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People in Sefton being urged to support the local economy and shop local this weekend but to do so safely

A parade of shops in Southport
A parade of shops in Southport

As the end of what has been another difficult year for local shops and businesses approaches, Sefton Council urging people to support Small Business Saturday on 4th December.

Hard-hit

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Sefton is lucky to have a range of one-off and specialist shops and businesses, many of which will have been hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic.

“I would urge people across the Borough and beyond thinking about doing some Christmas shopping this weekend to try and make those purchases locally.

“Especially as this weekend it’s Small Business Saturday, which celebrates small business success and encourages people to ‘shop local’.

This year shops and businesses are being encouraged to sign up free to the online Small Business Finder designed to help customers locate them. They can add their location and details by registering via bit.ly/RegisterSBF2021N.

Shoppers can then visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and use the Small Business Finder to search their area or to look for specific types of shop.

Small Business Finder

Cllr Atkinson continued “The Small Business Finder is a great tool to help people find local shops and services they may not necessarily be aware existed so I hope businesses across Sefton will sign up for it and Sefton shoppers will use to check out what’s in their area.”

Although Sefton Council is keen for people to go out and support local businesses, it is also reminding people that they need to wear face coverings and masks in shops and on public transport. This in line with the Government regulations introduced this week to help prevent spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Protection

Cllr Atkinson added: “Wearing a face masks in indoor public spaces such as shops and public transport, is now required and is what we have been advising people to do all along.

“For most of us putting on a mask takes no effort at all and a global study has shown that face coverings provide us and those around us with the best non-clinical protection available.

“However, there are people who are unable to wear a face covering, maybe because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, and we need to be respectful of these people too.”

Cllr Atkinson also urged that before going out shopping or celebrating, people carry out and LFD test using one of the free kits available from pharmacies and other locations.

Find out more about Small Business Saturday.

Sefton businesses offered second chance to apply for Trading On Scheme grant

Eligible businesses have until Friday 10th December to apply for a Trading On grant
Eligible businesses have until Friday 10th December to apply for a Trading On grant

Liverpool City Region leaders have extended the grant application window for the Trading On Scheme, to encourage more businesses affected by Covid-19 to secure financial support.

The second application window is open from 10am on Monday 29th November until 5pm on Friday 10th December 2021.

Last month, Liverpool City Region leaders announced that they had secured a further £8.1m in emergency funding to support businesses across all six local authority areas in their post-pandemic recovery.

The additional funds are to be shared with small or medium-sized businesses, with between 10 and 249 employees, as part of the Trading On Scheme.

More than 100 Sefton-based businesses applied for a share of the £1.4million allocation set aside for the Borough during the first application window. Existing applicants will be contacted in the coming weeks and do not need to re-submit an application.

Businesses who did not apply initially, now have another fortnight to check their eligibility and apply via an online form. 

Sefton based businesses can find guidance and further details about the application process on the Sefton Council website: www.sefton.gov.uk/tradingonscheme 

In a joint statement issued at the launch of the scheme, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Cllr Mike Wharton, Leader, Halton Borough Council, Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader, Knowsley Borough Council, Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ian Maher, Leader, Sefton Borough Council, Cllr David Baines, Leader, St. Helens Borough Council and Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader, Wirral Borough Council said:

“Throughout the past 18 months, we have worked together to protect our region from the biggest challenge it has faced since the war. That collaboration, creativity and hard work resulted in millions of pounds of support that helped sustain thousands of businesses in all parts of our region through the worst of the pandemic.

“More than £44m was distributed to more than 4,000 businesses, saving many more thousands of jobs and livelihoods in the process. We start our recovery from a much stronger position as a result.

“That recovery is already well underway and received a massive boost in May, with the launch of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £150m Covid Recovery Fund, which has allowed our region to get a headstart on the rest of the country.

“Now we’re launching another £8.1m of funding for SMEs, who make up a massive chunk of the local economy. Together, we are making sure that the Liverpool City Region has the fastest and strongest recovery possible, with no one left behind.”

The government requires each council to exercise its local knowledge and judgment in devising a grant scheme that aligns best with the particular economic characteristics of its area by funding those businesses that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Because of this and the limited amount of funding available, the amounts of grant funding for individual businesses will vary across different local authority areas.

How Sefton Council has supported its local businesses during the pandemic

Sefton Council has administered 23,000 grant payments through local, regional and national financial support packages and schemes totalling £97.7 million in payments to businesses right across the Borough – from taxi drivers to childminders to pub landlords.

A total of £41.8 million in Business Rates retail discounts were awarded in 2020/21 with a further £22.5 million awarded in 2021/22.

How to help rough sleepers in Sefton this winter

Sefton Council is highlighting details of where anyone who finds themselves sleeping rough or knows someone who is, can find help and support.

Earlier this month The Big Issue reported that the number of households facing eviction tripled in the three months after Covid protections to keep renters in their homes ended.

And there are fears that the impact of rising living costs and other issues such as the Government’s £20 per week cut in Universal Credit could see evictions rise in the coming months.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This Council has a long-standing commitment to helping people suffering from homelessness and supporting those rough sleepers who may find themselves in a vulnerable position, without a safe and warm place to call home.

“I am very proud of the work our teams do to help combat rough sleeping.

“Nobody wants to find themselves bedding down for the night on a cold pavement or stairwell and we are fully aware that with each new day, people may find themselves in need of support through absolutely no fault of their own.

“That is why we continue to urge the public to report an incident of rough sleeping in Sefton, by calling the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team via Light for Life on 01704 501256 or 07918 746042 outside normal office hours and weekends.’’

People can provide details of the location and any description of anyone they suspect is sleeping rough by emailing shc@lightforlifesefton.org.uk or housing.options@sefton.gov.uk.

Veterans in Sefton (ViS) has also been commissioned to provide support to people who are currently serving or who have served in the Armed Forces. This covers regulars and reservists, their families and their dependents, who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

ViS is based at The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre in Bootle. For any further help and information from ViS people can call 0151 933 0800 or 07591 825204 out-of-hours assistance.

Sefton Council secures prosecution over counterfeit vodka found in Southport

Counterfeit bottles of vodka discovered in Southport
Counterfeit bottles of vodka discovered in Southport

Sefton Council’s Legal Team has gained a successful prosecution after a Southport business was found to be storing vodka that was deemed unfit for human consumption.

At Sefton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, District Judge Boswell found defendant, Mr Wojtek Lazarz guilty of two charges, and the company, Smakus Foods Limited, guilty of one.

Fined

Mr Lazarz was fined £1,450 and Smakus Foods Limited, £1,050, while Sefton Council received £1,000 towards its costs.

After suspected sales of counterfeit vodka were reported in Southport in 2019, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team began an investigation.

Counterfeit bottles

They liaised with the makers of Glen’s Vodka, which was how the alcohol was being sold, who told the team how to identify the counterfeit bottles, which were found on sale in several Southport locations.

Mr Lazarz’s unhelpful approach when questioned about the counterfeit alcohol, stored for sale at his business, led to the Council’s decision to taking legal action.

National priority

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “Selling fake alcohol that could have a serious effect on people’s health is an extremely serious matter and the Foods Standards Agency has made it a national priority of their work.

“I am, therefore, delighted that the Council’s Environmental Health and Legal Services teams have successfully carried out this investigation and prosecution as part of their work to protect local people and prevent this dangerous activity.”

Anyone who suspects dangerous or counterfeit alcohol is on sale can contact the Council’s Environmental Health team at etscontact@sefton.gov.uk or by calling the Council’s Contact Centre on 0845 140 0345.

Cllr Paulette Lappin added: “Events like this in Sefton are not common but I would ask anyone who notices anything suspicious to contact us so that we can investigate and take action.”

Sandway Homes construction cementing careers for Sefton residents

Sefton Council’s employment and recruitment service Sefton@Work is partnering with the authority’s housing development company Sandway Homes Ltd, to cement employment opportunities for job seekers in the Borough.

Barnfield Construction site Meadows Lane/ Sandy Brook - Mike Farron (Site Manager) Jay Mc Murtrie (Telehandler), Callum Moran (Groundworker), Brad White (Groundworker)
Barnfield Construction site Meadows Lane/ Sandy Brook – Mike Farron (Site Manager) Jay Mc Murtrie (Telehandler), Callum Moran (Groundworker), Brad White (Groundworker)

Work is underway at two Sandway sites, in Southport and Ainsdale, where the foundations for new homes and promising careers for local people are being laid.

Sefton residents have already been recruited into a range of jobs on both sites through the collaboration with the Council’s Sefton@Work advisors.

They have matched prospective employees to roles with Sandway’s main contractor Barnfield Construction through their professional recruitment service.

Further construction jobs will be advertised as more people are required for the new developments.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:

“We are committed to working hand-in-hand with employers to ensure that local people can benefit from the career opportunities that come with new construction projects.

“This initiative also complements our Social Value Strategy which looks at how we can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits from any new development here in Sefton.

“It’s fantastic to see that our new housing schemes are maximising job opportunities for our communities.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said:

“By delivering attractive, high-quality homes across the Borough, including social and affordable housing, these developments can only enhance Sefton’s quality of Place and Communities.

“What’s more is that the construction process is also bringing vast employment prospects for our residents. Many of them have been hard hit by the pandemic but can be assured that, through joined up working like this from our employment and housing services, there are brighter times ahead.”

Louise Davies, Sandway Homes Ltd Managing Director, said:

“I am delighted that as well as meeting the need for new, high-quality, mixed-tenure homes across Sefton and generating a financial return for the Council, Sandway Homes is also helping local people construct new careers.”

Sandway’s main contractor Barnfield Construction is part of the Barnfield Group who are a North West-based, family-owned firm established over 45 years ago. Barnfield are accredited Ambassadors of the Considerate Constructors Scheme and are committed to uphold the values of Sandway Homes and Sefton Council.

Tim Webber, Chairman & Managing Director of the Barnfield Group, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to support the Sefton@Work service by offering a range of positions to local jobseekers in Southport and Ainsdale. The recruitment of local construction workers on our sites, wherever they are in the UK, is always important to us under our social value ethos.”

Barnfield Construction site Bartons Close - Eddie Boddy (Fork Lift Driver), Richard Halliday (Labourer), Nick Armstrong (Site Manager), Glenn Henry – G Henry Groundworks subcontractor
Barnfield Construction site Bartons Close – Eddie Boddy (Fork Lift Driver), Richard Halliday (Labourer), Nick Armstrong (Site Manager), Glenn Henry – G Henry Groundworks subcontractor

Sefton@Work offers a range of free and confidential job-related services to residents aged 16 years and above throughout Sefton. It also supports employers with a professional recruitment service to help them find the right person for the job. 

Any company based or working in the Borough with job vacancies can get in touch to see if Sefton@Work can help to find local people for those opportunities. Businesses can contact Paula Cain on 0151 934 2875 or via email paula.cain@sefton.gov.uk

Anyone looking for employment and who would like to register for free, confidential and impartial advice and guidance on getting into work, should call Sefton@Work on 0151 934 2610 or email at seftonatwork.info@sefton.gov.uk

For more information about the Sefton@Work service people can visit www.seftonatwork.net or follow the service on Facebook and Twitter by searching for @LearnWorkSefton.

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