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New £10m Local Business Support Grants Launched for Liverpool City Region

A further £10m round of financial support has been announced for Liverpool City Region businesses.

The new Local Business Support Grants, of between £3,750 and £13,500 per business, are aimed at businesses who have not yet accessed funding from the Liverpool City Region.

The £10m fund is the latest round of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s COVID emergency funds.

Since they were announced in October last year, more than 1,700 businesses have been supported through the first two rounds of funding. Businesses who have previously been supported are eligible for top-up grants of up to £10,500 and are being contacted directly by their local councils.

In Sefton, the first two rounds of funding have already seen over £1.6m of grants paid to 313 businesses. There still remains an exceptionally high volume of work created by these rounds of funding and the subsequent top-up grants, and businesses are thanked for their patience during this time. 

The new grants are aimed at small and microbusinesses, specifically:

  • Businesses that have been ordered to close and are outside the business rate system.
  • Businesses in the hospitality and leisure supply chain that either pay business rates or have commercial property related costs.
  • Self-employed / Sole trader / home-based businesses / licenced market traders working in or supplying the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • Businesses in any sector, including the self-employed / sole traders / home-based businesses, that can demonstrate a loss of income of more than 40% due to Covid-19. Businesses can also apply for this grant if they pay business rates or have commercial property related costs.

Businesses wishing to apply for the grants should do so through their local council. Sefton based businesses can find guidance and further details about the application process on the Sefton Council website. 

In a joint statement, the Leaders and Acting Mayor of the six City Region Local Authorities, and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, said: “We know how tough this last year has been for local businesses and we are doing everything we can to help support them through the pandemic.

“We’ve already distributed tens of millions of pounds to local businesses and this latest fund is open to the sorts of small and micro businesses that have not yet qualified for funding, so we can safeguard more jobs and livelihoods. Thousands of people depend on these businesses for their livelihoods and they are at the very heart of our communities.

“The vaccine rollout is continuing, and we can start to see a return to something resembling normality. Let’s keep looking after each other and we can make it through the coming weeks and months.”

An initial “window” will open for receipt of applications for the Liverpool City Region Local Business Support Grant  from 10am on Wednesday 10 February 2021 and close at 5pm on Friday 26 February 2021.

It is anticipated that demand for the Local Business Support Grants will outstrip supply, so businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

The Local Business Support Grant will be administered by each of the six local authorities that form the Combined Authority, namely Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

New Mobile Testing Unit open from today as part of Southport COVID variant testing programme

Photo showing a Mobile Test Unit in Southport
Members of staff in hi-viz at a dedicated Mobile Testing Unit in Southport

From today, people living and working in Southport’s Cambridge and Dukes & Norwood wards who don’t have coronavirus symptoms, can now get a test at the new Mobile Testing Unit at Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre.

Located on the town’s Promenade, at what some refer to locally as the Floral Hall, the new Mobile Testing Unit is now open every day, from 8am to 6.30pm. This is in addition to the Unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site in the Norwood ward, which is also open 8am to 6.30pm, seven days a week.

Dedicated

People in Dukes, Cambridge and Norwood wards can use either of the dedicated Mobile Testing Units.

Sefton Council has set up both sites as part of the programme to detect the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus. The Council has been notified of two, apparently unrelated, historic cases of the variant.

Everyone aged 16 or over within the target areas is being urged to get a test.

Use either

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “People who live and work in the areas of Southport being targeted in the search for the South African variant can now use either of these dedicated Mobile Test Units, as long as they don’t have coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, persistent new cough or a loss of taste or smell.

“It doesn’t take long to get a test and some people may want to call in for theirs while they are out taking their daily exercise.”

Local people are being advised to arrive at the test centres by 6pm to ensure they can get tested. A team will also be visiting affected area’s four schools this week, before the half-term holiday.

Door-to-door

Door-to-door delivery and collection of home testing kits will start across parts of the Cambridge and Dukes closest to the town centre from Thursday (11th February). Where possible, those delivering home testing kits will wait while people test themselves and will then take away the completed swabs so they can be sent off for analysis.

Sefton Council has been reminding residents and business that anyone calling with one of these tests will carry clear identification. They will not ask for any money or request anyone’s financial details and neither will they enter people’s homes.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Reminder

The Council has also been reminding everyone across the Borough that they should still be following national lockdown regulations to protect themselves and others.

Mrs Jones added: “We should all be staying at home and only be going out for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and their daily exercise.

“And while we’re out, we should be keeping to 2-metres’ distancing, wearing masks or face coverings and washing our hands frequently.

Details of planned, additional COVID variant testing for Southport’s Cambridge, Dukes & Norwood wards announced

Sign for the COVID-19 variant Mobile Testing Unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site.
Sign for the COVID-19 variant Mobile Testing Unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site.

Sefton Council has confirmed that from Wednesday 10th February an additional dedicated Mobile Testing Unit will open at Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre as part of the programme to detect the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Targeted testing to identify the variant is well underway in Southport’s Norwood ward where the first case was identified. Further testing will be starting in town centre areas of the Cambridge and Dukes wards, where the Council was notified of a second, apparently unrelated historic case.

Everyone aged 16 or over within the target areas are urged to get a test.

Door-to-door

Door-to-door delivery and collection of home testing kits will start being rolled out across the Cambridge and Dukes areas from Thursday 11th February.  In addition, a team will be visiting the four schools in the area affected before they break up for next week’s half-term holiday.

Opening hours for the Mobile Testing Unit at Theatre and Convention Centre on the town’s Promenade will initially be 8am to 6.30pm. The unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site in the Norwood ward is open 8am to 6.30pm. Both are open seven days a week and are specifically for people within the target areas who don’t have any coronavirus symptoms.

Teams visiting addresses within the target areas will deliver home testing and, where possible, will wait while people test themselves. Anyone calling with one of these tests will carry clear identification. They will not ask for any money or request anyone’s financial details and neither will they enter people’s homes.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Moved quickly

Andrea Watts, Sefton Council’s Executive Director for People, who has been coordinating the testing arrangements said: “Once again, since having been informed about the second, apparently unrelated case of the variant, we have moved quickly to put testing arrangements in place for the extended areas in Southport.

“I am pleased to confirm we will be getting underway tomorrow with the Mobile Testing Unit at the Theatre and Convention Centre or ‘Floral Hall’ as local people may know it and the door-to-door delivery of home testing kits to homes and businesses in the areas will start on Thursday.

“I would like to thank people living and working in the Norwood area for how enthusiastically they have reacted to the news about the South African variant and their willing participation in this important testing programme. I am confident that people in the two new wards identified will work with us just as positively.”

Reminder

The Council has been reminding people to protect themselves and others by sticking to the national lockdown regulations and staying home, both within the target areas for the South African variant and across the rest of the Borough.

People should only be going out for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and their daily exercise. Those in the variant testing areas could got for a test at a Mobile Unit as part of their daily walk.

While out, people should be keeping to 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and washing their hands frequently.

Sefton Council is also encouraging anyone living or working in the Borough who is offered a COVID-19 vaccination to take up the opportunity and go along for their jab and benefit from the protection it will provide. And it is reminding people aged 70 and over that if they have not yet been vaccinated against Covid and want to be, they should contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Over 70s urged to contact NHS if they haven’t had vaccination appointment

All over 70s who have not received a vaccination appointment are urged to get in touch with the NHS.

The last invites to those aged 70 and over or on the Shielded Patients List who are yet to be vaccinated have now either been delivered or are due to arrive this week (w/c 8th Feb), meaning vaccines have been offered to everyone eligible whose contact details the NHS has.

So if you are aged 70 and over and haven’t had your first dose yet, please come forward now and make an appointment here, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet.

GPs and their teams will also be prioritising going out to housebound patients this week too.

The large numbers of very sick patients hospitals are seeing and the emergence of a new variant of the virus also shows that we cannot let our guard down now, and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow all the same guidance as everyone else to help protect others.

The public have an important part to play to help them do all of this, so we are asking:

  • please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as possible and following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance when you are out;
  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine unless you are 70 or over or on the Shielded Patient List, we will contact you when it is the right time;
  • and when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments, and try to arrive exactly when you’re asked to, so that we can avoid queues in this cold weather.

Green Sefton backs LOVEmyBEACH call to tackle coastal pollution

The LOVEmyBEACH campaign is calling on all regular beach users to help identify and report signs of coastal pollution, in order to prevent it damaging the North West coastline.

The group has produced a guide to help people to understand what to look out for and where to report any concerns. The guide can be downloaded here.

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team is urging all Sefton residents, particularly those who regularly visit Sefton’s 22-mile coastline, to be aware of instances of pollution.

Mark Shaw, Green Sefton’s Service Manager, said: “Across the coast, our small Green Sefton team is supported by dedicated volunteers who work alongside our officers to keep our beaches clean, tidy and pollution free.

“However, it’s a collective responsibility for everyone across Sefton to protect, respect and enjoy our coastline. Please act responsibly and take litter home when visiting, and by reporting any possible pollution to us, we can target our resources to ensure that our beaches are safe for all visitors, and vitally for the flora and fauna that call it their home.”

Coastal pollution has the potential to harm beaches, seas and wildlife. Various sources of pollution can impact bathing water quality and the reputation of beaches, whilst being unpleasant to look at and potentially dangerous for beach users.

Help tackle coastal pollutionThe most common signs of pollution that might be noticed are:

  • Signs of sewage (e.g. sewage solids, pipes discharging dirty water, sewage fungus growing or grey clouds around a pipe).
  • A significantly large rainbow coloured film or thick sludge, indicating oil.
  • Abnormally high levels of litter or dumped waste. Or large quantities of one particular material e.g. a deluge of microplastics.
  • The presence of a new substance or material on the beach, e.g. palm oil.

Regular beach visitors are likely to be the first people to spot these smaller incidents, maybe just by noticing a change to the usual appearance of an area or unusual occurrences.

People are then urged to report anything of concern to the relevant authority – which may be the Environment Agency, Local Authority or United Utilities – so that action can be taken to prevent any further damage.

The LOVEmyBEACH campaign was created in 2013 by Keep Britain Tidy and engages with individuals and partners across the North West region to work together to keep local beaches and bathing waters clean.

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