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Aintree Festival and Grand National 2021

Sefton Council continues to work jointly with Aintree Festival organisers, Merseyside Police and other partners to ensure the safety of this year’s event which is taking place behind closed doors from Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th April.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic only owners, trainers and staff will be allowed onto the racecourse during the three-day festival.

People living and working in the Aintree area may see a higher than normal police presence over the coming days. Officers from Merseyside Police will be patrolling streets and footpaths in the area around the course to remind people of the need to abide by Covid-19 regulations on social distancing and gathering in groups, even when outside.

Residents are reminded that the SMART Coronavirus testing centre at Aintree Racecourse is now closed until Sunday 11th April, while the Grand National meeting takes place.

The Borough’s two other SMART testing centres, at Bootle Leisure Centre and Splash World in Southport, will be open as normal from 8am to 8pm every day. People can find out more about testing in Sefton at www.sefton.gov.uk/COVID-testing.

Chief Superintendent Paul White said: “In keeping with the current Government guidelines this year’s Aintree festival will take place behind closed doors.

“We know that the event is traditionally a huge part of Merseyside’s social calendar and annually attracts large crowds from across the UK and the world who attend over the three days.

“This year’s event will be taking place behind closed doors, which is a huge shame, however we are clearly in unprecedented times.

“We have been working closely with Aintree to ensure that the festival can still take place safely and as such there will be a proactive and proportionate policing operation and you will see officers in the streets and footpaths around the course reminding people of the current Coronavirus regulations.

We know that there are some people whose homes are adjacent to the racecourse and we have already engaged with them to remind them of the current Covid regulations, including the rule of six or only two households allowed to gather in private gardens and that households are not allowed to mix indoors.

“We would ask everyone to play their part to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS by continuing to stick to the rules and working together so we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “We understand how important the Grand National Festival is to not just Sefton but the whole Liverpool City Region and the horse racing community. I’d like to echo the words of our police colleagues and remind people not to be tempted to mix indoors or to get together in large groups to mark the occasion over the coming days.

“Many of our residents might be planning garden gatherings, so I would just remind everyone to ensure they take extra precautions and stick to the rule of six or two household limit on meeting outdoors.

“You are less likely to catch Covid in the open air but it’s not impossible and we should try to follow the basics of hands, face and space when meeting with others and not sharing things like picnic or BBQ equipment. Our priority is to ensure the rate of transmission in our communities continues to fall and we can all play our part in that by following the guidance.” 

The Council’s traffic management team is working with event organisers to ensure there is as little disruption as possible to the road network across the behind closed doors festival’s three days.

Some closures will be in place as follows:

  • Melling Road will be closed north of Seeds Lane for the whole festival;
  • Melling Road south of Seeds lane will be closed from 07.00hrs – 21.00hrs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Festival (8th, 9th and 10th April);
  • Aintree Station Car Park and Interchange will be closed for the whole festival.

Sefton’s Aintree Racecourse SMART COVID-19 test centre closed from Wednesday to Sunday

Sefton Council’s SMART coronavirus testing centre at Aintree Racecourse will be closed from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 11th April. This is while the course’s Grand National meeting takes place.

The Borough’s two other SMART testing centres, at Bootle Leisure Centre and Splash World in Southport, will be open as normal from 8am to 8pm every day.

SMART tests are for key workers and those with caring commitments during the current lockdown. They can provide a result in around 30 minutes and can help prevent the accidental spread of coronavirus by people not showing symptoms. No appointments are necessary.

Anyone who gets a positive SMART test result or who develops the coronavirus symptoms  – a new persistent cough, high temperature or a loss of sense of taste or smell – should immediately book a PCR test at a local test site. Local test sites are located opposite Bootle Town Hall, at Crosby Library car park, Southport Town Hall and Netherton Activity Centre. Tests can be booked by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Find out more about testing in Sefton. 

Polling station staff required for 2021 Sefton elections

Do you know of somebody who would like to work at a Sefton Polling Station?

Sefton has 132 polling stations in operation on polling day.  Polling station staff work inside the station and are responsible for the conduct of the ballot and making sure that procedure for voting are followed.

The elections team are looking to appoint staff to work in Sefton Polling Stations for the Combined Elections on Thursday 6th May 2021.

There are a number of positions available such as Poll Clerks, staff to meet and greet electors on arrival at the polling station and staff to be on stand by for election day.  The hours of work will be 6am – 10pm.

Staff will be expected to undertake Lateral Flow test before commencing work.

If you are interested in any of the above positions, please email election.staff@sefton.gov.uk

Sefton Council is looking for volunteers who can support children and young people in making their voices heard

Are you passionate about improving the lives of children and young people in care?

Could you support a young person to have their say in decisions made about them, help them to understand their rights and challenge anything they are unhappy with.

If you could spare a couple of hours a month to volunteer as an Independent Advocate, we would love to hear from you.

The purpose of our independent advocacy is to:

  • Assist and support children and young people to speak out/speak up for themselves
  • Ensure that the young person’s voice is heard and listened to.
  • Help children and young people to understand decisions that have been made about their care
  • Assist children and young people to understand their rights and the services that are available to them.

As a volunteer, you will receive:

  • Initial training including Independent Advocacy, Safeguarding and Children’s Social Care
  • Ongoing supervision and support
  • Access to free specialist training relevant to your role
  • Reimbursement of expenses (including travel)
  • Skills and Experience to assist with future job opportunities

Our Independent Advocates will usually support young people at appointments / meetings during office hours, therefore we particularly welcome interest from volunteers who are available midweek (any days Mon-Fri).

For more information Contact Cheryl Yates, Independent Visiting and Advocacy Officer:

cheryl.yates@sefton.gov.uk 0151 934 4167 / 0771843282

New campaign reminds people isolating in Sefton they are not alone

From Good Friday, people across Sefton are being reminded that having to isolate, due to COVID-19, doesn’t mean they are ‘isolated’.

Sefton Council has developed a campaign on the theme of Isolating, not isolated. Posters and social media messages will encourage people to contact the Council on 0345 140 0845 or visit www.sefton.gov.uk/self-isolate to find out about the support available.

Help can include financial support, priority delivery slots for grocery shopping or access to local foodbanks. Support with mental health as people deal with loneliness and boredom, and support with caring responsibilities can also be available.

*Tanya Wilcock, Sefton Council’s Head of Communities said: “Self-isolation is when we are legally required not to leave our home because we have or might have coronavirus. It is important in helping to stop us spreading the virus to others.

“Anyone who is struggling with having to self-isolate should contact the Council to find out about the range of support we and our partners in the voluntary sector can provide.

“They just need to call our support service on 0345 140 0845 and choose option 3 when they get through. This will make sure they can speak to a member of the team as quickly as possible.”

People can also find 10 tips on how to self-isolate for 10 days on Sefton Council’s website.

Subjects covered include planning your food and shopping deliveries, financial support, medical contacts and advice and first aid kit and pharmacy deliveries. There are also tips on caring for others, looking after your physical and mental wellbeing, stopping the spread of the virus at home, cleaning plans for if someone tests positive and arrangements for pet care.

*Tanya Wilcock was Head of Communities at time article was published, but has since left Sefton Council

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