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Care homes, hospitals, schools among locations to benefit from new, dedicated Contact Tracing Hub

A new Contact Tracing Hub for COVID-19 infections in complex settings and cases has been established in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Led by Public Health England and the region’s Directors of Public Health, The Hub, works with the national Test and Trace programme to manage complex outbreaks of COVID-19 using data and local intelligence. It is one of many interventions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in local communities and prevent any future lockdowns or restrictions of movement.

The Hub’s purpose is to receive information from the national Test and Trace service and local authorities relating to positive cases of COVID-19 that are identified as a complex case or in a complex setting.

Complex settings include environments like schools, NHS settings like GP practices and hospitals, care homes and workplaces like office blocks and police and fire stations. A complex case may not necessarily be linked to a physical setting but could be a complex cohort like rough sleepers or members of faith communities, or complex individuals and households like those who are shielding, those with learning disabilities, substance misusers or those in complex socioeconomic circumstances.

Positive cases are triaged locally and the Hub works to identify contacts who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This happens quickly, minimising the chance of wide transmission of the disease in local communities.

The Hub is currently staffed by a team of 25 local contact tracers, who have received training from Public Health England and are supported by Consultants and Senior Health Protection Practitioners. In addition, local authority teams are available to support with on-going operational issues and consequence management.

This work is a collaborative effort between Public Health England and Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health, and represents a scaling up of existing arrangements. It is hosted by Wirral Council and day-to-day operations are facilitated by the Champs Public Health Collaborative Support Team.

Julie Webster, Director of Public Health for Wirral and lead for the Contact Tracing Hub, said: “I am extremely grateful to colleagues across Cheshire and Merseyside, who have worked tirelessly to establish this Hub within an incredibly tight time-frame.

“It is internationally recognised that containing and managing a disease like COVID-19, especially within complex settings and with complex cases, is only achievable with robust contact tracing. I am confident that as we continue to scale up the Hub, we will play an important role in reducing the spread of the disease.

“This is, of course, only one method of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in local communities and I cannot stress enough how important it is for each and every one of us, no matter our age, to continue to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask or covering when appropriate and wash our hands regularly.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council Director of Public Health said: “Although children are returning to school and more people are going into work and socialising and travelling on public transport, COVID-19 is still very much with us and Test and Trace programme is an important way of helping prevent its spread, particularly in complex settings.

“This new, Cheshire and Merseyside Hub will be a vital tool in speeding up the identification process and reduce the likelihood of restrictions needing to be re-introduced locally.”

Find out more about Test and Trace.


New blue bins for glass recycling approved

At their meeting today (Thursday 3 September), Sefton Council’s Cabinet approved the procurement of new wheelie bins for glass recycling.

With the Government requiring some items of recycling waste to be collected separately as part of its new Environment Bill, Sefton Council is planning new, separate glass collections. This is due to the weight of glass collected, which is around 7,000 tonnes annually. Collecting glass separately produces much higher quality material which can be used for closed loop recycling, and used for re-melt rather than aggregate, making it infinitely recyclable into new glass jars and bottles.

The quality of the other materials (paper, cardboard and tin cans) collected in brown bins will also be much higher delivering better quality material for recycling, this is vital in improving recycling in the UK, allowing it to be reprocessed in local facilities.

Purchasing 100,000 new, blue wheelie bins will be required to achieve this plan. The cost of this and the updating of the cleansing vehicle fleet will be offset by £400,000 of recycling income generated annually over 10 years from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, as a result of Sefton Council removing glass from its general recycling collections.

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways and Public Protection, said: “This change to collecting glass recycling items will make a positive contribution to Sefton’s Climate Change Strategy as well as to the Region’s environmental impact.

“I realise it will mean we are asking residents to separate out their glass items from other recycling but residents across the Borough have been supportive of recycling and our climate change agenda, particularly as it as a way of us keeping down costs too.”

In its Environment Bill, which could become law in late 2020, the Government is asking for one ‘core’ item of recycling to be collected separately. Having reviewed the core items, due to weight of the product, the ease with which it can be separated and the potential for generating income, Sefton proposed removing glass from the current brown bin collection.

The new bins will be procured through a competitive process for delivery in February and March next year. Separate glass recycling collections would start in March and April.

Mr Moore added: “This fits well with other actions we are taking to improve waste storage, collection and recycling. This Autumn we will be providing wheeled bins to approximately 5000 houses that currently rely on black bin bag collections. and, in early 2021 European-style, communal bins to approximately 5000 others where a wheeled bin isn’t practical.”

Peter Moore also thanked Sefton Council’s cleansing teams whom he said had made a ‘sterling effort’ to provide the Borough’s residents with regular refuse collections throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Children’s return to school is safe says Sefton’s Director of Public Health

“It is safe for children to return to school,” was the key message from Margaret Jones, Sefton’s Director of Public Health when we spoke to her about pupils returning to schools this week.

Not being at school, she said, is harmful for children’s overall well-being.

We asked Margaret about the measures being put in place for the new term to help maintain social distancing and reduce contact. These include reduced class sizes and ‘bubbles’, staggered start finishes and break times.

Margaret also stressed the ongoing need for thorough hand-washing and the importance of people showing COVID-19 symptoms – a raised temperature, new persistent cough or a loss of their sense of taste or smell – isolating and getting a test.

Here’s our interview with Margaret.

Festival of Ideas heads for Bootle

New project, backed by Sefton Council, aims to give residents a say in how to ‘build back better’.

Sefton Council has launched a new call for ideas to inspire the ‘Build Back Better’ ethos sweeping the country in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council – Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture 2020 – sponsored the project, which is being delivered by maker space and social enterprise Make CIC, and social economy business support community, Kindred.

The ‘Festival of Ideas’ will inspire local people to share ideas related to five themes – ‘making and selling’; ‘food and growing’; ‘music and culture’; ‘health and wellbeing’ and ‘spaces for change’.

Following an initial programme to inspire people to think about their ideas, the organisers will support people to develop their ideas, which are then put forward for a share of a £6k development fund.

Bootle Festival of Ideas will also ask local people what they’d like to see in the area, creating citizen-led impetus for change.

Make co-founder Liam Kelly says:

“Bootle is brimming with ideas and this festival is an opportunity for people to bring their ideas to the table and tell us what ‘build back better’ means. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated challenges faced by our region’s town centres and Bootle is no different. But we firmly believe that the people who live, work and socialise there are the ones who have the ideas to overcome the challenges. Some ideas may benefit from a small starter grant to give it a try! Others may find what they need by coming together to collaborate. We’re looking forward to celebrating everything great about Bootle.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:
“The Festival of Ideas is a unique opportunity, amidst the chaos of the last few months, for Sefton residents to bring about positive changes to their own lives, to their communities and our culture.

“We are a borough that offers it all, Sefton has something for everyone, and this festival is a truly exciting way of bringing people together to talk through ideas and innovations, share opportunities and feel inspired.

“When we first looked in to having a Festival of Ideas, we originally had a very different format in mind. We’ve had to react quickly to rapidly unfolding events and take an entirely new approach to the Festival of Ideas. Similarly we successfully delivered much of our Borough of Culture programme digitally and virtually, and so we’ve taken the learning and applied it here, moving to a digital approach to the festival of ideas too. So, for everyone staying safe at home, you can still get involved as we’ll be presenting a programme of
live-streamed events via Zoom.”

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:
“Sefton is known for its entrepreneurial and enterprise culture, and is home to businesses of all sizes, from international organisations and small start-ups to social enterprises and community organisations. Our objective with the Festival of Ideas is to enhance Sefton’s  reputation as a borough of ideas and innovation.

“Working with Make CIC we will be hosting a series of online events over a whole month from 2nd September to the 2nd October, with further events and exhibitions in the planning following that.

“With five key focus areas covering very real issues and challenges such as health in our local communities, or transforming unused buildings and forgotten spaces, to inspiring a new generation of artists, musicians and poets, the festival provides opportunities for Sefton
residents to share concepts, swap insights and trade opinions.

“We want to champion the next big things and help local people get new ideas off the ground, so they can seize new opportunities to make a positive difference to our beautiful borough.”

Festival of Ideas was run in Wirral in 2017, supporting a number of projects across the borough which have grown and developed into businesses, including Future Yard, Origami Pulse, and the Make Hamilton makerspace.

Residents can engage with the project in the first instance by signing up for one of six introductory sessions. More details are available on the Make Liverpool website:

For more information, please contact Make CIC on 0151 601 8665 or by email:

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Unit dates and locations for September latest

Mobile coronavirus testing units are scheduled to be at locations across Sefton through September .

If you have the COVID-19 symptoms of a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell  – however mild – you should get a test.

Tests at mobile centres are available for anyone but they need to have made an appointment first at  or by calling 119.

Mobile Testing Unit dates and locations for September are:

  • Tue 1  – Litherland
  • Wed 2  – Litherland
  • Thu 3  – Litherland
  • Fri 4  – Litherland
  • Sat 5  – Reserve (No Scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sun 6  – Southport
  • Mon 7 – Southport
  • Tue 8 – Southport
  • Wed 9 – Crosby
  • Thur 10 – Crosby
  • Fri 11 – Crosby
  • Sat 12 – Southport
  • Sun 13 – Southport
  • Mon 14 – Litherland
  • Tue 15 – Litherland
  • Wed 16 – Litherland
  • Thur 17 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 18 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 19 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sun 20 – Southport
  • Mon 21 – Litherland
  • Tue 22 – Crosby
  • Wed 23 – Crosby
  • Thur 24 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 25 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 26 – Southport
  • Sun 27 – Southport
  • Mon 28 – Crosby
  • Tue 29 – Crosby
  • Wed 30 – Crosby

*One of the Mobile Testing Unit teams is a reserve team,  and may deployed to other Merseyside locations on these days.

Walk-through test centres, opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Southport Town Hall, are open from 8am to 8pm. You need an appointment from   or by calling 119 or the Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.

The September dates for Mobile Testing Units , which are supported by Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, follows on from a timetable that saw units deployed across Sefton Borough nearly every day in July and August.


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