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Sefton Council says Direct Debit Council Tax payment may speed up £150 rebate

Bank notesSefton Council’s finance team is reminding the Borough’s residents that it’s not too late to sign up to pay their Council Tax bills by direct debit.

Sooner

As well as making it easier to pay their bills, the team thinks it will mean people will receive the Government’s £150 energy rebate payment sooner and directly to their bank accounts.

Earlier this month, the Government announced support to help households with rising energy bills including a one-off £150 energy rebate payment to Council Tax-payers in bands A-D.

Payments first

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Although the Government has not yet provided us with detailed guidance for the scheme, we understand that eligible households in bands A to D that pay their council tax by Direct Debit may receive their payments first, directly into their bank accounts.

“To sign up for Direct Debit payments, all people need to do is visit https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/ddcounciltax and fill in the form. They just need their Council Tax account reference to hand.”

Council Tax-payers in Sefton can also opt to receive their bill electronically, which is easier, and it saves paper, which is in line with Council’s commitment to protecting the environment and combating climate change.

Paperless billing

Cllr Lappin added: “People can sign up for paperless e-billing at https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/ebill. Once again, they will need their Council Tax account reference to hand.”

When the Government’s full guidance for the Council tax energy rebate scheme is released, the Council will be providing an update on its website at www.sefton.gov.uk/council-tax .

Sefton successful in £3m Department for Education bid to improve outcomes for children and families

Sefton Council has successfully secured £3m of new funding to improve the support it offers to children, young people and families across the Borough. The Council is working in partnership with Leeds City Council to deliver the ‘Leeds Family Valued’ model, part of the Government’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme.

The partnership will launch in Spring 2022 and will last for an initial two years. The aims of the programme are to improve outcomes for children and families, improve practice across children’s services, improve the effectiveness of the local authorities’ children’s social work and safely reduce the need for statutory social work intervention, particularly reducing the need for children to be looked after.

Specifically, the Family Valued model aims to bring about wide-ranging improvements across Children’s Social Care across several areas including culture change, leadership and practice. The ambition is to embed restorative practice further across the children’s workforce; beyond Sefton’s children’s services and into partner agencies across the Borough, with the recognition that practitioners play a key role in preventative approaches and culture change.

This funding is in addition to a £10m investment announced by Sefton Council in 2021 to deliver key improvements across Children’s Social Care which is already helping to deliver increased capacity across several teams, reduce caseloads and bolster recruitment and retention efforts.

Welcoming the successful funding bid, Cllr. Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said:

“I am delighted that Sefton Council has been awarded this evaluated programme and I would like to thank all of those involved in putting together a strong bid to The Department for Education.

“We want all children, young people and families across Sefton to be heard, happy, healthy and achieving, and the Family Valued programme will enable us to deliver key improvements across Children’s Social Care that will ultimately allow us to achieve these aims.

“Working closely with the team at Leeds City Council will ensure colleagues across Sefton have access to a range of training, development work on various aspects of practice and leadership & management development opportunities.

“I look forward to this partnership bringing professionals across the Borough even closer together for the benefit of all of our children, young people and families.”

Sefton Council supports major NSPCC campaign to support new parents across Merseyside

Look, Say, Sing, Play Campaign LogoSefton Council is launching a new partnership with the NSPCC to help support parents with young babies across Merseyside.

Look, Say, Sing, Play is open to anyone who helps to look after a baby in Merseyside. It involves signing up to receive free, weekly tips to help their young one’s mind develop, and strengthen the bond between carer and child.

The service is based on brain science, but the basics of the campaign are very straightforward. Parents are encouraged to Look at what their baby is focusing on and how they react, Say what they’re doing and copy the sounds their baby makes, Sing along to their favourite tune and Play simple games and see what their baby enjoys.

Mubashar Khaliq, the NSPCC’s local campaigns manager for the North West, said this new partnership was set to be the charity’s biggest event in the region.

Mubashar said:

“Look, Say, Sing, Play is a terrific campaign, and gives new parents the confidence to have fun with their babies, safe in the knowledge that every song they sing or game they play will help develop their brain.

“You don’t need fancy or expensive toys to take part, every time you use silly voices, play or just sing with a baby, you’re helping their mind grow. More than that, you’re also helping to develop a powerful bond with the baby, which could last a lifetime. Anyone can sign up for the free sessions and emails, and we’re really excited to be launching Look, Say, Sing, Play across Merseyside.”

Research has shown that two-thirds of parents don’t understand the brain-building benefits of two-way interaction with a baby – from the moment they’re born, their minds need nourishment, and it can be difficult to think up new ways for mums, dads, grandparents and carers to keep them engaged. That’s where Look, Say, Sing, Play can help.

Cllr. Diane Roscoe, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said:

“We’re very excited to be working with our neighbouring local authorities and the NSPCC to launch this new campaign to support all of our parents and carers with young babies.

“Look Say Sing Play campaign gives parents and carers lots of simple tips and hints on how to incorporate fun brain-building activities into the everyday life of babies and young children.

“I would encourage all parents and carers to check out the Sefton Council website and get involved!”

More information about Look Say Sing Play is available at www.nspcc.org.uk and www.sefton.gov.uk/lssp.

Sefton says thanks for the incredible support shown for the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal 2021

A pile of toys inside the town hallAs 2021 came to a close, hundreds of people across Sefton demonstrated their kindness and community spirit by contributing to the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

After another unbelievable year, many families were facing hardship, but thanks to the incredibly generous support of individuals and organisations across the Borough, children did not miss out on the special magic of the festive season.

A total of £180 was raised through online donations so that volunteers could purchase gifts for children of all ages. Thousands of items, ranging from giant teddy bears to junior science kits, were also sent in meaning 548 children and families received gifts to open on Christmas Day.

Cllr Clare Louise Carragher, the Mayor of Sefton, said:

“The outstanding support and generosity demonstrated by everyone across Sefton means that it has to be one of the best responses we’ve ever seen in the history of the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

The Mayor is writing personal letters of thanks to those across Sefton who went the extra mile to support the initiative. This year a ’12 Days of Kindness’ campaign was also launched to celebrate longstanding supporters of the appeal. These 12 organisations and individuals will also receive a certificate signed by the Mayor.

Cllr Carragher added:

“For many of our families across Sefton, Christmas can be a time of real pressure and hardship and the incredible gestures of kindness and self-sacrifice from people right across our Borough has been inspiring. I would like to extend a personal thanks to every individual who has played their part in making this year’s appeal the great success it has been.”

Reminder: The deadline to apply for a Primary School place for September 2022 is 15 January 2022

If you require a place for your child starting Primary School in Sefton for the first time in September 2022 the deadline to apply is Saturday 15 January 2022.

Applications can be made online via the Citizens Portal. For information and advice please see the following information:

For more information please visit the Sefton Council website.

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