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Sefton Aiming for Inclusive Growth

At today’s Cabinet Meeting (November 3rd) Sefton Council’s Cabinet Members approved an updated Economic Strategy, aimed at helping the local economy to grow, and supporting local residents and businesses.

Four key themes

The Sefton Economic Strategy focuses on four key themes, all geared toward economic growth that will benefit residents, businesses, and communities in Sefton.

  • Employment and Opportunities for Work
  • Business Growth and Investment
  • Regenerated Places
  • Social Inclusion and Access for All 

You can find the Sefton Economic Strategy Update here.

Opportunities

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, says: “The Sefton Economic Strategy focuses on four key themes, one of which is “Regenerated Places”, which aims to improve Sefton as a place to live and work, and to attract visitors and investment. We want to create opportunities for local business, help develop supply chains and create employment and skills development programmes. 

“Of course, we are unashamedly ambitious for the entire borough of Sefton, and the Council has put its money where its mouth is by leading on the delivery of a large scale regeneration programme, from the building of a £73 million Marine Lake Events Centre and the opening of the repurposed Southport Market into a repurposed Food and Drink venue, to the regeneration of Bootle Town Centre, the Strand and Bootle Canalside, to name just a few of our major projects.

“We are ambitious for the economy of Sefton, our businesses, and our people.

Inclusive growth

“Our focus is on inclusive growth. We are fully committed to growth and prosperity, but not at any cost.  We’re not solely focused on the economic and financial outcomes of growth in our borough, but on the social and environmental outcomes too, and I don’t believe we need to trade one for the other.

“One example of this is the strategy of our wholly owned hospitality company, delivering quality employment and career opportunities alongside a fantastic customer offer at the Lake House in Waterloo.

“Another is the Strand Shopping Centre, where we are working with a range of partner organisations to deliver spaces and events that not only help deliver positive community outcomes, but also drive footfall in the town centre.

“We believe in a “People First” approach and will continue to engage with partners and communities about our strategies, projects and action plans for inclusive growth across the whole borough.”

You can find details of today’s Cabinet Meeting here.

Volunteer sought to help scrutinise Sefton Council decisions

Are you passionate about local government and want to help make sure the right decisions are being made?

Unique

Sefton Council is offering a unique opportunity for someone with the right professional background and expertise to sit on its Audit and Governance Committee.

Meeting around five times a year, the Audit and Governance Committee’s role is to consider and approve the Council’s accounts, internal control systems, risk management and corporate governance issues, as set out in the council’s Constitution.

Cllr Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: 

“Proper audit and governance is the backbone of an effective public body and local democracy.

“Our Audit and Governance Committee scrutinises many aspects of the Council’s work and ensures we are meeting the high standards of transparency and accountability that we set ourselves and in which we take pride.”

The successful candidate will sit as an independent member of the committee, which has a clear annual work programme that reflects its role within the organisation. They will act in an advisory position, objectively scrutinising a range of issues to help the Committee carry out its duties.

Cllr Dave Robinson, Chair of Sefton Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, said: 

“We would expect an independent member serving on the committee to be integral to its work.

 “They need the right skills and experience to fulfil the role and to provide clear support and guidance and, where appropriate, challenging decisions while supporting the council in delivering its objectives.” 

“Adopting a politically neutral perspective in the Committee is compulsory and we expect the successful candidate to conduct themselves with the highest levels of integrity, openness and honesty.

“While undertaking this role, all efforts will be made to ensure we assist in your personal development and provide training opportunities where possible.”

Anyone who is interested in applying for the role can request an application pack by calling 0151 934 2181 or by email via ruth.appleby@sefton.gov.uk

For more information on the role please click here

Sefton Council warns loan sharks circling as cost of living crisis bites

Graphic saying 'Don't Let Loan Sharks Drag You Under' Sefton Council is warning people not to turn to loan sharks as the national Cost of Living Crisis takes hold.

Circling

Loan sharks are circling, knowing that many local people are going to be facing difficult choices between feeding their family and heating their home, and may be thinking of turning to them.

Often, they use social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to target their victims. To start with their offers can look like a short-term fix but very quickly rising interest rates mean rocketing payments, with people owing many many times what they first borrowed.

And failure to pay can lead to threats and violence.

Rather than turning to loan sharks, Sefton Council is urging people to visit www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living where there are links to a range of advice and support including Debt Advice.

There is also information about the Council’s Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme which can provide a one-off payment to help local residents experiencing severe hardship, a disaster or emergency.

People can also visit The Sefton Support Hub, a digital One Stop Shop for residents to find help, advice and guidance, as well as financial and social support, at www.sefton.gov.uk/seftonsupporthub .

Free computer and Wi-Fi access

People who do not have access to the Internet or a PC or smartphone can get online at their local Sefton Council Library where there is free computer and Wi-Fi access.

And, because there are those who do not have easy access to digital information, the Council has also produced and distributed an easy-print factsheet that can be downloaded from www.sefton.gov.uk/factsheet.

The Council’s Contact Centre can also be contacted on 0345 140 0845 from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Most vulnerable

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Sadly, loan sharks step up their activities at times like this and target the most vulnerable.

“To people struggling with the current cost of surviving crisis they can look like a way out, but it is only a very temporary solution.

“However, anyone taking out a loan with one of these heartless predators nearly always ends up in a much worse situation owing many times what they initially borrowed and potentially facing threats of violence to them and their family.”

“I would urge anyone struggling to visit www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living or www.sefton.gov.uk/seftonsupporthub or to phone our Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.”

Report it

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by a loan shark can report it in confidence to an Illegal Money Lending Team by

Updates can be found from Stop Loan Sharks England on Twitter and on Facebook.  

And there is also a Stop Loan Sharks page on the Sefton Directory. 

Footbridge closure on A5036 Park Lane – update

Video fly through image of the A5036 park Lane footbridgeFollowing an incident on Friday 7th October, in which a vehicle struck it, the A5036 Park Lane footbridge it is no longer safe for pedestrians to use.

Demolition

After carrying out an assessment of the damage, National Highways will be demolishing the existing bridge overnight from Saturday 22nd  to Sunday 23rd October.

This will require a full overnight closure of the A5036 in both directions between Park Lane footbridge and A5038 Netherton Way from 8pm on Saturday 22 to 7am on Sunday 23 October.

Temporary pedestrian crossing

The Park Lane junction and the temporary pedestrian crossing approximately 60 metres west of the footbridge will remain open while the demolition takes place.

A diversion route via Netherton Way, Bridle Road and Park Lane will be clearly signposted. People are being advised to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.

National Highways aims to complete this work to schedule, but the times above may need to be extended if affected by bad weather. They apologise for any inconvenience this overnight road closure causes.

Vital crossing

Park Lane footbridge is located at the junction with the A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road  and provides a vital crossing point for the local community and amenities such as Our Lady of Walsingham Primary School. 

National Highways have considered many options, while bearing in mind the inevitable disruption to the local community and road users and believes the best, quickest, most practical and safest option is to replace the bridge completely. 

The new footbridge will reflect changes to design standards introduced since the existing bridge was constructed in 1968 and will comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995 and 2005).

Link to the National Highways website. 

Council’s half-term meal vouchers will help Sefton families through what Cabinet member calls ‘cost of surviving crisis’

Image of children eating school dinnerDuring this month’s schools half-term holiday, Sefton Council will be supporting over 9,000 local families by providing them with meal vouchers.

Families eligible for free school meals can use the vouchers, worth £15 per child per week to buy food from local supermarkets, either in-store or online.

Double whammy

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “During each school holiday we have provided this support for local families.

“This year, many already-struggling households are facing a double whammy of much higher fuel bills and rising prices in the shops, as a result of inflation.

“Even though the Government eventually agreed to providing households with a loan to keep bills down for now, families across Sefton are facing a cost of living crisis.

“Or what must, for those facing choices between heating or eating, must feel more like a cost of surviving crisis.

“I am glad Sefton Council is at least able to provide those families with some direct assistance and reassurance through the school holiday meal voucher scheme.”

Food and essentials

Accepted by supermarkets across Sefton, the half-term meals vouchers can only be spent on food and essentials and can’t be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top-ups or stamps.

Free school meals and how to apply for them is one of the areas covered in the special Cost of Living section that Sefton Council has set up on its website at www.sefton.gov.uk/costofliving. Other areas include Welfare Benefits, help with rent and Council Tax, debt advice, health and wellbeing, foodbanks & food pantries and a link to the Sefton Support Hub.

Additionally, there are details of the Emergency Limited Assistance (ELAS) scheme, which can provide a one-off payment to Sefton residents experiencing severe hardship, a disaster or emergency.

Economy benefits

Cllr Hardy also welcomed the findings of research carried out by PWC on behalf of charity Impact on Urban Health which has shown that expanding free school meals provisions nationally could generate up to £41.3bn for the economy.

She said: “Our main aim in providing this holidays support has been to feed children in Sefton and prevent the long-term health problems that a poor nourishment can cause, even when the Government has appeared reluctant to do so.

“However, these new findings should encourage our growth-focused Prime Minister to expand the scheme in the future to ensure that no child goes hungry in Sefton or anywhere else, and that the economy benefits at the same time.”

Free school meals is one of the links on the the Sefton Council cost of living page created to put information on support and advice in one place.

Because there are those who do not have easy access to digital information, the Council has also produced and distributed an easy-print factsheet. It contains advice about support available as well as a reminder that there is free computer and Wi-Fi access at all Sefton Council Libraries. People just need to visit their local branch to find out more.

The factsheet can be downloaded from www.sefton.gov.uk/factsheet and the Council’s Contact Centre can also be contacted on 0345 140 0845.

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