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Sefton leads the way in protecting Heritage At Risk sites

Sefton Council is leading the way in protecting the borough’s most culturally and historically important sites for generations to come.

Working closely with English Heritage and other partners, the local authority has created a proactive and contemporary approach to taking care of Sefton’s Heritage At Risk sites.

This approach led to the creation of a dedicated Sefton Heritage At Risk Officer and, although originally planned as only a temporary position, approval has now been received to make it a permanent fixture of the local authority.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth and Housing, oversaw the creation of the role and outlined the authority’s ambitions to better manage the borough’s incredible heritage sites.

Stuart said: “We really stepped outside the ‘planning box’ in our bid to protect our Heritage At Risk sites.

“Firstly we had to address what could be done to keep our assets from the ‘At Risk’ register. What were the root causes and could potential problems be headed off before sites became at risk?

“We know heritage assets are important to our communities, providing a historical context to neighbourhoods and townscapes.

“But due to increasing pressures on resources it was necessary to look at different ways of tackling risk, which is why we created the Heritage At Risk officer’s position.

“The wide scope of the role allows us to focus on innovative partnership work, improved community understanding and exploring possible future savings and funding streams.

“Our work has been so beneficial that Southport, one of our key heritage sites, was chosen as a pilot project for Historic England’s national ‘Heritage Action Zone’ scheme.

“This led to a number of fantastic initiatives including the Southport Development Framework, the Lord Street Verandah Project and community led Heritage Trails.”

“A number of key buildings and spaces within Sefton – listed buildings and other buildings in conservation areas – have been targeted for intervention, investment and re-use.

“This is a complex, large scale and long term project, particularly so with the resources at our disposal, but nevertheless is a key priority for Sefton Council”.

Daniel Longman, Sefton’s dedicated Heritage At Risk Officer, added: “My role is to make sure our heritage sites are at the forefront of any work we do while continuing to encourage community resilience.

“I put a lot of focus into working closely with our communities and partners, using our combined knowledge to identify future projects, potential ‘At Risk’ sites and finding new funding streams.

“We want our communities and visitors to be better informed of the history and character and value of the borough and this has a positive knock-on effect on tourism, the economy and housing.”

Sefton Council is now working alongside partners and community groups in the delivery of the Southport Townscape Heritage Project, with the explicit aim of enhancing the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the seafront.

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.

Free adult education courses offer “second chance to everyone”, says Metro Mayor

Low-income learners across the Liverpool City Region will be able to access free level two courses thanks to support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for a scheme that fulfils Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s election pledge to “give a second chance to everyone”.

The city region’s devolution agreement means that the Combined Authority is now responsible for £51.3m funding for adult education courses for residents of the Liverpool City Region.

And Devolution has enabled the Liverpool City Region to raise the threshold on a scheme to fully fund more people on low wages to improve their skills.

That means that free level two courses will now be available to people earning up to the Real Living Wage – £17,550 per year – rather than the previous threshold of £16,009.

Speaking about the change, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “In my election manifesto I pledged to deliver a second chance for everyone and, as we take over responsibility for adult education funding, I’m proud that we are now able to fund free training for people earning less than the real living wage.

“This means that adults who may have missed out on educational opportunities the first time round will have the opportunity to improve their skills and advance their careers.  Having new powers over adult education has enabled us to make a decision that will directly benefit more people in the city region. This is only an initial step in ensuring our skills system if fairer and more equitable.  This is what devolution is all about.”

Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships, said: “This decision has enabled us to ensure that more low-waged residents of the city region can access the training they need to progress in the work place.  That is good news for them and good news for local businesses and exactly the kind of thing that devolution enables us to do.”

TUC North West Regional Secretary Lynn Collins welcomed the move and said: “This change will widen participation in learning and presents a great opportunity to support residents who are in low wage and low skilled jobs to gain new skills and progress.”

Liverpool City Region will also become the first combined authority to run a series of “Test and Learn” pilots offering training in the vital areas of English and Maths, Digital Skills and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), supported with £1.95 million from the Adult Education Budget.

The bulk of the £51.3 million Adult Education Budget will support adult education delivered by the city region’s further education colleges, local authorities and other learning providers.

British Masters 2019: Pictures & videos from the tournament

Professional golfers Matthew Baldwin and Oliver Wilson chipped in to help budding golfers improve their skills through free coaching sessions at Southport Muni.

The golfers, who are in the resort for the British Masters tournament at Hillside Golf Club, kindly gave up their time to offer the sessions as part of Sefton Council’s Festival of Golf.

Matthew, who started his career playing at Southport Golf Links, was joined by Oliver Wilson, who starred in the 2008 Ryder Cup, offering top tips to stars of the future.

They started on the putting practice and then shared advice and tactics on the driving range and chipping onto the green.

For more information on Sefton Council’s Festival of Golf click here

Southport Festival returns with more art, music and dance than ever before!

Southport Festival returns this May bringing a full weekend of music, art and colour to the town centre!

The festival, funded by Southport BID with Sefton Council, boasts a line-up packed with free family street theatre and live performance. Taking place 10th – 12th May, visitors to the Festival can expect interactive art demonstrations and creative zones designed for every generation to enjoy together.

Big name music acts for 2019 include Heather Small, Soul ll Soul and Elkie Brooks playing at The Waterfront.

For families, there are plenty of memories waiting to be made with magical street theatre including the Fabularium and three brilliant Mad Hatter’s Tea Party shows. There are comedy shows for both adults and children alike in the Atkinson and visitors should also look out for a huge interactive pavement draw with Urban Canvas.

The festival, now in it’s 4th year, will have plenty of entertainment for audiences of all ages with live dance, theatre and music in Chapel Street all weekend. Businesses throughout Southport are joining the fun with a day full of live music with Remedy and DJ’s in the Bandstand courtesy of The Vincent.

Southport Festival is brought together through collaboration; directed by a steering group of representatives from Southport BID, Sefton Council, Southport Contemporary Arts, The Atkinson and The SDC alongside passionate members of the local arts community. The event is backed by funding from the BID and Sefton Council.

Rob Uffendell, of both Southport BID and Southport Festival says of the event “Our aims were always to bring together communities, art forms, local talent and businesses to create a diverse festival that truly has something to offer everyone! We are really proud of the way the festival has grown.

There is a real sense of coming together in the planning of the event and the venues that participate and host events are what help it grow. We hope we have the opportunity to keep growing it further and putting on even more free activity going forward”

Check out southportfestival.com for full information about the many festival events taking place from Friday 10th-Sunday 12th May.

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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