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Chester Vice Chancellor welcomed as new Chair of The Mersey Forest

Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice Chancellor at the University of Chester, has been appointed as the new Steering Group Chair for The Mersey Forest Partnership.

With a strong background in forestry and conservation, Professor Simmons takes over the reins of the Steering Group at a time of increased woodland establishment and a wide range of exciting health, education and climate change projects that are already underway across the Mersey Forest.

In early 2020, Professor Simmons became Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Chester after an illustrious career that has taken her from research to head the National School of Forestry at the University of Cumbria and then to Nottingham Trent University.

She has a PhD is in Forest Ecology and Conservation and her professorship in Sustainable Environments was awarded for teaching and research in land use and environmental habitats.

Professor Simmons said: “Mersey Forest Partnership re-connects people with their place, their planet and their potential. I am proud to be able to support its great work.”

Mersey Forest Team Director, Paul Nolan, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Eunice to the Partnership. She was the standout candidate for the role and we’re looking forward to working with her as we continue to deliver our long-term ambitions for The Mersey Forest. There are huge opportunities ahead but no doubt challenges too, which we are sure that Eunice’s knowledge and experience can help us overcome.”

Working with landowners and communities, The Mersey Forest Partnership has planted over nine million trees, creating large areas of publicly accessible woodland across Merseyside and Cheshire. With plans to establish a further 6,000 hectares of woodland by 2025, the Partnership will also continue to develop and deliver programmes such as the Natural Health Service that maximise the value of trees and woodlands for health, education, biodiversity and the economy.

Vice Chair, Councillor Barbara Murray, representing Liverpool City Council, said: “The Mersey Forest is an important delivery mechanism for our climate response delivery plans helping the area to achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral and tackle the climate emergency. We are pleased that Eunice is joining the Partnership at such a pivotal moment as we accelerate our work to establish more woodland, engage more people and create spaces for nature.”

Sefton Council regularly works with the Mersey Forest on woodland planting projects within the community across the Borough.

A Green Sefton spokesperson said: “In Sefton we’re very much looking forward to working with Eunice as she takes up her role with the Mersey Forest Partnership.

“She is joining us just weeks after we confirmed that our Borough is on track to reach net zero carbon by 2030 and our tree planting efforts saw 3,230 new trees taking root in the last year. It’s an exciting and important time to take action on climate change and through our work with the Mersey Forest we know we can make a difference for future generations.”

Sefton Proudly MarchONline

Winnie the Pug is help by her owner who are holding up a rainbow Pride flagFor the second year running, staff from across Sefton Council have taken part in Liverpool City Region’s virtual Pride celebrations, MarchONline.

The virtual march took place on Saturday 31 July, on what would have been the day of the City Region’s Pride celebrations – the March with Pride and Pride in Liverpool, organised by the LCR Pride Foundation. Unfortunately, this year’s celebrations had to be cancelled due to the ongoing uncertainty and risks around mass public gatherings and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, over 30 staff (and a cheeky pug named Winnie!) clapped, danced and marched in their own homes and at Sefton Council buildings to submit several videos and images to form part of Sefton Council’s MarchONline contribution. There were flags a-plenty with the traditional rainbow, trans, ally, bisexual and more featuring in the video clips submitted.

Leading the Sefton celebrations this year were Sefton Council’s Chief Executive, Dwayne Johnson, and Youth Worker, Sue Logie.

Dwayne said:

“Sefton Council is committed to ensuring that our Borough allows everybody to be their true selves. We ensure that we champion our LGBT+ members of staff and are incredibly proud to see so many colleagues take part in LCR Pride Foundation’s MarchONline.

“We’re proud to hold the Navajo Merseyside & Cheshire LGBT+ Charter Mark, an equality mark sponsored by In-Trust Merseyside and supported by the LGBT+ community networks across Merseyside – a signifier of good practice, commitment and knowledge of the specific needs, issues and barriers facing LGBT+ people.

“It’s a real shame we couldn’t get together in person this year, but I’m looking forward to marching through the streets again next year. Happy Pride 2021!”

Adding to Dwayne’s comments, Sue said:

“Sadly, we miss another physical Pride event this year, however we still get to have a virtual celebration! I know the young people, myself and the LGBT+ community and allies have missed the community during the various lockdown periods, however it is super important that we continue to stay safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“We continue to show that we are a diverse Borough which welcomes everyone, and I’m proud that I can be me and that we are there to support young people in being themselves, we are so excited for a big Pride celebration next year, but for now; stay safe, be proud, be loud and be you. Happy Pride!”

The LCR Pride Foundation is Liverpool City Region’s LGBT+ charity, who organised the virtual march. Andi Herring, CEO, said:

“It’s such a shame that we can’t all come together in protest and celebration of LGBT+ lives this year, our annual march is always a great show of support for our LGBT+ communities across the Liverpool City Region. We are delighted to see that Sefton Council are marching with us this year and look forward to working with them over the coming months as part of our work across the City Region.”

As a diverse Borough accepting of all, Sefton Council is committed to promoting fairness and equality to all who live, visit and work within the Borough. You can view the Council’s equality and diversity policy by clicking here.

The annual Pride march is an important time to protest, celebrate and remind people of the importance of reporting hate crimes. There are several ways you can to report a hate crime in Sefton:

In an emergency, you should always call 999.

Report it directly to the police by calling 101.

If you don’t feel comfortable reporting it to the police you can contact the independent hate crime charity Stop Hate UK –

You can visit a number of third party reporting centres across Sefton –

You can use our online form –

If you need any mental health support, help is always available.

Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline is a safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being. Call 0300 330 0630 (10am – 10pm daily), visit the website or email (Emails are typically replied to within 72 hours)

The Anthony Walker Foundation aims to promote diversity and racial harmony in Merseyside through education, sport and the arts. 0151 237 3974

Victim Support is an independent charity which aims to help people rebuild their lives after a traumatic event. 0808 1689 111

New Beginnings is an LGBT youth group which caters for 11 to 19 year olds in Sefton. It provides a safe space for young people to socialise and learn life skills.

If you missed the celebrations, you can watch it back by clicking here.

Council using World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to remind people about tackling modern slavery

Modern Slavery LeafletTo mark today’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Day, Sefton Council is reminding people about its commitment to tackling modern slavery.


Individuals have been trafficked into, out of or within the UK for a number of reasons including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and organ harvesting. There are thought to be around 13,000 victims and survivors of modern slavery in the UK.

People can visit to find out more about modern slavery and how they can spot the signs of it.

Remain alert

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Examples of modern Slavery taking place in Merseyside have been found recently so it is important we all remain alert to the signs that could be happening in our neighbourhood or at a business we use.

“Those signs can include a person living at their workplace with their employer, someone housed with multiple other people in a cramped living space or a person who has no identification or travel documents.

“Signs of physical abuse and their psychological effects or a someone insisting on being present or interpreting any conversations could also mean modern slavery is taking place.

“In 2019, Sefton Council passed a motion setting out our commitment to helping eradicate slavery and labour exploitation. Our web page at is there to help people know what to look for as well as information on how to seek help and to report the issue.”

Supply chains

In September last year, the Home Office introduced new measures to tackle modern slavery in supply chains. This means businesses and public bodies are accountable for tackling modern slavery and are required to produce an annual statement for each financial year setting out the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their business and supply chains.

You can find the Modern Slavery Awareness booklet on the Government’s website.


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.

Sefton’s Fostering Team put their best feet forward to take part in a national TikTok challenge

Sefton Council’s Fostering Service have put on their dancing shoes and taken on the ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’.

The challenge originated as a TikTok video, but it went viral last year and is now a global sensation.

Fostering teams all over England are now taking part in the dance which is creating a wave of awareness across the country about fostering and the vital role it plays in so many children’s and young people’s lives.

Northumberland’s Foster Care team kicked…or danced off the challenge in May and other local authorities including Sefton, followed in their footsteps.

Lisa Lyons Interim Executive Director of Children Social Care and Education said; “Dance has a great way of bringing people together and the ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’ is a perfect example, so we are delighted to take part in the challenge for one main purpose.

“The song behind the dance means ‘go with me, protect me and take me home’. I think this is something with resonates with the role of a foster carer as someone who opens their home to a child or young person to protect and take care of them, longer term or preferably until they can go back to their family home.

“This challenge is a really fun way to celebrate foster care and raise awareness about the need for more local people to help our children and think about fostering for Sefton.”

Click here to watch the Sefton Fostering Team’s ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’.

Sefton’s Fostering Service #Jerusalemachallenge – YouTube

To make an enquiry or find out more please visit or call free on 0800 923 2777.

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