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Thousands benefit from InvestSefton business support

InvestSefton, Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service, continues to support local enterprises and has engaged with more than 2,200 individual businesses.

InvestSefton is one of the Liverpool City Region growth hubs working alongside the Local Enterprise Partnership, other local authorities, Chambers of Commerce and The Women’s Organisation. It is part of current UK Government funded activities delivered locally by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Robert Andrews (Director), Peter Oxspring (MD), Julie Swarbrick Invest Sefton, Peter Dowd MP, Cllr Marion Atkinson and Gary Brine, Hardy production manager

InvestSefton is also about to confirm the second phase of its European funded initiative-the Business Growth Programme which has already assisted over 255 businesses including 45 new enterprises in the borough.

Sefton residents and entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business have a managed referral to the Enterprise Hub which sits alongside the ERDF Business Growth Programme and provides a range of 1:1 and mentoring support.

Some 140 start ups have been referred to the Enterprise Hub for further support and InvestSefton has begun to supplement this work through the introduction of business clinics held every Tuesday at The Atkinson, Southport.

InvestSefton also supports the offer of subsidised commercial assistance through New Markets with 54 referrals into this Liverpool City Region wide programme. The team works closely with the Council’s Sefton@work service which helps support Sefton residents into new employment opportunities arising from business growth and new inward investment in the borough.

Businesses are supported in a variety of ways from expert 1:1 advice and guidance from the team’s nationally accredited Advisers to demand led events and workshops.

Kristina Swift of Invest Sefton pictured with Kevin Murphy of Venue Rent a Space

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Housing, said: “We are very proud of all the excellent work in helping and supporting local businesses through InvestSefton and Sefton@Work.
“Our mantra is very much about being open for business and the fact so many enterprises are contacting us for help and assistance is testament to this.
“Business enquiries through Sefton Growth Hub continue to rise with the same mix of firms from a range of industry sectors seeking advice, guidance and more intensive support and we really hope this continues.”

InvestSefton is able to provide a wide range of assistance at no cost to business. Areas of support can include:
• Access to finance
• Finding new business sites and premises
• Business planning, cashflow and cost reduction
• Dealing with council services more easily and effectively
• Winning new business from public sector contracts

For more information on the wide range of services available via InvestSefton please visit www.investsefton.com, email info@investsefton.com or call 0151 934 3452.

Hundreds attend Southport BID investment meeting

Over 100 local businesses, regional property agents, investors, and other stakeholders with an interest in taking Southport forward were brought together last week by Southport BID.

Southport has been hit hard, not helped by recent announcements of further store closures, and the town will take time to recover. However, the event was designed to focus on the positives, the investment that’s already happened, and the millions of pounds that could potentially come to the town from funding applications already in the pipeline and from private sector investors.

Speakers at the event included the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, and members of his investment team; Sarah Kemp, Executive Director, Sefton Council; Caroline Baker from property specialists Cushman Wakefield; Dr Steve Millington from The BID Foundation; and Agsteribbe from Bliss Investments.

Rob Uffendell, Chair of the BID, says:

“It’s clear that Southport, our town, is experiencing the same sort of issues that are facing many other towns and cities across the country. So, we’re not alone in having to face up to some really significant challenges.

“Our speakers consistently highlighted the big advantages that helps set us apart from our competitors. Our reputation as a significant coastal destination is increasing year on year (as demonstrated by the annual rise in visitor numbers). We have some unique assets in our town.

“We’ve already seen a lot of investment in our town. And we have dedicated partners from both the private and public sector who are determined to get things done.

“There is evidence from around the UK that those areas with BIDs in place are more successful in attracting external funding because it demonstrates a strong partnership between the private and public sectors and a willingness to work together”.

Delegates raised the issue of parking and the need for more flexibility in setting tariffs. Improving east – west transport links and doing more to increase residential living in the town centre were also highlighted.

Rob Uffendell continued: “Southport was described as a speciality town with plenty of opportunities for development.

“Attracting investment is hard work as was made clear by our speakers. All of them were clear on one thing: there are huge opportunities for this town but to get it right we need to demonstrate confidence and pride in what we have.

“That said, many of the solutions raised at the event have been talked about for years. If we’re going to take this town forward and make things happen, it’s time for action and not words”.

Sefton Parent Carer Forum announce AGM & Moving Forward session

The Sefton Parent Carer Forum have announced plans for their 2019 AGM and Moving Forward event next month.

Taking place at the West Lancs Yacht Club on Marine Drive, Southport on Thursday March 7 from 9:45am, the annual meeting is a chance for parents and carers of children with Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND) to meet and discuss services across the borough

Hosted by the Sefton Parent Carer Forum, members will be joined by a team of researchers from Edge Hill University who have been commissioned by Sefton Council and Sefton CCG to undertake
an evaluation of Special Education Needs and Disability services in Sefton, to find out what needs to change as a result of the recent SEN review.

A spokesperson for the SPCF said: “This is your opportunity to hear about the fi ndings of the Review
and feedback your views on how Sefton can move forward.

“Representatives from Healthwatch, Sendiass, Aiming High, Local Offer, Personal Travel Budgets and more will be on hand to offer advice and support, and then we’ll start with our Annual General Meeting.”

Lunch will be provided.

To book your free place, email seftonparentcarerforum@gmail.com or alternatively call us on 07541 326860.

Sefton launches SEND evaluation to seek out parent’s views

Sefton Council  have commissioned researchers at Edge Hill University to undertake an evaluation of Special Education Needs and Disability services in the borough.

The evaluation, funded by Sefton’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, will involve a sample of parents and carers with children and young people who have SEND and will help shape and improve the services Sefton can offer.

Key partners including schools, and health and care services will also be asked to give their views in the evaluation.

The results will then be used to inform policy, strategy, prioritisation and development of activities and services related to the needs of young people aged under 25 years with a special educational need or disability.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools & Safeguarding, said: “We have asked Edge Hill University to help us better understand Special Education Needs and Disability provision throughout Sefton.

“This is a very important project to undertake and we need parents and carers who are involved to give their views, both good and bad, so that we can positively shape how we deliver and develop services in the future.

“The ultimate goal of this evaluation is to help our children and young adults with SEND needs, as well as their families and support networks.”

Participation in the evaluation is completely voluntary and those who contribute will be given complete anonymity.

The evaluation is expected to be completed before April and a final report will be shared widely and posted on the local offer.

To find out more email public.health@sefton.gov.uk.

Funding approved for Heritage Lottery Project in Southport

Further funding has been approved by Sefton Council to allow a second round application for Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for a major project in Southport town centre.

Development funding of £70K was awarded by the HLF last year to enable Sefton Council, in partnership with Southport BID, to progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £1.6m. With contributions from Sefton Council and property owners it could be worth up to £2.36m in total.

At Cabinet on February 7, £200K of match funding was approved to enable Sefton Council and Southport BID to submit a second round application in June, 2019.

The Southport Townscape Heritage Project aims to enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the seafront so that the two become more integrated.

The project aims to increase the levels of economic activity within a target area and reduce the number of vacant and underused properties.

It will focus on historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade and aims to complement the previous HLF restoration of King’s Gardens and the recent £2m award from the Coastal Communities funds for the pier.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “We initially beat off fierce competition from 23 other bids to be one of only 5 areas within the UK to be awarded the grant.

“This match funding will allow us to apply for a full National Lottery grant worth about £1.6m which we will submit in June with a final decision made in the autumn.

“If approved we really believe the money will enhance the links between Lord Street and the Promenade reducing the vacant and poorly maintained properties and greatly increasing economic activity in these areas.”

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work , involving structural and external repair of historic buildings, the reinstatement of authentic architectural features and works to bring vacant floor space in historic buildings back into use.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, added: “Working with partners like Southport Civic Society and other education and training providers, we hope the project will bring community, volunteering and educational benefits to local residents.

“Lord Street and the Promenade conservation areas provide a rich and nationally significant collection of historic buildings and landscaping. We firmly believe preserving this heritage for residents, businesses and visitors alike will contribute greatly to the town’s economy while providing a strong sense of identity, local pride and community value.”

Part of the initial development funding has allowed for the recruitment of a dedicated Project Officer, Paul Crowther, who joined Sefton in November 2018 from the successful Townscape Heritage Project in Winckley Square, Preston. Paul has been busy working on developing the second round application and liaising with Southport BID.

Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport Business Improvement District, said: “This is a great step forward for our town. The success of our joint application for first round funding demonstrated the effectiveness of the private and public sectors working together for the greater good of our town. We’re confident that continuing this collaboration will now help ensure a successful second round application resulting in £1.6m grant funding to improve a core area of our town centre and is an example of how such collaborations are important in encouraging future investment in Southport.”

For more information please visit our webpage www.sefton.gov.uk/townscape alternatively get in touch on 0151 934 3155 or e-mail Paul.Crowther.sefton.gov.uk

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