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Update on measures to protect poultry against avian flu

Prevention zone and poultry gatherings ban to be lifted in England on 15 May, with localised measures in Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside.

New ‘Include-IT Mersey’ project aims to get people online

Include-IT Mersey is a new project, jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund as part of its 2014-2020 Building Better Opportunities Programme.  The project will provide a personalised package of support to digitally excluded residents of the Liverpool City Region that are out of work to help improve their IT and online skills, confidence in using and practical access to digital technologies and, ultimately, support them towards and into employment.

The project will be delivered by a partnership of 23* not-for-profit and public sector partners spanning the six boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Halton and Wirral, with specific target areas in each borough.

Led by Sefton CVS, in collaboration with VOLA Consortium members, local Housing Associations and Local Authorities, this innovative multi-agency partnership is founded on partners that really care about their local communities.  It will ensure that those in need of support to help develop their IT skills, access to online services and digital technologies will receive the best possible service, whatever their starting point.  In addition to IT skills development, assistance will include employability and personal skills development to support people into or closer to employment.

Angela White, Chief Executive of Sefton CVS said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding and it is an honour to be leading such an innovative partnership, spanning the voluntary, public and social housing sectors.  The online agenda is increasingly prevalent in people’s every day lives and can present an additional barrier to those people that are not online, not just in terms of their employment prospects and access to job opportunities, but in their private and social lives too. Developing IT skills and getting online can open up a whole new world to people in many different ways!  We very much look forward to working with our partners to offer this vital service to across the city region and to make a real difference to local people and communities”.   

The project is currently being set up and hopes to start being able to offer services to people from May 2017, and more details will be announced in the coming weeks. For those already online, you can find out more and sign up to receive updates at www.includeitmersey.org.uk.

Gardner Avenue Allotments

Sefton Council can confirm it has no plans to permit a developer to build houses on Gardner Avenue allotments in Bootle. 

An adjoining landowner contacted the Council expressing an interest in a wider scheme to potentially develop the allotment land with the provision of new allotments near by.

Sefton Council has a duty to consider any expressions of interest developers wish to make but having viewed the early proposals, we can confirm we will not be taking this any further.

Gardener Ave is a ‘statutory allotment’ as defined under the Allotments Act 1922 and is one of Sefton Council’s 14 allotment sites.

Allotment owners and the potential developer will be notified directly about this.

PCC visits ground-breaking project aimed at protecting youngsters from Child Criminal Exploitation

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has visited a ground-breaking project run in partnership with Knowsley and Sefton Council to help protect some of the region’s most vulnerable young people from being exploited by more sophisticated criminals.

The joint Knowsley and Sefton Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) Prevention and Support programme was commissioned by Jane Kennedy with the aim of preventing children from being drawn into criminal activities by older criminals and gangs.

The project is one of three pilots that the Police Commissioner commissioned last November to help tackle the emerging issue of CCE and was match-funded by both the Local Authorities. The Commissioner was joined by representatives from both councils to see the programme in action at St Columba’s Catholic Primary School on Hillside Road in Huyton.

Approximately 30 pupils from years 5 and 6 attended the assembly led by project workers Jay Vernon and Mark Reynolds. The presentation included a story which highlighted the potential dangers of CCE and prompted discussion among the children about what exploitation means, how they could potentially be pressured or exploited by older children and the consequences for themselves, their friends and families.

Children from across the two Boroughs (school years 5-9) will attend the group sessions which increase young people’s awareness, develop their resilience and help them to make choices which prevent from getting drawn into criminal activities.

The schools package is complemented by the work of a Prevention Advocate who has been funded to offer specialist advice and support for children who have been identified as at particular risk of exploitation, and their parents. The project will also enable more than 50 professionals across the Boroughs to receive training so they can continue the work going forward.

Jane said: “Child Criminal Exploitation is a rapidly emerging issue which is a major concern for our communities.

“Children as young as 10 or 11 are being groomed to enter gangs and commit crime on behalf of older criminals. These young people are being exploited and, by being persuaded to carry out illegal activities, often with the promise of something they desire as a reward, they become incredibly vulnerable.

“While there is now much greater awareness of the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation, Child Criminal Exploitation is still very much an unknown quantity. It is difficult to quantify the scale of the problem and there can often be complex factors affecting a young person’s life when they are driven by CCE into committing crime

“Victims of CCE are often fearful of getting into trouble themselves – for the very actions they have been exploited into carrying out – so it can also be difficult to get these young people to come forward and speak out about their situation.

“This pilot projects run in partnership with Knowsley and Sefton Council is one of the first steps we are taking into trying to develop a greater understanding of CCE and the multi-faceted issues surrounding it. It was really impressive to see the programme in action at St Columba’s. While it uses a gentle approach which is appropriate for the age of the children, it was great to see how much the children engaged with the topic. It was also clear to see how effective the programme is in helping young people to recognise the warning signs, opening their eyes to how they may become exploited to prevent them from becoming embroiled in activities that could, if they continued unchecked, potentially get them into trouble.”

While there is still no legal definition of ‘Child Criminal Exploitation’ or CCE, it is increasingly being recognised as a major factor behind crime in communities across Merseyside and the UK, while also simultaneously victimising vulnerable young people and leaving them at risk of harm.

A spokesman for Sefton Council added: “We welcome the joint partnership with Knowsley and the Police Commissioner and our combined efforts to reducing child criminal exploitation within the two boroughs. It’s very important for us to ensure children know about the risks and dangers of becoming involved with criminal gangs and to make sure that they know the tactics they may use to lure them into criminal behaviour.”

Change of dates for CCG health meetings

Health commissioners in Sefton have released revised meeting schedules for their bi-monthly governing bodies, which borough residents are welcome to attend to hear more about their local NHS.

It means that governing body meetings for NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG will now take place in early May, a month earlier than previously advertised.

Chief officer for both CCGs, Fiona Taylor, explained: “Governing bodies are the CCGs most important business meetings where members of the group discuss and make decisions about local health services.

“We’ve moved our meetings to earlier in the month so information presented to the governing bodies is more timely, and we have changed the month when they are held so they fall outside the main summer holiday period to give as many people as possible the chance to come along and listen in to our discussions.”   

CCGs are responsible for planning and buying, or ‘commissioning’ the majority of local health services and governing bodies are accountable for their work. The NHS organisations welcome anyone with an interest in their work to come along and listen to the discussions of the doctors, nurses, health professionals and lay representatives who make up the governing bodies. 

All governing body meetings start at 1pm and time is set aside before they formally begin for people to ask any questions they might have.

The next governing body meetings take place on the following new dates:

  • NHS Southport and Formby CCG – Wednesday 3 May, Family Life Centre, Ash St, Southport
  • NHS South Sefton CCG – Thursday 4 May, 3rd floor, Merton House, Stanley Rd, Bootle

Anyone who would like to come along is asked to call 0151 247 7000 to confirm their attendance.

A full schedule of each CCG’s new governing body meeting dates can be found on their websites www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk and www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk

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