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Work on new Community Learning Hub for Seaforth underway

People in hard hats and PPE touring the Cambridge Road refurbishment site
People in hard hats and PPE touring the Cambridge Road refurbishment site

Work on an important new £1.3 million Community Learning Hub in Seaforth is underway.

Funded by Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through the Skills Capital Fund, the refurbished community learning hub will provide enhanced access to skills training for residents who are currently unemployed.

Investment in the Grade II Listed building will include a complete refurbishment of the ground floor facilities, a new reception area and café. The work will also include repairing and enhancing the building’s original features, with external improvements to the roof, windows, brick and stonework.

Learning Hub users will also benefit from investment in new IT infrastructure, the school hall will be reconfigured as a new, flexible teaching area and the building will be fully Wi-Fi enabled.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, Liverpool-based contractor Cunard Construction has been appointed to carry out the work. The company has extensive experience in the refurbishment of important listed buildings, while also providing social value to the users of the centre and the immediate community.

Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council Leader said: “Sefton Community Learning Hub provides a fantastic community resource for adult learners to access skills and bridge the gap to employment.

“These refurbishment works will breathe new life into Cambridge Road, securing its future for the long term and helping us to attract more learners in an inviting, stimulating and connected environment.

“This will be particularly important in the light of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, which will see more local residents relying on community learning services.

“As well as improving learning opportunities at the Cambridge Road centre, the refurbishment will also reduce its day-to-day running costs and create the potential to generate income.”

Until the redevelopment is complete services will continue to be provided by the Council’s Community Learning Service at alternative nearby venues.

People in hard hats and PPE looking at the Cambridge Road site
Guests in Hard hats and PPE looking at the Cambridge Road site

Cllr Maher added: “This investment unlocks the potential of Cambridge Road and safeguards the future of an iconic building. Sefton Community Learning Hub is a well-used asset but can play an even greater role in the community.

“This is an important milestone in enabling more learners and service users to access Cambridge Road.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Even as we deal with the immediate impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to invest and plan for our future so that our economic recovery begins as quickly as possible.  Education and training will be at the heart of our recovery as we ensure that the people of the Liverpool City Region have the skills and learning they need to thrive.  By investing in infrastructure schemes such as this Learning Hub in Cambridge Road we are investing in the future of our city region.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “The Sefton Community Learning Hub already provides stellar education and training services.

“The refurbishment of the Hub, backed by a £1.15m Local Growth Fund investment, will safeguard this important service, as well as improving the facilities for staff and learners alike.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we equip people with the skills they need to succeed.”

James Flannery, Construction Director at Cunard Construction, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as the preferred bidder for the Cambridge Road Project. We as a business have a track record of refurbishing historic, listed and locally important buildings across the Liverpool City Region and the North West.

“We will work in partnership with Sefton MBC, and the immediate community, to create a stimulating Community Learning Hub in Seaforth.

“It’s imperative we work with clients to maximise the best possible social value as part of the construction process. Sefton and the Combined Authority have a track record of including Quality elements of the tender process which demands that construction contractors deliver a range of benefits for the community were projects are delivered.

“We will work the Council to deliver a full suite of Social Value elements for the project aimed at creating opportunities for the residents of Sefton, whilst supporting the Hubs social enterprise business who do fantastic work in Sefton.”

The Community Learning Hub in Seaforth is being funded by the Skills Capital Fund element of Local Growth Funding, which is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

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 www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test 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 https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test 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 www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.

 

 

Mass COVID-19 Testing being rolled out across Liverpool City Region

Following the successful mast testing (now known as SMART testing) pilot in Liverpool, all five other boroughs in the region (Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens, Wirral) have confirmed that they too will be offering regular testing for residents without symptoms of COVID-19 from next week.

The roll out of SMART testing across the entire city region is another positive step forward in the area’s efforts to tackle COVID-19. In addition to identifying people with the virus who could unknowingly be passing it on, regular testing will hopefully allow residents to return to the things they love – and have missed so dearly during as a result of national and local restrictions.

From early this week testing centres will be up and running in each borough.

“SMART” testing refers to Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing, with the approach being based on the learning of the pilot in Liverpool and continue to be evaluated to inform how testing works nationally.

Covid-19 infection rates continue to fall across the city region’s 1.6 million people, now standing at less than 100 per 100,000 people. At their peak in October rates were around 700 per 100,000.

Early increased Covid restrictions, including being the first city region to enter ‘Tier 3’ have driven the continued decrease in numbers, however are not complacent and remain determined to continue to drive Covid-rate down, with testing crucial to this.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is fantastic news that the trailblazing Liverpool testing pilot is being expanded to serve the wider region. With up to a third of individuals with coronavirus showing no symptoms, regular community testing will help identify those who are infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease, so that they can isolate and protect others.

“This pilot will continue to inform our plans for community testing across the country in the highest risk areas, which we are working to roll out as quickly as possible.

“I urge all those living in the Liverpool City Region to come forward and get tested.”

In a joint statement, the Leaders of the five Local Authorities – Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Effective testing is absolutely vital to our efforts to containing the virus, protecting our NHS and saving lives.

“Cases of Covid-19 continue to fall across the city region because of the sacrifices we have all made and because people have come forward to get tested.

“But, while we enjoy some extra freedoms under Tier 2, we cannot afford to be complacent for one second.

“We all want to get back to a normal life as soon as possible, but until the vaccine has been fully rolled out there are three things we must all continue to do.

“So please: Get tested, regularly. Self-isolate if you test positive or have symptoms. And, even if you test negative, follow the rules – hands, face, space.”

Director of Testing and Mass Vaccination for Cheshire & Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “This is a huge opportunity for the Liverpool City Region as we continue to lead the way on testing those without symptoms, which I believe had made and will make a real difference to the way we live with Covid-19 while we roll out an effective vaccine.

“The success of repeat, targeted testing in Liverpool over the last month has shown that we can drive down the R-number and identify positive cases in people who had no idea they were carrying and potentially spreading the virus.

“The extension of specific, meaningful testing could lead to some very real benefits for all of us as we seek to return to a more normal way of life going into 2021. Through all this additional carefully targeted testing we could see people who continue to test negative being more able to carry on with normal activities, such as attending a football match or visiting elderly relatives.

“We have a real chance here to further prove that additional testing of those without symptoms can protect lives and livelihoods and I am very proud that Liverpool City Region is at the forefront of this work.”

Details of the roll out in Sefton will be available on this site soon.

Sefton Council reaffirms its commitment to disabled residents as it celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

This month Sefton Council is reaffirming its commitment to Sefton residents as it recognises 25 years since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, 3rd December.

The Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in 1995 following years of protests and campaigning by disabled people.

At the time it was a ground-breaking piece of legislation that made a big change to the lives of many disabled people across the UK.

The Act made it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, and education and transport.

It has since been replaced by the Equality Act 2010, which seeks to further strengthen the laws aimed at tackling discrimination and inequality.

Despite this legislation, people with disabilities still face discrimination and disadvantage in their daily lives, and Sefton Council is committed to working with them, the local community and partners to try and address this.

Image shows a woman smartly dressed in a wheelchair smiling at the camera.
Thursday December 3, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). The annual celebration promotes the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Picture courtesy of Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

Thursday December 3, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

The celebration promotes the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities  in all aspects of society.

Sefton Council is committed to supporting all disabled people in the Borough and seeks advice from people with disabilities to make sure its services and systems are accessible and suitable for their needs.

Working in close partnership with both disabled people and local groups that support people with disabilities, Sefton Council has:

  • Developed its Accessible Communications Policy and reviewed how it shares information with people with different communication needs.
  • Upgraded its website to include the ‘Recite Me’ software, which enables people to change to how information is presented to meet their needs including font size, colour of background, information read aloud and presented in different languages.
  • Worked with people with disabilities across the Borough to create a short film that shows their experiences of the barriers that they face in their day-to-day lives.
  • Developed a training package for Sefton Council staff on how they can make information more accessible to everyone. This has been supported by staff from across the Council volunteering to become Accessible Information Advocates.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “As we mark 25 years since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act and celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is important to reaffirm our commitment to people with disabilities across Sefton.

“Sefton Council is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and we have an equalities representative from the voluntary sector who ensures that people with disabilities have their voices heard and can take part in consultation and engagement activity in a way that meets their needs.

“We are constantly seeking feedback from people with all types of disabilities on how we can support them and improve our services to combat any inequalities or discrimination they may face in their daily lives.

“For example, as a result of feedback from children and young people with Special Educational Needs, and their parents and carers, we have worked with Sefton Parent Carers Forum to develop a ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ guide.

“If you want to find out more about what we offer and how we can help, or if you want to be a part of shaping our services, you can contact us at yourseftonyoursay@sefton.gov.uk

“You can also visit our website to read more about our services and find links to other local services and support groups.”

People can find out more about the Equality Act at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance

More about International Day of Persons with Disabilities is available at https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilitieshttps://idpwd.org/

 

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