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‘Get ‘Winter Ready’ with new checklist say Sefton health and community leaders

Sefton’s health and community leaders are urging people to help themselves, their loved ones and the people they care for stay well this winter with the help of an online winter ready checklist.

Dr Pete Chamberlain, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“Staying well this winter is really important for your health and the health of older loved ones and neighbours. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. It’s especially important for those aged 65 or older and people with long term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, diabetes or breathing conditions like COPD (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) and asthma.”

Margaret Jones, director of public health at Sefton Council, said:

“The good news is there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter and lots of services and organisations that can support you whether it’s getting your flu and all your COVID-19 vaccines,  help to heat your home, keeping active, meeting people, improving your health and wellbeing, getting advice from a health professional, or choosing which service you need.”

To help people navigate the many organisations and services available in Sefton that could meet their needs to stay well this winter, healthcare and community partners have created an online checklist.

By focusing on a few simple questions this online tool can help provide advice or signpost people to services that may provide the solutions.

The checklist was presented to people who work with various community groups at a winter ready engagement event coordinated by NHS South Sefton and Southport and Formby CCGs, Sefton CVS and Healthwatch Sefton.

Diane Blair, Healthwatch Sefton manager, said:

“The checklist was very well received and is being used by various community leaders to help signpost people to the range of other services that may be useful for them and to help advise on how to stay well this winter and how to access health services should they become unwell.”

Angela White, chief executive of Sefton CVS, said:

“It’s always important to take stock of your health and ensure you have in place what you need to be ready for the cold winter months. This checklist makes you think about your health and wellbeing, or you could use it to speak to family members or neighbours who may be older or more vulnerable to see how they are and whether they’re prepared for winter. The checklist highlights local advice and support from across the health and VCF sectors’ that may be useful to them.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“If you do become unwell, the NHS is always here for you when you need it. If you need medical advice and aren’t sure where to go, use NHS 111 online or call 111 for assistance. Remember, your local pharmacists are health experts who can help with all sorts of conditions and treatments and GP practices are open and continuing to provide services, including face to face appointments where these are needed.

”Please use this checklist to help you and those around you have a happy and healthy Christmas.”

The ‘Winter Ready’ Checklist is available at:

Support with heating and energy bills

Anyone living in fuel poverty, or who knows someone who is, can be reassured that there is help and support available for those worried about keeping warm or paying energy bills.

To seek advice and information about the support available, people can call Sefton Council’s Affordable Warmth Service on 0151 934 2222 or the local Energy Advice line managed by the charity EPPlus Freephone 0800 043 0151. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

More information is available on the Sefton Council website:https://www.sefton.gov.uk/housing/fuel-poverty-and-energy-efficiency/

Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher responds to annual funding settlement

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Responding to the Government’s local government settlement funding announcement, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “Before the Budget statement in October, the Chancellor stated that there would be ‘absolutely no return to austerity’ and told us we would see ‘very strong investment in public services.

“I am afraid that the latest funding settlement shows little evidence of the Government investing strongly in public services, in Sefton at least.

Position remains austere

“Instead, the Government has left us facing a position that remains austere and which will make our Borough’s economic recovery from COVID-19, when it does finally end, even more difficult.

“Through the pandemic, pressure on children services, special educational needs and adult services have risen to unprecedented levels on a national scale. This funding will not be enough for us to continue providing these people with the support they need in the longer term.

“While the Government will, no doubt, claim it is increasing funding for Sefton and other local Councils, the burden continues to be passed to tax-payers. This means the Borough’s residents are paying for those increases out of their own pockets at the same time as they face rocketing household fuel bills and rising prices in the shops.”

In an open letter to Sefton Council Taxpayers earlier this year, Cllr Maher explained that although Sefton Council had consistently managed its budget efficiently, Government funding cuts meant it had been forced to make over £233 million of savings over the last 10 years.

Disappointing

Cllr Maher continued: “It was disappointing that the Government decided not to support Bootle, one of the country’s towns hardest hit by the pandemic, and Crosby through its recent Levelling Up Fund allocations, although we are benefitting from the Town Deal funding the Government did allocate to Southport.

“Boris Johnson talks about ‘levelling-up’ but with research published by the New Economics Foundation this week showing that, since 2019, the richest 5 per-cent of the UK population are better off by £3,300 a year while the poorest half of the UK population saw their disposable incomes shrink by £110, I have seen little evidence of it.

“Sefton Council is determined to achieve a ‘levelling-up’ for people across the Borough, but today’s funding settlement is yet another indication from the Government that we’re going to have to do it without their help.”

Sefton once again showcases its green-fingered expertise at North West in Bloom competition

Netherton Community Garden who received a Thriving Award
Netherton Community Garden who received a Thriving Award

Community groups across the Borough have once again been recognised for their green-fingered expertise for the 2021 North West in Bloom competition.

Volunteer groups from Ainsdale, Bootle, Litherland, Netherton, Maghull, Crosby, Seaforth, Southport and Waterloo were enthusiastically involved in this year’s celebration following the cancellation of the official competition in 2020.

In July, the North West in Bloom judges visited each location to see for themselves the good work the volunteers have been doing, despite the difficulties posed by the continuation of some Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite the obstacles they faced, Sefton’s gardening enthusiasts have once again showcased their skills by maintaining flower beds, supporting community initiatives and creating wonderful displays.

So much so that 38 entrants were recognised by the judges with the following awards: Thriving, Advancing, Outstanding, Silver and Gold. Special recognition was also awarded to seven Sefton entrants:

  • Ainsdale in Bloom – Best Town, Gold Award
  • Botanic Gardens Community Association, Southport – Five Years Outstanding Award
  • Cheyne Close, Crosby – Five Years Outstanding Award
  • Crosby and Waterloo in Bloom – Silver Gilt, Clean Sweep Award
  • Maghull Station Volunteers – Best Railway Station, Outstanding Award
  • Southport in Bloom – Best Large Coastal Resort, Gold Award
  • Southport Model Engineering Club – Five Years Outstanding Award

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

“The Green Sefton team has been absolutely bowled over by the determination and commitment of our green-fingered community groups and volunteers who’ve created such wonderful displays and been involved in great outdoor projects this year.

“Not only do their continued efforts help to make our Sefton greener, but they also help to bring communities together making them stronger and happier. We’ve all enjoyed spending time outdoors, perhaps more than ever in recent times, and having passionate gardeners across our Borough looking after our valued green spaces has really enhanced our time spent outdoors.

“What’s more is that many of these displays help to boost our Borough’s biodiversity, attracting many pollinators that are vital in the natural fight against climate change that we’ve heard so much about recently.”

Boyer Court Garden Club, Maghull, who received an Outstanding Award
Boyer Court Garden Club, Maghull, who received an Outstanding Award

North West in Bloom is the voluntary regional organisation that administers the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom competition in Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and is one of the 18 regions and Nations that comprise Britain in Bloom.

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service – who help co-ordinate North West in Bloom within the Borough – are encouraging residents to think ahead now to next year when it is hoped the competition will go ahead without any restrictions on activities.

Green Sefton officers are also keen for volunteer groups to think about the most environmentally friendly ways to maintain their future displays and arrangements. Ensuring that nature can thrive and act as natural mitigation to today’s climate concerns.

 

Anyone interested in becoming involved can email greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

For more information on taking a more active role in community gardening the RHS has lots of helpful resources, simply visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening

Liverpool City Region leaders call on Chancellor to support businesses hit by Omicron variant

Sefton Council leader, Cllr Ian Maher and the City Region’s other political leaders have written an open letter to Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling upon him to bring in a package of support measures for businesses affected by the growth of the Omicron variant.

The full text of the letter is here:

Dear Rishi,

We write to you deeply concerned, not only with the health implications of the Omicron variant, but its potential economic detriment too. The high transmissibility makes it especially dangerous and, while we support restrictions to help slow that spread, we feel the situation is something of a halfway house. The restrictions – and your government’s own advice – mean people are staying home, while the lack of financial support means that businesses up and down the country are forced to pay the price.

The Liverpool City Region’s visitor economy is especially susceptible to these impacts. It is worth an estimated £4.9bn per year, with 4,300 businesses employing nearly 50,000 people. It is through a combination of local and national interventions that these businesses have survived the past 18 months – including investment of more than £44m of local funding which supported over 4,000 city region businesses.

As you will know, uncertainty can be fatal for businesses big or small. The current situation means that many local shops, bars and restaurants are heading into the Christmas period, the busiest and most profitable time of the year for many, facing uncertainty on all sides, ranging from staff shortages and late cancellations, to ordering stock when potential future restrictions are unclear. This, in turn, has knock on effects for other trades, like our region’s service industries and taxi drivers.

The confusion sown by asking people to “think carefully” about their actions while allowing hospitality to stay open is proving damaging to many businesses. People are rightly worried about the threat of Omicron, which is in turn leading to high numbers of cancellations and significant losses in expected earnings with nothing to cover the shortfalls.

Hospitality staff across the country, a great number of whom work unsecure hours and are among the lowest paid, have had many thousands of hours of shifts cut as a result. Even those not hit by cancellations find themselves struggling to find enough staff to open thanks to rapid transmission of this new variant.

We have all been contacted by countless local businesses, worried about the effects this is having on their livelihoods and, without urgent intervention, we are worried about the impact this will have on our city region’s embryonic recovery. It is estimated that the cost to our economy is circa £3bn in lost tourism revenue last year. We cannot afford to reverse the progress we were making pre-pandemic when we were the fastest growing city region in the country.

That is why we are calling on you to step up, as you did at the start of the pandemic, to give struggling businesses and workers a lifeline. We need a package of support to be brought forward quickly to assist all of the sectors affected by the knock-on effect of restrictions – including support for staff hit by a loss of earnings or employment during the festive period. The current Test and Trace Support Payments remain inadequate and, as research shows, is an impediment to people getting tested and self-isolating.

Please act now. Countless businesses up and down the country are relying on you.

We look forward to your response.

Best wishes,

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram

Cllr Mike Wharton, Leader, Halton Borough Council

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader, Knowsley Borough Council

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader, Sefton Borough Council

Cllr David Baines, Leader, St. Helens Borough Council

Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader, Wirral Borough Council

Sefton Council will once again be providing meal and fuel vouchers over the holidays for more than 8,000 families who are most in need

This Christmas Sefton Council will once again be providing meal and fuel vouchers over the holidays for more than 8,000 families who are most in need.

The Local Authority has already provided 8,171 vouchers to schools across the borough, which are then allocated to eligible families.

Further vouchers are expected to be given out in the coming weeks.

Vouchers will allow families to purchase much-needed food produce for their tables, as well as fuel, during the two-week Christmas half term.

More than £450,000 has been invested by Sefton Council into the scheme to help combat food and fuel poverty among communities within the borough.

As with the October half-term scheme, the vouchers will be valid to buy food in-store and online at local supermarkets.

It will not be possible to use the vouchers to buy alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top ups or stamps.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “In October, Sefton Council funded meal vouchers for around 8,500 children as part of an initiative which receives widespread public support.

“We are determined to be able to provide an additional level of support and security that some families will need during the holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period.”

Cllr Hardy added: “Thanks to the massive effort of our teams across Sefton Council, we estimate that we will be providing 8,900 vouchers in total for the Christmas period via local schools.

“We are only too aware of the significant difficulties some families are experiencing at the moment across all our communities and we know this scheme will provide direct and much-needed support to them over the Christmas break.”

Families across Sefton who do not currently receive free school meals but think they might be eligible can visit www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.

Additional support services, advice and help is also available via the brand new Sefton Support Hub via www.sefton.gov.uk/seftonsupporthub.

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