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Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre re-opens

Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre on Stanley Street, Southport are re-opening its doors to provide residents affected by cancer with face to face, COVID safe support following the recent easing of lockdown restrictions.

The team at the centre – a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – has put measures in place so that it can safely resume services for patients and staff. This means that there are some changes to the way the service is delivered, initially, there will only be pre-bookable appointments available. The team will be continually reviewing guidance so that the drop-in service, support groups, courses and events will also be resumed as soon as it is safe to do so.

To protect staff, volunteers and service users, a simple health questionnaire and temperature check will be carried out before anyone enters the centre. In addition, unless there is a medical reason why it is not possible, visitors and staff will be required to wear a disposable mask or face covering of their own. All rooms that are used in the centre comply with the 2-metre social distancing guidance. The centre will be thoroughly cleaned at the start and end of each day and all tables, chairs and used areas will be wiped down after each person has left.

Dr Graeme Allan, Macmillan GP and cancer clinical lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We know that there has been a sharp drop in the number of patients referred for cancer investigations and appointments during the pandemic. We understand that some people may be concerned about visiting their GP with symptoms or attending hospital for a cancer referral appointment. Strict infection control procedures and video and phone consultations have been introduced in GP practices to ensure the safety of patients and staff. It is vital that people contact their GP if they have any signs or symptoms of cancer because early diagnosis saves lives.

“It’s brilliant to see the Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre re-open, we know that coronavirus means people living with cancer need help now more than ever. The Centre has increased the number of counseling sessions so that the trained and experienced staff can provide more vital emotional support to people with cancer locally.”

Tanya Mulvey, Centre manager at Southport Cancer Information and Support Centre, said: “We know that the last few months have been incredibly difficult for people affected by cancer and although we have been offering telephone support (which we’ll continue to do), we know that seeing someone face-to-face is far preferable for many people. Sadly, we will not be able to hold your hand or hug you – but the welcome will be just as warm as it ever was, and we’ll do our very best to help and support you.

“We will be continually reviewing our services against evolving guidance and hope that we will be able to return to our normal service provision as soon as possible.”

To find out about the support available and to book an appointment, please call the Centre on 07976 767188 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)

For more information about the Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre, visit: https://southportmacmillancentre.org.uk/

Sefton hosting region’s first walk-through COVID-19 Local Testing Sites

People across Sefton will benefit from the opening of Cheshire and Merseyside’s first dedicated walk-through Covid-19 testing sites, in Bootle on Friday (31 July) and in Southport next week.

Walk-through Local Testing Sites improve access to COVID-19 tests for the whole community, especially those who do not have access to a car and those people who should not be using public transport because they have coronavirus symptoms.

Unlike the Mobile Units, which people have already used to take over 7,000 tests at Sefton’s five locations, Local Testing Sites will be open for several months. Each Site will have between four and eight testing bays which can each test up to three people an hour. Users will be asked to self-swab when attending.

To use the walk-through process, people first need to book a test. You can do this online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 or Sefton Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “We have been working very closely with colleagues in the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside and the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure that we have the most accessible testing facilities for the people of Sefton, when and where they need them.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the first ever Local Testing Site facilities in Cheshire and Merseyside and that people will have even greater access to testing should people feel unwell.

“We have a fairly unique borough, which is both long and narrow, so being able to secure a Local Testing Site for both Southport and Bootle is a really good result. We will continue to work closely to ensure that all of the testing availability is used in the best possible way to help keep Sefton safe as we look to support the recovery of our area and the local economy.”

Regional Testing Director for Cheshire and Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “This additional capacity is great for Sefton and the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside.

“Having two semi-permanent Local Testing Sites  in Sefton means that we will be able to use other testing facilities more flexibly and be able to deploy them in a more targeted way in the future. This will help the Director of Public Health, and other professionals have a greater say in how testing is used and deployed locally.

“Having this extra capacity, more permanently, means that we can respond and react in a much more targeted way with other testing resources, should we see local outbreaks or other urgent needs. Such decisions can now be made in the knowledge that there are testing sites in both Bootle and Southport to rely on day to day.

“We will carefully study the use of these new sites in Sefton as we look to roll out further testing capability across Cheshire and Merseyside in our bid to continue protecting lives and livelihoods.”

People with coronavirus symptoms travelling to the Bootle Local Testing Site should not use public transport. There is on-street pay-and-display parking close to Bootle Town Hall for those people travelling to the Local Testing Site by car.

Mobile coronavirus testing units are scheduled to be at locations across Sefton every day in August.

Find out more with our Guide to the walk-through testing process.

More information on visiting a Local Testing Site is available in this YouTube video

‘Fix Your Bike’ vouchers scheme

The government is offering ÂŁ50 bike repair vouchers to anyone in England to persuade people to get back on their bike, as part of efforts to tackle obesity.

This is a great opportunity for people to get their old bikes out of the back of the shed fixed and safe to ride.

The scheme will help encourage more people choose cycling over public transport as a convenient way to travel and limiting the number of trips in private cars, in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown is eased.

How to get a free ÂŁ50 voucher to repair your bike

You can register to apply online for the ‘Fix Your Bike’ Voucher Scheme from 23:45 on Tuesday 28th July.

After you apply, you can bring your cycle to a mechanic or bike repairer that has also registered to take part in the government’s scheme, to get your bike fixed.

The voucher will cover up to ÂŁ50 of the total cost of the repairs needed.

The first 50,000 vouchers will be made available online on Tuesday at 23:45 on a first come, first served basis to those who register online.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

Anyone living in England who has an unused bike that needs repairing is eligible.

There are a limited number of vouchers available and up to two vouchers can be claimed per household.

The vouchers can only be used with mechanics and bike repairers that register for the scheme in England.

Find your local bike repairer shop here

Crosby Library is venue for latest three-day coronavirus mobile testing site

Crosby Library is the latest venue for three days of coronavirus mobile testing taking place from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 July. .

Tests at drive-through mobile sites tell people if if they currently have the Covid-19 virus.

Tests are available for anyone but they need to have made an appointment first at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Essential workers can book through www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers.

Key NHS employees can attend regional testing sites at Liverpool John Lennon Airport as well as Haydock and Manchester Airport without the need for an appointment.

Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG are supporting the mobile sites, which have now provided around 7,000 tests.

Health bosses have been reminding young people that they can still catch coronavirus and pass on the serious illness to friends & loved ones without knowing it.

That why it is important that anyone contacted through the Government’s NHS Test and Trace service, shares information about their recent interactions.

Find out more about the NHS Test and Trace service.

Programme of safe openings for Sefton’s play areas underway

Sefton Council is now confident it has the measures in place for its play areas to start opening after being closed as part of nationwide “lockdown” restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.

Initially, the Borough’s four largest and busiest play areas, at Crosby Lakeside, Kings Gardens and Hesketh Park in Southport and Botanic Gardens in Churchtown will be open by Saturday 25 July. Others will follow on soon after.

In line with Government guidance the Council’s Green Sefton team is carrying out new risk assessments for each site and considering how to apply the guidance to minimise the risk of coronavirus infection. At the same time, these inspections are being used to identify any faulty or damaged equipment, which will be removed or disabled before re-opening.

Children will have to be accompanied and supervised by parents, guardians or carers while using play areas. Groups should not enter play areas and each child should have only one family member accompanying them.

People are expected to maintain a two-metre social distance from anyone outside their family or support bubble. And they are being asked to restrict visits to half an hour at busy times and not return for two hours, to allow everyone to have a turn.

Parents, guardians and carers should ensure their children’s hands are sanitised before and after using any play apparatus. They should also clean or sanitise seats and handles before using the equipment.

People are asked to avoid touching their faces and to cough or sneeze into a tissue or arm when a tissue is not available to prevent risk of infection. Food and drink is not permitted and visitors should take their litter home with them or place it in a litter bin away from the play area.

New signage is being erected at all playgrounds to remind users of the measures designed to keep everyone safe. A limited amount of equipment such as certain swings will have to remain out of use for the time being to enable people to maintain social distancing.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Throughout this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, our priority has been to protect all our residents, which is why we have been carrying out this thorough process to ensure play areas can open safely in line with the Government’s guidelines.

“With over 100 sites, more than 2,000 pieces of equipment and a limited number of staff this is a time-consuming process that will take several weeks to complete totally.

“However, we are determined to put all the measures in place to minimise the infection risk at each location and are asking parents, guardian and carers to work with us by following the guidelines to keep themselves and others safe when they visit.”

People should not use not use play areas if they or anyone they live with has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive or if they have been advised to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service.

Cllr Moncur added: “As with each stage of the restrictions being lifted by Ministers, Sefton Council is adapting its facilities and services to meet the Government’s guidelines but this needs to be a measured and thorough process.

“And it needs to be one on which the public works with us so we can re-open and recover gradually and steadily and avoid risks to our friend and loved ones as well as avoiding the setbacks faced in other parts of the country.”

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