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Get your skates on – Southport is well and truly set for Christmas!

Southport is well and truly set for Christmas!

Southport’s amazing new 60 foot digital Christmas tree is lit, the town centre streets are lined with decorations and the  open-air ice skating rink is now  frozen and ready for skaters!

The ice skating rink in the Town Hall gardens is set to open today (December 7) and is organised as part of a partnership  between Southport BID and Sefton Council and will be at the heart of the town’s Christmas activity.

Winter chalets will be selling festive food and drink in the gardens and the tree’s amazing light show can be viewed from  both the outside and inside of the impressive structure.

Visitors and residents can skate beneath the tree from as little as £4.50 and enjoy a magical Christmas experience,  making  memories with friends and family.

Throughout the festive period businesses across Southport will host various themed events including lunch with Santa,  grottos and the ‘Dear Santa’ production at The Atkinson.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member, Regeneration and Skills, said: “The skating rink is back due to its popularity last year. It really puts Southport on the map as a leading Christmas destination and gives both  residents and visitors a wonderful festive experience when in the town.

“As well as supporting local businesses by shopping whilst here, visitors can also enjoy seasonal fare in the town’s restaurants and bars.

“Local businesses really benefit from the increased footfall to the town throughout December and the skating rink, Christmas tree and food and drink chalets make the Town Hall gardens the hub of Christmas.

“We are also actively encouraging local schools to get involved by offering a discount for group bookings.”

Hugh Evans, Southport BID CEO also added “The BID funded ice rink last year was hugely popular and we are extremely pleased to be bringing it back in partnership with Sefton Council.

“We wanted to make Christmas a great season in Southport, starting with the switch on. Centred around the new tree and its light display which we have entirely funded, the open-air rink will be something new for Southport and provide a real draw to the town centre in the build up to Christmas.”

You can book a skating session in advance by visiting www.visitsouthport.com. Tickets can also be bought on the day but are on a first come first served basis so it’s best to buy as early as possible online.

 

Sefton services throughout Christmas and New Year

Restricted services will be in place during Christmas and New Year as most Sefton Council staff are required to take unpaid leave as part of continuous cost-saving measures.

Similar to previous years, residents can still access a range of information and transactions via the council website – sefton.gov.uk.

Emergency contacts on December 24, 27, 28, and 31 between 9am-5.30pm:

Children’s Social Care: 0151 934 3114
Adult Social Care: 01704 704389 (North)
Adult Social Care: 0151 529 3761 (South)

For Social Care emergencies at all other times call the Emergency Duty Team 0151 934 3555

This includes checking bin collections, applying for licences, reporting environmental issues or paying Council Tax and business rates.

As a result of the unpaid leave, to be taken on December 24, 27, 28 and 31 most council buildings will be closed, contributing to significant savings as part of the budget setting process.

Services that will continue to operate include critical social care services for adults and children, a limited street cleaning service, Registrars, domestic and commercial waste collections and urgent highways issues, including gritting.

Residents are also being encouraged to recycle as much waste as possible and use the household waste recycling centres across the borough.

Similar to other years, the green wheelie bin collection for garden waste will be suspended from the end of November and will return in March, 2019.

Some Sefton Council-run leisure centres will be open at varying times during these dates and users are advised to check here for opening times.

A list of social care emergency phone numbers is attached below (see notes to editors).

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader of Sefton Council, said: “The Christmas shutdown has been in operation for a number of years now and it contributes to the savings we have to make due significant reductions in Government funding.

“Over the course of the financial year, our hard working staff have their pay reduced in order to take four days unpaid leave.

“Other savings from the closure period come from the reduced need for heating, lighting and running buildings, equipment and vehicles. This all helps contribute to the £64m of saving we need to make a balanced budget by 2020.

“While reduced services are being operated, we will still maintain key services for some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities. However, it is still clear to see that austerity is not over and the harsh Government cuts are still biting us with a noticeable impact on our residents.”

To access a range of service and transactions online, visit sefton.gov.uk. An automated phone service will be in place between December 22 and January 1, 2019 (inclusive) on 0345 140 0845 and most service requests will only be actioned beyond January.

 

Cinderella must go to the Hall! Tickets now on sale for Bootle panto

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Waterloo and Crosby Theatre company’s pantomime production at Bootle Town Hall

The theatre group will perform the classic Cinderella, as written by Roy Hartley and directed by Julie Cook, at the Town Hall on Oriel Road between Friday December 7 and Sunday December 16.

Adult tickets are priced at £10 while concessionary tickets  (children, OAPs and students) are on sale for £8.

Group rates and family tickets (two adults and two children) are also available for £30.

Bootle Town Hall is fully wheelchair accessible and parking outside the Town Hall is available but limited.

For those travelling via public transport Bootle Oriel Road train station is a short one minute walk from Bootle Town Hall.

Performance times are as follows:

Friday December 7 (7.30pm)
Saturday December 8 (2pm)
Sunday December 9 (2pm)

Friday December 14 (7.30pm)
Saturday December 15 (2pm)
Sunday December 16 (2pm)

To book tickets visit www.theatreaco.org.uk or call 07490134581.

Sefton warns prospective tenants of rental property scam

Sefton Council is warning tenants in the borough to be vigilant after a renting scam was uncovered in Southport.

The local authority’s Trading Standard’s team are investigating after a rental property in the town was advertised on a popular classified advert website, in a bid to lure potential tenants into paying deposits overseas.

While the property was legitimately on the market via a local letting agent, it was also fraudulently placed online at a significantly reduced rental.

When a prospective renter made an enquiry to the online advert, they were told ‘the owner’ had emigrated overseas and they would be required to pay a large deposit before they could access the property.

It was then that the alarm was raised and Trading Standards began their investigations. 

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “As soon as we were made aware of this scam we have requested that the fraudulent listing be taken down and we are investigating the matter further.

“In this instance the person who was being scammed raised the alarm in plenty of time and thankfully did not part with any cash, but others may not be so lucky.

“If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is and we would encourage everyone to be vigilant.

“Trading Standards regularly receive complaints about scams across the borough, ranging from rogue traders and doorstep salesmen to phone calls and letters designed to trick people into providing bank details.

“If you suspect any kind of fraudulent activity please report it on the Action Fraud hotline via 0300 123 2040 or by calling the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06.

For more information on tackling fraud and spotting the signs, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/fraud.

Sovini Group receives Royal Gold Award for supporting the Armed Forces

The Sovini Group has been recognised for their support of the Armed Forces community in a ceremony in London, where they were presented with the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award by HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex.

On Monday 12th November, The Sovini Group received its Gold Award alongside 50 other organisations in a presentation at Lancaster House led by the Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson.

The award is the Ministry of Defence’s highest honour for organisations, and recognises their outstanding support for Reservists, Service leavers, wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the Cadet organisations and service families.

ERS Gold Awards 2018 at Lancaster House.

The Group was previously awarded Silver in 2017 and Bronze in 2016.

The property management and development group has a long standing commitment to the Armed Forces community. They work in close partnership with local organisations such as the Army Reserve unit 156 Regiment RLC, local veteran charities and Brunswick Youth and Community Centre.

The Sovini Group’s work with Liverpool Veterans HQ and Veterans in Sefton has led to over 30 local veterans being rehomed and in many cases saved from homelessness. As part of the rehoming process, the veterans are offered goods to help them furnish their new home and there is ongoing tenancy support for more vulnerable tenants.

The company also offers a volunteer placement programme, which supports veterans with their transition from the Armed Forces into employment within civilian life. Some of those who took part in the programme have gone on to get jobs within the Group, such as at Sovini Trade Supplies in Aintree.

The Sovini Group also employ a number of Reservists and support them through company initiatives such as an additional 10 days leave for training and unlimited unpaid leave if they are mobilised.

Dr Roy Williams, CEO of The Sovini Group said: “It’s an honour to achieve the Gold Award. By adopting the Armed Forces Covenant, we help to make sure the people who make huge sacrifices on our behalf receive the recognition and support they deserve in the workplace and the wider community”

Dave Smith, CEO at Veterans in Sefton, said: “It’s been amazing for us as a veterans charity to work with an organisation like The Sovini Group, who’ve put so much into the Covenant and reached Gold Award standard and put Service Level Agreements together to help veterans. It’s very refreshing to work with an organisation with that high standard and commitment.”

Private Tracy Newman, Customer Empowerment Officer, The Sovini Group said: “The Sovini Group has been fantastic from the very beginning supporting me in my Army Reserve journey. The flexibility they have given me has been invaluable. When I talk to other Sovini staff during Armed Forces partnership events I see real interest from colleagues and going forward I hope to encourage more staff to get involved.”

For more information about The Sovini Group, visit sovini.co.uk

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