Hillside Community Primary School earns top marks!

Staff and pupils at Hillside Community Primary School are celebrating after being rated ‘outstanding’ in all areas in a report by government inspectors

The Ofsted report on the school in Egerton, Tanhouse follows its inspection earlier this year.

Inspectors declared the school’s motto of ‘Together we can shine’ “could not be more appropriate” and they said leaders, staff and pupils all shined in this “outstanding” school.

The headteacher and senior leadership team were praised for providing “exceptional leadership.”

The inspectors also said that teaching is “highly effective” and added, “staff know the pupils very well and ensure that the work that they set provides each pupil with the right degree of challenge.”

Hillside’s learning environment was also noted as “exceptional.”

Headteacher, Angela Aspinwall-Livesey, said: “The report is a delight to read and praises the hard work, commitment and excellence of all our staff – teaching and non-teaching – our governing body and the absolute brilliance of our wonderful children.

“I find it hard to highlight individual sentences and paragraphs as everything is so marvellous – absolutely stunning, in fact. I don’t think it could have been any better if I had written it myself!

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic staff for all they do for the children in their care.

“I would also like to thank parents for the support that they have given to the school on a day-to-day basis. It is very much appreciated.”

Helping parents to safeguard their children from sexual exploitation

The University of Bedfordshire’s International Centre and Parents against child sexual exploitation (Pace) have published an evaluation of the Parents as partners in safeguarding children and young people in Lancashire project, which was delivered from June 2014 – May 2017. This centred around the work of a Parent Liaison Officer (PLO), who provided flexible, one-to-one support to parents and families whose child was at risk, or a victim, of child sexual exploitation (CSE). Key findings include: the PLO helped parents to understand the dynamics of CSE and grooming and respond with more empathy to their child; parents were able to play a more active part in safeguarding their child; the PLO’s support was identified as a key contributor to maintaining a strong record of child/family attendance at court; parents described themselves as more emotionally resilient and able to cope with the impact of CSE because of the PLO’s support.

Three Girls – and their families: evaluating support for parents in CSE cases;               The International Centre Blog

Further information: Empowering parents: evaluation of Parents as partners in safeguarding children and young people in Lancashire project 2014 – 2017 (PDF)

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation –  paceuk.info

Preparing section 7 reports for court

Community Care offers advice to social workers who need to write section 7 reports for court. These aim to inform the court about a child’s life, so decisions can be made about the child’s welfare. Tips include: start planning early; avoid repetition; have an analytical approach; the child’s welfare should be at the centre of the report.

For more information click here!

Joint targeted area inspection

Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Inspectorate of Probation have published a letter outlining the findings of a joint targeted area inspection (JTAI) of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Hounslow. This includes a ‘deep dive’ focus on the response to children living with domestic abuse. Key strengths include: the One stop shop which provides a wide range of support to parents, enabling them them to better meet their children’s needs and keep them safe; the Learning to respect education programme in schools which raises awareness of domestic abuse; creative work which enables children to understand their experiences of living with domestic abuse; the voice of the child is gathered and recorded in almost all of the incidents attended by front line police officers.

Further information: Joint targeted area inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Hounslow (PDF)

Learning to respect 

Surviving break-ups!

Voice box, Childline’s weekly video chat, features YouTuber Hannah Witton, who gives advice to young people on coping with break-ups. Issues discussed include: dealing with social media following a break-up; the importance of acknowledging emotions and talking things through.

 Click here to watch the video

For for information on the issues discussed click the link: www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/friends-relationships-sex/sex-relationships/relationships


Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was the VIP guest this week when a Bootle-based charity launched its new positive mental health service for children and young people across Sefton.

Staff at Venus invited the retired Liverpool and England defender to officially open the new Star Centre, based in the renovated former Orrell Arts Centre building on Linacre Lane.

Around 100 guests attended the opening ceremony, including representatives of organisations that have helped to fund the project, and partner agencies in the new service.

The Star Centre building has been refurbished with the support of the Tudor Trust, the Clothworkers Foundation, One Stop and the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The main funding for the centre’s core services has come from NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group, with additional support from the John Moores Foundation and Jamie Carragher’s own 23 Foundation.

The partners in the services include Sefton Council Well Young Person’s Team, Sefton Emotional Achievement Service, the ADHD Foundation, Alder Hey CAMHS and Mersey Care.

Venus is a well-established organisation providing a wide range of support services for children, young people, women, parents and families.

The charity has created the new centre to provide a friendly and welcoming space where young people up to the age of 18 can access information and advice on mental health issues, as well as group support and a variety of therapies.

Services on offer will include counselling, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), psychoeducation, peer support, family therapy, training for parents and group activities addressing issues such as the transition from children’s to adults’ services.


Venus Family Support Manager, Georgina Harvey, explained: “The key features of the Star Centre’s approach will be its friendliness and its informality.

“Young people will be able to self refer, and simply drop in for advice, guidance, signposting and referral to other sources of support. It will be a place they can go for someone to talk to, and a place they can walk into and ask for help.”

Peter Wong, Children Young People and Maternity Commissioning Manager for the two CCGs, added: “Making services more accessible is something that young people have told us loudly and clearly.

“We also know that we need to support services to work more closely together in meeting the emotional health and wellbeing needs of our local children and young people.

“We are pleased that we can support the Star Centre in taking forward both of these key aims, and we are proud of what the new centre will offer young people in Sefton,” added Mr Wong.

Georgina Harvey also thanked Jamie Carragher for taking time out to perform the official opening, saying his presence would help to raise the profile of the new centre across the borough.

Jamie – who grew up in Bootle’s Marsh Lane area – congratulated Venus and its partners in the Star Centre initiative, saying it would provide a much-needed new source of support for vulnerable children and young people from throughout Sefton.

The Star Centre is based within the former Orrell Arts Centre/Orrell Library building on Linacre Lane, Bootle L20 6ES.

It will be open to young people Monday to Friday from 3.30-7.30pm and on Saturdays from 1pm-4pm, with a parents/carers drop-in session earlier in the day from 10am-1pm.

For more information about the Star Centre contact Venus on 0151 474 4744.

Sefton Adult Mental Health And Wellbeing Consortium (SAMHAWC) campaign puts spotlight on eating disorders

A SEFTON-wide initiative to improve the mental health and wellbeing of residents,  put the spotlight on the problem of eating disorders at its latest event.

A training programme for voluntary and community sector staff working with adults  facing mental health difficulties was held at the Bowersdale Resource Centre in Seaforth.

The event was organised by the Sefton Adult Mental Health And Wellbeing Consortium (SAMHAWC), a partnership of eight health and wellbeing organisations in the borough supported by South Sefton and Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups.

It was delivered by Beat, a UK charity for people affected by eating problems or difficulties with food, weight or shape.

According to Beat, estimates suggest that more than 1.6 million men and women in the UK have eating disorders, but the charity stresses, that with the right support, they can be treated and full recovery is possible.

The training programme covered the background to eating disorders, the signs and  symptoms and causes and risks.

The event also focused on the sources of help available to people affected by the  condition, and how delegates can help to develop support strategies to set them on the road to recovery.

George Harvey of SAMHAWC partner Venus, the co-ordinator of the event, commented: “This was a lively and absorbing programme which provided delegates with a wealth of useful information on the theory behind eating disorders.

“They will now be able to put this to good use in their day-to-day roles, when they come across people affected by what is widely acknowledged as a serious and growing problem in this country.”

Over the past year SAMHAWC has been running a number of promotional campaigns around mental health issues including alcohol awareness, tackling stress and suicide prevention.

The eight partners in the consortium are Sefton CVS, Venus, the Swan Centre, Parenting 2000, Netherton Feelgood Factory, Expect, Compass Counselling and Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton.

Sefton supports Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) health campaign

This month sees the launch of the Sefton GULP Campaign.  Across Sefton, 24.7% of reception age children are overweight or obese, rising to 35.2% at year 6 and 69.7% of adults. And whilst dental health is better than some of our neighbouring local authorities, 22.7% of five year olds still have decay in their milk teeth.

Children and young people are consuming more than three times as much sugar as the maximum recommended daily intake, most of which comes from sugary drinks.  A recent World Cancer Research Fund study found that our young people are drinking three bath tubs of sugary drinks per year!

The recommended daily maximum is no more than five cubes of sugar for 4 to 6 year olds, no more than six cubes for 7 to 10 year olds per day and no more than seven cubes for 11 years and older, including adults.  Now bear in mind that one can of Cola can contain nine cubes alone, this is before we have considered any added sugar contained within food and other drinks.

Sugar is not necessary in the diet and especially when consumed in the form of sugary drinks can cause a whole host of health issues, from tooth decay, to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Excess sugar intake has also been linked to certain cancers.

An easy way to reduce sugar intake is to cut out or reduce sugary drinks.  And this is why along with Food Active, Sefton Council are running a borough-wide campaign to encourage residents to Give Up Loving Pop (GULP).

The GULP campaign is aimed at young people and families to encourage them to switch from sugary drinks to water or milk.  The Sefton campaign involves working with schools through the delivery of PSHE lessons at both Key Stage 2 and 3, along with school assemblies suitable for all year groups.  Sefton Council and Food Active have teamed up with Everton in the Community to deliver theory and physical activity sessions to year 5 and 6 students across schools in the borough.  Using community coaches to deliver health messages, such as GULP, has been shown to be effective in changing behaviour.

During April we will be challenging students, teachers and parents to give up sugary drinks. Residents can sign up the challenge via a website and will receive encouraging emails, there will be a prize draw for those who let us know whether they were successful or not.

Sefton schools will also be challenged to enter an inter-school competition.  Primary schools classes will be asked to design and deliver an assembly to the rest of the school to encourage reduced consumption in sugary drinks, whilst secondary schools will be asked to design a campaign based on soft drinks industry tactics. With just one entry per school, the students must choose which entry to take forward.  A panel will judge the entries with a prize-giving ceremony at the start of June.

World Book Day: Bootle’s Stanley High School appoint popular author as new writer-in-residence

A WELL known children’s author who has recently been appointed writer in residence at Stanley High School in Southport was the VIP guest at its World Book Day celebrations this week.

The school welcomed Wirral-based Jon Mayhew, the multi-award-winning author of numerous popular children’s books, who led a series of writing-related activities for Stanley students and pupils from local primary schools.

Jon Mayhew’s writing success began with the spine-chilling Mortlock trilogy, books set in Victorian London and described by one critic as ‘exciting, dark and gruesomely gothic chillers’.

He has subsequently produced the equally popular Monster Odyssey series which feature giant sea beasts, pirates and weird inventions set in a real historical world.

During his World Book Day visit to Stanley, Jon spoke to year 7 students about how he become an author, and the various sources of inspiration for his work.

These pupils then joined children from years four and five at Marshside Primary, Larkfield Primary and St. John’s Primary Crossens at other sessions which focused on Jon’s suggestions for different techniques that can help to make narrative writing more interesting.

All the year groups then worked with Stanley’s year nine Literacy Leaders on developing pieces of writing using Jon’s tips and ideas from the previous sessions.

Stanley Lead Teacher in English, Gill Navin, commented: “Having a writer in residence is a really exciting development for the school.

“Jon’s gift is that he manages to make students believe that becoming an author is something they could achieve in the future, inspiring them to work on improving their reading and writing skills today.

“Before becoming a full-time author Jon worked as an English teacher for 25 years, and this experience was apparent in the great  rapport he developed with pupils of all ages during the day,” added Miss Navin.

Headteacher Neil Moore added: “We were delighted to welcome children from our local primary schools to work with Jon and our Literacy Leaders here at Stanley.

They will be delivering sessions at other local schools over the coming weeks and we look forward to welcoming Jon back to Stanley soon.”

Sefton residents to write a new chapter by fostering children this Spring

Sefton Council’s Fostering and Adoption Service is asking local residents to think of fostering this spring and make a huge difference to local children.

Using the campaign strapline ‘Make their next chapter a happy one’ the local authority has launched a new fostering recruitment website to make the enquiry process easier and to tackle myths about fostering that can discourage potential foster carers.

In Sefton there are approximately 400 children who are looked after, with a broad mix of carers providing them with loving, stable family lives, but there is still a need for more carers from a wide range of backgrounds to join the service.

Recruiting new foster carers will mean that the local authority can better support hard to place children, such as older children, teenagers and sibling groups.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “I want anyone who thinks that they cannot foster children to think again and make an enquiry that will profoundly change both their life and that of local children for the better.

“People often think that they will not be approved if they apply to become foster carers. It does not matter if you are married, single, LGBT, straight, older or rent your home, what does matter is that you have room in your home and the time, compassion and energy to dedicate to children who need those qualities more than most.

“Please don’t hesitate to come forward.”

Maria Spatuzzi, Team Manager at Sefton’s Fostering Service, said: “Our team here at Sefton has a saying along the lines that no-one goes it alone when fostering with us. We help you every step of the way, from your first enquiry through to approving you as a foster carer and beyond.

“You will receive round the clock support from a dedicated social worker, excellent training and a competitive financial package. As a local authority fostering agency, we are the best equipped to make sure that once approved, you will not have to wait for placements and build your career as a foster carer.

“Whether you’ve only just begun thinking of fostering or have considered it for many years, our friendly experts will be happy to talk to you and answer any burning questions you have.”

If you would like to make an enquiry or simply find out more about fostering in Sefton, visit the Sefton Fostering Service website www.seftonfostering.co.uk

You can also contact the service on 0800 923 2777 or by email: Fostering.Adoption@sefton.gov.uk

Go Nuts for Squirrels this Half Term!

Children across the borough will have the chance to meet their local neighbourhood Red Squirrels thanks to a special series of activities organised by Sefton Council.

The educational sessions, delivered in partnership with the Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust along with the Friends of Park Groups, will help children discover more about Red Squirrels living in Sefton’s parks.

On the day children will have the chance to play board games, take part in craft sessions and follow the Red Squirrel trails around the park.

The events will be taking place as follows:
Coronation Park – February 12th, 2pm to 4pm
Hatton Hill Park – February 15th, 2pm to 4pm
Botanical Gardens – February 17th, 2pm to 4pm

Sefton Council is also hosting an array of coastal activities as part of the 2017 – The Year of Sefton’s Coast celebrations, you can find out more at seftoncoast.co.uk

The Treasures of Ancient Egypt come to Bootle in partnership with The Atkinson

School children in Bootle are taking part in a unique project that brings Ancient Egypt to life … in their school.

The Atkinson is working in partnership with Christ Church Primary School on Writing Through Time, a project that uses the remarkable Goodison Egyptology collection to develop children’s writing and literacy.

As part of a celebration event in the school on Friday 10 February at 9am, The Atkinson will be unveiling a remarkable new acquisition Trial Piece of Akhenaten/Nefertiti, so that the teachers and children will be the first to see before it goes on show at The Atkinson.

Merseyside’s very own prize-winning poet Mandy Coe and Egyptologist Claire Ollett have been working with pupils at Christ Church primary school on Writing Through Time.   Mandy is helping the children to develop their ideas and understanding about Mrs Goodison and her superb collection of Egyptology. They have been finding out about this ancient civilisation and making a personal connection with the past.

Writing Through Time was funded by The Atkinson Development Trust and it aims to develop children’s writing skills and levels of literacy across the curriculum at Key Stage 2; it is hoped to share the project outcomes with all Bootle’s primary schools.

Mrs Goodison – the local enthusiast who put together an astonishing collection of over 1000 Ancient Egyptian objects – lived in Waterloo during the late 19th century and had a museum in her house.  So it is only right that school children learn about their local hero and use her collections to inspire their own creative writing.

Very little is known about Mrs Goodison, not even what she looked like.  But The Atkinson has done some sleuthing and discovered some of her letters in a museum in New York.  This has made Writing Through Time a brilliant opportunity for letters from the past to inspire stories about the journeys embedded in simple objects from long ago – and how these have ended up far from home – on Merseyside.

Trial piece of Akhenaten/Nefertiti was originally owned by The Met in New York and will have a central role in The Atkinson’s major exhibition later this year commemorating 130 years since Mrs Goodison first visited Egypt.

This important acquisition for The Atkinson was only possible because of the generous support from The Atkinson Development Trust, the Art Fund and the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

Christine McGregor, Chair of The Atkinson Development Trust said:

“The Atkinson Development Trust is passionate about supporting access to these remarkable collections and to encourage their use to inspire children to enjoy writing and reading. Projects like this are vital if we are to test how children learn and engage and to see if we give them confidence and a love of words!

The Atkinson Development Trust was set up to make a difference using The Atkinson and its collections, to work across communities and to be at the centre of learning for those who may not normally get the opportunity. This project has had amazing success and the children and teachers have been incredible. “

Writing through Time has shown how Museum objects can be used to nurture young inquisitive minds and inspire imaginations as well as the project aiding children’s confidence in using words. The other side of the 5 week residency was to equip teachers with new knowledge and skills to apply in their teaching making it more fun for everyone!

For more information on this project or if you would like to support The Atkinson Development Trust and the work it delivers please visit theatkinson.co.uk.

If you would like to arrange a school visit to The Atkinson please email schools@theatlinson.co.uk . Workshops themed on our Egyptology Gallery are available. 

Paralympian Rik Waddon gives sporting tips to Southport high school pupils

Students at Stanley High School in Southport received some sporting tips from a top Paralympian at a special event this week.

The Marshside school welcomed cyclist Rik Waddon who worked with a selected group of year 8 students for the day as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme.

Chester-born Rik, who suffers from cerebral palsy, took up cycling at the age of 14 after being inspired by watching the Tour de France on TV.

He began to compete in disability cycling in 2001, and was selected to train with the Great Britain team just months later.

Unfortunately injury ruled him out of the Athens Paralympics in 2004, but he went on to win silver medals in Beijing in the 1km time trial CP3 and in London in the mixed team sprint C1-5.

In recent years Rik has turned his attention to road time trialling, and recently returned from Spain after winning a bronze medal in the World Road Race Championships.

During his visit Rik led practical sessions on team work and communications, and also offered some motivational tips on overcoming adversity and setbacks to achieve a sporting dream.

He also highlighted the Sky programme’s six keys to sporting success which are mental toughness, a hunger to achieve, people skills, sport and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success.

Mike Smethurst of Stanley High, who organised the visit, commented: “This event went really well and our students found what Rik had to say really inspiring and motivating.

“In addition, they also realised that in addition to being used in a sporting context, the six keys to success are valuable life skills which have a much wider application.”

A comment from one year 8 student summed up the feelings of the group: “It was great to work with Rik today.  His journey has been really inspiring, and has spurred me on to do by best and think positively in the future.”

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Working Group established

A Working Group looking into Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Sefton has been set up.

Sefton Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children’s Services and Safeguarding) have established the group and are keen to speak with parents or guardians who are or who have accessed the service.

Councillors on the committee and members of Healthwatch will form part of the working group.

There are various ways in which parents or guardians can share their views and experiences and we will try our very best to accommodate you:-

  • As part of a group with parents and guardians; or
  • Individually; or
  • By way of a written submission.

All information will be anonymised.

Anyone interested in sharing their views and experiences of the service are invited to contact Ruth Harrison, Senior Democratic Services Officer, by either telephone or e-mail: 0151 934 2042 or ruth.harrison@sefton.gov.uk

‘Ditch Those Stabilisers!’ February Half Term – for children over 4yrs (14th & 16th Feb)

Children across the borough are being encouraged to ditch the stabilisers from their Christmas bikes this February half term.

The School Holidays will see the return of the popular ‘Ditch Those Stabilisers’ cycling events. Children aged four and above can learn to ride a bike unaided at sessions in Litherland and Ainsdale.

The events have a very high success rate and staff from Sefton Council’s Highway Safety Team, offer a range of practical advice to children and their parents.

Sessions are free but pre-booking is essential. They take place at Litherland Sports Park, Boundary Lane (L21 7LA) on Tuesday, February 14, and at Shoreside Primary School, Westminster Drive (PR8 2QZ) on Thursday, February 16.

Both sessions will start at 9am and finish at 12noon.

To register, call Sefton Council, on 0345 140 0845.

Could your little one be the next local gymnastics star?

Sefton Council is set to help find the next Sefton Olympians with the launch of its new Jump into Gymnastics programme.

Developed in partnership with British Gymnastics, the sessions offer a fun introduction into the sport and will help children build new skills, including balance, co-ordination, self-confidence and dedication.

Sessions for children aged 5-8 will take place on Monday’s from 4.30pm-5.30pm and costs £33 per half term. For those aged 2-4 years, the programme is charged on a class by class basis at £3.50 and takes place Tuesdays, 10am-11am.

All Jump into Gymnastics instructors are trained by British Gymnastics and no special kit is required to attend.

For more  information visit sefton.gov.uk/gymnastics or call 0151 288 6286

Game on for 24 hour charity marathon as Southport gamers raise funds for Claire House

A GROUP of kind-hearted video gamers took over a Southport hotel for a twenty-four-hour gaming spree for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Four gamers, led by Southport man Cori Rimmer, grabbed their joysticks and set about their mammoth fundraising challenge at the Prince of Wales Hotel – helping to raise over £500 in the process for Claire House.

They were supported by a number of local businesses including Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Papa John’s and Avon.

Speaking to the Champion, organiser Cori said: “The fundraiser itself attracted a brilliant turnout!

“We had four gamers including my friends Ryan, Luke and Michael – it was just a gamers paradise!

“We were constantly gaming for the full 24 hours and we survived on fizzy drinks to keep us going.

“We played a different variety of games to keep us busy throughout the time we were there and I found myself  jumping from game station to game station every so often!

“Hopefully our final total surpasses £500 and there is already talk of turning this into an annual event – each year we want to make this even bigger and better!

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all that turned up and gamed – it was a long hard night but we did it and aced it!

“I wanted to raise money for Claire house as it’s such a great charity and they do amazing work for children and young adults.”

Safe Skills bid to prevent online grooming across the Liverpool City Region

A ground-breaking project between police, councils and child protection experts to help protect young people from being sexually exploited is being launched in Merseyside.

‘Safe Skills’ will be offered to schools throughout the country with the aim of giving children and teenagers the knowledge and ability to spot older people trying to groom them online and in person.

The project, which has been tested in St Helens Primary, will be delivered to schools in Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral, Sefton and Knowsley with the aim of encouraging every institution in Merseyside to incorporate it into their curriculum.

The package will develop young people’s resilience to protect themselves against these risks by using films, role plays and interactive activities about grooming behaviours and controlling relationships.

Merseyside Police has been working with young person’s charity, Ariel Trust, in Liverpool as well as safeguarding experts from all five local authorities, who have helped to fund the scheme, as well as the NSPCC to create the free educational service.

Ariel Trust Director, Paul Ainsworth, told JMU Journalism: “Even though there are many different resources out there for raising awareness, there are questions about how much they can actually change behaviour.

“The reason why the Safe Skills project is unique is because it has been developed by children in Merseyside for children in Merseyside and helps give them the relevant and proactive skills and strategies to know how to behave if they are in a risky situation.”

YouTube: Ariel Trust

Detective Superintendent Dave Brunskill, from Merseyside Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: “Sexual exploitation exists in lots of different forms and it is not always obvious to the victim when it first starts happening. Groomers use the cloak of anonymity the web provides to hide who they really are and the real reason they are befriending them.

“Once they have won the victim’s trust, they can exploit them for sexual or financial gain and the consequences for that young person can be dreadful.

“The pilot in 17 schools in Merseyside earlier this year was really encouraging and, thanks to support from the five local authorities and the pilot schools themselves our ambition now is to embed Safe Skills into as many schools in Merseyside as possible so that each and every child is better protected from harm.”

Sefton celebrates children in care at No Limits Awards

Local children in care recently took to the red carpet as they shone at an award ceremony to celebrate their achievements.
Ben Willan Winner Pic

Held on November 18 at the Floral Hall in Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre, the Sefton No Limits Challenge Awards are now in their 15th year. This year’s ceremony was bigger than ever, with over 200 children and young people nominated for 25 prizes by foster carers, social workers and teachers.

The awards acknowledge a young person’s achievement in a learning environment, whether in school, further education or an alternative setting through diversity, effort, attitude, progress and challenge.

Awards are not based solely on academic progress as they can be won by showing improvement in attendance, personal development, skills and knowledge.

No Limits was opened by local care leaver Joanne Lee, who was followed by The Worshipful Mayor of Sefton, Cllr. Iain Brodie-Brown, who handed medals, certificates and prizes to children and young people.

While everyone deserved their nomination, there could only be one winner, with the first prize handed to Ben Willan by John-Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding at Sefton Council, for his outstanding improvement and progress in his personal development. He was closely followed by joint runners up Jaydon Lavelle and Kayleigh Pilcher, who were recognised as great examples for other children by “going the extra mile” inside and outside school.

Sponsorship is vital to No Limits and this year’s event was possible with support from local organisations and teams at the Local Authority including:  ‘Our Place’ Sefton Care Leavers Centre; Homescope; Parenting 2000; Southport Soroptmists; Crosby Soroptimists; Sefton Governors Association; Sefton CVS; Children’s Services, Library Service and the Integrated Youth Service at Sefton Council.

An award was sponsored for the first time by Sefton Council employee Margaret Porter and her son Mark in loving memory of her late husband Alan.

Cllr. John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “It is great to see that the No Limits Challenge Awards are still going strong and continue to celebrate the efforts and achievements our looked after children, which is so important for their development.

“While rightly proud of the children and young people, I want to extend congratulations to the tireless team who organise the event, as well as the many social workers, foster carers, teachers and special guardians who took the time to nominate winners and nominees.”

Nicky Walsh, Head at Sefton’s Virtual School for looked after children and project lead for No Limits also commented: “Seeing first-hand how hard our children and young people work and the way the aspire to be the very best they can be, makes it all the more rewarding to be involved in an event such as the No Limits Challenge Awards, where we have the chance to celebrate their achievements.

“It was great to see so many children and young people filling the floral hall and looking so smart as they received their certificates. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service

A Working Group looking into Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) in Sefton has been set up.

Sefton Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children’s Services and Safeguarding) has established the group and are keen to speak with parents or guardians who are or who have accessed the service.

Councillors on the committee and members of Healthwatch will form part of the working group.

There are various ways in which parents or guardians can share their views and experiences:

• As part of a group with parents and guardians; or
• Individually; or
• By way of a written submission.

All information provided will be anonymous.

Anyone interested in sharing their views and experiences of the service are invited to contact Ruth Harrison, Senior Democratic Services Officer, by either telephone or e-mail: 0151 934 2042 or ruth.harrison@sefton.gov.uk

Talent Match – A local project supporting young people look for long term employment

Are you aged 15-29 years old looking for work?

Have you been unemployed or out of education for 12 months?

Do you feel your ideal job is out of reach?

If yes, then Talent Match can support you!

A Big Lottery funded project designed to provide support to young people looking for long term employment.

Part funded by The European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative offering support to 15-17 year olds and 25-29 year olds.

The Talent Match has a team of mentors throughout Merseyside who will work closely with you, providing intensive support to gain sustainable employment.

The Sefton Intensive Mentors are: Lynne Evans, Marie Hall, Clare McGrory and Megan Gamble. We offer various types of support and opportunities including:

  • Therapeutic support (counselling/anger management etc)
  • Substance misuse support
  • Housing issues
  • Confidence and motivation
  • Employability skills CV’s, Interview prep, Application, UJM support
  • Work and volunteering placements
  • Travel funding
  • CSCS card and Health and Safety Test
  • Apprenticeship support
  • Business start-up support
  • Post-employment support
  • Access to Breaking down barriers funding

Click here to download a referral form


For any enquiries please contact  talent.match@mya.org.uk or 0151 702 0700 .

BBC issues warning today – Button batteries pose ‘deadly’ risk to toddlers

Today the BBC issues a stark warning about the dangers of button batteries, with coverage on BBC Breakfast, the BBC website and the 6 O’Clock News.

What’s the problem?

If a button battery, particularly a lithium coin battery, gets stuck in a child’s throat or gullet, the battery’s energy makes the body create caustic soda (the chemical used to unblock drains).

This can burn a hole through the throat and lead to serious internal bleeding and death.

Lithium coin batteries are the most dangerous as the higher voltage means more energy is released, creating more caustic soda. The reaction can happen in as little as two hours.

Button batteries are found in many products that can appeal to young children, including remote controls, nightlights and novelty cards.

How you can help

Please help the CAPT get the word out as widely as possible.

Sefton’s CCGs shortlisted for prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) award

Apprentices celebrate graduating from the scheme at the L20 in Bootle

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have been shortlisted for a prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award.

Their apprenticeship scheme with Hugh Baird College has been shortlisted under the workforce category with ten other entrants across the UK.

The bespoke course designed and shaped by the CCGs with Hugh Baird College gave apprentices the chance to train whilst working in a GP practice to get the hands on experience that they need. Many of them still work in practice and some have gone on to complete further training.

Debbie Fagan, chief nurse at the CCGs said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted, the team here worked so hard to design the course and all of the apprentices who took part have expressed how beneficial it was to them.

“In this climate where it isn’t that easy to source funding for further qualifications or to get jobs easily, they relished the opportunity and gave it their all. We are just happy that they found it so worthwhile.”

Alastair McLellan, Editor, HSJ, said: “With the NHS experiencing a tough time as funding fails to keep up with demand, the HSJ Awards are once again the best reminder of the excellence the service is capable of. Taken together the entries to the HSJ Awards represent work which, directly or indirectly, has saved thousands of lives and enhanced many times that number.”

Now in their 35th year, the most sought after accolade in British healthcare recognises, celebrates and promotes the finest achievements in NHS, and showcases them to the service’s most influential leaders.

The next stage for the CCGs will be to complete a presentation and interview to a judging panel made up of senior and influential figures from the health sector. The winners will then be announced at the prestigious ceremony in partnership with de Poel health + care on 23 November 2016 at the InterContinental O2 in London.

For the full shortlist please visit: awards.hsj.co.uk/2016-shortlist

Introducing… Almitas Trust CIC

Almitas Trust CIC are a non-profit organisation, working innovatively to provide quality accommodation and support to vulnerable families.

As a novel service provider, they offer a new approach to providing parents and their babies with the support that they need, while they work with professionals to make long term plans for the children. Almitas support parents and professionals to help childrens needs to be met and their primary focus is the best interests of the child. Whilst parent/child foster placements are available, they are not the best fit for every family group that needs support. The individual circumstances, or needs of a parent or their family, can often preclude them from accessing a foster placement. Almitas Trust aims to bridge that gap, by providing true 24/7 professional, individualised support, which may not be provided within the regular family setting of a foster placement.

Almitas Trust work with other local non-profit organisations including the Venus Project, the Whitechapel organisation, Sefton Women and Children’s Aid and the Rotunda, providing clients with access to a wide range of services at minimal cost to overstretched Local Authorities.

Where possible, couples are supported to build a family unit, with access to houses or flats for young parents and their children.

Support can also include:

  • Facilitating contact transport and supervision
  • Childcare & development information and mentoring
  • Development of basic life skills such as time management, cooking, health and hygiene
  • Access to benefits advice
  • Access to counselling services

By working with parents, families and associated professionals, Almitas aim to promote positive parenting in a safe environment for children, and to empower our clients to adjust, learn and grow.

Click here to visit the Almitas Trust CIC website, and find out more about the work that they do.

Working Futures project offers help and support for local, young unemployed people

Working Futures is a new project, part funded by the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative to provide a personalised, flexible package of support to help young people aged 16 to 29, who are currently not in employment, education or training (NEET), to move towards a better future.

The programme will be delivered by a partnership of 22* not-for-profit training providers spanning the six boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Halton and Wirral, with the ability to offer localised delivery in key areas of need

Led by Greenbank College, in collaboration with VOLA Consortium, the proven multi-agency approach, founded on partners that really care about their local communities, will ensure that those in need of additional support to help develop their skills and find work will receive the best possible service; whatever their starting point.

Assistance will include employability and skills development, work experience and wider barrier removal and the time on the programme will be dependent upon the needs of the individual.

Gerry Kinsella, Greenbank’s Chief Executive said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and to be able to offer this vital service to young people and make a real difference to local communities.

All of the partners have a vital role to play in ensuring the programme’s success and it is an honour to be leading such an experienced partnership.”

Stuart McGrory, Consortium Manager at VOLA added:

“This funding is fantastic news for Liverpool City Region and all its young, unemployed adults. As a collaboration of community based, not-for-profit organisations, we understand the needs of young people in our local communities and are fully committed to helping them find work, or move in to education or training as a stepping stone to the labour market.”

Making time for fostering in Sefton

Sefton Council is asking local residents to make time for fostering as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of fostering and recruit new carers.

The local authority is hosting one of its regular fostering information sessions to coincide with Foster Care Fortnight 2016, which takes place 16-29 May.

Foster Care Fortnight has taken place annually for nearly 20 years and is organised by national charity, The Fostering Network using the theme ‘A Time to Foster, A Time to Care’. As part of the theme, the charity is asking people to describe their ‘best ever 20 minutes’ to recognise that every 20 minutes another child enters care in the UK.

According to The Fostering Network, nationally 9,070 carers are needed in the next 12 months to provide stable homes for a range of children, with the greatest need being for older children, sibling groups and disabled children. This picture is reflected in Sefton, where Sefton Council’s fostering service wants to recruit 30 new foster carers to address the needs of children in its care.

Sefton Council’s fostering information session takes place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, May 18 at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre. Here anyone who is thinking of fostering can meet Sefton’s experts, watch presentations, ask questions and meet experienced foster carers to find out what is involved first hand.

Alongside the information session, Sefton’s fostering service is asking carers, care leavers and social workers to share their best twenty minutes in foster care as part of a drive to recruit new carers online, through social media and sharing marketing resources with local partners in health, education and the voluntary sector.

Foster carer, Fran Ryan, said: “Foster Care Fortnight has made me think about my best 20 minutes in fostering, which is incredibly tough, as it has been such a rewarding time for me.

“But I do have a particular memory that has really stuck with me. We were fostering a little boy, he was very troubled. He’d been excluded from mainstream school because of his behavioural issues; he was one of the saddest boys I’d ever met. We took him for a family holiday on a barge boat.

“What a difference we saw, he relaxed right into it. I remember seeing him sitting on the roof saluting people as we moved along, then he would jump off and race the barge along the side of the canal. He seemed so happy and confident; he was like any other child without a care in the world! I was so pleased we could be a part of that.”

If you are considering fostering children in Sefton, contact Sefton Fostering and Adoption Service Freephone 0800 923 2777 or visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Knowledge Workshops For Sefton’s VCF Sector

South Sefton: Tuesday 24th May @ Sing Plus, 53 Cambridge Rd, Seaforth, L21 1EZ

North Sefton: Wednesday 15th June @ Waterside Lodge, Marine Drive, Southport, PR8 1RY

There will be 3 workshops on each date taking place at 1-3pm, 4-6pm and 7-9pm
(Arrival 15 minutes before workshop start time for tea/coffee)

Please reserve your FREE place(s) on any of the six workshops

Workshop Aims:
– To increase knowledge and ability to recognise signs and indicators of CSE
– To improve confidence to respond to CSE in line with Sefton procedures in order to protect children
– To improve appropriate information sharing by the VCFS in order to protect children experiencing CSE and assist Merseyside Police in their prosecution of offenders where appropriate.

Who Should Attend: Trustee’s, Company Directors, Managers and Frontline staff (paid and volunteers) that have responsibilities for delivering activities or services for children and young people in Sefton as part of the Voluntary, Community or Faith Sector.

Please reserve your place by returning a booking form (click here to download) to Jenny Dexter
E: Jenny.Dexter@seftoncvs.org.uk T: 0151 920 0726 ext 202

Southport Eco Centre are looking for the next young ‘Eco Champion’!

Every year the Southport Eco Centre holds a prestigious annual celebration event to award the bright ideas and dedication of our local young environmentalists.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2016 awards event from schools and community groups.

There are three categories:

  • Eco Champion – An individual who makes an outstanding contribution towards the environment and the wider community.
  • Eco Team of the Year –  Same objective as above, but as a collective.
  • People’s Ambassador – In memory of our colleague Jeff Argent, this award doesn’t have to be based on any eco work, we are looking for nominations for an individual who goes that extra mile to be a friend and inspiration to others.

Nominations can be entered online. All entries must be received by the closing date of 27 May 2016.