Bootle Strand Shopping Centre plan Easter activities for all the family

SHOPPERS at the Strand Shopping Centre will be given an Easter treet with a giant chocolate scented egg and huge butterflies being just some of the features in upcoming activitivies!

The popular Strand Kids Craft Zone will be making a welcome return to Mons Square between Tuesday, April 4 and Thursday, April 6 with families invited to help create a giant butterfly sculpture on Wednesday, April 5.

Lucy Kirk, the marketing manager at the Strand, said: “We plan to focus our family activities around art in 2017 and we hope these ‘For the Love of Art’ sessions will see the creative talents of our young visitors unleashed as they work with pen and paint, collage and crayon.

“We know how creative our youngsters can be and this year we want to nurture this talent and provide opportunities for families to create and display their inspired endeavours.”

The Craft Zone then returns for further dates from Tuesday, April 11 to Thursday, April 13 with more activities for young artists.

On Wednesday, April 12 shoppers will find that a giant five metre high Easter egg has been laid in Mons Square.

This giant inflatable egg is scented with chocolate and children will be invited inside for storytime sessions at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Storytellers from the Ting Tang Children’s Theatre Company will be telling the tales, including the Beatrix Potter’s Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck.

Leading the troupe will be local actor Hannah Jenkins, 25 from Liverpool. Hannah studied Creative and Performing Arts at Liverpool Hope University and has toured in a host of productions from the Wizard of Oz to Shakespeare.

As well as enjoying story-time sessions children will also be invited to pose with a big Peter Rabbit soft toy for a Facebook album where their image will be enhanced with bunny ears and whiskers.

The events are all free but parents and carers are invited to stay with their children and join in the fun.

The House of Lords Report on Charities: What You Need To Know!

The House of Lords select committee on charities has now published its report, entitled Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society (PDF, 1.7 MB). This is a substantial, wide-ranging and important piece of work that should and will shape our sector going forward. The analysis and recommendations of this cross-party committee’s report recognise that Britain benefits greatly from our sector. But that for that to continue, charities, and those who support them, need to adapt so that they can better make an impact in the changing world around them.

You can read more here:

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.

Popular School Holiday Programme Returns With Premiership Partnership

Be Active returns this school holiday with a host of egg’cellent activities for youngsters and a brand new partnership with Everton Soccer School.

The programme, designed by Sefton Council’s Active Sefton team, will ensure that young residents get a healthy dose of outdoor fun to burn off those sweet treats and encourage them to try out new sports and games.

Mini Blues and Reds will have the chance to learn from Everton trained coaches and develop their skills at the new soccer schools.  While there is also a chance for youngsters to enjoy Come and Try sessions covering gymnastics and archery.

The Easter Egg’stravaganza Day will see children take part in a number of enjoyable and challenging activities, such as obstacle courses, adventure games and dodgeball.

Other events taking place across the week include preschool swimming crash courses, Crosby Lakeside Adventure days, discounted Swim and Splash sessions and many more.

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.

Keep it Local Guide to Councillors and Commissioners

Faced with limited choices when it comes to providing quality, cost-effective public services, commissioners are being pushed into inefficient, centralised services and mega contracts in a bid to answer austerity’s challenges.

But there is a better way: The Keep it Local campaign calls for locally-commissioned and delivered public services which provide substantially better outcomes and value than standardised, one-size-fits-all services.

Locality’s new How to Keep it Local: Five step guide for councillors and commissioners  is the handbook for pioneering councillors and commissioners across the country who prioritise local commissioning and delivery, leading to improved services for local people, savings for councils and economic resilience in their communities.

Based on five key principles of how to Keep it Local, the guide busts myths around commissioning locally and showcases the benefits of working with community anchor organisations.

Download the How to Keep it Local: Five step guide for councillors and commissioners guide.

Arts Development Grants Available for Young Disabled People People through Dada Fest

DaDaFest is an innovative disability arts organisation based in Liverpool, delivering the Festival and other arts events to promote high quality disability & deaf arts from unique cultural perspectives.

It also produces opportunities for disabled and d/Deaf people to access the arts, including training and a young people’s programme.

The link Below provides information about grants available for young disabled people who have an interest and passion for the arts.

If you or your service  you work with young people who may be interested please share!

The Diana Award for young people is seeking nominations (closing date 17th March)

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.

Click here for more information


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

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

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

Birkdale pupils warned of drug and alcohol dangers by Amy Winehouse Foundation

Pupils at Birkdale High School have been lectured on the dangers around alcohol and drugs, thanks to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Youngsters were visited by special guests from the charity which was set up following the death of the singer at the age of 27 in 2011.

Amy’s family felt it was important to keep her memory alive and set up the foundation with the aim of it working to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.

They also aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential. They visited the Windy Harbour Road school on the invite of learning mentor Sandra Nightingale.

Sandra told the Champion: “Here at Birkdale we know how important it is to educate our pupils and impart the correct information so they can make informed decisions about all aspects of their lives.

“Often without awareness young people can make risky choices which can lead to life changing negative experiences.

“During the assemblies; the foundation shared their own life stories in a bid to ‘create a level of awareness in young people, that can prove to be life changing.”

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

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 or call 0151 288 6286

Free Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Knowledge Twilight Workshops (January & March 2017)

Sefton CVS will be running a free Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Knowledge workshop in January and March 2017.

The workshop aims are:

  • 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.

Click here for a flyer with more information on the workshops.

If you are interested in attending one of the free sessions, please complete this booking form (click here), and return to

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.”