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Winter walks feeling like a chore? Sefton is a haven of dog walking routes to explore

As ‘Walk Your Dog Month’ comes to an end, Sefton Council are encouraging residents to continue to embrace the winter weather and explore the many wonderful greenspaces across Sefton.

February is a time when people begin to abandon their New Year’s Resolutions, making it as important as ever to enjoy time outdoors and reap the many proven health benefits of taking a walk with a furry friend.

A woman walks her dog along woodland path

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “The winter months provide a great opportunity to work on small targets to get out walking with your dog and establish habits long term that benefit you both.

“I would encourage everyone to make the most of some fresh air when they get outdoors, as well as enjoying everything that nature has to offer in our Borough. That’s not just on our coastline but also our canal walks and Sefton’s many greenspaces and parks.”

Sefton’s coastline, nature reserves, parks and greenspaces offer both people and dogs a variety of dynamic and satisfying walking routes. To discover more, head to:

Visiting Sefton’s beaches

Sefton’s parks and open spaces

While most dog owners act responsibly and clean up after their dogs, dog mess can still be an issue on many sites. The Council reminds people that a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is in place and those not picking up after their pets could receive a fixed penalty notice or fine. More information can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/dogs/

Signage on park railings outlining the rules of the PSPO
Signage on park railings outlining the rules of the PSPO

Update on the improvements to visitor facilities at Ainsdale-on-Sea

Sefton Council have gone out to tender for works to deliver improved facilities at Ainsdale-On-Sea. The tender will be live until February 10.

Through the summer months in 2022, visitors to Ainsdale were again able to enjoy the benefits of initiatives being funded by the Council to improve the experience for beach goers.

This included the reopening of existing toilet facilities after a small refurbishment earlier in the year. A daily cleaning regime was in place through the summer months, ensuring the amenities were maintained to a high quality.

Cars parked on Ainsdale beach

And, now as part of additional funding for 2023, further improvements to toilet and wash facilities will be delivered, which will see a full refurbishment of the building, the reintroduction of shower facilities, drinking water and an accessible Changing Places toilet installed too.

The funding will enable the delivery of infrastructure improvements to the coastal gateway, including the development of an off beach car park. An updated planning application has been submitted and works are now out to tender.

The car park will have solar-powered pay and display machines, cycle parking and electric vehicle charging points. Monies generated from parking charges will fund new Rangers on site to welcome and guide visitors as well as repaying a loan for the funding.

Once completed, the car park will provide an alternative parking area for visitors in the summer months and will allow parking during the winter unaffected by weather and tides.

New fencing will be fitted to guide visitors from the car to the beach, while helping to protect the more sensitive areas of the dunes and important habitats.

After two years of trialling food and drink outlets, a new tender will soon be advertised for a concession from 2023 onwards at Ainsdale beach entrance and by the new off beach car park.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“These developments are in recognition of the need for us to create infrastructure that gives visitors a high-quality and enjoyable experience, reduces the pressure and inconvenience on local residents and protects our natural coast with its very special mix of habitats and wildlife.

“Ainsdale-on-Sea has been recognised as one of these key access points to the coast and there are many exciting possibilities being explored that could form part of the longer-term rejuvenation of the area.”

Another positive sign at Ainsdale is the progress on the redevelopment of the former Sands pub. The building is currently out to market looking for a private sector partner to invest in, develop and operate the site.

Nigel Thompson / Ainsdale Beach railway station (site), Lancashire

A good level of interest has been shown so far, with a decision likely in Spring on a preferred potential developer for the site, with more work to firm up proposals leading on from there. For more information, people can visit: Shore Road, Ainsdale, PR8 | Fitton Estates

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Latest round of Sefton Crowd funding campaign launched

Sefton Council has launched a new funding round as part of its digital crowdfunding initiative Sefton Crowd to support community-led ideas that will help Sefton become more vibrant, resilient, and connected.

Working in partnership with Spacehive, the UK’s leading civic crowdfunding platform, Sefton Crowd is an initiative that gives residents with an idea to improve their community the opportunity to gain funding using Spacehive’s crowdfunding platform. Sefton Council has allocated a total of £50,000 to the programme, with up to £5,000 available per idea to boost projects towards their funding target. The deadline to launch your crowdfunding campaign is Wednesday 29th March 2023.

Sefton Council and Spacehive will hold a virtual workshop, using ZOOM, to discuss your project ideas on Tuesday 7th February 2023, between 12.00 noon and 1.00pm. To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-sefton-crowd-launch-event-tickets-510891569437

Vicky Hall, who has recently used Sefton Crowd to successfully crowdfund for saving Formby Rotary’s Carol Wagon, said: “the grant the Council has given us through Sefton Crowd has helped us to restore our Carol Wagon, so we were able to continue touring Formby streets, visiting schools and nursing homes and it will keep the 50-year-old tradition alive for future generations. If you are thinking of crowdfunding, I would say ‘try it – you have nothing to lose’”.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “We’re excited to launch this Sefton Crowd funding round with Spacehive, and I can’t wait to see the range of ideas that our communities put forward. Local people are best placed to understand the challenges and opportunities in their local area and using Sefton Crowd puts them and their ideas in the driving seat.

I’m also calling on companies and organisations that care about Sefton to join us in offering support to project ideas, whether funding or in-kind, so we can support the success of locally led campaigns. The more people that get involved in Sefton Crowd, the more inspiring local places we can create together.”

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Get outdoors safely across Sefton this Christmas

Sefton’s heritage parks and green open spaces, its 22-mile coastline and its exciting nature reserves are here to be explored this winter.

Whether it’s walking, cycling or simply getting outside for a breath of fresh air, which many people may look to do over the festive break, the Council’s Green Sefton service is reminding residents to take care and respect the landscape when getting outdoors locally.

Cllr Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“This year we’ve continued to see unprecedented use of our outdoor spaces, particularly throughout the summer months along our beautiful coastline. We joined forces with colleagues and partners to implement our Coastal Action Plan and we were delighted with the support we got from residents and visitors, the vast the majority of whom took note to enjoy our beaches safely.

“Now we’re embracing the seasonal changes and the onset of winter, and I would encourage everyone to continue to make the most of some fresh air when they get outdoors, as well as enjoying everything that nature has to offer in our Borough. That’s not just on our coastline but also our canal walks, cycling routes and Sefton’s many greenspaces and parks.”

Residents are being urged to be prepared for winter differences before getting out and about around Sefton’s parks, coastline, and open spaces.

Cllr Moncur added:

“Similarly, the seasonal changes bring with them amazing wildlife spectacles. Rare migrating birds can often be spotted along our coastline, as can cattle and sheep that through their grazing are helping to manage vital habitats among the dunes. Please do show respect to both the landscape and the wildlife that we are so lucky to have in Sefton.”

A handy checklist covers everything residents, and visitors alike, need to know when enjoying the Borough’s outdoor spaces this winter.

  • Be prepared for winter weather with appropriate clothing and robust footwear;
  • Always check the weather forecast as conditions can change quickly and check tide times before you set out to the coast: www.tidetimes.org.uk;
  • Take care close to water, especially in wet or icy conditions and do not attempt to walk on frozen water, ponds or lakes;
  • Take note of any safety signage at beach entrances -there are no RNLI lifeguard patrols on Southport or Ainsdale beaches during winter;
  • Remember that the evenings get darker earlier so carrying a torch or wearing reflective clothing would be advisable;
  • Remember that some of our gated parks may be locked an hour after sunset;
  • Avoid walking through woodland in high winds and keep away from any fallen or hung up trees until they have been made safe;
  • Follow the Countryside Code;
  • Do not disturb wildlife, livestock or damage habitat – keep dogs under control and away from pools of water or resting birds;
  • Camping, BBQs and fires are not permitted;
  • Leave nothing but your footprints – take all your rubbish home with you, avoid adding litter to full bins and recycle wherever possible;
  • Some facilities like public toilets may not be open in winter months at parks and nature reserves;
  • Beach car parks are closed and will not re-open until the spring – please park responsibly in the parking available nearby;
  • If walking or cycling in remote areas, ensure you take a fully charged mobile phone and be aware that signal may be poor;
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return;
  • Report any emergency hazards or concerns to Sefton Arc Security on 0151 922 6107.

Bloomin’ good news for Sefton’s gardening community groups

Community groups across the Borough have once again been recognised for their green-fingered expertise for the 2022 North West in Bloom competition.

Through the summer, the North West in Bloom judges visited various locations across Sefton to see for themselves the good work the volunteers have been doing. Judges consider categories equally, including community involved and environmental quality; looking at litter and highway presentation.

Sefton’s gardening enthusiasts have once again showcased their skills by maintaining flower beds, supporting community initiatives, and creating wonderful displays.

So much so that over 30 entrants were recognised by the judges, including the In Your Neighbourhood category.

Special recognition was also awarded to Sefton’s In Bloom entrants:

  • Southport In Bloom: Best Large Coastal Resort Award 2022; Gold Award, Coastal Resort Category 2022
  • Ainsdale In Bloom: Gold Award, Town Category 2022
  • Crosby & Waterloo In Bloom: Gold Award, Small Coastal Resort Category 2022
  • Bootle In Bloom: Silver Award, Urban Community Category 2022

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The Green Sefton team has been absolutely bowled over by the determination and commitment of our green-fingered community groups and volunteers.

“Not only do their continued efforts help to make our Sefton greener, but they also help to bring communities together making them stronger and happier. We’ve all enjoyed spending time outdoors, perhaps more than ever in recent times, and having passionate gardeners across our Borough looking after our valued green spaces has really enhanced our time spent outdoors.

“The standard of competition in North West In Bloom is always very high, so these awards are testimony to the hard work and dedication of our brilliant volunteers – congratulations to them all. The many groups and individuals who won In Your Neighbourhood awards further reflect the hard work that is put into numerous parks, gardens and open spaces in the community.”

 

North West in Bloom is the voluntary regional organisation that administers the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom competition in Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and is one of the 18 regions and Nations that comprise Britain in Bloom.

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service – who help co-ordinate North West in Bloom within the Borough – are encouraging people interested to get involved by emailing  greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

For more information on taking a more active role in community gardening the RHS has lots of helpful resources, simply visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening

 

Full list of results:

Southport In Bloom: Best Large Coastal Resort Award 2022; Gold Award, Coastal Resort Category 2022

Ainsdale In Bloom: Gold Award, Town Category 2022

Crosby & Waterloo In Bloom: Gold Award, Small Coastal Resort Category 2022

Bootle In Bloom: Silver Award, Urban Community Category 2022

 

In Your Neighbourhood Awards:

Southport –

Friends of Bedford Park – Level 2

Hesketh Park Volunteers Rose Garden Group – Level 4

Friends of Kings Community Garden – Level 4

Rotten Row – Level 5

Botanic Gardens – Level 5

 

Bootle –

Litherland Community Centre – Level 5

Hatton Hill (Triangle should be friends of) – Level 4

Ykids – Level 3 plus a special award overcoming adversity

South park – Level 3

Derby park community volunteers poulsom memorial – Level 4

Blooming Oxford Gardens – Level 3

North park community garden – Level 3

Ash street memorial garden – Level 3

Leicester and Somerset road community entry – Level 3

Leicester Road community garden – Level 3

Rufford Road community garden – Level 4

Independent initiative – Level 4

 

Crosby and Waterloo –

Friends of Alexandra and Coronation Park – level 4

Waterloo community forest – level 5

Mere park residents – level 5

Crosby and district (lions) – level 4

Rotary garden – level 4

Best front garden – Paul Weston

St Michael’s church – level 4

St Luke’s church community garden Level 5 – Outstanding

Merrilocks Park Level 5 – Outstanding

Rosemount – level 5

East Street Triangle – level 4

Chenye close – level 5

Ww D bed – level 3

 

Ainsdale –

Friends of Ainsdale Community Garden – Outstanding

Ainsdale Village Bloomers – Outstanding

Edda – Outstanding

Merefield Special School Special Award

 

Formby –

Bridge Inn Community Farm – Outstanding (& also won Grow Your Own Award 2022)

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