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Sefton Council urges businesses to apply for Business Grants

Sefton Council is urging businesses in the Borough to ensure they are applying for the Business Grants that are currently available for small businesses and those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector.  These are available from Sefton Council to provide financial assistance to businesses, impacted by the disruption and difficulties caused by Covid-19.  The grants are simple to apply for and businesses will not have to repay them.

Two grants are available for businesses that were rate payers in Sefton before 11 March 2020:

  • Small Business Grants are for businesses who are based in a premises with a rateable value up to £15,000 and are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief. The grant these businesses are entitled to is £10,000.
  • Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants operate at two levels. Businesses based in a premises with a rateable value of up to, and including, £15,000 and are eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount are entitled to a grant of £10,000.  Businesses based in a premises with a rateable value of over £15,000 but less than £51,000 and are eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount are entitled to a grant of £25,000.

 

Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council’s Labour Leader, says, “We urge all business that fall into these categories to follow the simple processes that are in place so that they can receive these grants as quickly as possible.  To date we are pleased to say that £28million has been distributed to businesses across Sefton, but we know there are more that have not yet applied and we would encourage them to do so without delay.  These grants are designed to give small businesses some much needed financial support at this very challenging time and we want to ensure that all businesses that are eligible receive them.”

 

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, says, “The system that has been put in place to give small businesses in Sefton this financial support has been made as straightforward as possible so that the Council can distribute grants to businesses as a key priority and within a short space of time.  The application process itself doesn’t take long, so if any business is not sure whether they are eligible or not, we’d urge them to check.”

 

How to apply

To apply for one of these grants from Sefton Council you will need your Business Rates Account Number and Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), which can be found on the bills sent out in March 2020.  If you do not have your bill you need to email business.rates@sefton.gov.uk and ask for your bill to be re-issued.

Along with your UPRN you will simply need to enter your business bank account, VAT Registration Number (if VAT registered) and Companies Number (if a Limited Company) onto the online portal, which can be accessed via https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/covid19businessform/

If you have been in occupation of your current premises since before 11 March 2020, but did not let Sefton Business Rates know this you will not be on the rates system and will be required to provide evidence that you are the occupier.

Ongoing business support and advice for all businesses across Sefton is available via InvestSefton, which leads on the Council’s business support.  It has dedicated information available on all of the latest Covid-19 updates and support available to businesses in Sefton.  To access this information visit: www.investsefton.com.

Council leader welcomes this weekend’s second Coronavirus testing site for Southport

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher has welcomed the news that after the success of the recent army-run mobile pilot Coronavirus (Covid-19) self-testing site in Southport, the exercise is being repeated from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May.

Once again, the Council is working with the military and other partners to set up the site at The Eco Centre on Southport’s Esplanade where, during the recent three-day session, 350 people were able to get tested.

Cllr Maher said: “I am delighted that once again Sefton Council is working as part of a partnership to make the site available to carry out these important tests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Having this site locally will help provide key workers including our own Council colleagues with access to a test and means those whose results come back negative can return to the essential roles they are playing in supporting our communities in the fight against Coronavirus.”

The previous three-days of testing in Southport, which took place from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 April, was the very first pilot facility for key workers with Coronavirus symptoms in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Cllr Maher added, “As well as making possible this second mobile testing site, Sefton Council is working with its partners to secure one or more of the government’s planned satellite testing stations for the Borough.”

Feedback from the organisers of the initial site was very positive with Sefton Council staff being described as “extremely patient and polite.”

Tests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be for essential workers including Council, NHS and social care workers with symptoms, anyone aged over 65 with symptoms, anyone with symptoms who cannot work from home and anyone with Coronavirus symptoms who lives with any of these groups.

People must have registered for a test at www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test and have an appointment before going to the site.

Sefton Borough of Culture 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsule launched.

To mark the historic times we are all living through to ensure everyone’s safety, Sefton Council’s Borough of Culture 2020 team is creating COVID-19 Time Capsule.

The Team wants to capture young people’s views on social isolation and living in lockdown. They want to know how young people feel, what they’ve done to stay connected with their friends and family. The pack also asks how they have celebrated some special occasions and what they are looking forward to doing when Coronavirus is over.

To help record the memories, the Team has created a COVID-19 Time Capsule kit.  Young people can use the kit to record artwork they’ve created and photographs including the people they are with and the people they are missing. They can also include special memories, a diary of the time and newspapers or clippings.

Copies of kits submitted to the Borough of Culture 2020 team will be judged and the best will one of two, £50 Smyths Toys vouchers and their diaries be included in the Time Capsule itself.

Download the COVID-19 Time Capsule kit.

Anyone who doesn’t have a printer, you can email BOC2020@sefton.gov.uk and we will send one out in the post. All entries must be returned to BOC2020, Bootle Town Hall, Trinity Road, Bootle Liverpool, L20 7AE no later than Tuesday 30th June 2020. One entry per person and will not be able to return any diaries that are not chosen as a winners of this competition so people are advised to keep copies.

Cllr Trish Hardy Sefton Council’s main Borough of Culture sponsor said: “These really are unprecedented times and creating a COVID-19 Time Capsule to mark it is a great idea.

“These kits are an ideal way of helping our young people record their experiences to share with their families and their own children one day and for one lucky winner, a chance to have their experiences included in the Time Capsule itself.”

Also going into the Time Capsule, will be number of objects to mark the Borough of Culture celebrations. These include an origami squirrels with instructions how to make it, examples of diaries that the young people at SING have been working on and memory boxes the older people have been doing. Items from the Playing Out project that families have been making and photographs from the competition that the Birkdale HUB will be running will also be included.

A decision has not yet been reached on where in Sefton Borough the COVID-19 Time Capsule will be placed but once all the items have been chosen, the Borough of Culture 2020 team will be asking for suggestions from local people.

Download the COVID-19 Time Capsule kit. 

Earlier this month Sefton Council’s Borough of Culture 2020 team announced that it had worked with local arts, culture and community groups with successful grant applications to adapt their projects for digital delivery to enable people to enjoy and take part in the activities online or by post. Find out more.

 

Call out to Young Apprentices

Are you 16-18? Live in Sefton, on an Apprenticeship and furloughed? Career Connect on behalf of Sefton Council are currently carrying out calls to our Young Apprentices to offer support during this challenging time.

Our specialist team are here and an adviser can help you make sense of things. If you are not in education, employment and training we can also help you by keeping in touch and providing support to develop your employment skills, update your CV and explore options for the future.

Don’t wait for us to call you, call us now on  0151 944 6100 to request a call back or email sarah.vaughan@careerconnect.org.uk

Parents of young people who are concerned about them are also welcome to call this line!

Residents warned to be on their guard against cyber criminals

Residents across Sefton are being urged to be on their guard against cyber criminals who may try to exploit the coronavirus outbreak and prey on people and their businesses.

These criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching people for their scams, hoping that people let their guard down for just a moment.

They can contact people by phone, email, text, on social media, or in person. They will trick people into parting with their money, personal information, or buying goods or services that don’t exist.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “It is shocking to see cyber criminals and fraudsters preying on people in such a callous and predatory way during this difficult time”

“The council is committed to making our communities aware of these criminals preying on individuals and businesses and making sure they have the tools to keep themselves safe”

You can keep yourself safe by staying vigilant and reporting anything suspicious immediately.

If you think you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Alternatively, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via Action Fraud

The National Cyber Security Centre has advice for businesses to protect themselves against fraud and cyber criminals.

Citizens Advice offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. You can contact them for support on issues you might be facing, if you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam.

How to protect yourself against cyber crime and fraud:

  1. Stop

Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

  1. Challenge

Consider if it could be fake – it’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account – they will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN

Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails

Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

  1. Protect

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops – update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry

Visit Take Five for more advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and Cyber Aware for advice on how to keep yourself secure online

 

How to protect your business

  1. Stop

If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details, or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

  1. Challenge

It could be a fake – verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first

  1. Protect

Contact your business’s bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed and report it to Action Fraud

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