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Vital information for rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness in Sefton this winter

Sefton Council has a range of all-year-round services for rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness throughout the Borough.

Outreach teams are on hand to seek out rough sleepers and encourage them to access emergency accommodation to ensure nobody sleeps rough in Sefton this winter.

This is especially important during the cold temperatures Sefton is experiencing at the moment, and through the winter months through to March 2021.

The help of the public is always appreciated. To report an incident of rough sleeping in Sefton, people should call the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team via Light for Life on 01704 501256 or 07918 746042 outside normal office hours and weekends.

Alternatively, people can email and provide details of the location and any description of the person.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This Council has a long-standing commitment to helping people who are suffering from homelessness and supporting those rough sleepers who may find themselves in a vulnerable position without a safe and warm place to call home.

“There are so many additional pressures that our communities are facing this year, and as a result people may find themselves in need of support through absolutely no fault of their own. As we all continue to face challenges this winter, we will continue to support anyone within Sefton facing homelessness, working with partners to provide a range of help and assistance.”

Veterans in Sefton (ViS) has also been commissioned to provide support to people who are currently serving or who have served in the Armed Forces, regulars and reservists, their families and their dependents, who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

ViS is based at The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre in Bootle. For any further help and information from ViS people can call 0151 933 0800 or 07545 129569 for out of hours assistance.

Mass COVID-19 Testing being rolled out across Liverpool City Region

Following the successful mast testing (now known as SMART testing) pilot in Liverpool, all five other boroughs in the region (Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens, Wirral) have confirmed that they too will be offering regular testing for residents without symptoms of COVID-19 from next week.

The roll out of SMART testing across the entire city region is another positive step forward in the area’s efforts to tackle COVID-19. In addition to identifying people with the virus who could unknowingly be passing it on, regular testing will hopefully allow residents to return to the things they love – and have missed so dearly during as a result of national and local restrictions.

From early this week testing centres will be up and running in each borough.

“SMART” testing refers to Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing, with the approach being based on the learning of the pilot in Liverpool and continue to be evaluated to inform how testing works nationally.

Covid-19 infection rates continue to fall across the city region’s 1.6 million people, now standing at less than 100 per 100,000 people. At their peak in October rates were around 700 per 100,000.

Early increased Covid restrictions, including being the first city region to enter ‘Tier 3’ have driven the continued decrease in numbers, however are not complacent and remain determined to continue to drive Covid-rate down, with testing crucial to this.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is fantastic news that the trailblazing Liverpool testing pilot is being expanded to serve the wider region. With up to a third of individuals with coronavirus showing no symptoms, regular community testing will help identify those who are infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease, so that they can isolate and protect others.

“This pilot will continue to inform our plans for community testing across the country in the highest risk areas, which we are working to roll out as quickly as possible.

“I urge all those living in the Liverpool City Region to come forward and get tested.”

In a joint statement, the Leaders of the five Local Authorities – Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Effective testing is absolutely vital to our efforts to containing the virus, protecting our NHS and saving lives.

“Cases of Covid-19 continue to fall across the city region because of the sacrifices we have all made and because people have come forward to get tested.

“But, while we enjoy some extra freedoms under Tier 2, we cannot afford to be complacent for one second.

“We all want to get back to a normal life as soon as possible, but until the vaccine has been fully rolled out there are three things we must all continue to do.

“So please: Get tested, regularly. Self-isolate if you test positive or have symptoms. And, even if you test negative, follow the rules – hands, face, space.”

Director of Testing and Mass Vaccination for Cheshire & Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “This is a huge opportunity for the Liverpool City Region as we continue to lead the way on testing those without symptoms, which I believe had made and will make a real difference to the way we live with Covid-19 while we roll out an effective vaccine.

“The success of repeat, targeted testing in Liverpool over the last month has shown that we can drive down the R-number and identify positive cases in people who had no idea they were carrying and potentially spreading the virus.

“The extension of specific, meaningful testing could lead to some very real benefits for all of us as we seek to return to a more normal way of life going into 2021. Through all this additional carefully targeted testing we could see people who continue to test negative being more able to carry on with normal activities, such as attending a football match or visiting elderly relatives.

“We have a real chance here to further prove that additional testing of those without symptoms can protect lives and livelihoods and I am very proud that Liverpool City Region is at the forefront of this work.”

Details of the roll out in Sefton will be available on this site soon.

Still time to support Sefton Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal

Sefton’s Mayor, Cllr June Burns, has shared a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to residents across the Borough who have already supported this year’s toy appeal. And she is reminding people that there is still time to get involved before Christmas with festive cheer needed more than ever this year.

Since launching the appeal in November, more than £1,200 has been donated via Sefton’s Crowdfunding platform and hundreds of gifts have been delivered to Bootle Town Hall. It is the first time the Mayor’s appeal has used crowdfunding for the annual gift event, and donations surpassed the target just 48 hours after it was launched.

The crowdfunding has now closed and volunteers from the Council will use the funds to buy gifts from some local businesses that will be distributed to more than 500 families by Christmas Day.

New and unwrapped toys, gift vouchers, toiletries, pyjamas and stocking fillers for all ages, are still needed and welcomed as part of the appeal. Items can be donated in the following ways:

  • Purchased online and sent to the following delivery address:
    • Sefton Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal, Town Hall, Oriel Road, Bootle L20 7AE
  • Dropped off at the in-store donation point at Asda Central 12 in Southport
  • Dropped off at libraries and leisure centres which re-opened on 2nd December, opening hours may be varied so people should check before making a drop off

People need to drop off their donations by Tuesday 22nd December 2020, in time for them to be sent out for Christmas Day.

Cllr Burns said: “I have been absolutely delighted by the support we’ve already received from people across the Borough for this year’s toy appeal. For the very first time we set up a crowdfunding page for the appeal, and I couldn’t quite believe that we reached our target after less than two days. It just goes to show how generous and kind our residents are, thinking of others this Christmas.

“I would also like to say a special thank you to Crosby resident Jack who ran a half marathon raising an incredible £1,000, and a number of community groups who have gone above and beyond to support my appeal this year.”

Jack Antonio, aged 23, ran a half marathon around Crosby in November and raised £1,000 which he used to buy toys and gifts that he has generously donated to the appeal.

Jack Antonio with toys bought for the appeal
Jack Antonio with toys bought for the appeal

Jack was due to take part in an event earlier in the year to fundraise for the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal. Despite the event being cancelled due to the ongoing health pandemic, he decided still to complete his run locally and support families across the Borough this Christmas.

Community groups including Attitude Dance and Marina Sands JFC as well as Sefton schools and Parish Councils have been collecting gifts to give back to their communities. There’s also been a huge amount of support from local businesses, Sefton Council employees, elected members and people from all wards across the Borough.

Cllr Burns added: “It’s just so incredible to think that people are putting others first this festive season, ensuring that children across Sefton have a gift to open on Christmas Day. However, we’re still looking for new and unwrapped gifts as there are hundreds of families that we need to support more than ever this year.

“Gifts need to be donated by no later than Tuesday 22nd December – a small gift could go a long way to making this year special for families across Sefton.”

For further information on the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal call or text the Mayor’s Office 07837 863075 or visit

Get your flu vaccination before the countdown to Christmas

GP surgeries and pharmacies in Sefton are now working tirelessly to vaccinate thousands of residents as part of the biggest flu programme in UK history.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:

  • Those who are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2021)
  • people who have certain health conditions
  • pregnant women
  • people who are in long-stay residential care
  • those who receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • people who are on the clinically extremely vulnerable patient list and members of their household
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • children aged 2 – 3 years on 31 August 2020
  • all primary school and year 7 children
  • children ages 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions.

If you are eligible, please do not call your practice. Your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.

If you have been invited to get the free flu vaccine and have not booked your appointment yet, it is not too late.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Flu is a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine, it is important that you take up that offer.

“Please be assured that changes have been made to make sure that it is safe for you to have the flu vaccine at GP surgeries and pharmacies. These changes include social distancing, hand washing and wearing protection equipment.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Flu should not be underestimated. It is a serious illness and can be deadly for those who are vulnerable. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the virus.

“If you’re at higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re also more at risk of problems from flu; and if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill. Therefore, getting the flu vaccine is really important to keep you safe and to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who are already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu. It not only helps to keep you safe from the virus, but your loved ones and colleagues too.

“Good hand hygiene is also important in stopping the spread of flu. Catch any coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands- make sure to catch it, kill it and bin it.”

Find out more information  and check whether your eligible for a free vaccine.


Investment in facilities at Ainsdale Beach given Cabinet backing

At its meeting today, Sefton Council’s Cabinet approved funding to support over £350,000 of improvement works at Ainsdale Beach.

After a year of unprecedented demand, this investment in new and semi-permanent facilities, including ‘off-beach’ car parking arrangements, toilets and rubbish management will ensure a better experience for residents and visitors. It will also improve safety and accessibility as well as providing vital protection to the natural environment.

The new ‘off beach’ car parking facilities will help to reduce the impact on local communities who have been affected by irresponsible parking in the past. It will also generate income to cover the cost of the works and the long-term care of Sefton’s unique, 22-mile coastline.

During 2020 huge numbers of visitors flocked to the coast and temporary measures, including portable toilets and rubbish skips, were provided to deal with the extra demand.

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

“During peak periods, Ainsdale Beach attracts a lot of visitors and this year we saw perhaps more people than ever taking advantage of this fantastic setting. Temporary measures were put in place to ensure that the site could cope with such numbers, but it highlighted that this additional investment, which will benefit residents and beach users alike, is needed.

“The further improvement of facilities will provide a better environment for people to enjoy this beautiful space, while protecting our special wildlife and landscape, and tackling car parking concerns.

“The approval for funding today is just the first step towards these improvements and work will now commence to ensure that we are engaging relevant organisations, community groups and residents as we plan how these improvements will take shape.”

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