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Council staff and carers go into the community to get people on board to foster for Sefton

Council staff, foster carers and their families braved the elements yesterday (Thurs 20th May) and embarked on a mission to encourage anyone who is thinking about setting sail on a new life, to become a foster carer for Sefton Council.

As part of Sefton’s Foster Care Fortnight celebrations, members of the fostering community climbed on board the ‘Pride of Sefton’ to spread the message that the Council needs more local people to give a loving and stable home to vulnerable children from the Borough.

Lisa Cummings Service Manager for Sefton’s Fostering Service said:

“Nothing stopped us celebrating Foster Carer Fortnight on the ‘Pride of Sefton’ today. The weather was wild but we she still wanted to get out in the community and spread the word.  Thank you to Sovini who helped us by donating today’s sailing and to the ‘Pride of Sefton’ crew who did an amazing job.

“Fostering is not just about these two weeks. All year round we want to show our carers that we value them and send a message for people to come on board with our amazing team and support network and become a foster carer for Sefton”

Taking in the beautiful sights of Liverpool’s waterways, foster carers Sue and Derek said:

“Coming out in this awful weather proved just how much fostering means to us because it doesn’t matter what the weather or the situation, you just want to get out there and spread the message that these children need our help.”

“Anyone who has given fostering even the slightest consideration should really go for it because it’s changed the world for us.”

Dave is a Placement Support Worker at Sefton and was also part of the crew who regularly takes children who are fostered for days out on ‘The Pride of Sefton’. He said:

“I’m so glad that we can use the ‘Pride of Sefton’ as part of our recruitment campaign. People all around can see our sign and our details so it’s another way of getting the word out there.

“The boat has so many uses as the children love it when we bring them on and sail down the river and in and out of the locks. Bringing them together allows them to speak to other children who are in a similar situation as them. This helps to build their confidence while they’re having fun.”

Sefton Council is committed to offering support to its carers every step of the way. This includes specialist and peer support, training and a financial package.

To make an enquiry or find out more please visit or call free on 0800 923 2777.

Bootle Canalside takes major step forward as plans are submitted

The transformation of Bootle town centre has taken another step forward as Sefton Council has submitted a planning application for a multi-functional events, entertainment, and hospitality venue.

The plans will see the space adjacent to the Strand opened up to create a dynamic, multi-purpose open air venue that will sit alongside the waters of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. This will include a food and drink offer, new events spaces and an urban garden.

The work will improve the environment and open up the canal for use as part of the Canalside project, with the aim of bringing new activity to the under-used land as the long term regeneration of Bootle develops. This will stimulate the local economy, transform the look and feel of the town for residents, businesses and visitors and improve the quality of life for the community.

If the planning application is approved, the space looks set to host an exciting calendar of events which would include a Food and Drink Festival in the Summer and Christmas Markets in December with a more detailed events programme to be published for future years.


Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council said:

“The plans for Bootle Canalside will transform the space in the interim; creating a multipurpose events space to kickstart the regeneration of Bootle Town Centre.

“Bootle Canalside offers a fantastic opportunity for growth and recovery for one of our hardest hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am thrilled to see that the plans make full use of our natural landscape alongside the canal and will incorporate an urban garden and community space. It is great to see a regeneration project like this one, with local businesses, the local community and economic recovery at its heart.”


The work, which is funded with £1.65m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, is the first part of Sefton Council’s plans to invest in the improvement of the Bootle New Strand Shopping Centre.

£370,000 of the total funding is from the Local Growth Fund, which is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.


Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Places like the Strand have always been at the heart of our communities – but too many of them have seen better days. Making our town centres and high streets places that local people can be proud of again is one of my key priorities.

“The last year has been incredibly tough, but we can start to see better days ahead and we’re investing £1.65m to help Sefton Council with their plans to revitalise the area and boost the local economy. Working together, we will breathe new life into Bootle Strand and make it a place for people to meet, shop and socialise again.

“It’s because of devolution, with local people being able to make decisions about our areas, that we’re able to prioritise places like Bootle Strand for regeneration.”


These proposals form part of wider regeneration and transformation plans Sefton Council has for Bootle including Bootle Area Action Plan and the recently announced government Levelling Up Fund bidding round, which Sefton are exploring to help deliver Sefton’s economic recovery plans.

The planning application can be viewed online at our website and residents are encouraged to take a look at our exciting plans for further details.


Next steps towards £37.5m Southport Town Deal completed

Following the success of being awarded one of the largest Town Deals to date, the Southport Town Deal Board has now agreed which of the projects originally proposed in the Town Investment Plan will now receive Town Deal funding.

Having bid for £50 million and received £37.5 million, the Town Deal Board faced a challenge in deciding where to allocate the funding. However, the Board agreed unanimously that the Town Deal funding should be allocated to projects which will stimulate other funding and investment opportunities to ensure the investments made bring the widest range of benefits to everyone who lives in and visits the town.

The projects which will be progressing with Town Deal funding, subject to government confirmation, are:

• Marine Lake Events Centre
This project will transform the existing Southport Theatre and Convention Centre into a high quality, distinctive entertainment and business events venue capable of providing great experiences to audiences and users

• The Light Fantastic
The creation of a UK-first light, water and sound show in Southport’s Marine Lake to attract visitors from further afield and encourage them to stay for longer in the town

• Enterprise Arcade
Refurbishment of Crown Buildings to create new business incubator space, supporting Southport’s emerging creative, digital and tech sector

• Les Transformations de Southport
The project will start to deliver high quality public spaces and an accessible and well-connected transport network, providing priority for walking and cycling in support of clean growth

• Building Better Customer Experience
This project will work with a wide range of stakeholders and businesses to deliver a range of training and development programmes for everyone who has contact with visitors and customers in Southport.

The Town Deal funding will cover the full costs of some projects but not all, and there is still a significant amount of funding required to meet all the projects in the Town Investment Plan. Securing further public and private funding, including from The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be equally as important to ensure successful delivery of the wider projects.

This includes not only the projects above, but also some of the other developments included in or stimulated by the Town Deal. Project Barnum, the name given in the bid to the development of an indoor visitor attraction at the Southport Pleasureland site and led by Universal Rides Ltd, is still proceeding. The new Southport Market project is close to completion and opening, and a range of other exciting public and private sector projects are also underway across town.

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, commented: “We are looking forward to the next phase of the Town Deal and building on the good work of the Board. The council will now develop and deliver robust final business cases for the projects which will demonstrate the full benefits of each in economic and social terms. This step will be completed in the next 12 months, after which the £37.5 million promised by government would be delivered”.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Like many people, I’ve got lots of happy memories of going to Southport as a kid. It’s great to see these exciting projects to help breathe new life into the town moving forwards.

“Southport is still a vital part of our region’s visitor economy and I’m sure this funding will assist in the regeneration of what is one of the North West’s great seaside towns. I’ll be continuing to work closely with Sefton Council to support their plans for the town and the wider borough.”

Improved insulation for over 200 Sefton homes thanks to Council-secured funding

Image showing someone in a warm home
Toasty home

People on low incomes living in over 200 poorly-insulated Sefton homes will benefit from the Council securing almost £2 million of government funding.

At its Annual meeting today, Sefton Council gave the go-ahead for the scheme, which will see 215 homes retrofitted with improved insulation. This will have the effect of reducing fuel costs to keep these homes warm during cold weather and cool during heatwaves.

The £1.9 million Green Homes Grant Local Delivery Scheme funding has come from The Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the Government’s post COVID-19 response. At its meeting today, Sefton Council formally accepted the funding as well as approving procurement for the work.

Reduced bills

Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “By securing this funding, we can help reduce fuel bills for these low-income residents while at the same time improving their homes, reducing local carbon emissions, supporting local jobs and enhancing the communities where these homes are located.”

Sefton Council’s Retrofit Section, which is part of its Energy & Environmental Management Team, will manage the scheme’s delivery. Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be the accountable body for the grant funding.

Substantial investment

Cllr Maher added: “We have identified properties in the Netherton, Litherland and Bootle areas to benefit from this work. They were all constructed in ways that make them hard to insulate without the substantial investment that this funding makes possible.

“Through our Invest Sefton service we will utilise local contractors where possible and the scheme will to contribute to our Regional carbon reduction commitments and Climate Emergency Strategy.”

The grant funding conditions mean the insulation programme must be complete by the 31 December 2021. Contractors will be required to be Trustmark Accredited.

The Council will explore more, similar funding opportunities to upgrade Sefton homes when they become available later in 2021.

Link to the Council meeting agenda and papers


Sefton Council welcomes Downing Street COVID briefing praise but urges ongoing caution

Pop-up testing in Formby
Pop-up testing in Formby

Sefton Council has welcomed praise from Jenny Harries, the head of NHS Test and Trace and Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency for the way it is dealing with the COVID variant first identified in India.

During the Downing Street briefing today Ms Harries said, “Sefton for example has done a brilliant job recently with rising cases of this variant.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said:

“Jenny’s comments are very welcome and reflect Sefton people’s willingness to work with us by getting vaccinated when they are invited, getting tested including coming forward for the targeted testing for the variant in Formby and sticking with precautions.

“They also reflect all the hard work and dedication by Sefton Council staff and our partners but it doesn’t mean we can relax. As recent events have shown, coronavirus is still with us and we all need to remain vigilant, follow the guidelines and protect ourselves and each other.

“That’s the only way we are going to return to the  levels of normal life that we all want to see.”

Local coronavirus testing was introduced last week in Sefton’s Formby area in response to recent COVID-19 outbreaks, which showed cases of the variant first identified in India. Sefton Council is encouraging everyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in Formby to attend one of these dedicated local test sites,  and anyone who has visited any venue in Formby over the last two weeks is also welcome to be tested at these sites.

Drive-through test centres have been set up at Deansgate Lane Park in Formby (L37 3LF) and at Ainsdale Hope on Sandringham Road (PR8 2PJ), and there is a walk-through test centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre (PDC) on Park Road (L37 6EW).

The Deansgate drive-through test centre is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and the PDC on Park Lane will be open between 9am and 4pm seven days a week.

The test centre at Ainsdale is open from 9am until 4pm on Friday 14th May, but from Saturday 15th May will be open 9am to 8pm seven days a week.

Appointments are not needed for tests at any of these centres.

There are also pop-up test sites at Formby and Freshfields rail stations.

Open 9am to 4pm until Friday 21 May, the two sites will be offering PCR tests to people without COVID-19 symptoms as part of efforts to find cases of the virus variant first identified in India. The teams at the pop-ups will also be handing out free home testing kits and will be joined by Community COVID Engagement Officers who can provide vaccination advice.

People across Sefton are being reminded of the need to continue taking every precaution, getting tested and registering the results. And it is important that people go along to get their first and second vaccination jabs when they are offered them. You can now get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re aged 38 and over or if your 38th birthday is between now and 1st July. You can book your appointment online or by phone.

Anyone with the coronavirus symptoms of a new, persistent cough, a fever or loss of taste or smell to self-isolate and book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting

And, whether vaccinated or not, it’s still important that people going to work or out and about take rapid tests, which are free and widely available across the Borough, twice a week.

Rapid home test kits can be collected from Bootle Town Hall and Splash World in Southport from 8am-8pm seven days a week. No appointments are needed.

Rapid tests for people without coronavirus symptoms usually provide a result in around 30 minutes. Rapid testing involves taking a throat & nasal swab, dropping the sample into the container supplied and then checking the result after 20 to 30 minutes.

Kits can also be collected between 2.30pm and 8pm, seven days a week, from walk-through Local Test Centres opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. No appointments are needed.

They are available from all Sefton’s pharmacies and they can be ordered online at

People can also choose to have assisted testing at one of Sefton’s Rapid test sites, which are also open 8am to 8pm seven days a week and located at Bootle Leisure Centre and at Splash World in Southport.

Anyone without symptoms can visit the asymptomatic test sites at Bootle Town Hall and Splash World in Southport from 8am-8pm seven days a week, no appointments are needed.

Home Testing Kits can also be collected between 2.30pm and 8pm, seven days a week, from walk-through Local Test Centres opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. No appointments are needed.


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