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‘A real honour’ says Bootle superstar Alex Greenwood as she unveils huge hometown mural

Alex Greenwood with Cllr Ian Moncur & Cllr Trish Hardy“It’s a real honour and if I can inspire just one girl from Bootle to play football then I feel like my job is done!”

That is the message from Bootle Lioness and England Women’s Footballer Alex Greenwood as she officially unveiled a huge mural celebrating her successes.

Proud

The 29-year-old Euro 2022 winning Lioness said she was extremely proud to have a mural commemorating her sporting successes painted onto the front of 320 Stanley Road in Bootle, thanks to joint funding from Sefton Council and REPT Sports.

At the official unveiling on Monday, October 25th crowds of youngsters gathered alongside Alex’s family and national media to officially unveil the mural, painted by artist John Culhsaw.

While all eyes are now on the 22ft mural, Alex is keen to use it as an opportunity to push for greater support for young girls in sport.

Inspire

Alex said : “It’s a real honour to have this mural and if I can inspire just one girl from Bootle to play football then I feel like I have done my job!

“I used to walk up and down this street as a kid and it’s fantastic to know young girls and boys will walk past [the mural] and hopefully be inspired.

“I’ve seen a massive shift in mentality towards female sport and women’s football since the Euros.

“As a collective we are going to keep asking questions of those higher up and demand more opportunities for little girls and boys in the future.

“I really hope there’s another young girl standing here in however many years to come telling the same story.”

The mural sits pride of place on the busy Bootle town centre thoroughfare and be seen by thousands of schoolchildren, shoppers and commuters every day.

Hometown roots

Alex, a former St Monica’s and Savio Salesian pupil, has remained true to her hometown roots and has long been a major influence in the advancement of women & girls football within Sefton, ensuring she takes time out of her busy footballing career to motivate and inspire future generations of sporting stars throughout the borough.

She said: “I would like to thank Sefton Council for this mural.

“It’s really important for me to be able to send a message to young girls in my area that anything is possible.

“Many of the dreams I had while walking the streets of Bootle and playing on the pitches have come true through hard work and perseverance.

“Characteristics that were formed in Bootle.”

Amazing

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Alex has always been an inspiration to our sporting youngsters and we were over the moon when she, along with the other amazing Lionesses, brought home the European Championship.

“To be able to honour Alex in this way with a permanent mural in the heart of her hometown is fantastic and I know that the thousands of schoolchildren who will pass by it every day will be inspired just by seeing it.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge all our young sporting stars to take a look at Alex’s hard work and dedication to getting where she is today as one of the world’s best female footballers. Her progress is a testament to the excellent school and sports facilities we have within Sefton.”

Real honour

Popular Liverpool artist John Culshaw, who rose to fame with his incredible murals of Ringo Starr in Toxteth and Mo Salah in Anfield, designed and painted Alex’s mural said: “It was a real honour to be asked to create this mural.

“I think we have a way of getting behind our stars in Liverpool and for a Bootle girl to bring home our nation’s first piece of international silverware in 56 years is definitely something to be celebrated!

“What better way to show how proud we are than to have this mural in Alex’s hometown.”

Sefton Council, through its Active Sefton team and continued work with sports partners, strives to actively promote, support and improve football facilities in the borough to allow future generations the opportunity and access to the beautiful game.

You can find out more about how to get involved in sport and  leisure in Sefton here.

 

Popular Park Nights sessions return for Halloween season

A series of free sports and activities are being held under the floodlights this Halloween for young people across Sefton.

The floodlit sessions will run from Monday, October 23 through to Thursday November 3.

Activities include:

  • street golf,
  • inflatable football
  • archery
  • multi sport

Sessions will be taking place at Bowesdale Park, Hesketh Park, South Park, Bedford Park, Kirkstone Park, Coronation Park and Duke Street Park.

All sessions, which run from 5pm to 7pm, are completely free to attend and there is no need to pre-book.

Sefton GPs to receive training to spot signs of suicide risk

Health professionals across Sefton are being offered specialist training to help spot the signs of young people contemplating suicide or self-harm.

Supported by Sefton Council’s Public Health team and Mersey Care NHS Trust, the Practise Hope initiative is a culture-changing mental health programme helping 10 to 25-year-olds who have thoughts of suicide who self-harm.

One of the aims of the training is to help break the stigma around challenging and difficult conversations about suicidal thoughts. The project also involves getting the views and experiences of young people in the area directly.

As part of the initiative, staff at a number of practices across Sefton will receive training in identifying the causes that can lead a young person to self-harm or have thoughts of suicide and discuss ways to improve how they can better support young people.

Participating practices include Ainsdale, Bridge Road, Christiana Hartley, Litherlands and Seaforth.

The specialist sessions will be delivered by Olly’s Future, a national suicide prevention charity and funded by the Zero Suicide Alliance.

Dr Dan Ellis, a GP at Litherland Medical Practice, has recently taken part in a Practise Hope training session.

He said: The importance of identifying young people who have thoughts of suicide or self harm is vital.

“As a GP I have seen a massive increase in the numbers of young people presenting with various mental health issues.

“Provision of support for younger people often seems less than that for adults, and certainly harder to access. As health professionals we all need to be well equipped in working with such patients – from our reception teams to our seasoned GPs and nurses.”

Dr Rory McGill, Consultant in Public Health at Sefton Council, said he was keen for the training to help break the stigma around talking about suicidal thoughts.

Dr McGill said: “It’s important that we all work toward getting rid of the stigma of talking about suicide.

“It is a conversation that saves lives. We need to bust the myth that starting the conversation about suicide causes harm; the evidence shows us that it does not.

“What it can do though is prevent a crisis point being reached in our young people, who could benefit from a referral to a range of resources we have available in Sefton. For the young person, having this discussion can be the opportunity they needed to relieve themselves of their thoughts by being emotionally open, promoting our connection to healing rather than promoting further shame and isolation.”

All GP practices across Sefton are being encouraged to sign up for the training, which runs over a three month period.

To find out more about getting involved in the initiative, please contact Linda Foster, Practise Hope Coordinator at Olly’s Future at linda@ollysfuture.org.uk

Sefton secures nearly £4 million from housing developers for local infrastructure

Nearly £4 Million of infrastructure investment is set to be spent across Sefton thanks to the Local Authority’s work with developers, a published Infrastructure Funding Statement has shown.

As well as being spent on improvements to highways, public transport and more, the £3.8 million funding from developers will also help boost primary school provision and improved health facilities.

Sefton Council continues to work closely with developers to ensure any impact from new builds is mitigated by a substantial investment being put back into the borough for the direct benefit of the communities who live there.

Throughout the previous financial year (2021/22) Sefton Council agreed proposals with a number of firms which, upon completion of development, could secure over £3.8 million towards improving local infrastructure.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “The Sefton Local Plan has helped support local investment in recent years and we are seeing what is perhaps the highest level of developments taking place for many years.

“Now with more developments set to come, we are acutely aware that this could lead to pressure on local infrastructure and services, which is why we have sought to agree a huge funding package that will directly benefit our communities and mitigate any additional pressures.

“The money secured through our agreements includes over £2 million towards increasing local primary school places, plus money to provide health facilities and further public transport investment.

“Additionally this year’s agreements will help secure over 430 new affordable homes with many more expected in the coming years.

“We will continue to work hard to secure significant levels of financial contributions from developers to support services and facilities, and much needed affordable housing, across the borough.”

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Safe, engaging activities for 6,000 young people this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to region’s Police Commissioner

More than 6,000 young people will be able to enjoy safe, engaging activities this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

Emily Spurrell has invested more than £55,000 from her Youth Diversion Fund for projects aimed at preventing crime and engaging young people over the autumn half term.

In Sefton two projects have been given funding. They are:

Gillies FC – £2,900 to deliver extra Halloween-themed activities for 300 young people in Netherton and Orrell, areas which have been a high level of ASB. The club has a proven track record of successful projects to engage young people and will work alongside MFRS.

Rampworx Youth Village 2000 – £3,000 to provide extended park opening times to include key times of high ASB. The extended hours will provide food for up to 600 young people at risk in the South Sefton area.

It is the third round of grants released by the Commissioner from the Fund, which diverts money raised from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or recovered property, which cannot be returned to its owners, to worthwhile causes.

The Commissioner launched the fund to help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour at times when it often spikes, while giving young people across the region better opportunities to get involved in safe, supervised, engaging activities.

To help ease the pressure on communities this autumn, the Commissioner has awarded funding to 27 grassroots initiatives which will use the money to divert more than 6,000 young people away from crime and ASB, while complementing Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Operation Banger.

This year saw an increase in the number of grassroots organisations bidding to keep young people fed during the school break. There was also an increase in community groups applying to heat centres during the extra opening hours as utility costs soar.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night are a time of great fun and excitement for many people across Merseyside, but sometimes it can go too far and sadly we know some communities still see an increase in criminal and anti-social behaviour. This often makes it a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service.

“I’m hoping to help reduce the pressure on local people and our blue light services by awarding grants to 27 fantastic grassroots initiatives with the aim of preventing crime and providing engaging, safe and supervised activities for nearly 6,000 young people across Merseyside.

“While each of these individual grants are only relatively small, our fantastic voluntary and third sector really know how to make the most of such a cash boost to benefit their local communities. They have proposed a host of imaginative and creative projects which will support the excellent diversionary work carried out by the police and fire service and will make a huge difference in keeping young people safe.

“By using these grants to fund a wide range of well-organised community activities, my goal is to ensure young people can enjoy the autumn festivities in a safe and enjoyable way, without getting drawn into any activities which could become intimidating, anti-social or even dangerous to other members of the community.”

A total of 102 applications were received for the fund, with a combined value of more than £224,000. To avoid any duplication, bids were shared with partners before being reviewed by a panel from the Commissioner’s team and the Community Foundation for Merseyside, who manage the fund on the PCC’s behalf.

As a result, 11 organisations in Liverpool were awarded funding, with six projects running on the Wirral, two in Sefton, four in St Helens and four in Knowsley.

Among the successful recipient were Kids Activities and Bootcamps in Knowsley, who will provide outreach work in the Kirkby area for up to 300 young people and hold Halloween discos on key nights. On the Wirral, the Hive Youth Zone have been awarded £2,000 to run a Halloween-themed maze event on the 30th and 31st aimed at 350 young people aged 8-19. There are specific time slots designated for those with additional needs to ensure the entire community can participate.

In Liverpool, Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association received nearly £3,000 to run a wide range of diversionary activities. This will include crafts, a community mural, movie nights and a Halloween disco. One-to-one support will be offered for those suffering because of recent tragic incidents in the area. The Woolton Centre received £2,000 for Halloween events for 40 young people to divert them away from ASB.

In Sefton, Rampworx Youth Village 2000 will get £3,000 to provide extended park opening times at key times when ASB has risen in the past, providing activities for up to 600 young people at risk in the South Sefton area.

St Helens Hamma Academy of Sports and Martial Arts will use their £2,000 to run a mixed martial arts course over the half term, with prizes on offer as a further incentive for 150 young people to attend. Other projects that have been funded across Merseyside include movie nights, fitness and boxing sessions and Zombie Walks.

The Youth Diversion Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, (CFM) on behalf of the Commissioner. CFM holds funds from philanthropic individuals and organisations who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside and Lancashire.

Rae Brooke, Chief Executive for the Community Foundation for Merseyside, said: “For many years our partnership with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside has enabled us to distribute funding to a broad range of local community projects making a positive difference to people’s lives.

“The Youth Diversion Fund provides a valuable opportunity for charitable groups in Merseyside focused upon steering young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour to apply for a share of the available funding.”

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