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New, ‘Ask for ANI’ domestic abuse codeword scheme providing help through pharmacies

Independent pharmacies and Boots stores are now offering a codeword scheme to support victims of domestic abuse.

The scheme means those at risk or suffering from abuse can discreetly signal that they need help and access support by Asking for ANI at any of the participating stores.

In response, a trained pharmacy worker will offer to speak to the person in a private space to find out if they need to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.

Boots stores across Sefton are already signed up to the codeword scheme, and it is expected that more pharmacies will join up in the coming months. Participating pharmacies will display the Ask for ANI posters in their windows so that people know to go inside for immediate help and support.

As essential retailers with specifically-trained staff, located on high streets throughout the country pharmacies can provide a safe space for victims to sound an alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in another way.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “We fully support this important Ask for ANI initiative in Sefton’s chemists and pharmacies.

“Providing a safe space for victims of Domestic Abuse to disclose their situation and ask for help and support is vitally important, even more so during the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

“We would encourage anyone who is experiencing abuse or in fear of it to come forward. You are not alone.”

Useful contacts

If anyone is at immediate risk of harm from any kind of abuse, the police should be contacted urgently on 999.

Any Sefton residents experiencing domestic abuse, or who believe someone they know is, can contact Sefton Council’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisors Team on 0151 934 5142 or email IDVA.Team@sefton.gov.uk

People can also contact Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid on 0151 922 8606 or by visiting www.swaca.com

The National Domestic Violence Helpline is staffed 24 hours and can be reached at 0808 2000 247.   

The Sefton Council website sets out more information about its work in partnership with local organisations to support victims, respond to perpetrators and raise awareness amongst our communities of the signs and consequences of domestic and sexual abuse.

Are you experiencing domestic abuse & need immediate help? Ask for ANI at participating pharmacies

Southport’s Botanic Gardens Aviaries to undergo repairs

Southport’s Botanic Gardens Aviaries – home to a range of exotic birds such as parrots and parakeets as well as rabbits and guinea pigs – are set to undergo further repair works this month.

Last year, Sefton Council refurbished the parakeet aviary and the guinea pig area. Now further works work will take place to repair and improve the infrastructure that houses the animals to ensure the aviary remains fit for purpose.

The Council’s Green Sefton team works in partnership with the Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA) to maintain the aviary. The BGCA has raised £8,000 to support the works, which will include new and improved flooring, roofing and drainage.

The aviary closed to the public in December, in line with national restrictions for an on-going avian flu outbreak and remains closed under national lockdown guidance. The birds and animals remain at the aviary, but for safety are being kept in their indoor accommodation during the outbreak and while the aviary undergoes repair works.

The aviary will reopen to the public after the completion of the works and dependent on the latest government advice on both the avian flu and coronavirus restrictions.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is important we maintain good standards of animal welfare at the aviary and these latest works are part of our annual programme of repairs and improvements to ensure that the exotic birds and small animals continue to have a comfortable place to call home. We remain committed to maintaining the RSPCA Five Freedoms –measures which ensure our animals are kept safe and well.

“In the future we will be offering opportunities for people to sponsor pens and birds to help maintain these high standards.”

People can find out more about the aviary on its dedicated Facebook page.

Cllr Moncur also extended his thanks to the BGCA members: “I would like to acknowledge the tremendous support and dedication of the BGCA members who are committed to working alongside Green Sefton to maintain and improve the park and gardens, so that everyone can continue to enjoy them.”

People can find more on the Borough’s parks, play areas and open spaces managed by the Green Sefton team, with support from volunteers and partners, by visiting the Sefton Council website.  

Lockdown means SMART testing for people with NO coronavirus symptoms now focused on key workers who HAVE to go out to work.

Because the Government’s latest regulations say that people in England must ‘stay at home’ except for essential purposes, only key workers and those with caring commitments during the lockdown should now go for a SMART test.

This includes people who

  • work in supermarkets or those shops that can open;
  • work in in schools or caring environments where on-site testing is not taking place;
  • are unpaid carers and volunteers;
  • are in other public-facing roles.

Walk-through SMART COVID-19 testing for people in those groups is now taking place 8am to 8pm, no appointment necessary, at:

  • Splash World in Southport*
  • Bootle Leisure Centre
  • Aintree Racecourse

*Please use rear car park of Dunes/Splashworld, accessible from the Esplanade, opposite the Lifeboat Station.

Check on the live Find a Test map to see if the sites are busy and how long you might have to wait.

Everyone else

Everyone else should be staying at home, not mixing with others outside our household or bubble, and only going out for local exercise and to shop for essentials, which means we don’t currently need a SMART test unless there are specific circumstances.

Find out what you can and cannot do under the Government’s latest regulations. 

People with symptoms 

Anyone showing any of the symptoms of

  • a new continuous cough
  • a fever
  • a loss of/ change in smell or taste

should immediately arrange to get a coronavirus test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119

You should also get a test if you have been asked to get tested by

  • NHS Test and Trace
  • Local Council

Find out more about the latest regulation from the Council website.

Make 2021 the year you do something amazing. Foster with Sefton and make a difference to a child’s life

As we make plans for the year ahead, could 2021 be the year you become a foster carer? Sefton Council is urging local people to think about giving a loving home to a local child who really needs it.

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on vulnerable children’s lives meaning that we need foster carers now more than ever. Whilst restrictions mean we are recruiting a little differently, we’re still urgently calling for people to come forward to find out more about this rewarding role.

Dorsey and her husband Daniel have been fostering with Sefton for seven months and became new carers during the pandemic.

Dorsey said; “This is the best thing we have ever done, and we love every minute of it. If anyone is thinking about fostering, please don’t let COVID restrictions put you off. We went through our training and were approved during lockdown and the constant contact and support from Sefton Council has been amazing. They have been with us every step of the way.

“Our ten-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl absolutely love helping out and having fun with our foster child and this experience has really brought our family closer together. During lockdown we’ve been able to go for walks and trips to the park and it’s heart-breaking to know that some children don’t have any family during these challenging and often isolating times.”

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said; “There is now more of a need to recruit new carers than ever before. Our foster care capacity is full, and we need to recruit a least 20 more additional carers by the end of this year. 

“We can see how the COVID pandemic has brought out people’s compassion and willingness to help one another. Fostering gives a unique opportunity to give something back as you will be helping our most vulnerable children achieve their full potential by giving them the best start in life.

“Some people may be experiencing changes to their work and personal lives and may have seen their circumstances change as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.

“It is a period where some people are evaluating their lives and thinking about changes for the future. I urge anyone who has thought about becoming a foster carer to take this opportunity to find out more and see whether giving this vital support is for them.”

Carers receive full training and support, plus payments for their skills and allowances.

Join us at our next virtual Fostering Information Session on 26 January 6.00 – 7.00pm to find out more and meet Katy one of our carers who knows what opening your home to fostering is all about.

To make an enquiry or join our virtual information session please visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk or call 0800 923 2777.

 

Help to shape the future of your local health service in Southport and Formby

Health leaders in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire are inviting people to share their views and experiences of local healthcare by getting involved with Shaping Care Together, a programme of work designed to improve hospital services.

Like NHS services across the country, our local hospitals face significant challenges. Some have been with us for years while the urgency of others has been made clear during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trish Armstrong-Child, Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We need to redefine how we provide hospital services, help people use them only when they need them, and ensure those services are safe, sustainable and high quality.

“Shaping Care Together aims to do just that – shape, develop and improve future services for everyone by listening to the patients, carers and staff who use and deliver them.

“We need to build on what we have in place now, understand what works well and how things can be made better.”

Shaping Care Together will explore how health and care services are accessible, effective and operated by skilled staff to meet everyone’s needs. Care should be integrated with other services so that patients are supported by the services they need as quickly and safely as possible.

Views are being sought on what currently works well at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals as well as in primary and community healthcare services and in particular, what steps should be taken to improve the following:

  • frail and elderly care
  • when you have an urgent or emergency care need
  • services for children including those who have complex needs
  • services for women who are pregnant and for the new-born
  • gynaecology – dealing with women’s reproductive system
  • sexual health services for all genders
  • planned care, such as follow-up outpatient and/or subsequent admissions as part of ongoing treatment.

Despite the challenges our hospitals face, local access to care has been improved by providing services in the community during the evenings and at weekends.

Dr Rob Caudwell, Chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “We need to listen to local people to understand how we commission NHS health and care services and make sure that they meet patient needs. Local initiatives have been introduced which are helping to care for people at home and thereby avoiding admissions to hospital. For example, a new medical response car with a paramedic on board is being trialled in Southport, which has already started to have a beneficial impact on patient satisfaction, hospital admissions and length of hospital stay. We want to hear about how local services at the hospital and across health organisations are working and what can be improved.”

Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair of the West Lancashire CCG said: “It is vital that we build on the strong foundations that are already in place across our system. West Lancashire has some great examples of how coordinated care wraps around a patient in a community setting. However, we understand from previous conversations with our local residents that both the access and quality of primary, community and hospital services is hugely important, and this is something we should always strive to improve. As part of this listening exercise, we therefore welcome views from residents to share their experiences of using various local services”.

Shaping Care Together is led by NHS Southport and Formby CCG NHS West Lancashire CCG and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and is the first stage of a process to understand patient experience and views before any proposals to solve the challenges faced are considered.

This programme will last throughout 2021 and there will be many opportunities for local people to have their say. It is important to stress that no decisions have been made and we are seeking views which will inform our thinking and proposals for change.

Over the coming months there will be lots of different ways for people to get involved but first views can be shared on the dedicated website: www.yoursayshapingcaretogether.co.uk 

People who do not feel comfortable using the internet can call 01695 588025 to receive paper copies of a questionnaire.

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