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Live map now shows Sefton’s SMART COVID testing site details including likely waiting times

Bootle Map
Details of Bootle Leisure Centre SMART testing site shown on location map.

Sefton residents with NO coronavirus symptoms planning on getting a COVID-19 test can now find details of the Borough’s SMART test sites on a live map.

As well as showing the precisely location of the Bootle Leisure Centre, Southport Splash World and Aintree Racecourse sites, the NHS Find a Test Centre map also gives an indication of how busy they are and the likely waiting time. At the moment, they are all showing green with a waiting time of less than 15 minutes but if they get busier, Sefton Council will update the map to help people make a choice.

Check out the Live map here.

Details of Aintree racecourse SMART testing site shown on location map.
Details of Aintree racecourse SMART testing site shown on location map.

Each site is open from 9am to 6pm every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year’s Day. No appointments are necessary so people can just turn up.

SMART tests identify if people have COVID-19 but don’t know it because they don’t have symptoms. Results take just 30 minutes to come through.

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has described getting a SMART test before Christmas as a way to reduce the chance of passing on the COVID-19 virus to relations who may be vulnerable to what is still a dangerous virus over Christmas.

Details of Southport Splash World SMART testing site shown on location map.
Details of Southport Splash World SMART testing site shown on location map.

She said she understand why people might be reluctant to get a test because a positive result will spoil our Christmas but it’s a question of weighing up a few days’ disappointment against the possibly devastating effects of knowing we’ve given COVID-19 to an elderly or vulnerable relative for whom infection could be very serious and even life-threatening.

“Get a test before getting together,” she added.

Read Margaret Jones’ comments in full.

Covid-19 ‘SMART’ Testing Helps Liverpool City Region Stay in Tier 2

SMART coronavirus testing’s successful roll-out to Sefton and the City Region, has helped the area stay in Tier 2 – and may help reduce restrictions further in the future.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today (Thursday 17th December) that Liverpool City Region would stay in the Government’s Tier 2.

The leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities and Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, are urging people to continue coming forward for the rapid SMART testing as it is repeatedly testing people who have no symptoms in a targeted way which will have significant effect during the coming weeks and months as we strive to keep the spread of virus low.

Liverpool City Region is one of the few places not in Tier 3, where anyone can turn up for rapid, regular and free testing without having symptoms of Covid-19.

Sefton and the opther five City Region councils are taking part in the extended programme which aims to use targeted testing to enable people to live more normal lives.

In addition to identifying people with the virus, who could unknowingly pass it on, regular testing will hopefully allow residents to return to the things they love – and continue to miss as a result of national and local restrictions.

In Sefton, SMART COVID-19 testing for residents who DON’T have COVID-19 symptoms is now taking place at:

  • Splash World in Southport
  • Bootle Leisure Centre
  • Aintree Racecourse.

Each site is open from 9am to 6pm every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year’s Day. No appointments necessary so you can just turn up.

“SMART” testing refers to Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing, with the approach being based on the learning of the pilot in Liverpool which continues to inform how testing can be developed nationally.

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

Testing in this way does not mean that people should not continue to be vigilant, but the benefits of identifying those who are carrying the virus, without knowing, are already showing through.

In a joint statement today , Sefton Council leader, the Metro Mayor, Acting Mayor of Liverpool and Leaders of the other Local Authority Leaders, said: “When our region went from the highest tier into Tier 2 restrictions after the national lockdown ended, we said it was a vindication of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of the 1.6m people who live in our region.

“Today’s announcement that we are to continue in Tier 2 is a credit to all of those people that acted responsibly to help reduce our transmission rates. Now is not the time to be complacent.

“Tier 2 is not without restrictions, but it does mean that people are able to enjoy a more ordinary Christmas. We cannot afford to undo all the hard work and sacrifice that people have made over the past few weeks.

“It is really important that we remain vigilant, celebrate responsibly and safely, especially if we are to avoid more severe restrictions in the new year. So please keep following the advice, get tested and keep each other safe.

“Coronavirus is the worst present you can give anybody this Christmas, so please look out for each other.”

Director of Testing and Mass Vaccination for Cheshire & Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “SMART is a huge opportunity for the Liverpool City Region and I’ve no doubt that the unprecedented amount of testing we’ve been doing has helped us get the R down and allowed us to stay in Tier 2. We continue to lead the way on testing those without symptoms across the region.

“I believe that targeted repeat testing, two or three times a week, of certain groups of people can make a real difference to the way we live with Covid-19 as we continue to roll out an effective vaccine.

“We can make use of SMART to be as sure as possible that we are not carrying Covid-19 to the Christmas table or spreading it to our loved ones as we enjoy the festive period.

“Together, let’s keep proving that additional testing of those without symptoms can help protect lives and livelihoods, while of course still being careful to do the basics – hands, space, face.

“Look after your family and friends this Christmas and get tested to protect them and others now and into the new year.”

Find out more about SMART testing in Sefton.

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 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 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 to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.



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