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Council leader responds to speculation on Government plans for further Merseyside COVID restrictions

Responding today to speculation that the Government is going to announce further COVID-19 restrictions across Merseyside Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher said:

“As a result of the continued rise in numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infections, both regionally and nationally, we understand that the Government is planning on imposing further restrictions across Merseyside.

“This could mean that households will not be able to mix and we await clarification about any other possible restrictions. This is despite the further measured introduced across Merseyside on 22 September.

“While, along with other Merseyside leaders, I would have liked to have seen enforcement of current restrictions before new ones are added, I will support any measures that will protect vulnerable people in our communities.

“However, I have joined Merseyside leaders in writing to the Government to seek clarity on what resources they will make available for us and the Police to enforce these measures.

“We want the Government to extend the furlough scheme, and to provide further financial support for our businesses and their employees, particularly in the leisure, hospitality and sport industries.

“We will await the government’s guidelines on mixing and we have highlighted the potential effects of separating children from key workers in school and early years settings as we as stressing the importance of maintaining resilience in the health and public sectors to minimise isolation.

“Once again, I would like to thank Sefton’s residents and businesses for all the efforts and sacrifices they have made during the pandemic.

“I would also stress how important it is that people stick to the current guidelines and any new regulations, not just to avoid the heavy fines they could face but to protect our communities, our vulnerable, our economy and our future.”

Ellen’s inspirational website helps give young people in Sefton a voice

Sefton’s Early Help team are delighted to help an inspirational young person, who struggles with a communication disorder, to make her voice heard and support others through her own website.

Sixteen-year-old Ellen from Crosby has been diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) which is a type of speech, language and communication need that affects the way children understand and use language. It is more common than autism with up to two children in every classroom having the disorder.

Living with DLD has meant that through her life Ellen has struggled to express herself and process complex sentences and to feel heard, preferring to communicate by writing words down or making videos.

Hannah Howard from Sefton’s Early Help team said: “Like many other young people with a similar condition, Ellen feels that she is not heard because she can’t communicate easily, and people’s patience, belief in her and understanding is varied and often limited.

“This has had an effect on her education as well as her social and emotion

Ellen’s website ‘This is DLD’ gives help and advice to people who have difficulties expressing themselves.

al wellbeing, however Ellen has said that having the support from people who have really listened has made a massive difference.”

“I have been absolutely inspired by Ellen. As a professional I have always strived to listen and put every child at the centre of what I do.

“Ellen has reminded me of the importance of us all taking the time to increase our understanding and knowledge around individual needs and that taking extra time to ensure a child has a voice is paramount.”

Ellen’s mum Roisin said: “Ellen has received support from Sefton’s Early Help team who have been there to help stop us getting to crisis point and their support has been immeasurable.

“The way they put Ellen first shines through, and they always come back to ‘what does Ellen want’. They have been Ellen’s voice and she really feels they have enabled her to be heard.

“We have also received amazing support from the Venus Centre in Sefton (which provides counselling), her head teacher at Holy Family Catholic High School and Speech and language therapists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

“They are helping to empower Ellen so she can achieve her full potential by continuing to promote communication and give practical advice and encouragement while     putting Ellen’s voice at the centre of everything they do.”

With her support network on board, Ellen has used her own experiences to help others by developing a website.

‘This is DLD’, not only gives a personal insight into Ellen’s experience of living with the disorder but also gives help and advice to people who have difficulties expressing themselves.

The website contains videos and pictures giving advice to practitioners and teachers on how they can help a child with DLD, such as taking enough time to respond and using pictures sometimes instead of words.

Ellen said: “When you struggle with communication life can be hard for you and your family as you need words for everything.

“Often, I have felt invisible. However, over the last year I have had Alison from Sefton Speech and Language therapy, Paula from Venus and Hannah from Early Help supporting me and my family.

“They listened and followed things through. They believed in me and helped me find my voice and speak out about the things that mattered to me.

“I wanted to help give a voice to all those children and families in the same situation as us. It is important that they too are seen and heard, so with my Uncle’s help I have created a website to try and get the message out to the right people so things can change.

“I want people to understand what it is like growing up in a place without a voice and how they can help make life easier. None of this costs money, only time. Everyone deserves a fair chance.”

Ellen’s ‘This is DLD’ website can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/thisisdld/home

Advice on Merseyside COVID restrictions from our Director of Public Health

With the new restrictions being introduced for Merseyside, and across the country, we caught up with Sefton’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones and asked her a range of questions including:

‘What are the new restrictions and how do they affect people in Sefton?’

‘How will they affect people’s childcare arrangements?’

‘What should I do if my child get sent home from school?’

‘Is testing still important and when should I get one?’

‘Should I download the Test and Trace app?’

You can see Margaret’s answers along with advice on meeting up with friends and socialising here.

Want further information?

You can find more information and FAQs on local restrictions here.

Borough’s teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and pupils praised

Cllr John Joseph Kelly Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding has praised the Borough’s teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and pupils themselves for the all that they are doing to ensure children can safely attend school.

Cllr Kelly said: “As with the rest of the region, it is a rapidly changing picture with as many as one third of schools in Sefton having been affected in some way.

“We have had class and year bubbles and the staff who work with them sent home while others are returning following periods of self-isolation.

Rumours

He continued: “Schools have done a great job informing parents and reassuring them that every effort is being made to ensure that children can safely attend school and to quell any rumours that may be being spread.

“Schools have also been also following Department for Education and Public Health England guidelines and we are all doing everything we can to ensure that our children and young people do not miss out on their vital education.”

“I would like to say a personal ‘thank you’ to teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and to the pupils themselves for working with us during this challenging period and also to wish a speedy recovery to anyone who is unwell.”

Symptoms

Cllr Kelly went on to emphasise the importance of anyone with coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperatures, new constant cough or a loss of taste or smell, booking a test as soon as they are able.

He said: “Testing is key to helping prevent the spread of infections and with the current pressure on accessing appointments, we would remind people that they should only book a test if they have the coronavirus

“They should not be trying to book themselves a test because their child has symptoms or has been sent home from school.”

Details of the latest restrictions affecting the region and how people might be affected by them can be found on the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/coronavirus along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These Questions cover a range of areas including people’s households and social life, their support bubbles and childcare, support for vulnerable people and education.

Details of latest COVID restrictions and FAQs available

Sefton Leader Cllr Ian Maher is urging people to visit the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19 to find out more about the new, local COVID-19 restrictions and how they might affected by them.

A full list of Frequently Asked Questions about the new measures can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covidfaqs

The questions cover a range of areas including:

  • what the new measures mean and what areas they cover;
  • how they will affect people’s households and social life;
  • support bubbles and childcare;
  • support for vulnerable people;
  • education;
  • travel;
  • pubs bars and restaurants;
  • funerals;
  • weddings;
  • sporting events;
  • places of worship.

The guidance applies across the Liverpool City Region and will be updated in line with any further Government guidance. Also if the need for any Sefton-specific guidance emerges, it will be added to the list.

Find out more.

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