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Sefton children have cracking time decorating Eurovision egg

Children from a primary school in Sefton have seen their artwork go on display this week in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest. Children from St Benedicts Catholic Primary creating Ukrainian Pysanka eggs for Eurovision

Pupils from St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School in Bootle have been working with visual artist Nicola McGovern to decorate an egg, which was today (30 March) unveiled at Liverpool ONE.

Inspired by the Ukrainian and Eastern European tradition of egg painting, Pysanka Eggs is a partnership between Liverpool ONE and Liverpool City Council.

The project is part of EuroLearn, made possible thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund with additional funds from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Funding from Spirit of 2012 will also support EuroLearn as well as the future evaluation of Eurovision’s benefit to the city region.

The display features seven eggs, one for each city region plus one for Ukraine. The Sefton egg called Sounds We Love is inspired by the nightingale, the national symbol for Ukraine,

Nicola explains: “The story goes that the bird came from India and sang songs to cheer people up. So, our egg explores sounds that make us feel good. This ties in really well with the themes for the EuroLearn programme of mental health and well-being, home and sanctuary. Pupils illustrated sounds they love from home, nature, instruments and favourite activities and these drawings have been included in the final design of the egg.

“There is also a night-time cityscape of Liverpool and Kyiv painted on the egg, which celebrates the links that Eurovision 2023 has created between the two cities, and a heartbeat, which unites us all. The sounds we love and the cityscapes are encompassed in an overall structure inspired by Pysanka, the Ukrainian and Eastern European tradition of egg decorating. 

“EuroLearn has been a great project to be involved in because it encourages a wider audience to get involved in Eurovision. The children participating have been so imaginative and excited about working with an artist in their schools. I hope they have fun trying to identify all the sounds on our egg when they visit it on display in public.”

Rachael Chadwick, Deputy Head at St Benedict’s, said: “We are very excited about Eurovision being held in our city so it was wonderful to be part of this project. The children offered interesting and varied responses on the theme of ‘sanctuary’ and it was a fantastic experience for them to work with a professional artist. We can’t wait to see the eggs on display!”

Year 5 pupil Freya Romano added: “It was fun working with the artist. I think the egg will look really nice. I’ll go to see it with my mum.”

Council responds to Ofsted monitoring visit feedback

Children playing - decorativeSefton Council’s Children’s Services was rated as “Inadequate” by Ofsted in 2022 and since then, a Government Commissioner has been appointed to support the Council to achieve a high-quality service for children, young people and families in Sefton.

Ofsted have now been back to Sefton to carry out a “Monitoring Visit” to review the progress made so far.  A letter to the Council from HM inspector, Lisa Summers, reports on the improvements that have been made, and those yet to be implemented.

Positive difference

Responding to the letter from Ofsted, Dr Risthardh Hare, Interim Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “Whilst I acknowledge that Sefton Council Children’s Services and partners still have work to do on our improvement journey, I was pleased that Ofsted have recognised how changes over the last year are starting to make a positive difference in areas such as services for disabled children and children with complex needs, senior management oversight and stability in the workforce, which were all key elements of our initial phase of our Improvement Plan.

“Our dedicated staff are committed to delivering the improvements needed. Social workers feel valued and listened to and value the training opportunities they now have and have been able to implement their learning.

“Of course, I was disappointed to read that the inspectors thought the pace of improvement has been too slow in some areas. Recruitment and retention of social workers remains a significant challenge and barrier to improvement, as it is for others across the country, and we continue to depend on agency social workers, but we have taken steps to address this including the introduction of our Social Work Academy and recruitment of social workers from overseas.

“We’ve already sought to address some of the concerns that Ofsted raised when they visited us in February and have created a brand-new Transformation Team to push forward with our improvement plans.

“Demand is at unprecedented levels, which is why the Council has committed additional resources to support the delivery of our improvement plans and to address the challenges we face in the recruitment of permanent social workers and in the children’s care market.”

Top priority

Sefton Council’s ambitious plans are a collective top priority for everyone responsible for caring for vulnerable children; elected members, council employees across the organisation and various partner agencies – all playing a part in driving improvements to the system so we can all deliver better outcomes for children. 

Significant financial investment

Dr Hare continued: “There is still work to do, but we are confident that with our committed workforce and partners, the significant financial investment into Children’s Services, our ambitious plans can be delivered, and improvements made at pace.

“Improving our service is not just about improving the Ofsted rating, it’s about making sure children benefit from the best services, care and support possible, making sure they are safe, protected and inspired to reach their full potential.”

You can find Ofsted’s letter here.

 

 

Supported Internships take centre stage

Sefton Council are throwing their support behind National Supported Internships Day and encouraging people to learn more about the opportunities available in Sefton.

The awareness day, founded this year by the DFN Project, supports young people aged 16 -24  with an Education, Health and Care Plan into paid employment and aims to open up supported opportunities for young people to get a taste of work in different sectors.

Here in Sefton, the Council works with local colleges  to find high quality, supported placements for young people with additional needs. The opportunities have ranged from placements with Solicitors to the NHS and the feedback from young people who take part has been extremely positive.

Watch our two videos to see how Supported Internships have had a huge impact on young people in Sefton.

Video 1

Video 2

Sefton Council is encouraging businesses to get in touch with the team if they can offer an opportunity to a young person in Sefton and play a role in helping people with disability find meaningful and fulfilling employment.

The Council also want to ensure young people are aware of the opportunities available to them and link in with colleges to ensure the continued success of the Supported Internships Programme.

 

Cllr Diane Roscoe, Cabinet Member for Education said:

“We want to make sure that education, skills and employment opportunities in Sefton benefit everyone in the community.

“I’m proud to see the Council and local colleges going some way to making this aspiration a reality through Supported Internships. They provide young people with vital experience, knowledge and crucially, confidence in the workplace.

“We’ve always known that young people with a SEND in Sefton have a lot to offer employers and it is brilliant to see that message breaking through as young people and local businesses continue to benefit.

“I would encourage businesses and young people to find out more about this superb programme and get involved this Supported Internships Day.”

 

Please contact stephen.evans@sefton.gov.uk for further information

Sefton Council Pledges to Break Down Barriers for Disabled People Across Our Community

Sefton Council has reinforced its commitment to breaking down barriers for disabled people in our community, through the signing of the Disability Impact Pledge.

The Disability Impact Pledge has been designed by the Disability Policy Centre, an independent social enterprise. It is dedicated to improving the lives of disabled people, through public sector reform and the formation of local and national policy.

The commitments 

Those in attendance to sign the Disability Impact Pledge. A group sat around a table, holding the signed pledge.The pledge details Sefton Council’s commitment to:

  • Ensuring accessibility of communication, both on the Council website and any documents.
  • Encouraging participation and representation at all levels.
  • Consultation and events to guarantee everyone’s voice is heard.
  • Support for staff with disabilities.
  • Providing inclusive services and policies, and understanding the barriers that people may face.

Representatives from local disability community organisations, including Southport Access for All, Ability Plus and The Pocklington Trust were invited to a disability awareness day, where they discussed the barriers that exist for local residents, business owners and community groups, as well as employees of Sefton Council.

The Pledge was signed by all present, including Cllr Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and officers and staff from Sefton Council.

Speaking about the pledge, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “Sefton Council is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for both our residents and employees.

“Inclusivity and accessibility are at the forefront of our thinking and planning, and we are actively listening to the voices of people with disabilities.

“This pledge is our way of setting ourselves achievable goals, which help us to provide the best services possible to the people of Sefton.”

Equality and inclusion

The pledge aligns with the Council’s existing Equality, Inclusion and Diversity (EDI) Strategy, and will set out the way in which the organisation will work together with staff, partners, and the local community to ensure the Council provides an accessible and inclusive environment for all.

The Disability Policy Centre’s ambition is to break down barriers for disabled people across Sefton, and we look forward to working with partners along this journey.

For more information about the Council’s work to advance equality, visit: www.sefton.gov.uk/your-council/plans-policies/communities/equality-and-diversity/ 

 

New Housing Strategy Action Plan underpins Borough’s Housing Strategy

The cover of the draft Housing Strategy 2022- 2027Sefton Council has developed a new Housing Strategy Action Plan.

The Plan is made up of specific actions and roles of key stakeholders to address the issues outlined in Council’s overall Housing Strategy, which was published in November 2022.

Action points, targets and timescales

As well as action points, targets and timescales to meet the housing priority topics, the Plan is also responsive to changes in market conditions and Government legislation, and the new opportunities and challenges they present.

The Council’s plan includes a diverse range of housing actions such as – improving the quality of Sefton’s housing across all tenures, meeting people’s housing needs, climate change, helping people live independently, talking barriers to obtaining suitable housing for the most vulnerable and supporting housing delivery.  

Secure foundation

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “The new Housing Strategy Action Plan is an important which underpins how we  and our partners will implement our five-year Housing Strategy which focuses on providing a secure foundation for individuals to live the lives they want to live.

“It identifies our specific plans & roles of as well as action points, targets and timescales to meet the Strategy’s priorities while at the same time ensuring we can remain flexible and responsive to changes in market conditions and new opportunities.

“New issues and topics, such as changing legislation and new governmental policy. can also be introduced as they arise.”

People can find the Housing Strategy Action Plan and the five-year Housing Strategy here. 

Anyone wanting the Action Plan in a more accessible format should contact housing.strategy@sefton.gov.uk.

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