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Moooove over for grazing winter visitors at Sefton’s Nature Reserves

Sefton Council is welcoming sheep and cattle on to the local Nature Reserves at Ainsdale and Birkdale this week, as part of the its continuing conservation works.

Each winter, the Council brings grazing animals onto the reserves as part of Green Sefton’s management of the dunes. The seasonal grazing benefits nature conservation, as the animals help to control vegetation growth, encouraging diverse plant species to grow and dune specialists such as Natterjack Toads to thrive.

This year, Herdwick sheep from Cumbria alongside Belted Galloway and White Shorthorn cattle from neighbouring Lancashire have been moved on to the reserve. Before the cattle and sheep arrived for the winter, the fenced enclosures on the reserves were checked by Rangers to ensure that they were secure and safe for this year’s grazing.

Belted Galloway cow
Belted Galloway cow on Ainsdale reserve

Green Sefton is urging everyone to act responsibly if they visit the reserves to catch a glimpse of the special winter visitors. Dog walkers are reminded that pets should be kept on a lead and under close control within fenced grazing areas, following the Countryside Code.

Gordon White, Countryside Officer for Green Sefton, said: “These grazing animals are an essential tool in the management of Sefton’s scientifically important sand dunes. Not only do they help us to improve habitats, but they really help to optimise the potential of Sefton’s important natural assets.

“We urge all dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead, under close control and away from the sheep and cows they may see in the fenced grazing areas this winter – just as you would on any site or farmers field where livestock are kept. Whilst they are docile animals and used to seeing people, they could be a little nervous in their new Sefton home.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Conservation grazing is a fantastic, cost effective and natural way to protect our dune systems and it is great to see the animals making a return to our reserves again this winter.

“Sefton’s coastline is one of the most important areas in Britain for nature conservation, enjoying the highest level of protection under UK law as a site of specific scientific interest for its flora and fauna. On-going initiatives like this really help to enhance these important coastal ecological systems.”

Gordon White added: “We all have an obligation to protect these very special features, and balancing their needs with those of our visitors can be a tricky task. Part of our role at Green Sefton is to help our communities to learn and understand how fortunate we all are to have such incredible and fantastic species right on our doorstep. Working with our communities, as well as with partner organisations on specific environmental projects, we can achieve great improvements to our wonderful sand dune habitats.

“Ultimately this will enable us to be confident that we have contributed to passing them on to the next generation in a strong condition, to continue to survive, and provide them with fascinating wildlife spectacles.”

The animals will graze the reserves until early April 2021.


Statement on recent fire damage at South Park, Bootle

Sefton Council has issued the following statement regarding numerous reports of deliberate fire damage at the children’s playground in South Park, Bootle.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“It is incredibly disappointing to hear of numerous instances of deliberate fire damage happening at South Park playground. At a time when people need their local outdoor spaces more than ever, it is really devastating to see that children’s play equipment has been mindlessly vandalised in this way.

“Green Sefton’s Playground Team attended and made the area safe by removing damaged items such as seats and springers. They will be assessing the repairs that are needed and the cost incurred over the next couple of days – money that could otherwise be spent on new or upgraded facilities for local people to enjoy.

“People might think that their actions are just a bit of fun, but sadly they have taken away a vital piece of our local community, a place where children and families would normally have been able to enjoy the fresh air.

“We do hope that mindless acts like this don’t put people off visiting our playgrounds and parks, as we have some fantastic outdoor spaces for all to utilise right across our Borough.

“We continue to work with and support our colleagues in Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and Merseyside Police to monitor anti-social behaviour of this sort in the area.”

Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service are urging parents to speak to their children about the consequences of their actions following the spate of fires.

People in Sefton being reminded ‘Your GPs are still there for you’ during COVID

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, people in Sefton are being reminded that although GP practices may be working a little differently at the moment, they are still there for those who need them.

Since March, we have all adapted quickly to using phone and video in all aspects of our lives – shopping, pre-booking time slots to access various services and venues – and GP services have been no different.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “GPs and practice staff across Sefton have been amazing in their response to the pandemic – drastically increasing the number of telephone and video consultations to ensure patients could still access services during the pandemic.

“I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to supporting residents throughout this challenging and very busy time.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “As GP surgeries enter their busiest time of the year and manage additional pandemic pressures, I’d like to thank Sefton residents for their ongoing patience and support of their local GPs and practice staff.

“We know that it is a worrying time, but we would like to reassure you that your GP is there for you should you need them. If you are unwell or have a concern about your physical or mental health then please contact your surgery by calling them, going to their website on using the NHS App.

“Where possible, your GP will talk to you over the phone or online to find out more and discuss the next steps. If you are asked to come in for an appointment, please don’t delay getting the care or treatment you need and attend your appointment straight away. Coronavirus safety measures are in place to ensure that we can continue to see patients face-to-face when necessary.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and therefore been approved for use in the UK. Other vaccines are being developed and will be thoroughly tested and approved before we start to use them.

“At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from Coronavirus, before being offered more widely. You will be contacted by the NHS when it’s your turn so please do not contact your GP to ask about the vaccine.”

See for more information about the Coronavirus vaccine.

If you have any Coronavirus symptoms such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate at home and get a test as soon as possible. Get a test online or call 119.

If you need medical advice or treatment, there are lots of options available to you:

  • Self-care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself – including managing any long-term conditions you have, and knowing when you need to speak to your GP, pharmacist, or another health professional.
  • Pharmacists are trained to help with a range of symptoms and are often open in the evenings and at weekends. Find your nearest pharmacy online and check their opening times. Do not go to a pharmacy if you have Coronavirus symptoms.
  • If you’re not sure which service is right for you or if you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you are unable to get help online.
  • For help with mild to moderate stress, anxiety, or depression, contact Access Sefton or call 0151 955 3200 to access talking therapies.
  • For help from a GP, visit your GP surgery’s website, use an online service to contact your GP, or call the surgery.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.

Update on COVID-19 tests for Sefton residents who DON’T have coronavirus symptoms

Sefton residents who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms can now use Liverpool test sites to get a coronavirus test.

Test are currently available at:

  • Aintree Baptist Church, Longmoor Lane L9 0EH (from 12 noon on Thursday 10 December.)
  • Exhibition Centre Liverpool King’s Dock, Port of Liverpool, L3 4FP
  • Liverpool FC Anfield Stadium, Anfield Road, Liverpool, L4 0TH

Sites are open from 7am to 7pm and you don’t need an appointment.

Find out how to get a test. 

People can expect to get their results between 30 minutes and 2 hours after getting tested. They will receive their results by text or email soon after leaving the test centre.

Anyone whose result to the symptom-free test come back positive must self-isolate straight away and book a PCR test via or by calling 119.

People who don’t have symptoms should not go to any test sites apart from the ones shown above as they put themselves at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

People who do have the coronavirus symptoms of:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

should isolate and book a test online or by calling 119.

Sefton Council to provide ‘much-needed’ Christmas school holiday meal vouchers to eligible local families

Sefton Council will be providing meal vouchers over the Christmas holidays for families in Sefton who receive free school meals.

The Council will be using part of its Winter Grant Scheme allocation to provide schools with vouchers that can be allocated to eligible families.

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 received widespread public support.

“We will be using part of the Borough’s allocation from the Winter Grant Scheme to provide that level of support and security that nearly everybody agrees families need during the holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period.”

In October, the Council stepped in at short notice to provide local families with food vouchers and by the second day of the scheme was dealing with more than 2,500 applications. During the half-term week, the Council team was processing around 1,0000 applications per day.

Cllr Hardy added: “With very short notice last time, the Council took on the application and allocation process centrally.

“While, thanks to the massive effort of our team, we got through the applications and families received the vouchers, this time we are going to be able to distribute the vouchers to schools, which will make it easier for everyone.”

Gil Bourgade, Headteacher at Birkdale High School said: “Schools are only too aware of the significant difficulties some of their families are experiencing at the moment across all our communities, and we really appreciate Sefton Council’s decision to fund free school meals through these vouchers.

“It will provide direct and much-needed support to our pupils and their families over the Christmas break.”

Local businesses and voluntary organisations, which were already being hit by the Government’s COVID restrictions also pitched in by providing packed lunches, food hampers and meals to local families.

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



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