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Secure water safety equipment installed at Hesketh Park with rollout anticipated for other Sefton sites

Sefton Council has installed new emergency equipment close to the lake at Southport’s Hesketh Park.

Photograph of the emergency throwline equipment by the lake at Southport's Hesketh Park

Housed securely next to the lake and accessible using a code that can be obtained by calling 999, the throwline can be used to help someone in trouble without the risk of anyone else entering the water themselves.


Storing it in the lockable cabinet will ensure the potentially life-saving equipment is in place when someone needs it. The throwline is registered with the emergency services, and if someone should get into trouble in the water, an access code can be obtained from 999 operators.

Instructions on the cabinet make it clear how people can access the throwline and how to use it safely.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Safety in our parks and around lakes, ponds and along our seashore is paramount to the Council so I am glad to see this new piece of equipment installed at Hesketh Park lake.

“Sadly, every year we have reports of life rings and throwlines going missing across the Borough, which can mean lives would be at risk should someone find themselves in difficulty in the water.

“As a solution to this, we have installed this secure unit at Hesketh Park, and are keen to roll out more of these secure lifesaving stations across the Borough.

“It is thought that there are only four similar units across the whole of the North West, so I am delighted that in Sefton we are able to look at lasting solutions which will ultimately ensure the safety of everyone enjoying our parks and greenspaces.”

Steve Thomas, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and Chair of the Merseyside Water Safety Forum, said: “It is fantastic to see this potentially lifesaving piece of equipment installed at Hesketh Park. Members of the public should still remain vigilant and be very aware of the dangers of swimming in open water, particularly the effects of cold water shock – even during spells of warm weather.

Woman looking at water safety equipment instructions at Southport's Hesketh Park

“We would urge visitors to Hesketh Park and other waterside locations across Merseyside to NEVER tamper with throwlines or other pieces of safety equipment. You might think it’s only a bit of fun, but these items have been installed for a reason. If the equipment has been removed or tampered with, it could be the difference between life and death for someone who has gotten into difficulty in water.”

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK, and it is important for Sefton residents, and visitors to the Borough, to be aware of the risks and dangers when around water.

It is vital that people follow these important safety tips when near water:

  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.
  • If you are going for a walk or run near water, stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge. Avoid walking or running near water in the dark, if it’s slippery or in bad weather.
  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment such as life rings as you may need it yourself, as might other people who might find themselves in distress.
  • Swimming anywhere other than at a purpose-built and supervised swimming pool or water sports centre is highly dangerous and not recommended, unless as part of an organised club.
  • There may be hazards under the water such as rocks, debris, broken bottles or even shopping trolleys, which can cause serious injury or may trap you.
  • Even competent swimmers may struggle in open water so stick to swimming pools or beaches with a lifeguard and never go swimming alone.

Message from Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, Chair of the Merseyside Resilience Forum.

My name is Serena Kennedy, and I am Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and am chair of the Merseyside Resilience Forum. The Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF) is a multi-agency partnership set up to prepare for and respond to any emergency in the county. Over the last year the MRF has been one of the key forums where local authorities, emergency services, government agencies and all other organisations have worked together on a regional basis to tackle to COVID-19 pandemic. This statement is to update you on the current situation as we move on with dealing with another period of national lockdown and look ahead to the continued vaccine roll-out.

It is increasingly clear that after close to a year of COVID-19 there is growing sense of fatigue with restrictions across many of parts of our communities. Local and national media continue to report how people are still congregating and trying to find ways around the rules, many underestimating the risks they face. However, we must make it clear that the risks remain high. The COVID-19 figures for Merseyside are stark: on December 29 the weekly admissions to hospitals for COVID-198 were 43 in Merseyside. Just two weeks later, by January 12, it had gone up to 178 – and our numbers remain worryingly high.

The steps we take now and in the coming weeks will be crucial in ensuring our region can emerge from the national lockdown at the earliest possible opportunity. The most important step we can all take is to carry on following the lockdown rules, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future. In England this means people must stay at home and only go out where absolutely necessary, such as to shop for basic necessities, or exercise once a day. Also, people are not allowed to leave home to meet people socially if they don’t live together or have a support bubble together. This is the only way we can reduce the rates of infection – the “R value” – and begin to see fewer people becoming ill with the virus.

Although the news of vaccine roll-outs is encouraging and going well, we must tackle the increasing risks created by people feeling they are out of harm’s reach – they are not. By working together we can better protect our communities, our families and ourselves and create a resilient position to emerge from the national lockdown.

Finally, thank you for all your hard work so far. Merseyside people have shown true community spirit and strength and we see examples of that every day. Despite this I know it is difficult and I can’t promise it will be any easier for a while yet, but all the effort and working together so far has truly paid dividends and we can be optimistic that by carrying on we can do the right thing for our communities and keep people safe and well.

Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health join call for supermarkets to closely adhere to COVID-19 guidance

Directors of Public Health across the region are appealing to all supermarkets and food/convenience stores to adhere to the COVID secure public health guidance. Several national supermarkets have recently confirmed that they will be tightening up the rules and enforcing the use of face coverings in their stores which is welcomed by Directors. The Directors of Public Health, who are leading the local public health response to COVID, would like to ensure the public are as protected as possible in light of the high numbers of COVID cases in Cheshire & Merseyside.

The public health guidance for supermarkets includes ensuring the use of face coverings by customers and staff (unless someone is medically exempt), a one way system, a limit on numbers of shoppers in store, social distancing markers for 2 metres and allowing only one person to shop with exceptions such as people who need a carer. It also asks supermarkets to remind customers to only handle products they intend to buy.

Ian Ashworth, current Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board said, “Despite the great progress being made with the vaccine roll out, it is still important that organisations continue to keep people safe. Supermarkets and food stores can help reduce the spread of COVID by strictly adhering to the public health guidance. Our hospitals are still extremely overwhelmed with COVID patients so we must do everything we can. If supermarkets and food stores can closely follow the guidance, it will contribute to fewer positive COVID cases in our community. We all want to see an end to this lockdown. We would like to thank everyone working in the food/retail sector who have worked tirelessly to serve their customers throughout this difficult time.”

Directors of Public Health would also like to remind members of the public to stay at home and only leave the house for permitted reasons such as essential shopping, exercise and medical appointments. They are also encouraging people to shop locally and use online deliveries where possible. A full list of exceptions to the “stay at home” rules can be found at

If you develop symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell) you can obtain a test by visiting or calling 119. If your test is positive you must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

Merseyside Collective Switch offers much needed help with energy bills

This past year has seen a huge change in the way many of us live and work. With more people working from home, there has been a significant increase in energy bills, and many are struggling.

The Merseyside Collective Switch helps local people find cheaper energy tariffs, and reduce their energy bills.

Set up in 2013, the Merseyside Collective Switch is one of the longest running Local Authority Collective Switches in the country. Together, we’ve helped people across the Liverpool City Region save over £1.5 million on their energy bills.

Run by local charity Energy Projects Plus, in partnership with your local authority, the Merseyside Collective Switch uses the power of the group to negotiate cheap energy tariffs, available exclusively to its members. Anyone can join and it’s completely free.

The winning tariffs have often been the cheapest on the market. Previous winners have included Big 6 suppliers such as British Gas, E.on, SSE and EDF Energy as well as Ovo and Green Energy.

The Merseyside Collective Switch also includes a full market comparison, so if the winning deals aren’t right for you, you can find one that is.

Once you’ve registered, you will be able to access exclusive offers time and time again, and can make sure you’re not missing out on a great deal on your energy.

Plus, by switching with the Merseyside Collective Switch, you will be helping to support Energy Projects Plus, who provide vital support to local people who are living in fuel poverty.

Switching your energy tariff with the Merseyside Collective Switch is both quick and easy, and it could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

Peter Owen, CEO at Energy Projects Plus said “We are proud to have been offering this switching service, which is specifically designed to benefit people across the Liverpool City Region, for eight years now. The Merseyside Collective Switch is here to support everyone, including those working from home, through the switching process to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to, particularly at this challenging time”.

As exclusive deals are only available to members, you will need to register to be eligible. Registration is completely free and your data will only be used to provide you with information about the winning energy tariffs.

Registration for this round closes on 16th February.  

You will be contacted with about the deals that have been negotiated for the group.

To join the Collective Switch visit

or call the local Save Energy Advice Line on freephone 0800 043 0151, where you can also get other free and impartial support to help reduce your energy bills.

Guidance and advice for residents following flooding

Sefton saw heavy rainfall this week across the Borough which resulted in flooding across parks, highways and properties.

There may still be standing water in areas and residents are advised not to walk or drive through any floodwater. Council officers have now moved to a recovery phase and continue to support residents affected by the severe weather this week.

To help with future flood risk management, incidents of flooding should be reported to the Council. Find out more about this here.

Public Health advice

Public Health advice encourages people to wash their hands regularly if they have been in contact with flood water and not to eat any food that may have touched the water.

When cleaning up after floods, people must ensure that they do not put themselves at any risk and it is vitally important to remember the following:

  • Ensure good ventilation if using portable indoor appliances to dry out rooms. The exhaust fumes from such generators can contain carbon monoxide which can kill in a confined space such as a home.
  • Never use outdoor generators indoors even in the event of a power cut.
  • Also, remember not to turn on gas or electrics until they have been checked by a qualified technician, and check with your local water company if you notice a change in your water.

A flood recovery toolkit is available on the Flood Hub website.

Seek support

Those impacted by flooding may be feeling tired and anxious, and unable to see family or friends at this time due to coronavirus restrictions.

Speak to friends and family for support, as it can take a long time for life to return to normal, and if necessary call NHS 111 or visit your GP for medical advice.

Further health guidance and advice following flooding can be found on the government website.

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