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Sefton Council & health organisations reminding new parents infant feeding support is available

BreastfeedingThis World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), health organisations in Sefton are working with Sefton Council to reassure new parents that there is still infant feeding support available during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that group sessions and one to one support are now back up and running.

They are also raising awareness of the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding around the world supporting mothers to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to improve outcomes to both mother and baby. Studies show that breastfeeding can:

  • help babies fight infections and illnesses
  • help strengthen the bond between mother and baby
  • lower the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast cancer

Chrissie Cooke, chief nurse for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, so whilst we recommend for optimum growth and development that babies are given nothing but breast milk for the first six months (26 weeks) of their life, we know that this is not always possible.

“Whether you are breastfeeding or using first infant formula there is local advice to support you in your choice.

“However, if you have any problems or concerns with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding specialist can help.”

Led by volunteers, the Sefton Breastfeeding Support Service provides practical and emotional support to expectant and new mothers – call 0151 291 8010 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

There are two group drop-in sessions that new parents or pregnant women can attend, and these are held in Southport and Netherton:

  • Friday 1-3pm, Netherton Feelgood Factory
  • Thursday 9.30am – 11.30am, The Hart Space, Southport

New mums can also arrange one to one sessions by calling the service and their Facebook page ‘Breastfeeding Support Sefton’ has lots of useful information and support for new Mums.

One mum in Sefton went to the group for the first time recently and said: “We went to the feelgood factory today for our first time at the support group and so glad we went and got to speak to some people there and go through some questions prior to us having the baby.

“Also, I feel glad that I can go there if I need support or have any questions once the baby is here.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “In March this year, Sefton was awarded full Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation by the Baby Friendly Initiative.

“This means families can feel confident that care and support with infant feeding choices and relationship building is available locally. This includes a Specialist Infant Feeding Service, which provides families with complex feeding challenges can with expert support from infant feeding specialists and lactation consultants.”

You can contact your Health Visiting Team here: and families with more complex feeding issues can be referred to the Specialist Infant Feeding Service if needed.

The National Breastfeeding Helpline can be reached on 0300 100 0212 from 9:30am to 9:30pm every day. The Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend chatbot is also available any time day or night for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice.”

If you have any questions, concerns, or need some advice (whether you are breastfeeding or using first infant formula), call the NCT helpline (0300 330 0700).

This year, the concept of building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic is being seen as an opportunity to create a ‘warm chain’ of support for breastfeeding. This ‘warm chain’ includes health systems, workplaces, and communities at all levels of society and will help build an environment that enables and support for breastfeeding.

Cllr Moncur added: “Covering pregnancy, labour & delivery, early contact, the postnatal period and then the first 24 months of the child’s life, the warm chain covers places the mother and baby at the core through a 1,000-day timeline.

“Academics, health workers, family members, GPs, midwives, nurses, nutritionists, obstetricians and gynaecologists and paediatricians and politicians at local and national levels are all key links in that chain.

“Through that joined-up approach we can support the health and welfare benefits that breastfeeding provides for babies, mothers, families and communities right around the world, as well as the nutrition, poverty-reduction and food security advantages it brings.”

Find out more about the ‘Warm Chain of Support for Breastfeeding’ campaign and how to support it. 

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network that aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding around the world. Along the way, it works with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to ensure its aid reaches the right people in the right communities.

For NHS Coronavirus advice for parents, visit:

For NHS information about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit:

For NHS advice and guidance about bottle-feeding, visit:

Mobile COVID testing – August 2021

Throughout August, drive-through Mobile Testing Units will be available across the Borough.
These sites are for people with symptoms – a new persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of sense of taste or smell – and can be booked by calling 119 or visiting
Planned dates and sites may be subject to change if testing is required in other locations:

Dates and locations for August 2021

  • Sunday 1 Maghull Town Hall
  • Monday 2 Maghull Town Hall
  • Tuesday 3 Southport Eco Centre
  • Wednesday 4 Southport Eco Centre
  • Thursday 5 NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Friday 6 Litherland SP
  • Saturday 7 NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Sunday 8 Litherland SP
  • Monday 9 Southport Eco Centre
  • Tuesday 10 Southport Eco Centre
  • Wednesday 11 Southport Eco Centre
  • Thursday 12 NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Friday 13 Maghull Town Hall
  • Saturday 14 Maghull Town Hall
  • Sunday 15 Maghull Town Hall
  • Monday 16 Litherland SP
  • Tuesday 17 Litherland SP
  • Wednesday 18 Southport Eco Centre
  • Thursday 19 Southport Eco Centre
  • Friday 20 Southport Eco Centre
  • Saturday 21 Litherland SP
  • Sunday 22 Litherland SP
  • Monday 23 Maghull Town Hall
  • Tuesday 24 Southport Eco Centre
  • Wednesday 25 NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Thursday 26 Litherland SP
  • Friday 27 Litherland SP
  • Saturday 28 Maghull Town Hall
  • Sunday 29 Maghull Town Hall
  • Monday 30 Maghull Town Hall
  • Tuesday 31 NO MOBILE TESTING

Remaining July dates

  • Thursday 29 Litherland SP
  • Saturday 31 Maghull Town Hall

Our mobile Swab Squads are out this week.

Walk-through test centres

In addition, local walk-through test centres are open every day from 8am to 8pm, providing easy access to COVID-19 tests for people who do not have access to a car and for those who have symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

The four local test centres are located at:

  • Bootle Town Hall, L20 7AA
  • Crosby Library Car Park, Haigh Road, L22 OLQ
  • Netherton Activity Centre, Glovers Land, L30 3TL
  • Southport Town Hall, PR8 1DA

Those with symptoms wanting tests, need to book ahead of going to either the walk-through or drive-through sites. It’s quick and easy to book by calling 119 or going online at

RAPID testing and home tests

RAPID testing for people without symptoms continues at Bootle Strand and Southport’s Splash World. The Splash World site,  now located in the centre’s car park,  is open from 8am to 6pm seven days a week. The Bootle Strand site, the former H Samuel unit, is open 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

And, home test kits are widely available, from test centres, from all Sefton’s pharmacies as well as online from

RAPID tests provide a result in as little as 30 minutes. A rapid test at home involves taking a throat & nasal swab, dropping the sample into the container supplied and then checking for the result after 20 to 30 minutes.


It is important that anyone who gets a positive result from a rapid test or who develops coronavirus symptoms begins self-isolates for 10 days and immediately books a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting A negative result from a PCR tests means they can stop self-isolating.

Eligible individuals who test positive are entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test through NHS Test and Trace.


Vaccinations have played a key role in preventing the spread of coronavirus and it is vital that people go and get their first and second jabs when they are invited.

Vaccinations are now available to anyone who is :

  • aged 30 or over;
  • will turn 30 before 1 July 2021.

Book your vaccination now.

Swab squad – latest!

Swab Squad
Swab Squad

Our Swab Squads are out at Sefton’s rail stations and other venues over the coming week, providing free, rapid COVID tests, information and advice.

Look out for them on:

  • Tuesday 27th July at Ainsdale  Station 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesday 28th July at Aintree Asda 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Thursday 29th  July at Linacre Community Hub
  • Friday 30th July at Aintree Asda AND Crosby Lakeside – 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Saturday 31st July at Blundellsands Station – 8:30am – 4:30pm

Mobile testing units are also deployed at locations across the Borough.


Extra measures scaled back but vigilance still needed says Sefton’s Public Health boss

Responding to the announcement by the Government it is scaling back the extra measures that were put in place to combat the COVID Delta variant, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has said people need to remain on their guard.

Protect each other

Image of Sefton's Director of Public Health, Margaret JonesMargaret Jones said: “It is clear that despite the Government’s lifting of most restrictions last week and the removal of these extra measures, we all need to remain vigilant if we are going to halt the current growth in COVID infections and protect each other.

“We all need to make sure we get both our vaccination jabs and I thank everyone who has already got theirs. We also all need to continue taking regular rapid tests even though we don’t have coronavirus symptoms. And we all need to continue isolating as soon as we’re we’re told to through Test and Trace or the NHS app.

“People can get vaccination jabs at walk-in locations across the Borough, free rapid tests are still widely available including from all Sefton pharmacies, and we are still running drive-through and walk-through centres for rapid and PCR tests.

“More information on all of these is available at”

Friday’s Government announcement said the package of additional support that has been in place in Sefton and across the Liverpool City Region and other areas will end. However, it said the Government will continue to work closely with local authorities to help them manage COVID-19 growth rates in their areas.


Mrs Jones said that she had noticed that many people across Sefton were continuing to show concern for others around them by still wearing masks in indoor spaces and maintaining social distancing.

She added: “I know that many people were concerned about the withdrawal of most restrictions last week and I think this is reflected by large numbers of people who are carrying on observing them voluntarily in order to keep themselves and those around them safe.”

Council welcomes Government’s ‘pingdemic’ exemptions but awaits details

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has welcomed the Government’s announcement that local government employees will be among those who can carry on working after being pinged by the COVID app, as long as they take daily tests.

Feeling effects

Cllr Ian Maher said: Like companies and organisations across the country, Sefton Council is feeling the effects of the current ‘pingdemic’ which is seeing thousands of people being told to isolate through the NHS COVID app.

“With the recent growth in numbers of people infected because of the coronavirus Delta variant, many of the Council’s staff are currently isolating, which is continuing to have an effect on frontline services.

“With the Government finally announcing the list of those exempt from isolation, we can hopefully start to recover, although we are still waiting to hear the details of what roles are covered.”

The Government has said that exemptions will only apply to workers who are fully vaccinated and then, 14 days after their second coronavirus jab. They will apply until Monday 16th August when wider relaxations for fully vaccinated people are expected

Last night’s announcement by the Government warned “this is not a blanket exemption for all workers in a sector”. The exemptions “will not cover all or in most cases even the majority of workers in critical sectors” and only apply to those whose employer has received a letter on which they are is listed by name.

Rising sharply

Cllr Ian Maher said: “Despite the recent lifting of COVID restrictions by the Government, the Delta variant has meant numbers of cases have been rising sharply, in Sefton, on Merseyside and across the country.

“As with other sectors such as transport and supermarkets and food production, councils are being hit by the large numbers of people having to isolate and I am afraid this inevitably means services will be affected.

“Sefton Council employees have been working to support and protect our communities, our businesses and our vulnerable throughout the pandemic.

“Some have been able to continue working mainly from home while others have carried on as well providing frontline service such as bin collections, social services, care work and the protection of our unique environment. And teachers and other staff have been in Sefton’s schools throughout the pandemic for pupils who were unable to stay at home.

“Some staff have been temporarily transferred to other teams because they have been unable to carry on with their regular jobs due to closures. Instead they have worked in areas such as burials and cremations to ensure the continuation of those key services.

“I can assure Sefton’s residents, businesses and visitors that the Council will continue to deliver the services they rely on even though they may, temporarily, not be at the same high standards they quite rightly expect.”

Cllr Maher went on to say that while the number of employees being told to isolate through the COVID app was affecting Council services, they were doing ‘the right thing’ by following the guidance.


Cllr Maher continued: “For those of us not covered by these new exemptions it is vital that if we are pinged or contacted by test and trace, we continue to self-isolate.

“Like getting both vaccination jabs and continuing to take regular tests if you’ve not got symptoms, isolating when we’re told to, is vital to preventing the further spread of COVID in this latest peak of infections.

“And I have been pleased to see that, while the Government has removed most restrictions, many people across Sefton are continuing to show care and consideration for each other by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and, I hope, washing their hands frequently and thoroughly.”

Find out more about COVID in Sefton.

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