the service and it has been good to reflect on how far we have come, but also think of the challenges as we continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of customers and the evolving digital landscape.

“When you speak to that helpful voice on the phone or on social media, you do not see the meticulous planning that takes place ahead of each day, week, month, year. Something as simple as a change in the weather or a bank holiday can influence the kinds of calls the team finds answers to. For instance, after bank holidays, it is normal to receive lots of social care enquiries as people worry about isolated loved ones.

“The team needs to be alert and flexible and I’m proud to be part of a dynamic team that gives a warm welcome to residents while resolving their issues. The role can be very challenging but also very rewarding – ultimately we are making a difference for residents no matter what their enquiry.”

Join the celebrations on social media and look out for some of the memories the Contact Centre are sharing on the Council’s Twitter feed throughout the rest of May.

If you have any queries for Sefton Council, you can visit the Sefton Council website, call 0345 140 0845 or visit Twitter @seftoncouncil or Facebook /onesefton

Dwayne Johnson to be Sefton Council’s new Chief Executive

Sefton Council has formally approved the appointment of Dwayne Johnson to be its new Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service.

The appointment, confirmed during last night’s Full Council meeting at Southport Town Hall (April 25) followed a rigorous selection process.

Dwayne, who is currently Director of Social Care and Health at Sefton and has been in post since 2014, will replace Margaret Carney when she retires on May 31 after 10 years at the helm.

Following confirmation of his appointment, Dwayne said: “I’m very proud and honoured to be appointed to the position of Chief Executive in Sefton. Having worked here for the last five years, I can see how much Sefton has to offer in supporting existing and attracting new businesses into our area, how engaged our communities are in what we are trying to deliver, and we have such a talented workforce to match. I am really looking forward to working with the Leader and Elected Members on delivering the vision of this wonderful Borough and so looking forward to starting the role in June.”

Congratulating Dwayne on his appointment, Sefton’s current CEO Margaret Carney said: “I am delighted that Dwayne has been appointed as my successor.  He has an excellent track record in local government across a wide range of services and has always been committed to improving outcomes for our communities.”

With an extensive background in social care, Dwayne started his career working with disabled and older people as a care assistant in Durham, before going on to manage a care home. After qualifying as a social worker, Dwayne held a number of roles in the sector before climbing the ladder to strategic director in Halton where he was responsible for social care, housing, waste, libraries, community safety, before joining Sefton.

Nationally, Dwayne sits on the Association Directors Adult Social Services (ADASS) which aims to further the interests of people in need of social care by promoting high standards of services and influencing the development of social care legislation.

Dwayne has been the forefront of influencing many legislation changes around improving older people’s services and safeguarding and protecting adults. He is also Vice Chair of Directors Children Services in the North West. On a more personal level, Dwayne is also a strong advocate for the role of foster carers having seen the benefits himself because of his mother, who herself was fostered as a child.

Dwayne takes the leadership role at Sefton a time when the vibrant local authority is on a journey of ambition and change as it works towards its exciting Vision 2030 with partners to ensure Sefton is a confident and connected borough – focussing on what is important for the borough and its communities in the future.

Earlier this year, the Council was also praised for demonstrating real ambition for Sefton, for its strong track record of partnership working, place leadership and for having such a dedicated, passionate workforce by the Local Government Association’s (LGA) peer review team. This, Dwayne says, is a high standard to start the next chapter of his career on.

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