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Sefton social workers celebrated with marketplace event

This week, Sefton Council brought together social workers, staff and partners for a special marketplace event at Bootle Town Hall.A hall with stalls running lengthways and people crowded around.

The marketplace was held to celebrate World Social Work Day, which fell on Tuesday 21st March this year.

Learning opportunity

Over 100 social workers, partners and staff attended the event. Unlike a traditional marketplace, that offers food and goods, Tuesday’s event was a chance for attendees to sample useful knowledge from different sources.

Among the 32 groups hosting stalls were Sefton Council’s fostering service, social work academy, and occupational therapy team, as well as local charity Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid (SWACA) and Sefton’s Building Attachment and Bonds Service (BABS).

Help and support

The event was described as a great success by those attending, with one person stating that it was “great to find out about all the different services” and another adding that they “didn’t realise there was so much help” for social workers and residents across the Borough.

Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said: “Social workers are the backbone of our social care in Sefton.

We wanted to take this opportunity both to celebrate their good work as well as to share ideas to help us grow together.

“Children’s Services are working on a number of fantastic projects and we value our strong ties with Adult Social Care. This marketplace was the ideal way to showcase these.

“I’m delighted that we had a fantastic attendance and I hope everyone who came got something positive out of it.”

People holding leaflets from a stall about domestic abuse.Cllr Paul Cummins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Sharing best practice is such an important part of social care.

“I am glad that we could do this in a way that allowed us to celebrate the hard work and dedication shown by our staff and our partners.

“I was really pleased to meet lots of people who had a real passion for the work that they are doing, and I enjoyed the afternoon.”

To find out more about Children’s and Adult Social Care in Sefton, visit

Sefton GPs to receive training to spot signs of suicide risk

Health professionals across Sefton are being offered specialist training to help spot the signs of young people contemplating suicide or self-harm.

Supported by Sefton Council’s Public Health team and Mersey Care NHS Trust, the Practise Hope initiative is a culture-changing mental health programme helping 10 to 25-year-olds who have thoughts of suicide who self-harm.

One of the aims of the training is to help break the stigma around challenging and difficult conversations about suicidal thoughts. The project also involves getting the views and experiences of young people in the area directly.

As part of the initiative, staff at a number of practices across Sefton will receive training in identifying the causes that can lead a young person to self-harm or have thoughts of suicide and discuss ways to improve how they can better support young people.

Participating practices include Ainsdale, Bridge Road, Christiana Hartley, Litherlands and Seaforth.

The specialist sessions will be delivered by Olly’s Future, a national suicide prevention charity and funded by the Zero Suicide Alliance.

Dr Dan Ellis, a GP at Litherland Medical Practice, has recently taken part in a Practise Hope training session.

He said: The importance of identifying young people who have thoughts of suicide or self harm is vital.

“As a GP I have seen a massive increase in the numbers of young people presenting with various mental health issues.

“Provision of support for younger people often seems less than that for adults, and certainly harder to access. As health professionals we all need to be well equipped in working with such patients – from our reception teams to our seasoned GPs and nurses.”

Dr Rory McGill, Consultant in Public Health at Sefton Council, said he was keen for the training to help break the stigma around talking about suicidal thoughts.

Dr McGill said: “It’s important that we all work toward getting rid of the stigma of talking about suicide.

“It is a conversation that saves lives. We need to bust the myth that starting the conversation about suicide causes harm; the evidence shows us that it does not.

“What it can do though is prevent a crisis point being reached in our young people, who could benefit from a referral to a range of resources we have available in Sefton. For the young person, having this discussion can be the opportunity they needed to relieve themselves of their thoughts by being emotionally open, promoting our connection to healing rather than promoting further shame and isolation.”

All GP practices across Sefton are being encouraged to sign up for the training, which runs over a three month period.

To find out more about getting involved in the initiative, please contact Linda Foster, Practise Hope Coordinator at Olly’s Future at

Invite to view Sefton’s Fostering Services’ Angel Wing Art Installation for the first time

Pupils from Stanley High School, Southport decorating paper feathers for Sefton's Fostering Services Angel Wing project
Pupils from Stanley High School, Southport

Sefton’s Fostering Service would love you to join them for the unveiling of their beautiful Angel Wings designed by children and young people from Sefton.

The event takes place: Monday 31st Oct at Crosby Library, Waterloo, Crosby Road North, Liverpool L22 0LQ


Angel Wing Launch 11 – 12pm 

The Angel Wing art installation will be made up of 614 individually decorated paper feathers and are in honour of foster carers who truly are guardian angels to our foster children.

The 614 individual feathers represent each child in Sefton’s care, some of whom are in need of loving homes.

On the day guests will hear from two of our dedicated foster carers Paul and Dawn and will get to watch a video with young people about how the project has unfolded.

Fostering Information Session 12 – 1pm

After the launch of the Angel Wings, a Fostering Information Session will take place for anyone who wants to speak one-on-one with the team and our carers. Here you can get more of an insight about the real-life experiences of our foster carers, find out more about the process of becoming a carer and ask any questions.

Recruitment Team Manager Jennifer Rose Murphy said “We’re so excited to see the Angel Wings really coming together. We’ve been working with our children in foster care, children visiting libraries and other events and school children from across the borough, to really involve our communities and raise awareness.

“I would like to say a massing thank you to teachers and pupils from Formby High School, Maghull High School, Stanley High School, and Summer Hill Primary School, who have all really embraced this project and sent us such colourful and creative designs.

“We desperately need more foster carers to give loving homes to children in Sefton. If you want to make a difference and have ever thought about fostering or if you want to learn more so you can help us share our message, please come along.”

Refreshments will be available on the day.

Sefton’s Foster Carers are paid for their skills, receive full training and support, plus allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by visiting the dedicated website at 

People can also speak to one of the team by calling our freephone number on 0800 923 2777 or email 

Family Valued partnership for Sefton Council’s Children’s Social Care team launched

Sefton staff at the launch of the Family Valued partnershipSefton Council’s Children’s Services have welcomed colleagues from Leeds City Council to launch the two-year, Family Valued partnership.

Secured through a successful, £3 million Council bid to the Department for Education, the partnership will see the two authorities working together to improve outcomes for local children and families.

Importance of family

Family Valued is an approach that focuses on the strengths and importance of family and is centred on productive working relationships between practitioners and families. Its impact in Leeds has included a reduction in the rate and number of cared for children, as well as fewer child protection plans. As a result of children spending less time ‘in the social work system,’ it has also meant a saving of £755 per family compared to ‘business as usual’ social work.

Almost 200 of Sefton Children’s Social Care team were able to attend the recent two-day, introductory sessions, which included an introduction from Sefton’s new Director of Education and Children’s Services, Martin Birch.

Conditions for success

Sefton st5aff at one of the Family Valued launch events

In a presentation, Steve Walker, Leeds City Council’s Director of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children said that the Family Valued approach is not “rocket science”. He said it is about getting the basics right and “creating the conditions for success” which means the right culture and ethos, leadership and partnership and workforce and practice.

Each of the sessions included group and the opportunity to put forward ideas for a name for Sefton’s own version of Leeds Family Valued. The suggestion will be shared with Sefton’s Making a Difference group, a group of care experienced young people, and Sefton’s Young Ambassadors group.

The next step will be for Children’s Services teams to take part in restorative practice training sessions that focus on strengthening relationships between people and the social connections with members of the local community.

Positive feedback

After the launch events, Martin Birch said: “I am delighted we have got this new Family Valued partnership with Leeds underway as it will build upon the improvement work already started as we respond to the recent Ofsted recommendations by learning and delivering better results for children, young people and their families in Sefton.

“Feedback to the introductory sessions was very positive and included comments such as ‘it was just what we needed to focus and motivate us all on our way up’ and ‘I came out excited for the months/years ahead,’.

“Our staff are ready to take on the challenges we face and determined to achieve success for all of our children, young people and families.”


Steve Walker, Leeds City Council’s Director of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children said: “We are delighted to be working with colleagues in Sefton to implement Family Valued.

“I have been impressed by the commitment that I have seen from elected members, partners and staff across Children’s Services to work together relationally to ensure that children and young people in Sefton have the opportunities they need and deserve to reach their potential.”


Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, said: “Adopting the Family Valued approach, combined with the significant extra resources we have allocated to Children’s Services in Sefton, will play a significant role in helping us to deal with the unprecedented demand we have seen since the pandemic.

“While we do, of course acknowledge our Ofsted rating and the need to improve it, our focus must be on ensuring Sefton’s children and young people benefit from the best services possible.

“We are committed to making sure they are safe, protected and inspired to reach their full potential and this week’s events are an important step on that path.”

Anyone interested in joining Sefton’s Children’s Social Care services can find the latest vacancies here along with details of our ‘Golden Hello’ payments and additional financial rewards.


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 

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