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New emergency services app launches for users of British Sign Language

Local charity Merseyside Society Deaf People (MSDP) hosted a party in partnership with Deafness Resource Centre for the Merseyside Deaf Community on Friday 17th June to celebrate the launch of 999 BSL, the UK’s first ever Video Relay Service (VRS) connecting Deaf people to the emergency services (police, ambulance, fire and coastguard) via a remote British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

A Merseyside Police Officer, Jo Parr from MSDP and John Stewart from Sign Video pose for the launch of the 999 BSL app

The new service, which will be provided by interpreting and communication support provider Sign Language Interactions, officially launched as an app (iOS and Android) and web-based platform on 17th June. The service, funded by private telecoms companies, will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and will be completely free of charge to Deaf users.

While a text relay service already exists, video relay will enable Deaf callers across the UK to make video calls to the emergency services in their own language – British Sign Language – for the first time ever, without needing to use English or ask a hearing person to make a call to 999 on their behalf.

This is another major milestone in improving access for the estimated 90,000 Deaf people in the UK, following the recent historic decision by Parliament to recognise British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain for the first time. The British Sign Language (BSL) Act passed into law on Thursday 28th April 2022 after decades of campaigning by the Deaf community.

The 999 BSL launch party has been funded by a generous grant from Deaf health charity SignHealth.

Janice Connolly, Community Liaison Officer for MSDP said: “We are delighted to support the launch of the first Deaf accessible 999 service.  The Deaf Community has campaigned for years for equal access to vital services and to have access in our first language is amazing.”

“An emergency situation can be a matter of life or death, particularly for our Community who don’t routinely have access to mainstream services because of our communication needs. This service means independence and equality.  It means Deaf people do not have to rely on hearing neighbours or their hearing children to make a 999 call.”

Abigail Gorman, SignHealth said: “This is a breakthrough for Deaf people that will save lives and means one more step forward towards equality. We won’t be satisfied until Deaf people have full and equal access, particularly to life-saving health services.”

To find out more about the 999 BSL service, including a demonstration video, FAQs and guidance on how to download the app and use the web platform, visit:

Bootle festival will put the spotlight on climate action

A major new event in Bootle later this month will put the spotlight on ‘green’ measures that can help to protect the local community and contribute towards saving the planet.

The Bootle Climate Action Festival will take place between 12 noon and 5pm on Thursday 14th July at Bootle Canalside, next to the Strand shopping centre, between Stanley Road and Washington Parade.
The event is being organised by Bootle-based social enterprise Regenerus and the Taking Root in Bootle community gardening network.

Hands holding small replica of EarthFunded by Linacre Ward elected members, the event is being sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University, The Printroom UK and Service Electrical Distributors Ltd, and is receiving extensive support from Southport Ecocentre.

Organisers say the festival will feature a series of talks and workshops, the opportunity to take part in an air quality interactive experience and the chance to get involved in a canal clean-up.

Free bike MOTs and repairs to encourage cycle use will also be on offer, as will a variety of free eco giveaways.

Meanwhile, exhibitions and displays from local organisations will focus on ‘green’ topics including how to recycle well, saving energy, healthy eating and cutting down food waste, growing your own food and shopping local, and walking and keeping fit.

Commenting on the festival Ruth Livesey from Regenerus, said: “This event will be a great opportunity for local people to find out what we can do in Bootle to help save our planet and protect our community for future generations.

“From clean air to reducing your carbon footprint, from the circular economy to buying local, we’ll have exhibitors on hand who will be able to provide expert information and advice on these and other key ‘green’ themes.

“We’re really excited about this event, and hoping for good weather and a very good turnout on the day,” added Ruth.

The Stand, BootleSefton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, Cllr Marion Atkinson, commented: “Sefton Council have declared a climate emergency and a big part of our commitment is supporting grassroots activity like this.

“Climate change is a problem for all of us and small changes can have big, positive consequences. I hope this festival will encourage local people to consider their own impact on their environment and how they can support and encourage others to make a change too.

“I am delighted that Regenerus have chosen Bootle Canalside to host their climate festival. This is exactly the type of community event that we want this space to be used for and I know we will host many more community events as we move forward on our completed site later this year.”

Bedford Primary Evacuation Update

“Following reports of a smell of gas in the area, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have been in attendance at Cambridge Road, Bootle.

“Staff and students from Cambridge Road Nursery and Bedford Primary has been evacuated as a precautionary measure so investigations can take place.

“All children and staff have been safely evacuated and parents have been notified, there have been no reports of ill-health as a result of this incident.

“Local residents are advised to close their windows and people should avoid the area until the situation can be resolved.

Coastal and Visitor PSPO approved by Licensing and Regulatory Committee

On Monday 27th June, Sefton Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee Panel were asked to consider a drafted Public Spaces Protective Order (PSPO) for coastal and visitor areas.

A Public Space Protection Order is an official measure that is an enforceable part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Although the vast majority of visitors know how to behave, sadly there are some who can act in an inappropriate manner that cause distress and disturbance to local residents and businesses, as well as causing damage to infrastructure in the area.

PSPOs along Sefton’s coastline and visitor areas help the Council’s officers and its partner agencies manage visitor behaviour by making clear what is acceptable and unacceptable.

The order is based on the existing Sefton Byelaws and will support wider legislation already in place, including laws in line with the protected status of the Sefton Coast.

Feedback from local communities, visitors and partner agencies have been used to shape the drafted order, which is intended to provide enforcement powers to protect the public from anti-social behaviour.

A public consultation on the proposed PSPO ran for five weeks, up until 24th June 2022.

Support was given on restrictions such as, confiscation of alcohol from those causing anti-social behaviour in certain locations, a total ban of fires and BBQs, and no unauthorised motorised vehicles in visitor areas.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “The use of Public Spaces Protection Orders are favoured by many local authorities as there is the opportunity to issue fixed penalty notices at the time of the offence being committed, allowing Officers more powers in managing visitor behaviour.

“We want all people coming to our beautiful borough to enjoy their visit but also to do their bit to protect our spaces for other people, for local residents and for generations to come.”

The proposed PSPO will now be taken to a full Council meeting on 14th July 2022, with the aim for the order to be active from July 2022 to July 2025.

Waste collection update 28/06/2022

Sefton Council would like to provide residents with an update on the current situation regarding green waste collection. Our Waste Collection Crews have been working incredibly hard to clear the backlog.

There remains a small number of green bins still to be emptied that were scheduled for Monday 27th June from the following electoral wards:

  • Netherton & Orrell
  • St Oswalds
  • Ford
  • Litherland

We will be returning to these locations during the week and over the coming weekend to collect any remaining green bins. Residents in those areas are asked to leave their green bins presented for collection.

All bin collections will return to the regular schedule available online from Monday 4th July.

We would like to thank residents for their continued patience during this time.


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