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Festival of Ideas heads for Bootle

New project, backed by Sefton Council, aims to give residents a say in how to ‘build back better’.

Sefton Council has launched a new call for ideas to inspire the ‘Build Back Better’ ethos sweeping the country in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council – Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture 2020 – sponsored the project, which is being delivered by maker space and social enterprise Make CIC, and social economy business support community, Kindred.

The ‘Festival of Ideas’ will inspire local people to share ideas related to five themes – ‘making and selling’; ‘food and growing’; ‘music and culture’; ‘health and wellbeing’ and ‘spaces for change’.

Following an initial programme to inspire people to think about their ideas, the organisers will support people to develop their ideas, which are then put forward for a share of a £6k development fund.

Bootle Festival of Ideas will also ask local people what they’d like to see in the area, creating citizen-led impetus for change.

Make co-founder Liam Kelly says:

“Bootle is brimming with ideas and this festival is an opportunity for people to bring their ideas to the table and tell us what ‘build back better’ means. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated challenges faced by our region’s town centres and Bootle is no different. But we firmly believe that the people who live, work and socialise there are the ones who have the ideas to overcome the challenges. Some ideas may benefit from a small starter grant to give it a try! Others may find what they need by coming together to collaborate. We’re looking forward to celebrating everything great about Bootle.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:
“The Festival of Ideas is a unique opportunity, amidst the chaos of the last few months, for Sefton residents to bring about positive changes to their own lives, to their communities and our culture.

“We are a borough that offers it all, Sefton has something for everyone, and this festival is a truly exciting way of bringing people together to talk through ideas and innovations, share opportunities and feel inspired.

“When we first looked in to having a Festival of Ideas, we originally had a very different format in mind. We’ve had to react quickly to rapidly unfolding events and take an entirely new approach to the Festival of Ideas. Similarly we successfully delivered much of our Borough of Culture programme digitally and virtually, and so we’ve taken the learning and applied it here, moving to a digital approach to the festival of ideas too. So, for everyone staying safe at home, you can still get involved as we’ll be presenting a programme of
live-streamed events via Zoom.”

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:
“Sefton is known for its entrepreneurial and enterprise culture, and is home to businesses of all sizes, from international organisations and small start-ups to social enterprises and community organisations. Our objective with the Festival of Ideas is to enhance Sefton’s  reputation as a borough of ideas and innovation.

“Working with Make CIC we will be hosting a series of online events over a whole month from 2nd September to the 2nd October, with further events and exhibitions in the planning following that.

“With five key focus areas covering very real issues and challenges such as health in our local communities, or transforming unused buildings and forgotten spaces, to inspiring a new generation of artists, musicians and poets, the festival provides opportunities for Sefton
residents to share concepts, swap insights and trade opinions.

“We want to champion the next big things and help local people get new ideas off the ground, so they can seize new opportunities to make a positive difference to our beautiful borough.”

Festival of Ideas was run in Wirral in 2017, supporting a number of projects across the borough which have grown and developed into businesses, including Future Yard, Origami Pulse, and the Make Hamilton makerspace.

Residents can engage with the project in the first instance by signing up for one of six introductory sessions. More details are available on the Make Liverpool website:

For more information, please contact Make CIC on 0151 601 8665 or by email:

Twenty-one acts plus five films showcasing Waterloo will be streamed for Bank Holiday Virtual festival

A unique virtual music festival will be streamed online over the August Bank Holiday weekend to replace the cancelled Waterloo Festival.

Nineteen of the bands originally booked for the June Festival, which could not take place owing to the coronavirus pandemic, have recorded a 30-minute set at a ‘Covid-secure’ studio in Bootle on a full-sized stage with special effects. Plus, there are two international bands, from Brazil and France, taking the total number of acts to 21.

Their pre-recorded shows will be streamed free of charge over three different sessions from this Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August 31 and will be hosted by radio DJ Claire Simmo.

Find out more including how to watch the streams.

The Virtual Waterloo Festival also includes five short films produced by the organisers to help promote a positive image of Waterloo to an audience watching the internet streams in this country and overseas.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s main Borough of Culture sponsor said: “Each year Sefton Council has supported the Waterloo Festival and I am delighted that this year it will be going ahead in this innovative format.

“The event will showcase our vibrant local music scene and the talents of our bands locally, regionally and worldwide via the internet as well as bringing together local people.

“Although sadly, we won’t be at the usual Waterloo site, I will be ‘going’ to this virtual festival online to enjoy the wealth of local talent.”

Festival organiser Steve McGriskin said: “Producing a virtual festival of this magnitude doesn’t come cheap and paying for it was a challenge.

“We used Crowdfunding which was not easy during a pandemic when lots of people were suffering real hardship. Because of lockdown there were no opportunities to promote the appeal in pubs and music venues or through organising fundraising events. However, with the support of Sefton Council, councillors representing Church, Victoria and Blundellsands wards, Spacehive, Waterloo Town Team, SYN AVS, Logic Estates and backed by more than 50 people, we successfully raised the money needed. It’s a big, big thank you to everyone who helped.”

Any surplus funds made from the event will be donated to Friends of Crosby Beach, Migrant Workers Sefton Community, Sefton Community Pantry and Liverpool Homeless Football Club.

Reminder to hospitality businesses and their customers about COVID-19 safety as busy Bank Holiday approaches

As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, Sefton Council is reminding local businesses and their customers of the importance of following the Government’s COVID-19 guidance.

For businesses in the hospitality sector such as pubs, bars and restaurants this means keeping a temporary record of their customers to assist the NHS Test and Trace should coronavirus cases develop. This is in addition to maintaining the distancing and cleaning measures required to help keep their clients safe.

For customers, this means following any of the measures in place for their protection and making sure they provide any Test and Trace information requested on arrival.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Pubs and bars should have in place a way of recording their customers’ contact details so that if there are cases of coronavirus associated with the premises, they can be traced, warned and instructed to isolate.

“These simple measures on arrival are for the protection of customers and staff but are also there to protect the hospitality sector and the wider economy by reducing the possibility of a wider COVID-19 outbreak and the potential need to introduce local restrictions, which would have a negative effect on everyone.

“Personally, if I arrived at a pub bar or restaurant that didn’t have tracing measures in place, I wouldn’t stay.”

Sarah Rodriguez from Southport BID said:“Business owners in Southport have worked incredibly hard since reopening to ensure their customers and staff are safe and have shown a great deal of respect for the social distancing guidelines as a community.

“We do back Sefton’s plea to ensure that we work together to ensure that these high standards continue across the busy Bank Holiday and beyond.  As a team, we are available for any support and resources to help you implement the measures are available on our website at .”

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team has been working with businesses across the Borough to help them put in place the measures needed to keep employees and customers safe.

You can find the latest Government Guidance here

Information to help businesses of all types identify and manage coronavirus outbreaks, in the form of downloadable and printable Action Cards.  

Sefton launches new schemes to support the Hospitality Sector

Sefton Council has been given additional funding to support the safe reopening of its high streets and other commercial areas to help support the hospitality sector.

The funding will help support the Sefton business community, with measures that enable safe trading in public places.

As part of this project, Sefton Council is looking to extend the pavement areas outside local businesses, especially where the pavement area is limited.

By using the parking bays, this will allow for social distancing where it would be difficult to do so otherwise, whilst still having consideration for all users of the highway, especially those with disabilities.

The two main areas where this will be implemented are Coronation Walk & Union Street Southport as we want to focus on our local high streets.

The Council has already implemented the road closure on Court Road from The Grand Casino to Union Street, helping businesses in this area increase their trading and to add life and character back into the local area.   

The area will also be enhanced with planters which have been designed, built and installed by the Southport Flower Show to create an attractive area for customers to use.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills said: “We understand how all businesses have been impacted by Covid-19, none more than the hospitality sector.

“We have been working with businesses over the last few weeks to ensure they could open safely while we all play a part in keeping residents and visitors safe.

“These new initiatives will help us achieve this and at the same time help these independent businesses trade successfully over the next few weeks.

“A lot of the infrastructure being used has been designed and made by The Southport Flower Show again showing how we can and will support local businesses.

“We do hope these initiatives are a great success and we will continue to look at other areas.”

Lisa Mendi, Local business owner (Bistro Bar Med and Medhito Cuban Latin lounge on Coronation Walk) said: “We are so happy to be able to now offer our customers outside seating.  Thanks to Sefton Council who have made this all possible, we are absolutely delighted. 

“All our lovely customers old & new will now be able to enjoy their Tapas from Bistro Bar Med sat outside whilst sipping sangria. 

“Then continuing their evening listening to the delights of chilled Latin beats & enjoying some cocktails whilst being outdoors (please check our Facebook page for other nights.)”

The council have also adopted a new temporary pavement licence process, a streamlined consent route to allow businesses to obtain a licence to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs, outside cafes, bars and restaurants quickly.

If any other businesses are interested in how this project may be able to assist, please contact the Sefton Tourism Department on or to apply for a temporary pavement licence visit:,-roads-travel/temporary-pavement-licence.aspx


Free junior golf membership worth £80 now available to under 16s

We are now offering under-16s free junior golf memberships which gives them a year’s no-cost play at its Bootle and Southport courses.

To qualify for the memberships, which are worth £80, under-16s need to register at the Bootle Golf Club or Southport Golf Links shops. They need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must provide proof of age.

Their free membership means that for the next 12 months they can then book a tee time and play as normal and it will cost them nothing.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Worth £80 each, these memberships providing under-16s with free golf at our Bootle and Southport courses, are excellent value.

“Golf is a sport that requires regular practise and training and the ability to play for free at any time might help one of our local young people emerge as the next Tommy Fleetwood.”

Sefton Council has also been reminding golfers about their money-saving Twilight tickets for Bootle and Southport, which start from 4pm and cost as little as £8.50.

Find out more about Sefton Council’s golf courses.

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