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How business forced to close under lockdown restrictions can access the latest support grant

Sefton businesses that have been ordered to close during the current COVID-19 national lockdown, and are liable for business rates, may be eligible for a further support payment.

Am I eligible?

The full eligibility criteria can be found on the business section of the Council’s website along with detailed guidance of how to apply and the amount that a business might receive. The window for new applications is expected to open this Thursday, 21 January.

Do I need to apply again?

Businesses that have previously applied for, and received, a Local Restrictions Support Grant (for any period after 14 October 2020) will not need to submit a further application as an automatic payment will be issued.

When will my business receive a payment?

The Council’s business rates team will begin making payments from Friday 22 January and expect to have issued grants to all eligible businesses by Friday 29 January. Payments are expected to take 2-3 days from issue before appearing in nominated bank accounts.

What if a business hasn’t applied for any grants before?

Applications from businesses who have not previously received support will first need to be verified for eligibility, with payments expected to be issued by Wednesday 17 February.

How do I apply?

Applications must be made online and submitted no later than Wednesday 31 March 2021. Any applications submitted after that date will not be eligible to receive a grant.

The application form is expected to be available and live by Thursday 21 January.

Yellow weather warning for rain across Sefton this week

Heavy rainfall has been forecast across the Borough this week. The Met office has issued a yellow warning for rainfall, saying that ‘spells of prolonged and heavy rain may lead to flooding and disruption to travel in places’.

Our parks and green spaces are already quite wet from the wintry conditions experienced last week, which means that further disruption and flooding may be possible this week.

Areas in our parks may become waterlogged with ‘ponding’ that may also affect pathways.

Wider flooding is anticipated which may affect a number of roads and potentially properties. The Council’s contactors are out and about across the Borough at hotspots to ensure that drainage systems are clear.

The Council is already aware of flooding around Crosby Marine Lake and pumping is taking place to lower the high-water levels, but this will take some time.

The North West Flood Hub has advice and guidance about flooding in the region, and the Environment Agency offers a flood alert and warning service.

Important changes to how the Green Sefton parks & greenspace offer works within Sefton under lockdown measures can be found in this article: https://mysefton.co.uk/2021/01/05/parks-and-greenspaces-update-january-2021/

Whilst the wet weather persists, please do take extra care when driving or visiting any of Sefton’s outdoor spaces.

Under lockdown guidance you can exercise in a public outdoor space so long as you do so:

  • Only with your household (or support bubble) or if you go out by yourself with one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart and follow social distancing).
  • Exercise should be limited to once per day.
  • You should not travel outside your local area.

 

Longer opening hours will make it easier for Sefton’s key workers and carers to get tested

Covid SMART test site in Sefton
Covid SMART test site staff in Sefton

From Wednesday 20th January, Sefton Council is extending the opening hours of its three SMART coronavirus test sites to 8am to 8pm.

SMART coronavirus testing for people with NO symptoms is now focused on key workers and those with caring commitments. The longer opening hours will make it easier for those people to attend the walk-through sites, at Bootle Leisure Centre, Splash World in Southport and Aintree Racecourse.

Highest risk

Aimed to protect those at highest risk, SMART testing will find people who do not have symptoms but are infected by the virus. This will help prevent them unknowingly passing it on which will, in turn, reduce transmission across the local community.

People who should be attending for tests and regular re-tests include taxi drivers and public transport workers, essential retail workers, paid or unpaid carers, delivery drivers, childcare providers, people in the blue light services, pharmacists and postal workers.

Mixing

It is recommended that people who do have to continue mixing with others during lockdown, and do not have symptoms, get a SMART test around twice a week. The Lateral Flow Tests used can provide a result in as little as 30 minutes.

People wanting a test can check on the live Find a Test map to see if the sites are busy and how long you might have to wait.

Vital services

Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher said: “While it is important that the majority of us follow the Government’s regulations by staying at home, we must also recognise the important work of those people across our Borough who are still going out to work and providing vital services, supporting our local communities and protecting the most vulnerable.

“It is only right then that we do what we can to support those people and making it easier for them to go for a SMART test is just one way of achieving that.”

Opening at 8am will involve some test centre staff arriving an hour earlier, at 7am, so they can be tested before starting work. Part of the preparations meant ensuring those who use public transport could get there on time and that those working until 8pm can get home after they finish.

Stay at home

Cllr Ian Maher added: “While people in these groups are out working in these vital roles, it’s important that the rest of us stay at home, that we don’t mix with others outside our household or bubble, and that we only go out for local exercise and to shop for essentials.

“And this means we won’t need a SMART test unless there are specific circumstances.”

While SMART testing is for people who do not have symptoms, anyone who develops a high temperature, a new continuous cough or who loses their sense of taste or smell, should immediately arrange to get a coronavirus test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.

 

Sefton Council aiming to help take the gloom out of Blue Monday

Ainsdale Beach
Spars of wood left from ship wrecks on Ainsdale Beach

Although this Monday, the third in January, has been dubbed 2021’s Blue Monday, Sefton Council is highlighting a few way people can beat the blues.

Blue Monday is rumoured to have got its name owing to the combination of post-Christmas blues, cold weather, dark nights and the arrival of the month’s bills. Others claim it was a stunt by a travel company to encourage people to look ahead and book a holiday.

Whatever its origins, ongoing national lockdown restrictions means this year’s Blue Monday could be seen as bluer than usual, which is why Sefton Council wants to remind people across the Borough of some things that will help cheer them up.

Positive effect

Keeping active can have a positive effect on our physical and mental wellbeing and Active Sefton is promoting the free ‘MOVE-IT’ programme.

Consisting of up to six sessions, ‘MOVE-it’ is designed to help families to adopt a healthy lifestyle through offering healthy eating advice along with ideas and ways to increase physical activity targeted at children in different age groups, from 5 to 16.

More information is available at www.activelifestyles-sefton.co.uk/move-it/.

Games and circuits

Active Sefton is also supporting a range of activities such as free, games and circuits YouTube workouts to help children. And for those adults who are looking to get healthy, there’s also 10 minute Abs workout, plus yoga, kettlebell and HIIT workouts led by the Active Sefton Team. Details are at www.activeseftonfitness.co.uk.

People can find about these and other activities by following Active Sefton on social media or visiting www.sefton.gov.uk/sport-leisure.

Incredible spaces

The Council’s Green Sefton teams is also reminding people across the Borough that they have some incredible spaces on their doorsteps where they can get outdoors for their daily local exercise and fresh air. Sefton residents can find out more about what their Borough has to offer at www.sefton.gov.uk/around-sefton/

Additionally, if people find that Monday is blue because they are frustrated or lonely or are worried about their health finances and other aspect of their lives, the Council has pulled together a directory of services available to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. These can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/healthandwellbeing

Vaccine volunteers

For those people who want to help take the blues out of others’ Mondays and every day, Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) is currently supporting the recruitment of volunteers for the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Team. Roles include welcoming patients, marshalling at test venues, logistical support and help in recovery areas. To find out what they can do, people should visit www.volunteeringsefton.org.uk/vaccination-volunteer

Inspiration

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “This is a time of year when some people can feel at a low point and the lockdown isn’t helping but we want to ensure people know that the Council is there to provide support as well as inspiration for things we can all do to boost our physical and mental health while following the restrictions.

“And, looking to the future, if we all stick to the requirements to minimise transmission of the COVID-19 virus and we take the opportunity to get vaccinated when we’re offered it, we will hopefully be seeing some aspects of all our lives returning to some level of normality over the coming weeks and months.

“By looking after ourselves and each other, we can get from a Blue Monday to Terrific Tuesdays, Wonderful Wednesdays, Thrilling Thursdays Fab Fridays and Super Saturdays and Sundays.”

People can also find information and support on maintaining their mental and physical health  on the Sefton Directory.

Find out how lockdown is affecting Sefton Council services.

Sefton residents are urged to honour 2021’s Holocaust Memorial Day online

Sefton residents are urged to honour Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, by joining an online service, on Wednesday 27 January at 7pm

This year, Sefton will remember the millions of Jews, Gypsies, Muslims, and many other ethnic minority groups, who were killed during the Holocaust as well as millions of others who have died in more recent genocides, by joining a special virtual Memorial event.

Sefton’s Holocaust Memorial Service, which usually takes place at Christ Church in Southport, cannot go ahead as planned due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead the Council along with Sefton’s Holocaust Memorial Group are asking residents to take part in the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s online national Memorial Service on Wednesday 27 January at 7pm.

People can register their place to join the Trusts’ first fully digital ceremony at www.hmd.org.uk.

In line with this year’s ‘Be the light in the darkness’ theme, people are also being encouraged to light a candle at 8pm.

They can also let others know they are taking part in the ‘Light the Darkness National Moment’ by taking a photograph to share on social media with the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay and #LightTheDarkness.

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr June Burns, said: “It is so important, even with restrictions in place, that we join others around the world to remember those who endured such atrocities and honour the survivors whose lives were changed forever.

“The theme of this years’ service is ‘Be a Light in the Darkness’, and this couldn’t be more relevant as our communities should stand together and demonstrate how we can ‘be the light’ by showing solidarity in a time of crisis and divisions across the World.”

 

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