Brookdale centre help conjure musical memories for dementia sufferers

A specialist Southport day service for Sefton residents with dementia turned back the clock this week to join in with a national initiative to raise awareness of the condition.

Service users at Brookdale Resource Centre in Ainsdale – run by the borough’s leading adult social care provider, New Directions – enjoyed a day of reminiscence to mark Dementia Awareness Week which is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society.

The key feature of the event was a delicious afternoon tea which also featured live music from popular Southport vocalist Dave Benjamin, who presented a selection of classic songs from the last half-century and beyond.

Service users were soon dancing and singing along to Dave’s wide-ranging repertoire of musical memories which included rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country and western and pop and soul standards.

Brookdale Resource Centre’s day service enables the carers of Sefton residents who have an advanced dementia diagnosis to have an important respite break.

Service users enjoy a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, sensory stimulation, music and reminiscence therapies.

According to Brookdale Manager, Salwa Moustafa, it’s important for the service to lend its support to campaigns like Dementia Awareness Week.

She explained: “The main objective of today’s event was to provide fun for our service users, and thanks to the efforts of our staff and the entertainer they all joined in and had a really enjoyable time.

“However, it’s also important to use national events like these to raise awareness of dementia and the effect it can have on sufferers and their families, and in doing so to challenge the stigma associated with the condition.”

Figures indicate that someone in the world now develops dementia every three seconds, and that by 2050 around 131.5 million people around the globe will be living with the condition.

New Directions was established in 2007 as the first local authority social care trading company in the country.

Ten years on, the organisation remains at the forefront of the local care sector, with a team of more than 300 staff caring for older Sefton residents, or people with disabilities or mental health support needs.

For more information about the services offered by New Directions, or to find out about joining the team, ring 0151 934 3726 or visit

Forget-Me-Not appeal for Queencourt Hospice flower garden

Queenscourt Hospice staff are appealing for donations and dedications for their forget-me-not flower garden.

The Town Lane based hospice’s Forget-Me-Not Appeal encourages the local community to honour someone special by making a donation to be part of the flower garden

Last year those who kindly supported the Queenscourt Forget-Me-Not appeal helped to raise over £10,000, funding which could provide 40 night shifts of specialist nursing care to comfort, reassure and look after a patient in their own home.

This year Queenscourt hope to increase awareness of the appeal and raise much needed funds by giving supporters a range of ways to donate and remember someone special.

Harriet Wilkinson, ‘individual giving’ fundraiser, Queenscourt Hospice said: “Remembering a loved one is very personal and the Forget-Me- Not-Appeal is a unique and special way to remember and celebrate the life of someone important to you. Through this simple act you’ll also be helping to support local families.

“Behind every family we help is a huge caring team and hundreds of kind supporters who make it all possible”.

Alison Riley, a dedicated supporter of Queenscourt said: “I’m not sure what my family would have done without the amazing care the Queenscourt at Home nurses gave to my mum, Eileen, in her last few weeks.

“They helped make sure she could die with dignity at home. Donating and dedicating a flower is my way of giving something back – Mum’s birthday was in June so it helps me think of her and smile.”

In 2016 Queenscourt Hospice provided end of life care to over 700 local patients like Eileen.

Find out more about how you can support the appeal and get involved by visiting remember

A walk to remember as 1000 take part in annual Star Trekk for Queenscourt Hospice

Over one thousand people have once again took part in the annual Queenscourt Hospice Star Trekk walk.

The final total of how much the myriad of walkers have raised for the Town Lane based hospice is yet to be revealed, such is the amount of donations staff need to tally up – but they say they are overwhelmed with the support Queenscourt received last week.

Last year the walk totaled an incredible £87,000

Men, women, children and even dogs took on the seven mile round walk through Birkdale and Southport on Friday evening (May 19), most of whom have known a friend or relative who have experienced care from Queenscourt at one time or another.

Carolyn Gorman, fundraising manager at Queenscourt, said: “For once the weather was really kind to us and this helped to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere at the event.

“As usual spirits were high and the feedback that we have received so far is very positive and lots of our participants have been sharing photos with us via social media.

“We won’t know the final total raised for several months yet as sponsorship money from individuals does sometimes take a while to collect and for them to bring in, but I am hopeful with so many people getting involved that we will get close to the £87,000 raised from the 2016 event!”


Southport Care homes unite against dementia for awareness week

CARE home bosses from Southport have met for the first time in the town to help raise awareness of dementia across the care spectrum.

Organised by the Athena Health Care group, Parklands Lodge, Abbey Wood, Aaron Crest, Dale Park, Marine Care Home, the Promenade Rest Home and Aaronmore Park care home staff met at the Marine Lake cafe on the Promenade last week as part of Dementia Awareness Week

The Atkinson, Southport, launches Comedy Club 4 Kids

Comedy is always a big pull for The Atkinson and this May they are starting a Comedy Club 4 Kids – which they are aiming will be a great way for all the family to have a laugh together.

Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children (aged 6+) and their families… but without the rude bits!

A decade later, the company has expanded from one London residency to being countrywide, running shows and workshops all over the UK from Peebles to Portsmouth, even producing a book on how to write and perform stand-up.

The show is family friendly, but without any patronising idiocy. In fact, it’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on in the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of heckles like “why is that your face!?”

Comedy Club 4Kids takes place at The Atkinson on Saturday, May 27 at 2.30 pm.

Comedy Club 4 Kids will be back at Christmas with Comedy Club 4 Kids Christmas Cracker on December 16.

For more information about the event or to book, visit or call Box Office on 01704 533333 or buy over the counter during opening hours.

Popular Woodvale Rally returns to Southport’s Victoria Park in June

Woodvale Rally returns to Victoria Park in Southport next month with a bumper line-up of attractions to entertain all the family.

The fun-filled annual event takes place on June 17 and 18 with tickets costing just £6 for adults and £4 for children under 15.

This year organisers have secured a wide range of live performances by local bands from 11am to 5pm on both days with a guest appearance from X Factor finalist Ray Quinn on the Saturday.

The popular Mike and The Sunrockers have also confirmed, as have The Jaywalkers .

General manager Peter Wood said: “This year we have a wide range of free entertainment. Unlike other shows we like to give visitors a great day out without breaking the bank.

“The Liverpool and District Model Aircraft Society (LADMAS) will have ‘planes flying on both days.

“Classic and vintage car entries are also ‘motoring’ in and the Army will be attending with a display of heavy recovery vehicles.

“The popular Crazy Bears will be there again as will the West Lancashire Dog Display Team, which will be performing twice a day.

“Jema Leopold will also take to the main arena with her amazing performing horses.

“Other attractions include giant slides, craft and food marquee, giant car boot, collectors fair, Morris dancing and numerous trade stands.”

Woodvale Rally is run by the 1st Southport Scout Group, raising funds to help youngsters with their Scouting activities and to assist other local charities with donations.

For further information visit or email

Sefton residents told You Can Foster during national campaign

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.”

Tom added:

“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

Are you ready to Ditch Those Stabilisers?

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.

Southport Rotary Club golf day raises £4000 for Rainbow House

An annual Rotary Club golf day in Southport has raised £4,200 for a disability charity.

The 27th annual Business-Amateur competition, hosted by The Rotary Club of Southport Links, amassed £4,200 for Rainbow House – an Ormskirk based disability charity which helps disabled children and their families become more independent.

A spokesperson for the Rotary Club of Southport Links said: “Despite the dismal forecast the weather on the day was cloudy with sunny spells.

“A total of 15 teams took part with HB Villages securing the win with a score of 92 points, closely followed by the team from Southport Insurance Brokers with 89 points.

“‘Nearest to the pin’ was won by Tom Dickinson, a guest of the Firwood Timber team; and the ‘longest drive’ was won by Ian Monaghan of the MJ Quinn team.

“Carole Cochrane CBE, CEO of Rainbow House, expressed her delight that such a large amount was raised on the day and confirmed that the proceeds would go towards continuing to provide conductive education and specialist treatment for severely disabled children.”

Cycle tribute to Paul raises over a thousand pounds for charity

A charity cycle ride in memory of a Southport man, raised more than £1,000 for a mental health charity.

The family and friends of Paul Carapanagiotu jumped on their exercise bikes at Marshside Health Club and rode an impressive 304 miles for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

The distance of 304 miles happens to be the distance it takes to complete a full cycle journey around the island of Kefalonia, which was a happy place for Paul during his life.

Paul’s daughter-in-law, Amy Carapanagiotu, said: “In March 2016, we lost somebody close to our hearts.

“Our challenge was to cycle the distance of the Island of Kefalonia.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t exactly cycle in Kefalonia but we are very grateful to Marshside Health Club for letting us use the facilities at  to cover the mileage!

“We chose Kefalonia as it meant so much to Paul.

“He loved spending time in his second home out there.

“We have shared  many happy times on this beautiful Greek Island, and he often dreamt of retiring on sandy beaches drinking ice cold Mythos!

“Campaign Against Living Miserably is a charity working to help prevent male suicide.

“Through our challenge we hope to raise as much awareness as possible.

“CALM provide a helpline where men can pick up the phone, and talk to trained staff confidentially, and anonymously, seven days a week, from 5pm till midnight.

“We hope that by fundraising for CALM, we are helping to prevent men from suffering in a way which is more common than most of us realise.

“Afterwards, in Paul’s memory, myself and Andy, Paul’s son, staged a balloon release.”

Volunteers needed to reach for the stars for Queenscourt Hospice!

VOLUNTEERS are needed for the upcoming 2017 Queenscourt Hospice Star Trekk walk.

Every year hundreds of people join in the Star Trekk and take to the streets of Southport to raise much needed funds for Queenscourt Hospice.

This is only possible thanks to a team of volunteers.

For this year’s event, on Friday, May 19, the hospice are in need of volunteer stewards who can help them marshal the seven mile route throughout the night.

A spokesperson for Queenscourt Hospice said: “Our stewards play a really important role at Star Trekk.

“As well as ensuring our walkers stay safe and well, they also help to create the great atmosphere and provide much needed encouragement along the route.

“They are also on hand to offer important information for walkers about facilities etc, which will all be provided.

“If this is something you think you’d like to help with then we’d love to hear from you!

“The walk starts and finishes at Southport Pleasureland, at the slightly earlier time this year of 8.30pm.

“The route travels along the old Coastal Road, where it turns left on to Weld Road and continues through to Birkdale Village.

“Birkdale Village Traders are kindly supporting Star Trekk, with many traders opening up late and the village will be decorated with balloons and bows, making it look even more wonderful and helping to encourage our walkers along the way!

“After the village we will continue along Liverpool Road before turning left up Clifford Road and Lyndurst Road.

“We take a left on to Guildford Road, along to Town Lane and head past Christ the King School, Dobbies, Southport Hospital and Queenscourt Hospice.

“At Queenscourt Hospice the Lights of Love in our beautiful trees will be turned on for this special night, shining out to welcome all our participants and spur them on for the second half of the walk.

“At the main Kew roundabout, we will turn left onto Scarisbrick New Road and continue straight on up to Lord Street.  Here we will head left and take a right hand turn up Coronation Walk before heading to the finish line at Pleasureland.

“There is a great party atmosphere with our walkers dressing up, wearing tiaras, sparkly cowboy hats and flashing bunny ears etc… our stewards are key to making it as fun as possible and cheering the walkers along the way, so they are of course welcome to join in with the dressing up!

“We would also love it if any residents or businesses along the route would be kind enough to step out and give our walkers a cheer as they go past!

“Last year the 1139 people who joined in with Star Trekk managed to raise an incredible £87,000 which all went to benefit the local people being cared for by Queenscourt Hospice.”

If you are interested in volunteering as a marshal, contact the fundraising office on 01704 517420 or e-mail

Southport-based Home Instead Senior Care celebrate 10th birthday

A Southport private care company have this week celebrated their tenth birthday.

Home Instead Senior Care was delighted to welcome their caregivers, clients and family members to their ten year anniversary celebration at the Royal Clifton Hotel.

The event was well attended by Home Instead caregivers and staff along with over twenty of their clients who live in the local community. The guests were thoroughly spoiled with a buffet supper, entertainment, music and a delicious celebration cake.

Anthea Pilkington and Irene Hough, owners of the award winning at-home care company, have led the business to considerable success and popularity, creating a strong reputation for caring for older people across Southport.

Anthea said: “We would like to thank all the guests for attending and of course, our fantastic caregivers and staff, who continue to provide phenomenal support to all of our clients.

“It was one of our proudest moments seeing everyone celebrate what we have achieved over the last ten years.”

Home Instead now employs over 110 members of staff across the town.

Southport Foodbank receives helping hand from Sacred Heart Brownies group

Southport Trussell Group Foodbank received a welcome helping hand last week when they were visited by the Southport Brownies unit

Members of the all-girls 58th Southport Sacred Heart Brownies have been busy collecting donations for Southport Foodbank at Kew Tesco and

The girls, who meet at Sacred Heart Church, Ainsdale, recently visited the Foodbank facility at Lakeside Church to follow the process of what happens to the donations.

Tesco Champion, Leslie Kirkbride, helped organise the event which raised awareness for the charity.

The event encouraged families to donate food in Tesco and share with their children the importance of helping others. Without support from the community, the Foodbank would not be able to continue functioning so successfully.

Southport Foodbank, which manages six outlets in the Southport and Formby area, is part of the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide food bank network. The Trussell Trust helps local communities to open foodbanks, providing emergency food to thousands of people nationwide every year.

Southport Foodbank works with members of the public donating non-perishable food, which is then sorted and packed by volunteers into emergency food boxes.

Frontline care professionals, organisations and charities give vouchers to people in crisis and these are exchanged for three days of food at the food bank.

Latest figures released in April reveal that 45,216 meals were given out by the Southport Foodbank network to over 5,000 local people in crisis in 2016-17.

Southport Foodbank Manager, John Sullivan, states that there are many reasons as to why clients require food including, low income, benefit changes, delayed wages and domestic violence.

He said: “During the last financial year, local people have donated over 44 tonnes of food to Southport Foodbank and more than 120 volunteered to help with the scheme.

John believes progress can only be made through support and raising awareness.

He said: “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up. Together we can help those in need move forward.”

Unfortunately, cutbacks are causing problems for the charity. However, volunteers are still able to take the time to listen and provide further support for clients.

The Lakeside Church Foodbank is open on both Monday and Friday, from 1 pm to 4 pm, and clients referred to it can be given three days of food up to three times in any six-month period. Other branches in the area are located at Grace Baptist Church on Market Street which is open on a Tuesday, Southport Community Centre and Scarisbrick New Road Baptist which both open on a Wednesday, Ainsdale Methodist Church on a Thursday, and Holy Trinity Formby on a Friday.

The charity is on-going and non-perishable food items can be donated directly to Lakeside Church or Tesco at Kew.

For information visit: or to offer help or make a donation, email:

Healthwatch Sefton – Karen Jackson named interim chief executive

Karen Jackson has been appointed interim Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

She succeeds Iain McInnes who has been interim Chief Executive since August. He is returning to a role with NHS Improvement, the national organisation responsible for overseeing NHS provider trusts.

Karen has most recently been working with NHS Improvement to lead work on improving urgent care service delivery across England.

Before this she was chief executive at North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and has a professional background in NHS finance. She is a graduate in genetics from the University of Liverpool.

Karen said: “I am very happy to be joining the team at Southport and Ormskirk. Even in my short time here I have been impressed with the commitment of staff to providing the very best care for patients. I look forward to supporting that effort and will be here for as long as the Trust needs me.”

Iain said: “I have enjoyed my time working at the Trust. There are a lot of dedicated, hardworking staff and it has been a privilege working with them.

“The Trust has had many challenges and still has a number to face. It is clear to me that there is a strong commitment to move on and deliver care and a good experience for our patients as we move into a new phase.

“We now have a substantive executive team in place. They are dedicated and experienced people who will lead the Trust in the months and years ahead.

“I am confident that, with the addition of Karen, I am leaving the Trust in good hands.”

Karen officially starts in her new role on Monday 17th April.

Two new attractions confirmed for Southport Air Show

Bosses at Southport Air Show say they are excited to announce new aircraft performances as part of this year’s display.

Taking place on the seafront from September 15-17 2017, the annual spectacle will see debut displays from the de Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen and B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B.

The Sea Vixen is a twin boom, twin-engine 1950s–60s British two-seat jet fighter and her appearance at the show is causing quite a stir amongst the organisers!

Sally B is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe. She was critical to the USAAF daylight precision bombing campaign and was armed with 13 machine guns, hence the name ‘Flying Fortress’.

Both of these displays will be on Saturday and Sunday of the popular Air Show. Other military favourites including the RAF Typhoon Display Team, Tutor, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Official) will display over two days along with the Breitling Wingwalkers and the Blades Aerobatic Team.

The Friday night will showcase lights and pyrotechnics on the displays from the Fireflies Display Team, Twister Aerobatic Team and the Tigers Freefall Parachute Display Team – all three displays will also be on Saturday and Sunday.

More aircraft displays will be announced over the coming weeks adding to an already bumper line-up.

Mark Catherall, Sefton Council’s Tourism Service manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the Sally B and the Sea Vixen to debut at this year’s Air Show.

“Sadly, for reasons beyond our control, the RAF Red Arrows will not be available for this year’s Southport Air Show. While we are disappointed by this, we hope to welcome them back in 2018.

“The Air Show caters for all the family and improves year on year, this year’s military village will be bigger and better and the beach explosions are back!

“I look forward to seeing the huge crowds across the three days in September.”

Southport Air Show takes place across the weekend of Friday, September 15-Sunday September 17. Tickets for each day of the Air Show are available to buy now and start from £6.50 (including all fees).

For more information or to book your tickets, visit

Southport care home tops 1% in the UK for Outstanding rating

A CARE home in Southport has found istelf in the top 1% in the UK after being rated as ‘outstanding’ by the health watchdog.

Rosebank Care Home, based on Leyland Road, is one of just a handful of the 40,000 care homes across the UK to recieve the accolade – something which home owner Jonathan Cunningham has defined as the ‘holy grail’ of ratings.

They were recently asssesed by the Care and Qaulity Commision, who lauded staff and the facilities for the high quality care that residents there recieve on a day to day basis.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North for the CQC, said: “We found the quality of care provided at Rosebank Care Home in Southport to be outstanding. People told us that they were extremely happy with the level of care that they received and we saw a relaxed, homely atmosphere.

“It was impressive to see the way that Rosebank had harnessed new technology and social media to engagement with not just people using the service, but their relatives and even stakeholders. People told us this approach had an extremely positive impact on them and this was clear to see.

“We were also impressed with the lengths that staff went to, to ensure that people’s care was responsive to their needs. We saw staff rewording information for people when they didn’t understand it and also that people had choice and control over their lives. The whole team should be very proud of the service they are providing.”

A delighted Jonathan Cunningham, owner of Rosebank Care Home, said: “In the world of social care it is the holy grail to achieve an Outstanding grade by the care regulator.

“Only one percent of all 40,000 UK care providers are graded outstanding in recognition of those providers that are truly exceptional, care innovators and those who deliver extraordinary care to those they are entrusted to look after.

“The home is run for adults with learning disabilities.

‘We are absolutely delighted that the consistent hard work of all our staff has paid off. It is a true recognition of our exceptional care team and their vocational dedication to our residents. The quality of our care was evident the moment CQC turned up.

“We aren’t interested in simply being compliant – what we deliver is far beyond the minimum level set by CQC.”

Councillor Tony Dawson, Adult Care and Wellbeing spokesperson for Southport said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the staff and management of Rosebank for gaining this recognition and the work which resulted in them achieving it. Most media coverage of the CQC tends to be centred upon its criticisms.

“This report shows that the high standards which the CQC sets can indeed be obtained.”

Jonathan, who also runs Storm Consultancy, has recently been asked to help other care providers in the North West who need to improve their gradings with the CQC.

Southport community group ‘Rubbish Friends’ tackle pier litter in their biggest challenge yet

SOUTHPORT based anti-litter group Rubbish Friends faced the biggest challenge of their five years’ existence recently when they tackled a huge pile-up of litter and debris under the pier.

It took 28 volunteers – accompanied by three dogs and a child – to clear the area and fill a record 87 bags of refuse.

Members of the public offered words of encouragement to the volunteers as they set about the clearance operation.

Organiser Councillor Keith said: “It was completely strewn with litter, an absolute disgrace.

“The sight that greeted us under the pier was more in keeping with a third world country rather than a classic resort which is the way Southport is branded.

“It is a very sad reflection on a small minority of our disposable society.

“Rubbish Friends have been in talks with Sefton Council officials to try to work out methods of preventing such a build up in the future.”

However joint organiser Councillor Sue McGuire pointed out: “The best way of avoiding a litter build up is for people to be more environmentally conscious and dispose of their litter in the proper way in one of the many bins provided.

“ There was one light-hearted note during our clean-up operation when a watching child said to her mother: ‘Mummy, look at all those people clearing the litter.’ To which her mother replied: ‘So they should because they’re on community service for what they’ve done!‘”

If you would like to be a rubbish friend to Southport please contact Councillor Pat Keith on 07735005802 or Cllr Sue McGuire on 07766 968162.

Southport foster carers launch campaign to boost fostering numbers in Sefton

A FOSTER family from Southport are lamenting a critical shortage of foster carers in the North West after it was revealed over there are 5,250 children in need of homes.

Louise and Mark Fisher are now  campaigning to reduce the severe shortage of foster carers in the region.

The couple have been carers with independent foster care agency Fostering Solutions since 2014, and currently have a young mother and her baby in their care.

They want to share their story to encourage more people in the local area to consider becoming foster carers.

Louise, 44, has a background in teaching in the Liverpool area, and Mark’s mum used to be a foster carer when he was younger. This gave Louise and Mark, 49,  an insight into the difference they could make to young lives.

Louise said; “I used to teach underprivileged girls at a school in Liverpool. As the final school bell went I would often wonder about the challenges the girls might face at home.

“I decided I wanted to help and fostering just seemed the right thing for us to do.

“I knew being a mum myself I could pass on my parenting skills to support someone to become a good parent, and so we decided to provide care for young parents and their babies. Parent and child fostering is completely different to any other type of foster care as you are there to teach a parent how to care for their own baby.

“The young mum we have with us at the moment was just 16 when she had her baby. She is just a child herself and wasn’t used to staying in, putting the baby first, or saving money to buy a microwave instead of spending it on herself. These are all things she’s had to learn to do.

“She’s such a lovely mummy and her true motherly instinct is really shining through. The run up to Christmas was extra special; we went out shopping and bought presents for my children and her baby.

“She was so excited, not just for herself but for her baby’s first Christmas too. One night we had to visit the on-call doctor as her baby had a virus, and whilst we were sat in the waiting room she turned to me and said ‘Thank you for being here for me, my life would have been so different if you’d fostered me when I was 12’. It is little moments like that when you realise why you foster in the first place. It’s just so rewarding.

“To anyone thinking of fostering, I would say go for it. Every small step forward you take with the young person in your care is so rewarding. It’s in these moments that you just know you’ve done the right thing.”

The North West has a critical shortage of foster carers, with over 5,250 children in local authority care in need of a safe and stable home.

Pam Larsen, Regional Director for Fostering Solutions, said; “We know that 1 child is taken into foster care every 17 minutes in the UK and you can help to make a big difference to a child’s life by becoming a foster carer.

“We know that becoming a foster carer is a big step, so we support our carers both practically and emotionally, whilst they become carers and throughout their fostering lives. Fostering Solutions is there for our carers 24 hours a day, offering foster carer buddies who are experienced carers, therapists and dedicated social workers. We also provide nationally recognised training and qualifications, as part of our learning and development programme – all of which allows our carers to become experts in the field. It’s hugely rewarding.”

If you think you can help to urgently find foster homes for children in the North West please register for Fostering Solutions’ free fostering information event by visiting

Mayor of Sefton helps launch Southport counselling service The Philippi Trust

A SPECIAL counselling service has expanded in Southport with the help of mental health advocate the Mayor of Sefton.

Launched on Lord Street recently, the Philippi Trust is a Christian Charitable Trust which offers both counselling and counselling training.

Cllr Iain Brodie Brown, the Mayor of Sefton was on hand to help give a boost to the opening of the trust’s new centre which joins other sites in Bolton, St Helens, Blackpool and elsewhere in the North West.

Philippi Trust have previously operated in Southport out of a small room at the Lakeside Christian Centre, but their expansion heralds a new era for the charity.

A spokesperson for the Philippi Trust said: “We also have Philippi International with branches in Namibia, South Africa, Germany and Ireland. Our website is

“We have been operating in Southport for the last few years out of one room in Lakeside Christian Centre, but with the addition of a number of new counsellors, we were struggling with the limitations that created.

“We moved to our new premises at 419 Lord Street, and we now have 2 counselling rooms and a Family Therapy Suite where we can see couples and children.

“We also have a Training area where we hope to run counselling courses in the near future.

“Our counselling rooms are also available for hire, on application. Our qualified counsellors all offer their time voluntarily, but we also offer placements for University and College students to come on placement to complete the hours required to qualify.

“ Our hours of opening are Monday 9am – 2pm, and Tuesday/Thursday 9am – 8pm and anyone can come for counselling, whether of faith or of no faith, by either phoning us on 01704 807660 or by completing the e-form on our website.

“Unlike private counselling centres, who can charge between £35-£55 per hour, we operate on a donation basis, where we encourage clients to give within their financial ability.”

Dobbies Southport raises over £1,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust at festive Ladies Night

DOBBIES Southport kicked off the Christmas party season with its annual Ladies Night recently, raising £1,743 for its charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust.

The fun-filled evening included sampling, demonstrations, complimentary treatments and Christmas shopping, providing the ladies of Southport with everything they need to start the festivities in style.

Guests enjoyed a glass of fizz and canapés, as well as live music. From making Christmas cocktails and party food, to advice on caring for a real tree from the plant experts, guests learned insider tips and tricks to make the most of the festive season.

So far, Dobbies partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust has raised a total of £126,412 across its 34 UK stores.

Andy Tyas, General Manager at Dobbies Southport said: “Ladies Night is always great fun and officially kicks off the festive season in style. It’s always a hit with our customers who come along not only to pamper themselves, but also to support our Christmas charity partner, this year the fantastic Teenage Cancer Trust.

“Our customers in Southport are always very generous and love the chance to give back to charity. The money raised at Ladies Night will go a long way to help this amazing charity make a real difference and we’re incredibly proud of our staff and customers for their support.”

Linda Noon, Head of Fundraising at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Our Christmas partnership has been a huge success so far and we can’t thank Dobbies customers enough for all their kind donations. Christmas is a time for giving and customers at the Southport store did not disappoint.

“We’ve made great progress in making sure that young people with cancer have the best treatment, care and support. However, right now, for every young person Teenage Cancer Trust is able to reach, there’s another we can’t. Together, we are changing that. Every penny raised will make the vital work of Teenage Cancer Trust possible – we’re hugely grateful to Dobbies staff and their customers for their support.”

Community groups come together to make Southport even better!

TWO community groups in Southport have joined forces to help make the resort look even better.

Following on from an article which appeared in the Champion which highlighted Lord Street in Bloom group’s need to gain insurance for their work making the town centre bloom with floral displays, the Southport Rotary Club have come to the rescue.

Kevin Long, a member of the Southport Meols Rotary group spotted the article and rallied his fellow members to lend a hand – and the generosity has not stopped there!

A spokesperson for Meols Rotary said: “As friends of Meols Rotary the gardening group would be covered by us for the work being carried out.

“Kevin was put in touch with Pauline Morris the ‘guiding light’ of Lord St in Bloom and put the proposal to her which then had to be ratified by Sefton Council before the arrangement could be formalised.

“Once agreed, the group became Friends of Southport Meols and, as such, they now wear hi vis vests proudly declaring the fact they are covered by Rotary Public Liability Insurance

“The group have even acquired some new volunteers from Meols Rotary who are now hooked on gardening!

“We recently helped Lord St in Bloom to plant 5000 crocus bulbs outside the Town Hall, which along with 5000 more donated by Southport Rotary, which are outside Sainsbury’s, and a further 1000 by Sunrise Rotary will create a splash of purple along Lord Street next Spring.

“2017 is the centenary of Rotary Foundation and one of their key projects is End Polio Now; when a child is immunised their pinkie is marked by a purple stamp to indicate that they have been vaccinated.

“So, as part of the activity to raise awareness and support to eradicate this disease worldwide, which is within our grasp, the Rotary Clubs of Southport are painting Lord Street purple!”


Atkinson wins top family friendly award

THE ATKINSON, Sefton’s family arts venue won the Most Family Friendly Venue award at the 2016 Southport Ambassador Awards.

The venue, run and managed by Sefton Council has been working hard to put families at the heart of its offer, for residents, visitors and tourists to the region since opening in 2013 after a major redevelopment.

As a destination it offers a holistic family friendly offer with an interactive Museum and Discover Ancient Egypt Gallery, Exhibitions, a Children’s Theatre programme and a welcoming Children’s Library.

The recognition has come just weeks after Linaker Children’s Centre recently started delivering its family services from the Children’s Library in The Atkinson, strengthening the offer and support for families even further.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member Communities and Housing said: “This is a great result for The Atkinson. They work with many partners across Sefton to deliver a great offer for families and the work it does is important to the region. I hope that lots of new families will now be encouraged to see what the venue has to offer.”

Emma Anderson, The Atkinson Director, added: “This demonstrates that The Atkinson is a fantastic place for all families to have a wonderful time together here. My team has done a brilliant job in developing this offer and we are delighted that Linaker Children’s Centre is now part of this.”

The Atkinson will continues to develop its family offer with the launch of the new Star Wars exhibition; May The Toys Be With You opening on Saturday November 19 and sponsored by Chris Tinsley Estate Agents (Christmas Light Switch On Day), the Arts in Libraries project and the fantastic year round children’s theatre programme .

It is also in the process of launching its Schools Membership Scheme which we hope will encourage relationships with schools to visit and make the most out of the support the venue and its team can offer with onsite learning, creative play and local history.

25th Anniversary of the Southport Air Show!


ORGANISERS of the 25th year anniversary of the Southport Air Show say they are delighted with how the event turned out.

Although the special Friday night flying spectacular had to be called off due to stormy weather, the annual show got underway as otherwise planned on Saturday, September 10 and Sunda,y September 11 with thousands of people turning up to see the various displays.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member Regeneration and Skills, said: “Yet again the Southport Air Show was an amazing experience for everyone who attended.

“The weather was near perfect on Saturday as  huge crowds were wowed with some fantastic displays including the world famous Red Arrows. On Sunday another amazing line up was probably capped with the Lancaster Bomber, hurricane and Spitfire all taking to the skies at the same time.

”The feedback we have received so far has been very positive despite having to cancel the Friday night flying due to adverse weather conditions.

“Thousands of visitors attended the resort over the two days which will have had a real positive impact on local businesses in and around the town.

“We are already looking forward to next year’s event which will take place from September 15-17, 2017.”

Suzanne Grant, who traveled with her family from Manchester to see the show on Sunday, said: “It was wonderful to see the Southport Air Show on Sunday as they had a really varied range of aircraft and it was a great attraction for the whole family.

“We saw aircraft from the 1950s onwards included a RAF search and rescue helicopter, a pair of de Havilland Vampires and a MiG, which was unbelievably fast!

“A parachute regiment from the RAF featured stunts and due to unexpected cloud cover they had to deploy their parachutes at only 4,000ft – which is very close to the ground!

“They did great stunts including creating patterns in the sky by creating white, blue and yellow smoke trails in the sky from canisters attached to their feet and unrolling flags.

“The Blades Aerobatic Display Team put on an astonishing display, which showed unbelievable nerve – including some very tight formations and stunts including drawing a heart in the sky using a white smoke trail and a ‘loop the loop’ formation where four of the aircraft flew in a ‘v’ formation creating smoke trails, which the fifth Blade looped’ around, which looked fantastic.

“They were every but as impressive as the Red Arrows, who we saw the previous year.”

Have your say on the future of Area Committees in Sefton

A public consultation into the future of the three Area Committees in Southport, Bootle and Sefton Central started on 1st February 2016 and will run for 7 weeks, ending on 21st March 2016.

The aim of the consultation is to establish whether Area Committees are the most effective way of talking with members of the public for Council business.

Sefton is also looking to modernise the ways that it engages with members of the public and stakeholders to reflect the new digital society.

As part of the consultation the following areas will be considered:

  • What is the current awareness of Area Committees and should they be retained as a way for members of the public to talk to the Council and Councillors
  • Functions of the Area Committees
  • What are the current and new avenues of communication for members of the public to engage with the Council and Councillors
  • What are the barriers that people experience in engaging with the Council
  • Any suggestions for improvement

The Council is always looking at the most effective ways for members of the public to talk to the Council and Councillors and through this process we want to positively look at optimising more modern ways of reaching our wider communities.  The consultation will give all residents the opportunity to have their say on the future of the Area Committees.

All comments received will be included in a consultation report which will then form part of a Cabinet report on the future of Area Committees in Sefton.

A number of events are taking place across the borough which give everyone the opportunity to have their say. These are taking place at:

  • March 7 – Southport Town Hall – 10am, 11am, 5pm or 6pm
  • March 15 – Bootle Town Hall – 2pm, 3pm, 5pm or 6pm
  • March 16 – Maghull Town Hall – 10am or 11am
  • March 16 – Formby Gild Hall – 2pm or 3pm
  • March 16 – St Luke’s Church, Crosby – 5.30pm or 6.30pm

You can register to attend one of the events by emailing or by calling 0151 934 4604.  The deadline to register is March 3rd for the Southport event and March 11 for all other sessions.

If you are unable to attend one of the consultation sessions, you can make your comments in writing or you can post them to Area Committee Consultation, Strategic Support Team, 7thFloor, Merton House, Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 7UU.  Alternatively an on-line response form is available for you to complete at

The following questions will be considered as part of the consultation sessions and you might find it useful to use them as the basis for your response:-

1.    Are you aware of Area Committees?

2.    If you have have you ever attended one or raised an issue?

3.    Which Area Committee have you attended?


South Sefton

Central Sefton

4.    Should the Council keep Area Committees as a way for members of the public to raise issues with and talk to the Council and Councillors?

5.    What would be your preferred way of raising issues with and talking to the Council and Councillors if Area Committees did not exist?

6.    What do you see as the key barriers to raising issues and talking to the Council and Councillors?

7.    Do you have any other views or comments?

Please feel free to forward details of this consultation to anybody who you feel may wish to be involved.

Vote for Southport Community Centre’s Garden with Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative!

Brighter Living Partnership (BLP) has been successfully shortlisted to receive funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative.  Visit your local store to vote for the Garden at Southport Community Centre.

bags of help

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England
and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of
£12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the
£12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards

For more information please visit

NHS Southport and Formby CCG honoured at Health Business Awards

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has received the clinical commissioning accolade at the Health Business Awards 2015.

Hosted by Doctor Mark Porter, medical correspondent for The Times and known for his work with BBC’s The One Show, the award ceremony took place at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s, London. NHS Foundation Trusts, CCGs, Collaborates, Partnerships and Air Ambulance Services came together to celebrate the very best within the NHS.

The clinical commissioning award, sponsored by Fujitsu, recognised the recently formed CCG sector and an organisation which has quickly made an impact to reduce hospital admissions through preventative practice.

Sharon Forrester, cardiovascular disease programme lead at the CCG, who collected the award said: “As a CCG we are honoured to have received this award, it is fantastic that our work is being recognised and that it’s making a difference in Southport and Formby. Diabetes is a common health condition and it’s really important that patients have access to the right advice and treatment which we have worked hard to promote.

“A huge thanks to the health business awards for choosing us as the winner and for a fantastic event bringing NHS staff together.”

NHS England data ranked NHS Southport and Formby CCG as the best in the country in supporting adult diabetics to control their blood glucose levels in 2013/14. With approximately 6,500 people in the area living with diabetes, the CCG commissions diabetes services with a real focus on prevention, educating people on how to successfully manage the disease in order to reduce the risk of future complications.

The CCG also works to ensure that patients at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes have access to lifestyle advice to help them stay healthy and well.

Move More Southport and Formby

Move More Southport and Formby is a partnership between Active Lifestyles, Macmillan Cancer Support and Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group.

The programme aims to support anyone living with cancer to become more active. Offering its own physical and wellness activities, such as a gentle circuit class and relaxation session, a low impact chair class, yoga, as well as use of facilities at Dunes Leisure centre in Southport and Formby Pool at subsidised rate. As well as support in helping cancer patients in becoming more aware, it will facilitate their participation in physical activity sessions that are readily available locally within the community, targeted to specific needs and interests.

Research is providing a growing body of evidence that being physically active during and after cancer treatment helps to provide a variety of health and well-being benefits. Notable among these is a significant reduction in the risk of cancer recurrence for some patients.

Being active can help benefit cancer patients in a number of ways:
• Reduce tiredness and some treatment side effects
• Reduce anxiety and depression
• Improve your mood and quality of life
• Strengthen your muscles, joints and bones
• Look after your heart and reduce the risk of other health problems

Those referred to the programme will attend an initial appointment for a lifestyle review, and jointly agree with their coordinator an individualised physical activity and wellness plan. After 12 weeks of activity there will be another appointment to discuss on going activity and review of the programme. Physical activity prescription is adjusted according to treatment and health status. Our coordinators will monitor each person providing motivational support throughout the 12 week period and also up to a year post referral to help ensure their continuation of a healthy lifestyle.

Those Suitable for the Move More Programme Include:
Those who have had a cancer diagnosis- post surgery, and post treatment.
Plus any of the following will also be suitable for referral:

• Obesity (BMI 30-39)
•  Morbid obesity (BMI >39)
•  Hypertension (>180/100)
•  Mental health problems (medicated and stable)
•  IGR
•  Diabetes Type I and II
•  Stable treated angina
•  Heart Failure (not acute or unstable, via phase III only)
•  Post MI or re-vascular surgery AND: Completed Cardiac Rehabilitation with an ETT and clinically stable, awaiting no further investigations.

Referral to the programme can be made by your Cancer clinical nurse specialist, GP or practice nurse.

If you would like more information about the programme please contact Lucy Holmes or Tess Harrison (Macmillan Physical activity and Wellness coordinators) on 0151 934 2352 or email on .

NYAS advocacy and Independent Visiting Service are currently looking to recruit volunteers in Southport!

NYAS advocacy and Independent Visiting Service are currently looking to recruit volunteers to befriend children and young people who are looked after (in care) with Cardiff Local Authority in the Southport area. These are often children and young people who have little or no contact with their own family and who would really benefit from a long term relationship with a trusted adult.

We ask our volunteers to spare 2-4 hours once a month to visit the young person they are matched up with to undertake a joint activity together. Independent Visitors may become a significant person to a child. NYAS Independent Visitors help them to have fun, feel valued, feel listened to and help to increase their self-esteem. NYAS Independent Visitors can make a real difference in a child’s life by acting as role models and helping them to make the most of themselves, from simply listening , to helping with school work or getting them involved in activities in their communities they would never had experienced otherwise.

We ask for a minimum commitment of 2 years and that you are age 18 +. We do not ask for any specific qualifications or experience, just an ability to relate well to children and young people. NYAS provide comprehensive training, great support from experienced staff and the opportunity to meet up with other volunteers at regular intervals.

The role is hugely rewarding and really is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to a child or young person’s life. Here’s what one of our volunteers has said about the role:

I love seeing the world through the eyes of the little girl with whom I’m matched, talking to her, sharing my insight and experiences and doing activities together. Just by being there for her every month I hope that she’s starting to know that in the chaos of her life I’m a quieter, calmer little oasis for her! The hug she gives me when I drop her off after we’ve been out on a visit makes me realise that she’s starting to see that I’m someone that she can trust. She can and that feels good!”


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for us, then please get in touch with Elly Jones or Sylvia Lucano at our local office in Cathays, Cardiff on 02920668956, or email ,