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Ainsdale Beach Exercise: All You Need To Know

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are holding a training exercise on Ainsdale Beach today to test their contractor response to an oil spillage incident.

Sefton Council is urging members of the public not to worry if they spot this exercise in action on the coast this morning (February 19) as it is not real.

In preparation, the Council has been working with the MCA to provide a suitable location for the exercise and to ensure that any disruption to the community is kept to a minimum.

There may be limited access to some parts of the beach, carpark and Ainsdale Discovery Centre which may need to be cordoned off to pedestrians and dog walkers, but this will only be a temporary measure for today and there is no cause for alarm.

Green Sefton’s operational staff will be on site to advise any local beach users about the exercise and to ensure the safety of public access around the test site.

There will be no actual pollutant used either at sea or on the foreshore and no lasting impact to the beach once the exercise is complete.

Councillor Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We’re urging people not to panic. The exercise is not real – but it provides a unique opportunity for us to help other agencies like the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to test their plans and will provide a wealth of insight and mutual benefit to Sefton and other Merseyside coastal Local Authorities in terms of ongoing shoreline pollution response and recovery planning.”

Ryan Carter, Resources and Claims Lead for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Counter Pollution and Salvage Branch, said:  “Every year the MCA undertakes exercises with our partners across the country from ports, harbours, councils and other agencies to test our oil spill response.

“Today’s exercise is a ‘cold callout’ whereby we test our Oil Spill Response Tier 3 contractors, without giving them notice.

“We are very fortunate to be working with Sefton Council and their Green Sefton team in this area and shoreline around Ainsdale Beach. During the exercise there will be no actual pollution present.”

Southport shortlisted for prestigious national tourism award

Southport has been shortlisted as the UK’s most ‘Coach Friendly Destination’ in the British Coach Tourism Awards 2019 (BCTA) – just two years after winning the same award.

The BCTA recognises excellence across destinations, visitor attractions, coach operators and tourism suppliers. The award for ‘Coach Friendly Destination’ recognises the way a town, city or region has enhanced the welcome it gives to coaches, coach groups and coach drivers.

This year Southport faces stiff competition from Bournemouth & Poole, Burnham-On-Sea, Newmarket and Wells.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “In 2017 we saw off competition from across the country to win this prestigious award and since then we haven’t been resting on our laurels.
“In 2018 we launched ‘Southport Pick ‘n’ Mix’, a new product for groups that offers a selection of inspirational ideas for a 4-night group-friendly itinerary based in the town. The product was very well received by tour operators and group travel organisers.
“Over the last few years Southport has become well known for the Coach Welcome Hosts that meet and greet coaches in the town centre, and for our secure coach parking at the Eco Centre on the Promenade. Being shortlisted for this prestigious award is testament to the work that the Visit Southport team is doing to attract more visitors to the town.”

The winners of the BCTA 2019 will be announced on March 20.

Talented student photographers host ‘Beyond Bootle’ exhibit

First year Hugh Baird students studying Digital Imaging and Photography will be exhibiting their recent works at a special pop-up exhibit in Bootle Strand Shopping Centre.

Ahead of the show, each student was allocated a grid on a map of Bootle and were tasked with capturing the very best emotive images from that area.

The objectives of the project were to look beyond the more traditional views of Bootle and creatively respond to the space they have been assigned.

Their finalised works will be on show at the shopping centre from February 26 to March 2, at which point it will then begin touring across a number of libraries throughout Sefton.

WATCH: Sefton schoolchildren hailed for anti-scrambler bike project

Sefton schoolchildren have been rewarded for their involvement in an anti-scrambler bike education project during the Autumn term of 2018.

Now in its fourth year, the project was set up by Constable Alan Thompson from Bootle Neighbourhood team, with help from Sefton Council, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and aims to highlight the impact off-road bikes have on local communities in Sefton.

The four schools involved are:
St Oswalds Primary School, Netherton
The Grange Primary School, Bootle
Hatton Hill Primary School, Bootle
Lander Road Primary School, Litherland

Early in 2018, Year 5 pupils at the schools received education on the dangers of off-road bikes and impact they cause in their communities. Assemblies have been given to each of the primary schools from Merseyside Police, Sefton Council Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and Alder Hey Hospital.

Once the pupils returned to school to begin their Year 6 studies, they each designed and filmed a 90-second video. They also took part in activities including an activity day at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre and the re-enactment of a crash involving a scrambler bike at Croxteth Community Fire Station.

The 16 winners of the video competition were presented their certificates by Rachel Brown-Finnis, BT Sports analyst and former Liverpool, Everton and England goalkeeper and Ian Snodin, broadcaster, pundit and former Everton midfielder, before the grand unveiling of the top-secret children’s prize, a ski trip to Scotland.

Their videos will also be used in a publicity campaign in the Sefton area.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “We are constantly amazed at our fabulous Sefton school pupils who have worked so hard on this project

“We know scrambler bikes are a blight on our communities and through this initiative we want to make sure important messages about the risks and dangers of using them are learnt.

“It is also another great example of partnership working and engaging with our communities to make Sefton a safer place for everyone.”

Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “This brilliant scheme has been running for four years and represents the very best in partnership work which takes place across Sefton and the force. The children have worked hard and had some fun along the way, and the lesson they have learnt will be passed on to their friends, families and communities.

“It is so important that future generations understand why off-road bikes are so dangerous, to road users, the environment and the riders themselves. We recognise the impact that the anti-social and criminal use of bikes has on residents of these and other areas.”

Thousands benefit from InvestSefton business support

InvestSefton, Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service, continues to support local enterprises and has engaged with more than 2,200 individual businesses.

InvestSefton is one of the Liverpool City Region growth hubs working alongside the Local Enterprise Partnership, other local authorities, Chambers of Commerce and The Women’s Organisation. It is part of current UK Government funded activities delivered locally by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Robert Andrews (Director), Peter Oxspring (MD), Julie Swarbrick Invest Sefton, Peter Dowd MP, Cllr Marion Atkinson and Gary Brine, Hardy production manager

InvestSefton is also about to confirm the second phase of its European funded initiative-the Business Growth Programme which has already assisted over 255 businesses including 45 new enterprises in the borough.

Sefton residents and entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business have a managed referral to the Enterprise Hub which sits alongside the ERDF Business Growth Programme and provides a range of 1:1 and mentoring support.

Some 140 start ups have been referred to the Enterprise Hub for further support and InvestSefton has begun to supplement this work through the introduction of business clinics held every Tuesday at The Atkinson, Southport.

InvestSefton also supports the offer of subsidised commercial assistance through New Markets with 54 referrals into this Liverpool City Region wide programme. The team works closely with the Council’s Sefton@work service which helps support Sefton residents into new employment opportunities arising from business growth and new inward investment in the borough.

Businesses are supported in a variety of ways from expert 1:1 advice and guidance from the team’s nationally accredited Advisers to demand led events and workshops.

Kristina Swift of Invest Sefton pictured with Kevin Murphy of Venue Rent a Space

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Housing, said: “We are very proud of all the excellent work in helping and supporting local businesses through InvestSefton and Sefton@Work.
“Our mantra is very much about being open for business and the fact so many enterprises are contacting us for help and assistance is testament to this.
“Business enquiries through Sefton Growth Hub continue to rise with the same mix of firms from a range of industry sectors seeking advice, guidance and more intensive support and we really hope this continues.”

InvestSefton is able to provide a wide range of assistance at no cost to business. Areas of support can include:
• Access to finance
• Finding new business sites and premises
• Business planning, cashflow and cost reduction
• Dealing with council services more easily and effectively
• Winning new business from public sector contracts

For more information on the wide range of services available via InvestSefton please visit www.investsefton.com, email info@investsefton.com or call 0151 934 3452.

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