The Coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed life as we knew it and has had a major impact on every citizen of our area. One of the groups most impacted by the effects of the virus is young people. Steve Rotheram invites the young people of the Liverpool City Region to take part in a live conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on your lives.
Please see below for training and development opportunities from Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). To book a place on Sefton LSCB Training Courses visit our website. www.seftonlscb.org.uk
Step Together offers support to mums who have children who are not in their care. This can be a really difficult time for mums. You may feel alone, or not know where to turn. In this situation Step Together can support you in looking to the future and reaching for your goals. We can provide information, advice and support with a range of issues including contact with your children, housing, mental health and managing your money.
• One-to-one outreach support
• One-to-one counselling
• Group sessions
If you or somebody you know has a child not in their care, you can call Venus for a
chat. They accept self-referrals and referrals from professionals. You can make a
referral by phone, on our website, by email or face to face at their centre. If you would like more information please contact Leah or Kati.
The Venus Centre 215 Linacre Lane,
Bootle, Merseyside L20 6AD.
T: 0151 474 4744
Sefton Council is asking residents to give ‘Paws for Thought’ to ensure they don’t buy illegally imported puppies, following the culmination of a high profile case in Southport.
The “Paws for Thought” campaign has launched this week in a bid to educate people about the financial and emotional dangers of buying illegally imported puppies, especially in the run up to Christmas.
Sefton Council’s fostering service will mark a national campaign by joining local authorities across the North West to tell local residents ‘you can foster’.
Led by national fostering charity, The Fostering Network, foster care fortnight takes place between 8-21 May and this year’s theme is ‘foster care transforms lives’.
As part of the You Can Foster campaign, run by a collaboration of 22 local authorities across the North West, Sefton Council will be hosting a special fostering evening for prospective foster carers inspired by the campaign.
The drop-in session takes place at 6.30 pm on 16 May at The Vincent Hotel in Southport and free refreshments will be available. It is an ideal opportunity for would-be foster carers to listen to the Council’s fostering experts and ask any questions in a friendly, informal setting. There will also be experienced foster carers on-hand to give attendees a real insight on life of a foster carer.
Foster carers, Nicky and Tom Hetherington, who live in Southport will be attending the information evening. They specialise in short-term foster care, looking after children from anywhere between a few weeks to 16 months.
Talking about the event, Nicky, said:
“This year’s theme for foster care fortnight is perfect – I’m so proud to say I have transformed children’s lives.
“Fostering has transformed my life too. Had you told me six years ago when I left my business to take care of my daughter, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, that I would have changed career and be sitting here having fostered six children, I would not have believed you.
“Watching a child change, often dramatically, is a wonderful feeling. It can take time for them to trust you and settle, but the warmth you get when they come out the other end is such a lovely feeling.”
“As carers we have had strong support from family, friends and the new friends we have made in Sefton’s foster carer community – it has made such a difference.
“Our family and children have become much closer, embracing the challenge fostering brings. It has been so satisfying to see the caring and selfless people that our own children have become through sharing their home with foster children.
“Fostering is a decision to make with your loved ones, but it genuinely does transform lives and you won’t look back.”
Maria Spatuzzi, team manager at Sefton Council’s fostering service said:
“It is great to be teaming up with other local authorities to raise the profile of fostering and reach a wider audience. The ‘you can foster’ message will be appearing on TV, radio and social media, so there will be lots of opportunity for people to start thinking about fostering.
“In Sefton, we need 25 new foster carers to give children and young people the stable, loving home they need to flourish. In particular, we need carers for sibling groups, older children and teens, and those with complex needs.
“Fostering children is a big decision and takes a lot of consideration. Our fostering evenings are informative and can provide people with the reassurance they need to take that first step, by talking to our team and carers face-to-face.”
If you would like to make an enquiry or simply find out more about fostering in Sefton, the service has developed a brand new website to help you. You can also find out more about the fostering evening by clicking on news and events.
For further details contact Sefton Council’s fostering service on Freephone 0800 923 2777 or by email
Back by popular demand during the May half term school holidays – Sefton Council is proud to offer a number of ‘Ditch Those Stabilisers’ cycling events.
Children aged four and above can learn to ride a bike unaided at sessions in Litherland and Southport.
The events have a very high success rate and staff from the Council’s highway safety team will offer a range of practical advice to young riders and their parents.
Sessions are free but pre-booking is essential. Join the team at Litherland Sports Park, Boundary Lane on Tuesday, 30 May between 9am-12pm or Shoreside Primary School, Westminster Drive on Thursday, 1 June from 9am to 12pm.
To register, call Sefton Council, on 0345 140 0845.
The Diana Award is presented to young people who are going above and beyond in their daily lives to create and sustain positive change. They can be nominated for a variety of activities not limited to: campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, tackling bullying, overcoming extreme life challenges.
As well as the Award, the 20 recipients will also be given access to a unique Development Programme, providing them with the opportunity to enhance their skills in four key areas; leadership, community development, social entrepreneurship and technology for good. In order to be eligible for The Diana Award or Legacy Award nominees must be aged 9-18 and have been carrying out their activities for a minimum of 12 months.
Through this newsletter, Merseyside CDOP aim to raise awareness amongst frontline professionals, parents/carers and families of some of the risks to children that have been identified through the CDOP work.
Click here to download the newsletter
Safer Sleep for Baby Poster
Click here to download the Safer Sleep for Baby Information Poster
7 Minute Briefings
Please see below for the latest 7-minute briefings.
7 minute briefings are based on a technique borrowed from the FBI. It is based on research, which suggests that seven minutes is an ideal time span to concentrate and learn. Learning for seven minutes is manageable in most services, and learning is more memorable as it is simple and not clouded by other issues and pressures.
Schoolchildren in Sefton have given their support to Merseyside Police’s campaign to stamp out the antisocial use of off-road and scrambler bikes.
Primary schools in the Bootle, Seaforth and Litherland areas were selected to take part in workshops jointly run by neighbourhood police officers, anti-social behaviour unit staff from Sefton Council and Alder Hey hospital staff.
At the completion of the workshops Year 6 pupils were asked to design a poster on the theme of ‘anti scrambler bike use’.
The best ten posters were chosen by a panel of judges.
Funding for the project was obtained through the Chief Constable priority fund, community engagement fund and Sefton Council.
The 10 winners of the competition – who are from Bedford Primary School and Lander Road Primary School, both Bootle, and Rimrose Hope CE Primary school In Seaforth – will attend a presentation at Bootle Town Hall on Thursday 25 February – which will be attended by the Mayor of Sefton, local councillors, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, former Everton FC players and representatives from Merseyside Police.
The prize for each of the 10 winners will be a PGL adventure weekend at Winmerleigh Hall in the forest of Bowland.
Neighbourhood inspector Ian Jones said: “The issue of scrambler bikes is one that that Merseyside Police takes very seriously and we will do everything we can to take them off the streets and find the people responsible for using them in an illegal, dangerous or antisocial way.
“Many riders don’t give a moment’s thought to the consequences of their actions and the misery they bring to decent law-abiding members of the community.
“We felt it was important that we engage with schoolchildren at a younger age to make them aware of the dangers of using off road bikes and the associated links with gangs.
“The posters they submitted for the competition are evidence that they feel very strongly about the issue.
“By involving partner agencies and the community we hope that we can get the message across and combat this problem.”
Councillor Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, said: “We were delighted to work in partnership with our many different agencies to tackle the problem which scrambling and anti-social behaviour can cause.
“This initiative enabled us to engage with young people before they could get involved with such anti-social behaviour and it got them thinking about the issues surrounding this.
“Congratulations to everyone involved as the project enabled many young people to use their time in a positive way.”
Deputy Police Commissioner Cllr Sue Murphy said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to present the awards to the winners of this competition and meet the young people who have been involved with Merseyside Police’s campaign.
“The Commissioner and I have heard repeatedly from people across Merseyside about the suffering and misery that the dangerous and illegal use of these bikes causes in our communities. That is why it is so important we engage with our young people from an early age and make them aware of the potential dangers and consequences of getting involved with anti-social use of bikes.
“It’s clear from the posters that the youngsters have created that they have really understood these messages and are keen to show their support. I congratulate the winners and all the young people who have taken part, as well as the officers and staff who have worked on this effective campaign.”
A version of this article first appeared on Guardian Voluntary Sector Network
The sad news that Kids Company is closing down is a crushing blow to everyone involved. Regardless of the inevitable debate regarding the effectiveness of its work and accusations of a lack of management control, its clients today don’t have the services that they had, and its staff and volunteers are left without an idea of what the future holds. Those volunteers include the trustees, a position I found myself in last year, when as one of the trustees of the BeatBullying charity we made the difficult decision to enter our charity into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation, with the result that the charity closed down.
Be wary of speculation: nobody knows the full story
From my experience, I think it’s important to highlight that the only thing outsiders should really know is that they don’t know what is really going on. Large charities like Kids Company are often incorporated as companies and as such subject to company law. Faced by an inquisitive media, we were strongly advised to say nothing by our lawyers, specifically because any comments might affect our chances of getting someone to take over the charity as a going concern. This is important, because once a company becomes insolvent, the primary stakeholders become the creditors. Whereas before our primary duty as trustees was to the beneficiaries of the charity, after a declaration of insolvency, you must not prejudice the interests of creditors. And company law trumps charity law. Nevertheless, be prepared for criticism for your silence. And for the inevitable filling of the media vacuum by those outside the organisation (which is why my comments here aren’t about Kids Company specifically).
Just because the doors are closed…
If saying nothing to the outside world was difficult, what was even more difficult was the knowledge that our primary responsibility was now to creditors. In other words, not the staff or the children and young people who were our users, the people for whom we got into this. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to other charities or statutory agencies about who can help the service users, and then signpost to them. We did an awful lot of phoning in those long, difficult days – and for a sector that is often accused of being ultra-competitive, we got many offers of support from other charities.
Although the doors were metaphorically closed, our experience of the voluntary liquidation route was that there is still an awful lot of work required if you want to try and preserve the service for users. The single most important lesson here is that the staff (many of whom stuck around, despite not being paid or getting much in the way of communication from us) and the trustees have to stick together. I can’t underline enough how important this is: a number of people subsequently told me that in their experience the trustees had run for the hills. The Administrator arguably should do this work, but the challenge might be that there isn’t enough money left for an administrator to spend time trying to transfer the charity as a going concern. So if you care about the service and the beneficiaries, you’ll probably have to put the hours in.
Get proper legal and financial advice.
We had some fantastic professional advice, including pro bono advice. I would strongly recommend that you get this, and the earlier the better. That’s particularly the case if you are in financial difficulties: nobody wants to be accused of wrongful trading. If you’re at the point where you have concerns about whether or not the charity is a going concern, its more important than ever that you get accurate, timely financial information. It’s likely that the board will be meeting at least once a week to discuss this.
Much tends to get written about whether funders were right to make further payments to a charity that subsequently fails. Yet there is a similar onus on the trustees to be sure that in continuing to ‘trade’ at that point that they had a reasonable certainty of continuing as a going concern. Get professional advice (ideally from an insolvency practitioner), it’s out there. Also make sure that you tell the Charity Commission what is happening, as they need to know. It wont help in the long term if they are the last to know.
But we still need to address the starvation cycle
Every year thousands of charities close. Thousands are established. The news of a large charity closing triggers introspection (there but for the grace of God…) but even more thousands successfully deliver brilliant campaigns or services. Newspaper website articles nevertheless are deluged with inaccurate comments criticising charities for their poor governance and financial incompetence, but they also highlight some hard truths and paradoxes about how our sector works.
The brave not so new world of contracting with the state for the delivery of services has singularly failed to enable charities to build their resilience. While many charities now have a reserves policy, implementing that policy and building 3 months’ worth of expenditure is a goal many find unattainable. Charities with reserves can find it hard to convince donors and funders that they should give their support (the so called non-profit starvation cycle). And donors dislike of funding core costs or ‘administration’ mean that it remains difficult to put in place the sort of financial and outcomes reporting infrastructure that build resilience in many charities. We need to shift the questions from low overheads to high impact.
Many trustees will no doubt be more carefully reading the financial report in advance of their next board meeting as a result of recent events. That is a good thing. I’d particularly recommend that you read the Charity Commission’s 15 questions to ask at your next board meeting. And just as boards sticking together at times of crisis is a good thing, I hope we as a charity sector stick together now, and support those who are currently trying to save the services provided by Kids Company, in the anticipation that we will learn from their experience later in the future.