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Reassurance and guidance to Sefton’s parents and carers                                     

Sefton’s Director of Children’s Services Vicky Buchanan and Director of Public Health Margaret Jones have written a letter of reassurance and guidance to parents and carers across the borough.                                                                    

Dear Parents and Carers

As you are fully aware the Prime Minister announced a full lockdown which meant that all schools were closed except for vulnerable children and critical worker children. This was not the start for the year that we wanted as we hoped that all children and young people would be in school by the 18th January at the very latest.

We need to drive down the infection rates in Sefton and indeed the whole country so that we are all safe and secure in returning to everyday life. In order to do that it is crucial we all follow the government guidance of staying home unless absolutely necessary. We need everyone to follow this guidance to protect not only the NHS but also ourselves, our families and our friends. Hopefully, with the roll out of the vaccine and keeping to the guidance this will happen sooner rather than later. Government guidance for schools and for parents and carers has been very clear about who should access places in schools. ‘Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’ Full guidance for parents and carers can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision 

We would ask that if you can, as the guidance says keep your child at home then please do so. Schools are under increasing pressure to manage the number of children and young people in school due to staff not being able to attend school due to covid issues. Schools may therefore as a last resort have to consider prioritising places for vulnerable children, health workers and school staff. Schools will only do this after considering their Risk Assessment and consultation with their governing body and Sefton Council. This will be continually reviewed as situations change throughout this current lockdown. Your school will keep you informed as to what is happening. Please do discuss any concerns with your school. Alongside having children in school, schools are providing high quality remote learning for those at home.

As you can imagine this is placing a very heavy burden on staff to ensure that everyone is catered for. Please do remember that all school situations are different and this impacts on how a school will deliver remote learning. There are many different ways that this can be delivered and no one way is the only way.

Some schools may have the facilities to deliver ‘live’ lessons and other may not be able to do so, that does not mean that their offer is any less effective. Please do work with your school to support your child and if you do have any worries then do discuss with the school. All our schools have worked incredibly hard to ensure that what they are offering is helping our children and young people to carry on learning in very difficult circumstances. If you are struggling with accessing online learning please do speak to your school.

We would ask that you continue to encourage your children to follow the advice of Hands, Face, Space.

Our schools will continue to reinforce this message as well as ensuring social distancing, good ventilation, use of face coverings as appropriate, and ensuring people with symptoms do not attend. These remain

the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus, even with rapid testing in place within schools. However, as parents and carers you could further support by not sending children to school unless necessary – stay at home; please don’t bring children to school if they are of an age when they can walk there on their ownIf you need to take your child to school please observe hands, face, space, wear a face covering and don’t stand around the playground or school gates. We want to try and minimise people mixing.

We would ask that you continue to work with and support our schools with the same and consideration you have done so throughout this pandemic.

VICKY BUCHANAN                                                                     MARGARET JONES

DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES                             DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH

 

Council remind Marine FC fans not to head to the football ground this weekend

Sefton Council are reminding Marine FC fans not to head to the football ground this weekend

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said:

“There are many residents across the borough who are, understandably, extremely excited for Marine FC’s FA Cup Third Round game against Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday.  However, we must remind people about the current national lockdown restrictions to stay at home and we warn fans not gather around the Marine Travel Arena area immediately before, during or after the game.

“Residents are also reminded that they are forbidden from socialising indoors or in private gardens with anyone who is not in your household or support bubble.

“We have been working closely with Merseyside Police in the planning and preparation for the game and residents should know that there will be police offers patrolling the area.

“Anyone wishing to show their support for Marine FC can do so by taking part in their virtual match ticket raffle which will help to replace lost revenue. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased at https://marinefc.ktckts.com

A landmark moment as decision is made for Sefton Council to re-enter into social housing

Sefton Cabinet members have given the go ahead for the Council’s re-entry into the social housing market for the first time in nearly 15 years.

The Council’s first new rented housing since its stock transfer in 2006 will begin with nine apartments on the Sefton Grange development at Buckley Hill Lane. These homes will be acquired from Sandway Homes, the housing development company launched by the Council in January 2019.

Sandway Homes is also building 30 new homes at Hey Farm Gardens in Crossens and 47 more at Sandy Brook in Ainsdale. Due to be completed in 2021, these two schemes will add to the supply of housing in the north of the Borough.

Next steps are for the Council to register with the Regulator of Social Housing as a social housing provider. It will also need to become an ‘Investment Partner’ with Homes England, the public Government body that funds new, affordable housing in England.

This exciting new project will also see the formation of a delivery team and the development of a business plan.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “This is an historic moment for Sefton, and I am extremely proud that after 15 years we will be able to provide our most vulnerable residents with a range of good quality, affordable housing.

“This is just the beginning, but this move shows how the Council is committed to supporting those residents to get the homes they need and deserve.”

Leader of Sefton Council Ian Maher said: “I am delighted that this decision has been made as I know that there are residents across the borough who are trying to find housing which is more suitable for them, but the housing stock is currently low.  Having the ability to acquire these properties means we can support our communities by giving them more housing options.”

Stuart Barnes, Head of Economic Growth & Housing said: “It is an exciting time for Sefton to be re-entering the social housing market. We will ensure that we have the support from Homes England and the right team and infrastructure in place to enable the Council to best serve its new tenants, but also to enable this tenure and initiative to grow.”

Christian Rogers Managing Director of Sandway Homes, said: “ We are delighted to be working closely with the Council as delivery partner, excited to be currently delivering our two developments in the north of the borough, and eager to secure planning permission for the development in the south and to facilitate the provision of additional social housing in the borough.”

New talking therapies provider launches service to support thousands across Sefton

Mental Health Matters (MHM) has successfully launched Talking Matters Sefton. Talking Matters Sefton is the new name for the support service that borough residents can access for help with their mental wellbeing.

Developed in partnership with NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups, the service ensures that patients can continue to access high-quality talking therapies as conveniently as possible, which is more important than ever in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on mental wellbeing.

Talking Matters Sefton (TMS) is designed to help anyone aged over 16 in the borough, to deal with common mental health difficulties. These may include depression, anxiety, panic, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder. Staffed by a team of highly skilled mental health professionals, the service is focused on delivering a person-centred approach to help people achieve positive outcomes.

Individuals looking to access support from the service can self-refer online, via email, or over the phone. Referrals can also be made through a Sefton GP.

Those that were accessing the previous talking therapies service have been contacted to confirm that they can expect a consistent level of care and continuity of support.

Victoria Malone, Head of Talking Matters at MHM, said: “We are proud to be running Talking Matters Sefton and to be able to support those in need. Our priorities are to deliver a high-quality service to those already accessing support and to reach out to people across the community, to ensure that residents know that we are here to help during difficult times”.

 

Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Mental Health Matters has worked hard to ensure that existing patients won’t notice any difference to the high quality of support they receive from professionals as a result of the organisation taking over the running of our talking therapies service on 1 January, so services continue to be there for our residents when they need them.”

Dr Sue Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Talking therapies provide a range of support for our residents who’re experiencing common mental health issues and these services are particularly important as we deal with the impact of COVID-19.

“We would encourage anyone experiencing things like stress, anxiety or depression to make contact with Talking Matters Sefton, it’s easy to do and the skilled team of professionals can really help.”

Mental Health Matters is a third sector organisation providing a wide range of support to people with mental health needs offering a welcoming, safe, comfortable, non-judgmental, and non-clinical environment.

MHM has experience in successfully delivering IAPT services for over 12 years and continue to leverage their wealth of experience and clinical best practice to expand services and reach more patients in need.

Learn more: https://www.mhm.org.uk/

Council’s cabinet asked to approve authority’s re-entry to social housing market and council housing provision

At their meeting on Thursday 7th January, Sefton Cabinet members are being asked to agree the Council’s re-entry into the social housing market for the first time in nearly 15 years.

Agreement by Cabinet members would enable the Council to start making preparations for the acquisition of nine apartments, as the beginnings of its future stock of new council housing.  The Council would acquire the apartments on the Sefton Grange development at Buckley Hill Lane, from its wholly-owned housing development company Sandway Homes.

This will be the Council’s first new rented housing since its stock transfer in 2006. The move will require the Council to register with the Regulator of Social Housing as a social housing provider. It will also need to apply to become an ‘Investment Partner’ with Homes England, the public Government body that funds new, affordable housing in England.

The next steps will include the development of a business plan, identifying options for housing management services and putting together a delivery team.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “If Cabinet agrees these proposals on Thursday it will be a really decisive step for the Council not only in meeting the demands to house the most vulnerable in our society, but also in providing a choice and range of affordable housing types that meet the needs of our communities.

“While there is still much work to do, approving these plans would underline Sefton Council’s commitment to supporting the Borough’s residents by delivering a high-quality and inclusive housing agenda.”

Sandway Homes, the housing development company launched by the Council in January 2019, is already building 30 new homes at Hey Farm Gardens in Crossens and 47 more at Sandy Brook in Ainsdale. Due to be completed in 2021, these two schemes will add to the supply of housing in the north of the Borough. A further scheme on Buckley Hill Lane at Sefton Grange, which is currently at planning stage will enable the Council to provide the first phase of its new social housing offer.

Link to details of next week’s Cabinet meeting, including the agenda and papers.

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