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Make sure you’re registered to vote in the Local Elections

Residents across Sefton are being urged to make sure they are registered to vote in time for the local elections this May.

On Thursday, May 2 residents throughout the borough will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at a local level.

Local government elections select councillors, who are responsible for making decisions on running services in your local area. These include housing, education, transport, planning, parks, leisure, fire and public safety, social care and waste management. Across Sefton there are 22 wards.

Vote being cast at a polling station

In order to vote in this important election, residents must be on the electoral register.

The deadline to register to vote in local elections is fast approaching and Sefton Council is asking residents who have not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Friday, April 12. Anyone can apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. It takes just five minutes and Sefton has had more than 15,000 new registrations in the last 2 years.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Regulation and Compliance, said: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in the local elections. These elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here across Sefton. Putting it simply, if you’re not registered by April 12, you won’t be able to vote.”

Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, added: “If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you act to ensure that you are registered to vote. It takes just five minutes online and means that you can take part in this important election.”

If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you will still be registered to vote. If in doubt, check your details by giving us a call on 0345 140 0845.

A new portal can help you find the right apprenticeship in the Liverpool City Region

Finding and taking up one of a huge range of apprenticeships available across the Liverpool City Region is set to get much easier from today (Tuesday 5th March 2019) as Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram launches the UK’s first one-stop web portal for apprenticeships.

The UCAS-style portal – www.be-more.info – has been created thanks to the Metro Mayor’s powers relating to the skills agenda, and brings together apprenticeship opportunities from employers so that prospective apprentices in the Liverpool City Region can find the local information they need in one place.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“This is the first website anywhere in the country bringing together such a wide range of information about apprenticeship opportunities and how to apply for them, and we have built it here, in the Liverpool City Region, specifically for our residents.

“In my election manifesto I promised to simplify the way people access apprenticeship opportunities through an easily accessible, online apprenticeship portal for the city region and I’m proud to have fulfilled that pledge.

“Visitors to the site will be amazed at the type of apprenticeships we have in the city region, it’s not just the traditional trades, you can study at degree level and beyond in subjects ranging from Clinical Engineering – to becoming a Paralegal. There is certainly much more on offer in terms of opportunities and qualifications than when I did a traditional bricklaying apprenticeship.”

The portal was built in consultation with current and prospective apprentices and is part of the Combined Authority’s plans to ensure that the city region develops the skills that its economy needs.

The Metro Mayor is committed to increasing the number, breadth and relevance of apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region, enabling more employers and learners to access and benefit from apprenticeships.

The new web portal, which is the first of its kind, is being launched to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, and not only offers opportunities, but also features details on how to apply for an apprenticeship, how to get there, and even what specific travel benefits may be available.

This new online facility will also be a useful tool for employers across the six constituent local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies.

Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships, said:

“Ensuring that we can recruit the right number of apprentices in the right sectors is absolutely crucial to ensuring that the Liverpool City Region economy has the skills it needs to thrive in the 21st century.

“One of the key messages we have to get out there is that apprenticeships have changed and can now be a route to highly-skilled, highly-paid careers in almost every sector of the job market.  This new portal is a vital part of our efforts to boost recruitment to apprenticeships by making it much easier and simpler to find out what opportunities exist and how to apply for them.”

Alex Ennion from Wirral is in the first year of a three year Healthcare Science degree apprenticeship with Aintree University Hospital. He said:

“When I complete my degree, I’ll be a specialist rehabilitation engineer so I’ll be going out into the community in the North West fitting equipment for patients who have traumatic brain injuries or conditions like Motor Neurone Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. By already being in a full time job, I’m working with a lot of cutting edge technology in this field a lot sooner than I would through the traditional route.

“I’ll be helping people by fitting assistive technology in their home which can help them to live more independently. These can be tablets that allows the user, who can only move their upper neck, to use their eyes to turn the TV or the lights on or off themselves.”

Aidan Matear is a 24 year old patient at Aintree University Hospital with cerebral palsy. He uses his natural eye movements to control his laptop and said:

“This equipment has been life-changing for me – it has made it easier for me to communicate and made it possible for me to complete my degree. It has enabled me to fulfil my dream of becoming a writer. Having this technology specifically configured for me and tailored to my abilities has reduced some of the barriers I face in day-to-day life and I am immensely grateful to the team at Aintree Hospital.”

Ruth Hoyte, Director of Workforce & Organisational Development at Aintree University Hospital, said:

“Apprenticeships are helping us to build a strong future workforce by developing the skills of our existing staff and offering job opportunities to our local communities. That’s great news for Aintree, our patients and the NHS as a whole. It’s fantastic to see apprenticeships being promoted across the Liverpool City Region and we’re pleased to support the launch of this new portal.”

Paul Smyth, the Apprenticeship Lead for Aintree University Hospital, said:

“We’ve had 200 apprentices through the door at Aintree University Hospital studying at a variety of levels and from different backgrounds. It makes perfect sense to be able to share our opportunities on a portal that local people can access. I think that is particularly important when you’re trying to decide whether to do an apprenticeship or take an academic route. Here you can weigh up your options and decide what’s going to be best for you. ”

To find out more information about apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region go to www.be-more.info

Sefton’s Budget Meeting and Council Tax set for 2019/20

Council Tax for services provided by Sefton Council will increase by 2.99% to fund the unprecedented demand on Children’s Social Care, protecting our vulnerable older people, and being able to continue to provide the everyday services residents rely on.

At Full Council this evening (February 28), councillors agreed the third year of the budget plan and approved the 2.99% rise for 2019/20 for the local authority’s services.

For an easy explanation of how your council tax is spent, click here.

It means that for the provision of council services, it will cost the majority of householders an extra 78p or less per week (figures based on a Band C property).

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to increase our Council Tax but we’ve been left with no alternative because we just don’t get enough funding from the Government to continue to run the services that our communities rely on. This is the only way to ensure we manage to provide the vital services everyone expects from us. From caring for children, the elderly and other vulnerable people to emptying the bins, cleaning the streets and maintaining the roads, as well as still providing leisure, cultural and community activities and supporting the skills and business sectors that are essential to the growth of our economy.

“To put it into context, between 2010 and 2020, Sefton will have lost the equivalent of £746 from each household as the Government continues to reduce the money it gives to councils. That is a huge loss and we keep warning about the huge risk to local services. This loss also comes at a time when we have seen massive increases in pressures for services. Not only due to the unprecedented loss of funding and the ongoing social care crisis, but a surge in demand for children’s services, support for special educational needs and disabilities and the uncertainty over schools funding.”

Due to the increased pressure for social care services, Sefton has still had to identify some new savings to ensure a balanced budget this year. At full Council, a number of options were agreed that would have the least impact on Sefton’s communities.

Cllr Maher continued: “We will continue to invest our resources where it will deliver the most impact – in creating jobs, protecting our most vulnerable children, adults and families and in improving the local environment. Despite the challenges we face we will work hard with our partners to remain a confident and connected borough. We believe that with the right funding, we can continue to lead our areas and improve residents’ lives.”

The overall Council Tax bill – which includes police and fire services charges and the new tax for a Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor – will go up by 5.11% to £1,662.32 for the coming financial year (for a Band C property). This excludes the amounts charged by Parish Councils for homes in their areas.

In the following video, Cllr Maher provides insight into the pressures facing Sefton Council as it continues to deliver quality services to residents despite increasing pressure on its resources.

Sefton launches major bid for Future High Street funding

Sefton Council is bidding for a slice of the £675m Future High Street Fund with bids planned for both Southport and Crosby.

The Future High Street Fund was announced in last November’s budget and aims to support and fund local areas’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future.

In this first round, Sefton will include bids for both Crosby village and Southport town centre and builds upon the Council’s ambitions for its town centres encapsulated within its agreed regeneration frameworks and 2030 Vision.

The Future High Street Fund aims to help Councils, their communities and the private sector work in partnership to develop and sustain town centres to enhance their vitality and viability.  The fund also includes the opportunity to bid for part of a £55m Heritage High Street Fund.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Skills and Regeneration, said: “Building on Sefton’s ambitions for its town centres, we are aiming to submit two bids to the Future High Street Fund for both Southport town centre and Crosby Village to help sustain them for the future. The bids will also support Sefton’s and the City Region’s ambitions for future growth.

“For Southport this will build upon Sefton’s success in securing around £10m of Heritage Lottery and Coastal Communities Funding for King’s Gardens, Southport Pier and the recently announced Townscape Heritage Scheme.

“For Crosby this will build on the significant private sector funding by St Modwen into the village centre. If successful, Sefton Council will continue to work in an inclusive way with private sector and community sector partners.”

Formal stage 1 bids for both projects will be made in the coming months with further details issued in due course.

Sefton Cycle Chat returns by popular demand

Anyone with an interest in cycling is encouraged to attend the next Sefton Cycle Chat at the MeCycle Café on Station Road, Ainsdale.

cycle chat

The evening session, on Tuesday March 5, runs from 6pm until 8pm and is an ideal opportunity to talk about cycling issues and news around Sefton.

The latest of many regular meetings, a number of riders, enthusiasts and local groups are set to come together and debate the top topics that affect cyclists in the borough.

Special guest at the session will be road safety consultant Paul Mountford, who will update the group on cycling related initiatives by the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership.

All local cyclists will be warmly welcomed at the March session and will be encouraged to engage with their ideas and thoughts on topical matters.

If you would like further information please email activetravel@sefton.gov.uk or call 0151 934 4541/4808

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