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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.

 

Important information to help rough sleepers in cold winter months

Sefton Council has a range of services for rough sleepers throughout the borough which are available all year round.

Services, run by Light For Life, are at hand as we to try and reduce the number of people sleeping rough in Sefton, especially during the colder winter months.

This is especially important during the cold winter months between December 2018 and February 2019.

Light For Life’s winter shelter, which will open as weather conditions dictate, will be offered at Southport Eco Centre and will be open from 10pm to 7am with light refreshments and a warm, dry, safe environment for people to access.

As part of this service, outreach teams will proactively seek out rough sleepers and encourage them to access the night shelter.

If you are concerned about someone’s wellbeing, please direct them to the Shelter or to the sit up services available all year round.

The help of the public is always appreciated and to report an incident of rough sleeping in Sefton please call the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team via Light for Life on 01704 501256 or 07918 746042 outside normal office hours and weekends.

Alternatively, email housing.options@sefton.gov.uk and provide details of the location and any description of the person. We will acknowledge your email and give you a response to your report.

Sefton Council also commission Sefton Supported Housing Group to provide a Homeless Sit Up service.

These services are available nightly and you can book in between 8pm to 9pm. and it promises a safe, warm and caring environment where service users will be given a mat and sleeping bag.

There are also shower facilities and hot food & drinks until 8am the next morning.

Services are provided at BOSCO House, Merton Road, Bootle (0151 944 1818) or New Start, Leyland Road, Southport, (01704 547 741).

Veterans in Sefton have also been commissioned to provide support to people who are currently serving or who have served in the Armed Forces, both regular and reservists, their families and dependents, who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

ViS are based at The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre in Bootle.

For any further information call 0151 257 6371 or attend the ‘NAAFI Break’, Wednesdays 10.30am – 12.pm.

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.

New Apprentice Travelcard could save LCR apprentices more than £400 a year

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has officially launched one of the country’s best discounted travel schemes for young people in training.

The Apprentice Travelcard will give all those on apprenticeships aged 19-24 half-price bus travel across Merseyside, in line with the great affordable fares 16-19 year olds already enjoy.

Announced earlier this year by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram alongside Bus Alliance partners Stagecoach, Arriva and other Merseyside bus operators, the Apprentice Travelcard is aimed at removing one of the main barriers to entry for young people wanting to start apprenticeships – access to affordable transport.

The Apprentice Travelcard will allow holders to purchase weekly and four-weekly passes in line with great value Solo fares for under-19s, allowing unlimited travel across the Merseyside bus network and potentially saving users more than £400 a year.

The roll-out comes just a month after the Metro Mayor launched a ‘Big Bus Debate’, a large-scale public conversation about the bus system in the Liverpool City Region and how new devolved powers could be used to drive improvements in service and give greater control to passengers.

Holders of the Apprentice Travelcard must be enrolled participants on registered apprenticeship schemes.

Application packs are available from training providers and at Merseytravel Travel Centres, further details are available at merseytravel.gov.uk/apprentice

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Apprenticeships are a vital pathway to work for young people across the Liverpool City Region, leading to skilled and well-paid jobs.

“But we know that the cost of travel has been putting some off taking-up apprenticeship opportunities. That’s why I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to introduce this scheme which could save hundreds of pounds a year for apprentices under the age of 25.”

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