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Sefton Council thanks volunteers for immense contribution during Volunteer’s Week 2022

Sefton Council is saying “thank you” to the hundreds of volunteers who give up their spare time to give back to the Borough, as Volunteer’s Week 2022 comes to an end.

During an exceptionally difficult couple of years, people in Sefton have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to their communities – just as they do every year.

The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering. However, the coronavirus pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by volunteers.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, has paid tribute to the Borough’s volunteers, saying they set a shining example to our communities.

Cllr Hardy said: “Just this past weekend alone we saw many wonderful community events organised by volunteers to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

“Thank you to all Sefton volunteers, both past and present! And to those who are considering taking up a volunteering role in the future, I can only stress how vital and appreciated your support will be, whatever you choose to do.”

If anyone would like to volunteer their time, there are so many opportunities to volunteer across Sefton.

Sefton CVS manage Volunteer Centre Sefton and it is a great resource to find out more about what opportunities are out there.  Head to the Volunteer Centre Sefton website to find out how you can get involved.

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Sefton’s Fostering Services’ ‘Pop-Up’ Success During Foster Care Fortnight

Sefton Foster Carer Ginny and Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Cabinet Member for Children's Social Care standing in front of neon angel wings
Sefton Foster Carer Ginny and Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care

Sefton has hailed Foster Care Fortnight 2022 a great success as the Fostering Team went into the heart of the community to speak to people about how our foster carers are changing the lives of children and young people.

A ‘Pop-Up’ shop was set up at Bootle Strand Shopping Centre for four days, giving people the chance to meet some of Sefton’s amazing foster carers, our exceptional young people who have lived or are currently living in foster care and the Fostering Services’ friendly team.

With a life-size children’s bedroom as a window display, people were prompted to ask themselves whether they had a spare room to offer a child a safe place to stay.

The Strand proved to be the perfect place to reach out to the public as lots of Sefton residents, businesses and community groups attended events including an open discussion and Q&A with an experienced panel, information sessions and drop-ins.

People also took part in angel themed activities which aligned with our #EverydayAngel campaign, celebrating our foster carers and urging local people to think about giving a loving home to a child and become their #EverydayAngel.

People young and old were invited to take a snap in front of the Instagramable neon angel wings and got involved in the ‘Angel Wing Project’, which will see hundreds of decorated paper feathers make up large angel wings to be displayed at various locations across the borough.

Angela has been fostering babies with Sefton for 10 years and spoke to people at the Strand, “It’s been brilliant to be out and about talking to shoppers about my experiences. So many people have stopped and said they’ve thought about fostering or they’d love to do it but never got round to speaking to anyone about it.

“If fostering has ever crossed your mind, please just take that first step to find out more. I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Amy Lahiff is a Personal Advisor for Sefton’s Leaving Care Team and was herself in Residential Care from the age of 13. She came along to the Strand to share her experiences.

“It’s so important for me to let people know how vital it is that we have more foster carers. I was in Residential Care and am so grateful to the staff there but I always longed to be in a foster home so I could feel like I was part of a family again and have that one-to-one love and support.

Because of the lack of carers no one came forward to foster me and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Attending the Q&A panel discussion event, Councillor Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said;

“I have spent a fantastic morning listening to foster carers and people who have been in care themselves and it’s so inspirational to hear their stories.

“Its such privilege to be a foster carer, you are doing something amazing for young people in care in Sefton please come and find out more.”

Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team by calling the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

Or by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

Foster Care Fortnight Celebrations at the Strand Shopping Centre

It’s Foster Care Fortnight (9th – 22st May), the annual celebration which allows us to raise awareness about how fostering makes a real difference to children’s lives.

The theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #FosteringCommunities and we wanted to give the local community, businesses and services who are all part of our ‘Fostering Community’, the opportunity to hear first-hand, the heart-warming and exceptional experiences from people whose lives have been touched by fostering.

To do this, our friendly team, Sefton’s Foster Carers, and young people, will be at the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle for 4 days for you to come and chat to us. We will also be bringing some great events and activities for you to get involved in so please come along.

Wednesday 18th May – Saturday 21st May

Strand Shopping Centre – Upper Level, Unit 165 Parkside (Next to JD Sports and opposite Greggs Bakers)

Events and Activities

Decorate a Feather for our Art Installation

Our #EverydayAngel campaign celebrates our foster carers, who are our #EverydayAngels and it also urges local people to think about giving a loving home to a child and become their #EverydayAngel.

In line with our campaign, we are excited to be developing an art installation which consists of hundreds of paper feathers which will make up a pair of larger angel wings. Our fostering families have already been making our individual feathers look beautiful and we are also inviting you to pop along to the Strand to decorate your own to be added to the display.

BE AN ANGEL

You can become part of our #EverydayAngel team by coming along and taking a selfie in front of the fabulous neon wing stand that we will be bringing to the Strand while we are there. Make your visit to us even more memorable by taking a snap of you and your friends to post on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Wednesday 18th, 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Our friendly team including our foster carers will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat. In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a Foster Carer and the benefits that come with it.

Thursday 19th May, 10.30 – 12noon Open Discussion Q&A

You are invited to be part of an audience listening to a great panel of speakers including our foster carers, young people whose lives have been turned around and representatives from the Council who are supporting our fostering families.

The event will be introduced and led by Laura Knights, Sefton Council’s Head of Children’s Social Care.

Will also be playing a video we have produced with 14-year-old Jamie who is from Sefton and who is currently living in foster care. In this heart-warming video, Jamie shares his wishes and feelings past and present.

Friday 20th May 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Another chance for you to meet our friendly team including our foster carers who will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat.

In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

Saturday 21st May 11 – 1pm Weekend Info Session

If you’ve been thinking about fostering what better place to learn more than at our weekend information session.

Meet one of our amazing foster carers Dawn, and Amina, a young person who has experienced living in foster care and now lives with Dawn.

They are eager to share their story about how fostering has transformed their lives. You’ll also be able to speak to the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

We would ask you to register your interest in our events so we have an idea of numbers.

Email fostering@sefton.gov.uk or call us on 0800 923 2777

Double national awards success for Sefton Young Advisors

Young Advisors Co-ordinator Georgia Ribbens with the Community Project of the Year
Young Advisors Co-ordinator Georgia Ribbens with the Community Project of the Year

A project which enables the voices of young people in Sefton to be heard in community life has landed two top national awards.

Members of the Sefton Young Advisors (YAs) are celebrating after one of their team was honoured as national Young Advisor of the Year, and they also collected the Community Project of the Year award for an initiative with Sefton Council.

Trained consultants

The Young Advisors are managed by Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and are trained consultants aged from 15-23 who help organisations to understand the interests of young people, and how to get their message across to them in a more youth-friendly way.

Both awards were presented at the recent AGM and conference of the national Young Advisors charity which was held online this year due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Youth proof

They also help agencies to ‘youth proof’ the way they operate, and to attract and maintain the interest of young people in their work.

Isabelle Heeley has been honoured as the country’s top Young Advisor.
Isabelle Heeley has been honoured as the country’s top Young Advisor.

According to the award citation, Isabelle Heeley was recognised as the country’s top Young Advisor for her leadership and communication skills, her friendliness and her valuable input into the key projects the Young Advisors have worked on over the last 12 months.

Great example

Commenting on Isabella – who has recently started university in Korea whilst continuing to work as a YA remotely – Co-ordinator Georgia Ribbens said: “We have been very lucky to have Bella on our team and she has set a great example for future members!”

Meanwhile, the Young Advisors received the second award for their consultation work as part of the Sefton Your Streets initiative. This involved gathering opinions from secondary students on issues around travelling to and from school safely.

Creativity

Sefton CVS Chief Executive, Angela White OBE, said: “To win these two prestigious awards is a fantastic achievement and I would like to congratulate Isabella and the whole of the Young Advisors team on their success.

“As their work on Sefton Your Streets has again shown, they are consistently proactive and creative in finding new ways to ensure that children and young people are given more of a say in decisions that are made about services that affect them.

“I am delighted that their creativity and hard work has been recognised at national level in this way and for Sefton Council’s continued support of the YAs.”

Invaluable

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “The Sefton Young Advisors provide an invaluable service supporting young people across the Borough and ensuring their voices are heard.

“I would like to congratulate Isabella and the team as a whole on this national recognition and look forward to our continued work with them.”

Find out more about Sefton Young Advisors

Sefton says thanks to all involved in summer school meal programme

Packed lunches in summer school meal programme Catering staff preparing free school mealsSefton Council is saying a huge “thank you” to all who were involved in providing vital free lunches for schoolchildren form eligible families and other groups across the Borough throughout the 2021 summer holidays.

Over 5,000 meals, in the form of takeaway packed lunches, were prepared and distributed to a range of Sefton locations throughout the summer holiday. Catering teams across the Borough worked tirelessly in the preparation, packing and delivery of the meals for children, families and older people.

Once again, the Council and Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) worked with local Voluntary, Community and Faith (VCF) sector organisations across the Borough to co-ordinate additional access to food.

As in 2020, families who have had their income significantly affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were also eligible for the scheme.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “This is always a very important service to provide and we continue to do all we can to help people who would otherwise struggle to put food on the table.

“We have had families tell us that without this service, they would have to miss paying bills to meet the extra cost of feeding their children during the long summer months.

“We are delighted that we were once again able to help and support those families that are most in need within our communities and I would like to thank personally everyone who was involved in coordinating, preparing and distributing these lunches.”

This is the sixth year of the summer lunches initiative.

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