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Sefton Council urges residents to stay safe this October/ November

This Halloween and Bonfire Night authorities across the Liverpool City Region are urging residents not to gather or arrange events.

With the Liverpool City Region under Tier 3 restrictions, the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly higher than in other areas so mixing with other households should be avoided.

Major outdoor events scheduled to take place this over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period have been cancelled to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and all requests to hold events such as firework displays, no matter how large or small, will be refused for public safety reasons.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“We understand that this is a difficult period as this time of year families would usually be taking part in Halloween and Bonfire Night activities however, this year traditional ‘trick or treating’, parties and firework events are not permitted as this could increase the risk of spreading infection.

“Protecting our residents especially those who are vulnerable is our main priority and I know our communities will work together to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

Local authorities will continue to work with the Merseyside Police to help protect residents by ensuring that the restrictions are followed.

Chief Inspector Peter Clark, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said:

“As you know there are a number of rules and restrictions in place in relation to Covid-19 – that means that the planned displays and events we normally attend, will not be happening this year. We know that this is another sacrifice we are having to make, however now is a time to pull together, follow the guidance and help to stop the spread.

“We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy this period. We will maintain a common sense approach during the Halloween and Bonfire night period – and are working to encourage people to respect the restrictions and explain why they are so important. Where people are flouting restrictions, we will however take action.

He continued: “Our message regarding anti-social behaviour during this period remains simple – it will not be tolerated and anyone caught committing this type of offence will be dealt with firmly and robustly. No one should have to suffer being the victim of anti-social behaviour and I would like to reassure everyone that there will be extra high-visibility patrols during this time.”

Local authorities are encouraging members of the public to find alternatives to trick or treating and gathering at bonfire or firework displays this year.

As in previous years, council officers will be working with both the Police and Fire services to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect the vulnerable, as well as removing fly-tipped waste and illegal bonfires.

Joe Cunliffe, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know things won’t be the same this year and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service still wants people to enjoy this period, but now is the time to pull together, follow the guidance and help stop the spread – it’s more important than ever that we all work together to protect our communities and the most vulnerable among them.

“Deliberately started fires in the run up to bonfire night put a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. You can help to reduce the number of incidents this bonfire period by never giving combustible materials to anyone, especially young people, and making sure your wheelie bin is out of sight – only put it out on collection day and bring it back in in as soon as possible.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging members of the public not to have bonfires on public land this year in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Station Manager Cunliffe added: “Community bonfires must not take place on public land, as this will encourage people to gather in breach of current restrictions. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will respond to reports of fires and will extinguish them throughout the bonfire period. We would urge people to report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via our website www.merseyfire.gov.uk, by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our social media pages.

“If you decide to have fireworks at home, only buy them from reputable retailers registered with MFRS. Please observe the restrictions and always follow the firework code.”

For further information on how to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night follow the Police and Fire service social media channels who will be sharing tips and information over the next few weeks. In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the service you require.

The Environment Agency is advising people to:

  • Think twice about having a bonfire this year.
  • Only burn small amounts of dry paper, leaves, clean wood and cardboard if you do decide to have a bonfire. Make sure materials are stored securely before being burned and always check the bonfire for wildlife before setting it alight.
  • Avoid burning waste such as treated wood, tyres, plastic, rubber and oil as these can seriously harm health and pollute the environment. It is illegal to burn most types of waste.
  • Make sure you know where the materials for your bonfire have come from. If you suspect illegal activity report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • Read Environment Agency advice at https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules to make sure you’re disposing of waste on your bonfire safely and legally.

It has never been easier to get a COVID-19 test across Sefton and the Region

With the roll-out of 17 new semi-permanent Local Testing Sites in the last six weeks across Cheshire and Merseyside, the ability to book and get a local test for Covid-19 in has never been better.

Sefton now has four of these walk-through sites, at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall.

Open from 8am to 8pm, walk through centres provide easy access to COVID-19 tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

People can book appointments, if they have symptoms, at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

There is also a fleet of nine Mobile Testing Units which are deployed across Cheshire and Merseyside to help in priority areas and where there are specific outbreaks. Sefton has had Mobile Units at various locations on most days since the start of July.

As the Liverpool City Region moved into Tier 3 restrictions; the prevalence of the virus meant that more people are experiencing symptoms need to be tested.  More capacity across the national laboratories has also come on-line meaning it is much easier to book an appointment for a test than ever before.

Testing Director for Cheshire and Merseyside, Terry Whalley said: “We now have more facilities and more lab capacity to enable anyone with symptoms to seek a test.

“We have worked extremely hard with partners, including local councils, laboratories and NHS Trusts to ensure that we have the infrastructure and capacity we need in Cheshire and Merseyside as we see a second surge of Covid-19.

“It is vital that people, who have symptoms, get a test and then ensure they strictly adhere to the self-isolation advice if they prove to be positive. Testing helps identify those who are carrying the disease and helps to stop the spread of the virus to others.

“Our ability to offer more routes to access testing will help us protect lives and protect livelihoods by ensuring we are able to do more testing every day.”

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119 to find out if they currently have coronavirus.

Huge response confirms need for Sefton Council’s free school meals scheme

On the second day of the scheme, Sefton Council is already dealing with thousands of applications for its October half term free school meals vouchers.

Sefton Council announced it would be running the scheme following Government’s decision not to provide free school meals during the current holiday. It has teamed up with ASDA to provide vouchers that families who qualify for free school meals can use to buy food.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “The response to our scheme has been huge and shows exactly why Sefton Council needed to step in swiftly and set up this scheme in partnership with ASDA.

“We have had thousands of applications already and are now working hard to process them as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Hardy has thanked Sefton’s local businesses and voluntary organisations who are providing packed lunches, food hampers and meals to local families.

“They are proving that together we are a Stronger community,” she said.

Details of the half term school meals scheme can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/half-term-meals.

Families who qualify for free school meals but don’t have Internet access can get printed vouchers from the Borough’s Family Wellbeing Centres. And those families who do not currently receive free school meals can visit www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out if they are eligible and how to apply.

Cllr Hardy added: “Free school meals have been shown to improve health and help tackle health inequalities, as well as removing the poverty trap faced by parents trying to move into employment. That is why, with so many families being affected by coronavirus and the Government’s Tier 3 COVID restrictions, it was vital for the Council to set up this local scheme.

How to apply for free school meals in Sefton during October 2020 half term

Families who live in Sefton and Knowsley whose children attend school in Sefton and who receive free school meals, can now apply for meal vouchers for the October 2020 half term.

To apply for e-vouchers fill out the form with their name, address, telephone number and email address and their children’s names, schools and dates of birth.

You can find the form here. 

The e-vouchers can be printed off or downloaded to a mobile phone and used in-store at any ASDA branch or used online at www.asda.com to buy food. The vouchers cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top ups or stamps.

You can find out more about the scheme here.

Families who live in Sefton and Knowsley whose children attend school in Sefton and who receive free school meals, but who do not have access to e-mail can collect printed vouchers from a Family Wellbeing Centres. They need to phone to make an appointment and will need to wear a mask or face covering and remember to maintain space when they visit.

Sefton’s Family Wellbeing Centres are:

North Sefton

Linaker Family Wellbeing Centre
Linaker Street
Southport
PR8 5DQ
Tel: 0151 2886765

Farnborough Road
Birkdale
PR8 3DF
01704 572579

Talbot Street Family Wellbeing Centre
St Andrews Place
Southport
PR8 1HR
01704 534975

Formby Library and Family Wellbeing Centre
Duke Street
Formby
L37 4AN
0151 934 2063

Central Sefton

Netherton Family Wellbeing Centre
Magdalen Square
Netherton
Bootle
L30 5QH
0151 282 1405

Hudson Family Wellbeing Centre
Moorhey Road
Maghull
L31 5LE
0151 531 0117

Thornton Family Wellbeing Centre
Stannyfield Drive
Thornton
L23 1TY
0151 934 4991

Menai Family Wellbeing Centre
Menai Road
Bootle
L20 6PG
0151 288 6055

Litherland Family Wellbeing Centre
Boundary Road
Litherland
L21 7LA
0151 288 6661

South Sefton

Cambridge Family Wellbeing Centre
Cambridge Road
Bootle
L20 9LQ
0151 282 5436

Seaforth Family Wellbeing Centre
39 Caradoc Road
Seaforth
L21 4NB
0151 286 7807

Marie Clarke Family Wellbeing Centre
Linacre Lane
Bootle
L20 5AQ
0151 330 5260

Waterloo Family Wellbeing Centre
Waterloo Primary School
Crosby Road North
Waterloo
L22 0LD
0151 928 6539

People who do not have an e-mail address and who cannot get to a Family Wellbeing Centre can ring Sefton Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 from 8m to 6pm Monday to Friday and between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you do not currently receive free school meals, you can find out if you are eligible and how to apply here.

Sefton residents are eligible for free school meals if they receive:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit ONLY (not entitled/receiving Working Tax Credit) and have an income of less that £16190.00
  • Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit and have a net household income of less than £7400 per annum
  • Support under VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act

Announcing the scheme, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “Sefton Council is putting in place a scheme to support children and their families accessing free school meals in the borough during this half term. We will be sharing more information on how to access the scheme as soon as possible.

“We will also continue to provide additional funding and support to our local voluntary sector partners, including the local food banks who are well stocked to enable them to help some of Sefton’s hardest hit families during these difficult times.

“Our family wellbeing centres in Talbot Street (Southport), Marie Clarke (Bootle) and Netherton also remain open to families who need their support during half-term. We have also increased the funding available to our Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, and would encourage anyone in Sefton who may need extra support at this time to contact the council on 0345 140 0845.”

Cllr Hardy added: “I would also like to express my sincere thanks to local businesses in Sefton, and our voluntary organisations, who  have once again come out in support of their local communities and have offered to provide packed lunches, food hampers and meals to struggling families. They have proven that Together We Are A Stronger Community”

Find out about Sefton’s October half term free meals scheme here.

A message from the Sefton Director of Public Health to parents and carers during half-term 

Dear parents and carers,

On 12 October 2020 a national system of local COVID alert levels was introduced.
Central government imposed ‘Very High’ (Tier 3) alert level regulations for Sefton and the rest of Liverpool City Region on 14 October 2020.

With schools and educational settings due to break for half term, we wanted to provide some information about what these measures mean so that you can consider these circumstances when planning half term activities. It is now more important than ever that people follow these latest measures.

Health care leaders from across Merseyside are also encouraging all residents to play their part by:

1. washing your hands
2. avoiding crowds
3. keeping your distance
4. not meeting other households in houses or indoor venues, e.g. restaurants
5. using face coverings – these should cover the nose and mouth
6. staying at home and getting tested if you have symptoms no matter how mild – the main symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Tests should be booked at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
7. following self-isolation advice if you are the contact of a positive case or a household member of a symptomatic individual Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do the measures mean?

The measures state that it is now against the law to meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues, such as restaurants. You must not have children from other households or families to stay in your home, for example for dinner or a sleepover. You must also not meet with people outside of your household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.

You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less, including children of any age, in certain outdoor public spaces. These outdoor public spaces include parks, beaches, outdoor sports facilities and public gardens. Please remember HANDS, FACE, SPACE when out.

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles. Children can also spend time with another parents as part of a joint custody arrangement.

Further information about measures can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

 

Can children and young people take part in Halloween activities?

October half term is usually a time for family activities and to enjoy the Autumn period.

Sadly, this year, in Sefton and other parts of Merseyside we are asking people not to take part in traditional trick or treating. ‘Trick or Treating’ can increase infection risk by increasing social mixing between different households. Furthermore, Halloween parties with children and adults from different household are not permitted. We know that it is a difficult time for children and young people, especially as they will not be able to take part in some usual Halloween night activities. Further guidance, and advice on suggested alternatives, will be available over the coming days.

What are the rules around childcare?

Registered childcare providers, including nannies, people in your support bubble and people in your childcare bubble can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must always be between the same 2 households. Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.

 

I was previously shielding/was identified as extremely clinically vulnerable, what do the measures mean for me?

The Liverpool City Region, including Sefton, have had local restrictions imposed but Shielding has NOT been reintroduced across the region.

It is however advised that clinically extremely vulnerable people do take special care for example by avoiding busy areas to minimise the chance of coming into close contact with others, staying at home as much as possible and where possible working from home. Where there is no alternative, people can still go to work but their employer is required to take steps to ensure your workplace is COVID-secure.

If you have any concerns or queries regarding medical needs, please check with your GP or Consultant.

 

My child or the child I care for was previously identified as extremely clinically vulnerable, what does this mean for them?

All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings within Sefton under the new regulations, unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under pediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting.

Is there any support for my child’s health and wellbeing?

It is important that we take care of the health and wellbeing of children and young people across Sefton during these challenging times. That means that we as parents  and carers must look after our own mental health. If you would like some advice or information on help available visit www.sefton.gov.uk/miscellaneous-pages/health-andwellbeing-for-children-and-young-people-during-covid19.aspx

Finally, I would like to address a worrying rise in the spread of misinformation about COVID-19. Suggestions that the pandemic is a hoax, or caused by 5G, and the refusal of some to wear a mask or comply with the new guidance serves only to cause confusion and puts lives at risk.

COVID-19 and its effects on people’s lives and livelihoods is very real. While I completely understand the frustration that many people feel at further restrictions, I plead with every resident in Sefton to protect one another by following them.

If you have any questions about the virus, or the restrictions please do visit our website where you will lots of information and advice at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

Many thanks for your support in helping us through these difficult circumstances.

Yours Sincerely
MARGARET JONES
Director of Public Health
Sefton Council

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