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Sefton Council encourages parents to collect their free BookStart pack for under 5s

Sefton Council is encouraging all parents of pre school children to contact their local library to receive a free BookStart pack.

The BookStart programme gives free books to every child in England and Wales at two key stages before school, as well as free packs for children with additional needs, tips and guidance on reading together, resources and activities.

The baby pack includes two board books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books with children from a very young age. The toddler book contains two picture books.

The programme aims to encourage a love of books, stories and rhymes from as young an age as possible.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, packs that would have gone out via Health Visitors and Nurseries have not been distributed as widely as before.

They are available for all families to pick up – free of charge – from your local library now.

For children with a visual impairment, those who are deaf or those for whom English is a second language, additional Needs packs and dual language books are available – by simply emailing  to request your pack.

Council successfully prosecutes hotels group after guest sustains life-changing injuries in rusted railings fall

Image showing damaged railings
Damaged railings

Sefton Council has successfully prosecuted Britannia Hotels after a guest at its Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport sustained life-changing injuries due to falling through rusted iron railings.

Fiona Townsend, the Council’s Senior Lawyer told Sefton Magistrates Court that the railings to prevent people falling down the 6ft drop to the basement lightwells were missing in one location and badly corroded in numerous other areas. The Council had issued an improvement notice after the Company failed to make the area safe with suitable fencing over three weeks after the incident.


She said: “Britannia Hotels could not demonstrate that a system was in place to check and maintain the iron railing regularly. Its risk assessments failed to address the hazard of a fall from height as happened to guest Deborah Henshall and did not refer to the iron railings.

“The company fell short of the appropriate safety and the systems it had in place were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented. It had failed to make appropriate changes following prior incident and had allowed breaches to continue over a long period.

“This led to the incident, which has had a substantial and long-term effect on the Ms Henshall’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities or on their ability to return to work.


In a Victim Statement, Deborah Henshall told the court after a full body scan at Aintree Hospital she was told she had two spinal fractures, a broken left big toe and blood on her lungs due to the sternum and rib fractures. She had also sustained a head injury, concussion and trauma.

She said she was distressed over how her life has changed since the accident, before which she was working two jobs. In her statement she wrote that she had been off work since the accident had lost both jobs and is currently on Universal Credit and personal independent payments.

‘I am still suffering everyday with severe pain,’ she wrote. ‘I used to be a very outgoing and very social within my group of friends and family this accident has caused me so much pain and distress that I feel will never back to the person I was before this accident.’


Fining Britannia Hotels £80,000  and awarding costs of £6821.92, District Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “I take both Britannia’s previously good character and guilty plea into account, but others were exposed to risk of falling into the light-well, a number of people were potentially at risk.

“I extend great sympathy to Ms Henshall. This amount is in no way a representation of what I think her injury is worth. This is a fine on health and safety failings.”


Afterwards, Fiona Townsend said: “Sefton Council is always keen to work with businesses to provide help and advice on how they can maintain health and safety.

“But, as this case shows, we will also take action where health and safety standards are not maintained, particularly when this failing has had serious consequences.”


Support available to help Sefton businesses keep staff and customers safe, as lockdown measures ease

With restrictions on the opening of non-essential shops and other businesses from today, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health Team is urging everyone to continue distancing, wearing face covering, maintaining ventilation where possible and keep washing their hands thoroughly and frequently.

First steps

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways & Public Protection said: “Today is a big day in starting to open up the Borough and take some first steps in the huge task of getting the local economy back on its feet.

“We appreciate the huge amounts of work that Sefton’s businesses have put into preparations for re-opening and making sure they have all the safety measures required in place.

“However, this is just the step and we all need to remain careful and continue to follow all the safety measure to protect ourselves and others.”

Help and support for businesses available from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team who can be contact at  or by calling 0845 140 0345.


To help businesses keep their employees and customers safe, the Government has produced 14 guides covering a range of different types of work and workplace, which can be found at

They include information for close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, for construction and other outdoor as well as factories, plants and warehouses.

Heritage locations, hotels and guest accommodation, laboratories and research facilities and offices and contact centres are also covered. And there is guidance for people who work in, visit or deliver to other people’s homes and the performing arts.

Advice and help

Mr Moore added: “We would advise that business owners and managers across Sefton check the Government’s latest guides to make sure they are operating as safely as they can, but the Council’s Environmental Health team is also keen to work with them and provide advice and help.”

Find out more about support for Sefton businesses. 

New grant for Sefton businesses now available as coronavirus restrictions ease

A one-off financial support package, known as the Restart Grant, is now available to support Sefton businesses as they reopen in line with the easing of national coronavirus restrictions.

Restart Grants of between £2,667 and £18,000 are available for businesses who are liable for Business Rates. Grant payments will be based on the rateable value of the property and the sector which the business operates in.

The application window for Sefton businesses will open on Monday 12th April 2021 and the deadline for applications to be submitted is Wednesday 30th June 2021.

Full details of eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Sefton Council website, along with links to guides for businesses to support their safe reopening.

Restart grant supporting businesses to reopen safelyBusinesses are advised to read the eligibility criteria, and to familiarise themselves with the new Subsidy Allowance rules, before completing an online application.

This Government requires additional information from businesses than previous grant applications and requires the Council to undertake extensive pre-payment verification checks. Consequently, it is estimated that it will take 4-6 weeks from an application being received to payment being issued to eligible businesses.

Every effort will be made to make payment earlier. Businesses are asked not to request progress updates as this will slow down the issuing of grant payments. Progress updates will be posted on the Council’s website and social media.

The new national grant will replace the previous Local Restrictions Support Grant. The deadline to submit new applications to the Local Restrictions Support Grant is Monday 31st May 2021 for the period between 16th February and 31st March 2021. 

‘Stay vigilant and get your second vaccine dose,’ says Sefton’s Director of Public Health

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health has joined her colleagues from across Cheshire and Merseyside in urging people to attend appointments for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 1.4 million vaccines have already been administered in Cheshire and Merseyside with around 95 per cent of over 70s now having received their first dose. But as second dose appointments gather pace, the region’s Directors of Public Health, including Margaret are reminded people they only have maximum protection if they have both doses.

Maximum protection

She said: “I am pleased that across our region so many people, including me, have already had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“But I can confirm that I will definitely be attending my appointment for a second dose because it is only with two doses that we have maximum protection.

“In the meantime, because I could still pick up and pass on the virus, I will be continuing to follow the guidance on distancing, wearing face covering and washing my hands as well as sticking to the Government’s lockdown regulations.”

No hesitation

Addressing concerns people may have about the AstraZeneca vaccine, Mrs Jones said: “I had the AstraZeneca vaccine with no noticeable side-effects and will have absolutely no hesitation in going to get the protection a second dose will provide. I would go tomorrow, although in fact my follow up appointment is not until June.

“I am also pleased to see that the latest YouGov survey shows that most people in the UK agree with me with 75 per cent of British respondents saying they trust the AstraZeneca jab.”

This week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medicines in the UK, said the overall risk of developing blood clots after the AstraZeneca vaccination is just 4 in a million.

The MHRA also said vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and are the best way to protect people from COVID-19.

Immune response

Directors of Public Health in Cheshire and Merseyside confirmed some people may have experienced mild side-effects with the first dose of either vaccine but said this is a sign that it is working and triggering their immune response. And they say the possibility of feeling unwell after the second dose is much less common.

Ian Ashworth, Chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board and Director of Public Health for Cheshire West and Chester said: “The first dose of the vaccine offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need a second dose. Even if you are vaccinated, it is essential to keep washing your hands, wearing a mask when needed and keeping your distance. Everyone has made huge sacrifices to bring the case numbers down and we want to ensure we don’t see any further rises in the future.”

The Government has reported that there will be a significant reduction in weekly vaccine supply from the beginning of April for a four-week period. The focus during this period will be on ensuring second doses of the vaccine are delivered and that no one is left behind; teams across the region are looking at innovative schemes to take the vaccine to those individuals and communities that have lower uptake of the vaccine.

Second dose

It is therefore even more important that people aged 50 and above, health and care workers, people with an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk, and anyone called for a second dose take up the offer now.

The NHS has been inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text with GPs also calling some patients.

Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.

Home tests

The Directors of Public Health also urged people to continue getting tested as restrictions are eased, no matter what their vaccine status, to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Find out more about Home Testing and how to obtain Home Test Kits.

Anyone developing coronavirus symptoms should still self-isolate and immediately book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting Eligible people 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.

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