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Young People in Sefton to benefit from FREE online counselling

Young people in Sefton can now benefit from completely free online counselling to help them in their time of need, thanks to a new collaboration from local health and wellbeing partners.

Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG has commissioned Kooth for young people in the area.

The service will provide free and anonymous mental health and wellbeing support to local young people aged 11-18, with access to online counselling, self-help materials and a safe online community of young people 365 days a year. Support can be found at www.kooth.com

Kooth, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, also offers peer-to-peer support, an online magazine, access to moderated forums and goal setting and mood tracking tools from any connected device.

The site is open 24 hours a day; one-to-one counselling sessions with a qualified counsellor are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.

The service has been commissioned to increase the number of early intervention services available and in response to young people requesting a digital solution in addition to existing local services.

Councillor John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said “We are delighted that Kooth is now available in Sefton. All children and young people should have access to mental health support when they need it.

“Being able to access good advice, guidance and support via mobile phone, tablet or computer is a great way to help make sure that children and young people can develop positive mental wellbeing.”

Fiona Taylor, chief officer at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “We are proud to be involved with Kooth, it will enhance support for young people with mental health issues in Sefton. We need services such as this to be easily accessible and available at a time when people need it most and this ticks all the boxes.

“We do think it helps being anonymous as some find it hard to speak face to face, this is ideal for people who are perhaps nervous about reaching out and we really do hope it helps them.”

Elaine Bousfield, from Kooth said, said: “We are delighted that we are now able to provide our support and counselling service to young people in Sefton. Digital mental health services like Kooth are beneficial to young people as they are anonymous and free from the stigma some individuals face. We hope through the new commission more young people will seek help for their mental health and wellbeing.”

Sefton’s school uniform bank needs your help!

Sefton Council are appealing for kind hearted residents to consider donating to the local authority’s annual school uniform bank.

The council’s Schools & Families teams are preparing their seventeenth annual school uniform bank but are desperately short of vital good quality blazers for those pupils most in need.

Swops, Sefton’s school uniform bank scheme, has been running since 2002 and continues to go from strength to strength thanks to donations from people across the borough.

Clothing items both old and new are accepted at Sefton run libraries and Town Halls throughout the year and are then distributed to families and children in need.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “In a perfect world we would not need food banks or school uniform banks but, sadly, they are a necessity.

“Last academic year we helped over four hundred schoolchildren and their families get access to much needed uniforms, from shoes to summer dresses and shorts.

“This year will be no different and we are appealing for our kind hearted communities to come together and help those families who are most in need. We really need good quality school blazers.

“Through the contribution of our residents we have been able to help those most in need and will continue to do so for as long as possible.”

To donate to Sefton’s uniform bank please visit one of the local authority’s library buildings or a Sefton Town Hall.

To access the scheme or for more information about uniform banks in Sefton please call 07837863075.

Metro Mayor presents school ‘Year of the Environment’ drawing competition awards

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, recently visited St Benedict’s RC Primary School in Netherton to present the awards in a drawing competition linked to the Liverpool City Region Year of the Environment.

The competition was the culmination of class work that saw the children learn about their local environment.  Six-year-old Lauren Williams scooped first prize with her drawing of a meandering river with five fish swimming down-stream, in clear waters.

Lauren’s family won tickets for the Blue Planet Aquarium while the runner-up Hope Jones won family passes to Knowsley Safari Park.

Emma Carrington, St Benedict’s primary school teacher, said: “St. Benedict’s School has been delighted to take part in this competition to highlight Liverpool City Region’s Year of the Environment. The children enjoyed learning all about the different animals and plants in Sefton and now have a greater appreciation for what a beautiful place we live in.”

Attending the competition presentation, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, added: “The Year of the Environment is all about raising awareness of the challenges facing our planet so it is great to see our local primary schools getting involved.  It is clear from the quality of their pictures that these children were really engaged in thinking about the world around them and the importance of looking after our environment.  I’m sure they could teach the grown-ups a thing or two!”

Councillor Carla Thomas, who is a governor at St Benedict’s and a deputy portfolio holder at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, added: “By inviting the children of St Benedict’s Primary School to participate in a creative competition to commemorate the Liverpool City Region’s Year of the Environment. It was my aim to start to inspire the children in Netherton to become active and engage with an environmentally focussed project that shows you are never too young or too small to make a difference!

“By participating with an innovative activity it has encouraged young people to become responsible global activists, developing their understanding, empathy and a sense of responsibility. We can empower our young generation to protect their environment and motivate tomorrow’s leaders to help make our world a better and greener place.

“The children at St Benedict’s Primary School are delighted that the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region has attended their awards ceremony to recognise their efforts and work highlighting the environmental issues that matter to them.

“St. Oswald ward can be proud of the children who are paving the way to inspire other youngsters to follow them by illustrating the fantastic landscapes we have in Sefton with an abundance of protective designations, such as the Red Squirrel Reserve in Formby, the Sefton Coastal Dune System and the special wildlife habitats, along the coast.

“What’s more, I am profoundly grateful to the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port and to Knowsley Safari Park for their very kind donations.”

The Liverpool City Region officially declared 2019 as the ‘Year of the Environment’. This is a cross agency programme led by the Liverpool City Region’s Local Nature Partnership, Nature Connected along with the Combined Authority, the city region’s six local authorities, the Environment Agency and Natural England.

Sefton awards prove there are ‘No Limits’ for our children in care

Some of Sefton’s most vulnerable children and young people have been recognised for their outstanding achievements at the ‘No Limits’ awards ceremony.

 Social workers, teachers and mentors, nominate children and young people who are in the care of Sefton Council, for an award in recognition of their successes throughout the year.

 Now in its 19th year, the ‘No Limits’ awards predominately acknowledge a young person’s achievement in a learning environment, whether in school, further education or an alternative setting. 

 However, the awards are not based solely on academic progress as they can be won by showing improvement in attendance, personal development, skills and knowledge. Many of the children who have won awards have gone on to do some remarkable things in their lives. 

 Each year the event is attended by about 300 children and young people and more than 100 of our foster and kinship carers. Every child nominated is invited to the awards ceremony, with their guests, and all nominees receive a medal, vouchers and certificates in recognition of their hard work. 

 21-year-old Caitlyne is the winner of this year’s 1st prize. She came into foster care at 13 and has had such a positive experience that she has stayed put with her foster family.

 She is a dedicated, passionate and extremely hard-working student. She is about to complete a foundation degree in Children and Young People’s studies and has secured a place at the University of Central Lancaster starting in September. 

The judging panel said they are in no doubt that the future is bright for Caitlyne and any future employer will be lucky to have her.

 Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “Every one of the young people at these awards fully deserves to be recognised for their determination, hard work and dedication. I’m delighted that we are supporting them to reach such achievements.

“Children in care and care leavers are the most vulnerable young people within our communities. The circumstances in which they are growing up in are more complex and they may not have the same family support as their peers. It is our responsibility to fulfil the traditional parenting role. We also need to be ambitious for them and support and encourage them to make a success of their adult life.”

Can you give a loving home to a child in Sefton?

During Foster Care Fortnight (May 13-26), Sefton Council is asking people who live in the borough, to think about giving a loving home to a child who is unable to live with their birth family.

As with most councils, with less people coming forward to foster within the area, this means children have to live in a residential home or with a foster family a long way from their home. They are sometimes split up from their brothers and sisters, or may have to move from family to family and school to school.

Some of these children have experienced abuse or neglect prior to coming into care. Fostering is often their first positive experience of family life. Despite their difficult start to life, living in familiar surroundings with a nurturing foster carer can help to transform their lives and enable them to flourish.

Sefton Council wants to hear from people of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. Couples, single people, disabled people and people from all cultures are welcome. As long as you have room in your home and the time, compassion and energy to dedicate to children who need it.

The Council is committed to offering support to our carers every step of the way. This includes specialist and peer support, training and a competitive financial package.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “Recent estimates show nationally, over 8,000 foster carers are required to meet the needs of children and young people who need placements, the picture in Sefton reflects this. With the number of children and young people across the borough coming to around 500, the need for more foster carers has never been greater.

“We need more foster carers with the right skills and qualities to make it more likely for the right homes to be found for children, giving them the best chance of a happy and stable childhood and a successful future.”

If you want to know more about fostering, why not come along to our next information evening on May 28, from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at the Vincent Hotel in Southport? Alternatively call; 0800 923 2777 or visit seftonfostering.co.uk.

Additionally, if know someone who you think will make a great foster carer, please help us spread the word!

 

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