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How a shared love of animals is helping people connect during Year of Friendship

Anyone who has cared for an animal knows the difference they can make to our lives, whether it’s by bringing us companionship, helping us get out in to the great outdoors more or encouraging us to connect with others.

Throughout the Year of Friendship 2019, Sefton Council and its partners are celebrating groups, individuals and organisations who help foster friendship throughout the borough.

For April, we are shining a light on some of the special relationships that exist between animals and humans across Sefton, and those who benefit from having animal companions in their lives.

Freshfields Animal Rescue is a beloved local charity based in Ince Blundell that cares for abandoned, abused and unwanted domestic and small farm animals, along with sick and injured wildlife. Each year they rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of animals thanks to generous donations from the public and the dedicated work of a committed team of staff and volunteers.

Yet as well as helping their residents flourish and recover, the work they carry out has helped build a network of like-mined volunteers who have bonded over a shared love of animals and who enjoy a “tight-knit” camaraderie of their own.

Naomi Clarke, Community Fundraiser at Freshfields Animal Rescue, said: “It’s well document that with regards to mental health and wellbeing there is a unanimous friendship between animals and humans.

“The friendships that animals bring are so worthwhile. I see the relationships all the time between people and animals here at Freshfields – staff have adopted animals and the difference it’s made to both the animal and the person is huge.

“We’ve got a lot of volunteers that have a real camaraderie between them too. They embrace friendship, they do a lot of things together and they encourage other people to join in as well. They bring their own network of people to come and take part.

“It’s a real tight knit of people at Freshfields and when you see some of the cases that come in and some of the situations that arise, it shows how valuable those friendships are. People here are all striving for the same good – everything we do here is for the benefit of the animals, and that is one thing that everybody’s got in common.”

There are many ways you can get involved with Freshfields Animal Rescue, from fundraising to fostering and helping out at the centre. It’s a brilliant opportunity to make new friends, both human and furry, so why not check out their website and see how you can get involved: https://www.freshfields.org.uk/get-involved/

Freshfields Animal Rescue also has a number of events coming up this year, including a sponsored firewalk and a sponsored abseil down Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and are looking for people to take part. Click this link to find out more and see how you can help: https://www.freshfields.org.uk/events/

Video produced by Sefton Council. Still image courtesy of Freshfields Animal Rescue.

Life After Stroke – Help for residents recovering from a stroke who feel isolated

Throughout Sefton’s Year of Friendship, Sefton Council is dedicated to reducing loneliness by making residents aware of the many groups and activities on offer throughout the borough.

The Council would like to highlight the Stroke Association’s work to tackle isolation for Sefton residents who are recovering from a stroke.

The Stroke Association are an organisation which offers high quality up to date stroke information for patients, their families and carers.

Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK. That is one stroke every three and a half minutes. Most people affected are over 65 but anyone can have a stroke including children and even babies.

Feelings of isolation and depression can be common for people who are recovering from a stroke. Sometimes this is the result of mobility issues that make it difficult for survivors to get out. It may be the frustration that comes with the inability to communicate clearly. For some survivors, symptoms are a source of embarrassment. Whatever its cause, the cure for isolation is other people.

Merseyside Life After Stroke Group, meet every Tuesday 10-12pm

Hope Community Church Old Roan, Aintree Ln, Liverpool L10 2JJ.

This is a very popular group with over 40 members from Sefton, attending each week. Patients are offered peer support, exercise and social activities.

South Sefton Life After Stroke Group, meet every Wednesday 1.30-3.30pm,

Orrell Lodge Bootle, Rafter Ave, L20 6PRE.

Peer support is offered along with social activities.

For more information please contact, Dawn Farrell or Jeanette Swift on 0151 305 0011/12

Friends Of… groups help make borough sparkle during Year Of Friendship

Friends Of groups have united in a shared love of making sure Sefton stays clean, green and beautiful.

Throughout the Year Of Friendship, Sefton Council and its partners are celebrating groups, individuals and organisations who make a difference and help foster friendship throughout the borough.

For February, Sefton Council has been celebrating the continued hard work of the many ‘Friends Of…’ groups who turn out week in, week out in parks, greenspaces and the 22 miles of Sefton’s coastline to remove litter and make the environment a better place.

The 22 miles spanning between Southport and Seaforth are some of the most iconic, idyllic and important stretches of greenspace and coastline in the UK and are home to a menagerie of fauna and flora.

But it takes a lot of work to make our coastline the sandy success that it is!

The Green Sefton coast and countryside division are supported by hundreds of volunteers, who come under the umbrella group, the ‘Friends of Sefton Coast.’

Between them they give up just a small portion of their time throughout the year to keep our coastline beautiful.

Last year alone an incredible 2,300 people volunteered 5,200 hours of their time over 76 clean-up events that saw thousands of bags of rubbish cleared from our coastline and this continues well into our Year Of Friendship campaign.

Inland too volunteer groups remain hard at work helping perfect our parks and greenspaces such as the Friends of Derby Park, while volunteer gardeners like the Lord Street Volunteers give up their time to help  make sure floral planters are constantly blooming.

There’s always plenty to get your teeth into on both our coastline and in our parks and greenspaces and Green Sefton are always looking for more people to get involved.

To register your interest in forming or joining a Sefton ‘Friends Of…’ group click here.

To find out more about the Year Of Friendship visit www.sefton.gov.uk/friendship.

Ping Pong Parlour launches in Bootle Strand Shopping Centre

Visitors to Bootle Strand Shopping Centre will soon be able to enjoy free ping pong in between their shopping sprees.

A pop up Ping Pong Parlour, set up by Active Sefton in conjunction with Table Tennis England and Bootle Strand, will officially open on Wednesday February 13 for all to enjoy.

The parlour can be found on the shopping centre’s Palatine level and will be open during normal shopping hours and Active Sefton’ experts will also be running free coaching sessions throughout the year.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is a fantastic and exciting addition to The Strand and we encourage everyone to drop in to play on one of the two table tennis tables we have.

“Simply grab a bat and play – absolutely free of charge!

“Through our incredible Active Sefton offer we have teamed up with Table Tennis England, the sport’s national governing body, as well as Bootle Strand Shopping Centre to offer this innovative and fun free service.

“The Ping Pong Parlour reiterates our continuing commitment to inspire our residents and communities to be active, healthy and happy.”

Rowland Parry, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre’s manager, added: “We are delighted to welcome The Ping Pong Parlour to The Strand and hope our shoppers will use the facility to engage in some table tennis fun.”

To find out more about the Bootle Strand Ping Pong Parlour or for more information on all that the shopping centre has to offer, visit www.strandshoppingcentre.com.

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