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Budding young poets urged to join the Grand Poetry Competition!

Young budding poets across the Liverpool City Region with time to spare due to the unfortunate Coronavirus outbreak are being asked to get creative and tell us what they are missing through the art of poetry.

Aintree Racecourse has teamed up with Sefton’s Borough of Culture year to launch the Grand Poetry Competition with some fantastic prizes on offer for the winners.

As the Randox Health Grand National meeting has been cancelled, along with most other sporting events, Sefton as a borough will miss the world-famous racecourse being in the global spotlight.

Aintree Racecourse had already commissioned local poet Amina Atiq to write “A Love Letter to My City” linking the event to the city region for Liverpool’s Day. To watch this please CLICK HERE

Gaining inspiration from this, children at home or still in school are being asked to write their own poems and enter the Grand Poetry Competition.

The poems’ subject should be something or someone they love, miss, find amazing or even just help out with. Children should handwrite and decorate a poem (max 200 words) then email Aintree Racecourse a photo or scan of their work to They are also encouraged to post or email what they have written to the subject of the poem as well.

Aintree Racecourse has created a page on their website for the project and will display some of the work in an online gallery –

Entries will be in the 4-8 years-old, 9-12 years-old and 13 years and above categories and winners will win family tickets to Aintree Raceourse’s Family Day in October and Liverpool’s Day or Grand National Day in 2021.

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr June Burns, said: “Due to the unfortunate outbreak of Covid-19, most of our Borough of Culture events have rightly been suspended and many school children are now based at home.

“While we want everyone to remain safe at home or at school, we also want school children of all ages to use the time creatively and write a short poem about what they miss or love during this difficult period.

“While the borough will miss the Randox Health Grand National taking place, writing a poem can act as a way for young people to get creative, become positive and express how they feel during our Borough of Culture year. We appreciate this is a very difficult time, but we are all in this together as one big community.”

Rose Paterson, Aintree Racecourse Chairman, said: “We were deeply saddened to cancel the Randox Health Grand National Festival for 2020 because of the battle against coronavirus. We are proud to be part of the community ourselves and know first-hand of its unique spirit and strength – it helps to make the Grand National one of the world’s great sporting events.

“Therefore, we’re committed to do our bit to support people in the community and one of the ways is to work with Sefton Borough Council to launch the Grand Poetry Competition in their Borough of Culture Year, to provide some light relief for the children at a difficult time.”

Judges for the competition include Aintree Chairman Rose Paterson, poet Amina Atiq and Cllr June Burns, Mayor of Sefton.

Poet Amina Atiq added: “I am delighted to be judging The Grand Poetry Competition 2020. In these difficult times, encouraging our children to be creative, to think and challenge is needed more than ever.”

Poems need to be submitted to

Follow @Sefton2020 and @AintreeRaces on both Twitter and Facebook.

Bootle lights up blue to honour NHS heroes

Sefton Council has lit up one of its civic buildings in the colours of the NHS to send a message of support to the countless health staff who are working tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bootle Town Hall was bathed in blue lights this evening (Thursday, March 26) joining hundreds of other civic buildings across the UK following the viral ‘Clap For Our Carers’ campaign.

The Oriel Road facade of the building proudly displayed the colours of the NHS to reiterate the overwhelming level of support, thanks and thoughts for our hard working frontline health staff

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Our appreciation for the thousands of people in our borough working for the NHS, as well as those across the UK is endless.

“Now more than ever we are indebted to their tireless service and support they are giving to our residents during these unprecedented times.

“Lighting up Bootle Town Hall is only a small token of our massive appreciation for the NHS and we are continuing to do all we can to support our communities and make them as resilient as possible to keep pressure off the NHS.”

For more information about community services, volunteering opportunities and support for vulnerable residents, please visit


Where to find Domestic Abuse support in Sefton

Sefton Council are reminding residents across the borough of Domestic Abuse support services available during COVID-19.

Many residents will be following the national advice around household isolation and social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this advice is in place to keep as many people as safe and well as possible, a small number of vulnerable people in our communities will be more concerned than others about the prospect of staying at home for a number of reasons.

This includes those who have been the victims of domestic abuse such as violence or coercive and controlling behaviour.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “While all public services are adapting to new ways of working during this pandemic, our message to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse could not be more clear.

“You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence – we are always here to offer help and support to anyone who needs it.

“Sefton are working with multiple partners including Merseyside Police and providers of domestic abuse support across Merseyside and we will continue to work together to maintain essential services and contacts for anyone affected by domestic abuse during the weeks and months to come.”

More information about those services and who to contact is available via

Sefton Council reveal details of Council Tax Hardship Fund

Sefton Council have been awarded a government grant to help residents who may be struggling to pay their Council Tax during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sefton will receive a grant of £3.037m as part of £500m available nationally from the government’s emergency Council Tax Hardship Fund.

Any residents who are of working age, and have had their bill reduced by an award of Council Tax Reduction, will be eligible for relief of at least £150 from the fund.

The local authority will make a decision on a case by case basis for any relief above £150, taking into account the funding available.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “This relief will reduce Council Tax bills for eligible claimants for the financial year of 2020/2021.

“Any eligible council tax bills will be re-issued once the relief has been applied.

“Any balance remaining from the £3m will be added to the Council’s Council Tax Exceptional Hardship Payment Fund.

“This fund can be applied for by anyone who is responsible for Council Tax who is suffering financial hardship.”

For more information on this visit

COVID-19: Volunteering support available for vulnerable Sefton residents

Throughout our incredible borough we have seen an amazing community response rise up to help us support our elderly and vulnerable residents during this time.

To support this response, we have been working very closely with Sefton CVS to create a volunteer network to help coordinate and share resources and we encourage all those who are able to help to get in touch with any support you can offer.

The response from Sefton’s voluntary, community and faith sector to the COVID 19 situation has been fantastic and we encourage everyone to keep working together and with CVS and Sefton Council so we all can do our very best for those most in need.

Do you want to be a volunteer?

Anyone who would like to volunteer their time and support to helping the most vulnerable and isolated within Sefton are being asked to speak directly with Sefton Council for Voluntary Services (Sefton CVS). To register your interest to volunteer please click here.

Are you vulnerable or need help?

If you are a vulnerable adult, classified as high risk or severely isolated and need support, please call Sefton Council on 0345 140 0845 or click here.

Have you launched a community group to help your neighbours?

A number of community groups, businesses and neighbourhoods have set up groups and volunteer schemes to help vulnerable people and isolated residents who live in their area. We are currently collating a detailed log of all these groups and if you know of any, please email their details to

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