Welcome to Year of the Volunteer!

Sefton Council, together with Living Well Sefton partner Sefton CVS,  is dedicating 2018 as the Year of the Volunteer!

Following on from the huge success of the Year of the Coast, the tireless work of Sefton’s thousands of volunteers, who give an astonishing 116,000 hours of their time each week, will be celebrated in a yearlong campaign to raise awareness of how much volunteers do for the borough.

Volunteers make a real difference in Sefton. They touch people’s lives in so many different ways, providing comfort and support, fostering community development, and actively helping to keep Sefton clean, green and beautiful.Year-of-the-Volunteer

Volunteering also has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those who participate in it.


The Year of the Volunteer will be officially launched on Tuesday, February 6 at The Atkinson, Southport. Here partners, community groups and residents can learn more about what 2018 has in store for the volunteer sector and how to get involved.

Throughout the year we will be celebrating a number of different volunteer themes including health and wellbeing, animals and the environment, culture, the armed forces and youth volunteering.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “In recognising the valuable role that volunteers play, it made sense that 2018 becomes the Year of the Volunteer.

“This theme will not only celebrate the vital work that volunteers do, but hopefully it will encourage other people to get involved as well. Throughout the year we hope to celebrate the valuable contribution that volunteers make, highlight the volunteering opportunities available in Sefton and increase the number of people who sign up to volunteering activities.”

Sefton CVS Chief Executive Angela White OBE said: “Sefton CVS and the Volunteer Centre Sefton are delighted to be working in partnership with Sefton Council to highlight the work of local volunteers and the organisations across the borough throughout 2018.

“The Volunteer Centre Sefton will continue to play an active role in supporting local residents to access volunteer roles, and also support local voluntary, community and faith sector groups to recruit, manage and retain volunteers.”

Visitors asked to help prevent the spread of flu

Visitors with cold and flu symptoms are being asked to stay away from Southport and Ormskirk hospitals unless absolutely necessary to prevent their spread.

Andrew Chalmers, Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “There are a number of visitors who I’ve seen visiting their relatives over the weekend who seemed particularly poorly themselves with coughs, colds and even flu-like symptoms. So, unless it is absolutely necessary, please stay home and get well before you visit.

“Please bear with us at these challenging times. Our main priority is to contain the flu virus and to protect all our patients and ensure they fully recover as soon as possible so they can return home to their family and friends.”sneezing

Andrew advised people with a suspected flu virus, or family members suffering from one, to visit the NHS Choices website for information.

People across Merseyside and West Lancashire are being reminded of the simple message to protect themselves and others from cold and flu this winter:

Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.

CATCH IT – Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
BIN IT – Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible.
KILL IT – Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser following coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

Return of the Couch to 5k programme

Active Sefton has announced that its successful Couch to 5k programme will be returning in 2018.

Taking place every Monday and Wednesday, from 6-7pm, at Litherland Sports Park, the classes started yesterday (8th) and will last for 10 weeks.

The free sessions are perfect training for those looking to prepare for a summer running event and will help attendees slowly build up to running 5K at their own pace. Classes are drop in, drop out but it is recommended that runners take part in as many as possible.

The sessions are all held under floodlights making them a great way to take up running in the winter months when evenings are darker.

At the end of the programme all runners will be invited to take part in the Crosby Park Run on Saturday, March 17.

Previous Couch to 5k participants

Running has many health benefits, including improved heart and lungs; and when combined with a healthy diet can result in weight loss. A more active life style is also known to improve mental health and can act as a great stress reliever.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Taking part in Active Sefton’s Couch to 5k is a great way to get fit, especially if you’ve over indulged during the festive holidays.

“As well helping to get you in shape, the programme is also a great way to meet new people and make links with the local community. Good luck to everybody who decides to take part, and most importantly have fun!”

For more information about Couch to 5k, contact Active Sefton on 0151 934 2340 or email active.sports@sefton.gov.uk

‘Brew Monday’ at Life Rooms


Life Rooms Southport are hosting ‘Men’s Mental Health Awareness’ sessions as part of a national campaign to encourage people to talk about their problems over a cuppa and change ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday’. The centre for learning, recovery, health and wellbeing, which was opened last May, is due to host ‘Men’s Mental Health Awareness’ sessions which will include pastoral and pathways advice, help with recovery college enrolment forms and talks from speakers with lived experience.

The sessions will be held between 11.00am and 3.00pm on Monday, 15 January, 2018, the third Monday in January, which is widely known as ‘Blue Monday’ because it’s the day of the year when people are most likely to feel down over factors like the dark nights, Christmas bills and the cold weather.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust are spearheading the national campaign to change the emphasis of Blue Monday by encouraging friends, relatives and work colleagues to all sit down with their favourite brew and talk about their problems, so they can access services quicker if they need help. brew monday

They are particularly targeting men in this year’s campaign because, according to the latest Suicides in the UK report from the Office for National Statistics, around three quarters of all suicides in the UK in 2016 were male.

“Every time anyone talks about mental health, the stigma surrounding it is also mentioned and we believe our mental health awareness sessions can help break that down,” said Michael Crilly, Mersey Care’ s Director of Social Inclusion and Participation.

“Traditionally men find it harder to talk about their problems and by encouraging them to attend an awareness session, and possibly talk over a cup of tea or coffee, we hope those who may find it difficult to discuss problems normally can open up in a supportive and sympathetic environment.

“We often hear people speak about the need to ‘get fit’ and here at the Life Rooms we’re keen to help people develop good mental fitness, which is just as important as physical fitness. This is all part of our commitment towards the health and wellbeing of service users, carers, their families and the local community. Through workshops and sessions at the Recovery College and with our pathways advisors, we aim to provide key life skills that will enhance their recovery.”

Make your Mondays happy in 2018

Whether it’s losing weight, taking up a new hobby or stopping smoking, a new year brings with it the desire to make positive changes. Now that 2018 is on the horizon many people may be planning a new start for in the New Year. Living Well Sefton, the local wellbeing organisation, can help kick start these fresh beginnings.

Its community partners have an array of activities, courses and sessions that provide a route to realising those New Year resolutions. And the Living Well Sefton mentors work on a one-to-one basis over a period of time with people to set – and achieve – realistic lifestyle goals.

Image Bank Roast Dinner
Eating healthy can improve your lifestyle

This ties in with Public Health England’s One You campaign which encourages people to put themselves first by looking at their lifestyle choices and doing something about putting those choices into action.

One group of people who took on board this message have recently completed a free16-week Brighter Mondays course with the Brighter Living Partnership, a Living Well Sefton partner. The course for those who feel socially isolated has had a positive impact with a woman in her 50s struggling with mental health remarking: “I have felt a lot better inside myself. These people really make a difference and I will definitely keep in touch with them.”

Even though the course has finished, the group are meeting monthly including a 95-year-old woman who said of the course: “I have enjoyed all the activities and the help I got from the others.”

Brighter Living is running another Brighter Mondays course at its base in Southport Community Centre, Norwood Road, PR8 6HQ from Monday, January 29, 2018 between 1pm and 4pm. The course covers arts and crafts, cooking and healthy eating sessions as well as learning coping skills and days out. Contact the Brighter Living team during Christmas via email: sou.roach@brighterliving.org.uk and from January 2 also call on 01704 517818.

To see how Living Well Sefton can help you visit the website: www.livingwellsefton.org.uk/

Or visit the One You website and see what you score in their lifestyle quiz: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou

Ask Listen Do Survey

NHS England and the Local Government Association have been working to understand the many additional barriers faced by children, young people and adults with a learning disability, autism or both and their families in raising concerns and complaints.

The organisations want to take practical steps to improve people’s experiences and expectations of the complex systems in health, social care and education, and help other organisations be more understanding and proactive in how they listen and respond to people’s concerns.

This work has developed into the ‘Ask Listen Do’ project. The team, which includes two new NHS England Family Carer Advisers, has launched a survey which asks about adult and children’s experience, and their families and paid carers, of raising concerns and making complaints in health, social care and education.

The survey closes on 31 January.

Ask Listen Do survey (two versions- online and easy read)

When a little chat can make a difference

The aim of the free Making Every Contact Count (MECC) training Living Well Sefton provides is to maximise the opportunities front line workers have to increase the number of healthy chats in Sefton.

Anyone attending will be given advice and support for behaviour change so that people can have better health and live longer, healthier lives. The aim of the training is to maximise the opportunities participants have to increase the number and quality of brief interventions in Sefton.

AMM at Bootle Leisure Centre Dec 15
Bootle Leisure Centre staff deep in conversations during MECC training

Through the Level 1 training, attendees will gain:
an overview of the health and wellbeing of Sefton’s population;
an increased knowledge about the key health messages;
an awareness of what support services are available and what they provide;
the skills to have a healthy chat;
a recognitition of the opportunities to have a healthy chat;
an ability to use the 3As to deliver a health chat in Sefton.

Through the Level 2 training, attendees will further build on the skills learned in Level 1.

Living Well Sefton now has several dates for delivering MECC training in Bootle and Southport in the new year. Check out our Calendar and book on through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/living-well-sefton-12746166948


Pharmacy opening times over the festive bank holidays

WITH the Christmas and New Year bank holiday weekends around the corner, the NHS in Sefton is reminding you of the expert advice and treatments available from your local pharmacy when you need it the most.

Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can also help you to self-care and prepare for many common winter illnesses and offer advice on which medicines to keep in stock at home.

Dr Anna Ferguson, Bootle GP and NHS South Sefton CCG’s lead for medicines, said: “With GP practices closed on the Bank Holiday weekends, it is important that residents, especially those who require a repeat prescription, plan well ahead.

“Several pharmacies will be open, so that if you or a loved one falls ill, there is help out there. Not only that, but pharmacists can offer support to help encourage self-care. You don’t need to make an appointment to speak to your pharmacist and you can expect a confidential and discrete consultation within a private area in the pharmacy.

“It’s important to remember that A&E and 999 services are under particular pressure over this time of the year and are for life threatening and serious conditions, so by planning ahead and using your local pharmacy, you can not only avoid any unnecessary visits to the A&E, but also help to ease pressure and ensure that the service is readily available for people when they need it most.”Ask your pharmacist

Dr Hilal Mulla, Southport GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s lead for medicines, said: “This is a very busy time for health services, so it’s more important than ever that you use the NHS wisely to get the right advice and care should you or someone you look after becomes ill over the festive period. We’re asking that you Examine Your Options and choose from the range of help that’s available close to home when your GP surgery is closed, including from your local pharmacy.

“You’ll find a chemist not far from home, even on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and your pharmacist can give you expert health advice and over the counter treatments for the most common illnesses and ailments without the need for an appointment.

“We’re also asking you to take some simple steps to make sure you’re prepared for the holidays by stocking up on over the counter medicines and speaking to your GP practice early to making sure you’ve got enough of your repeat prescriptions whilst remembering not to over order.

“Medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen are good for a range of common winter illnesses. It’s useful to keep a supply at home and your pharmacist will be happy to advise if you’re not sure.

“Our Care at the Chemist scheme is offered in a number of Sefton pharmacies making sure vulnerable patients who don’t routinely pay for their prescriptions have free and easy access to the over the counter medicines they need without seeing a doctor. You’ll find a list of those that offer the scheme on our website.”

Which pharmacies are open?

Several pharmacies will be open throughout the festive bank holiday period and the best way to find out your nearest is to check on your CCG’s website.
Continue reading “Pharmacy opening times over the festive bank holidays”

Hospital staff praised for caring nature

One mum’s four-week hospital care has prompted a letter of praise for staff – and this is one of 646 letters received by the hospital in a six-month period.

A mother of twins has praised staff at Southport hospital for the care they gave her late Mother during a four week period.

Lorraine Harrison’s mother, Barbara, had a stroke back in September but it wasn’t until after the event her daughter realised the severity of the situation.

Sadly, Barbara, passed away four weeks later at hospital and this Christmas will be the first one Lorraine will have to spend without her devoted mother.

The care received prompted Lorraine, a mother of 20-year-old twin girls, to write to Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust’s interim chief executive, Karen Jackson.

In it she expressed her gratitude for the high level care and dedication and attention received by the hospital staff, including consultant physician doctor Paddy McDonald.

Lorraine, 49, from Southport, said: “Doctor McDonald had several meetings with the family to explain Mum’s condition and the options – he always treated us as if he had nothing else to do that day. He was compassionate and empathetic yet clear and professional. He answered all dad’s questions with clarity and never rushed us.

“I can never repay these wonderful people who cared for my lovely mum in ways I could not. Doctor McDonald and his team make a real difference to patients and their family’s lives.

“On one of the evenings, nurse Katie stayed two hours over her shift to care for mum when she nearly passed away. Mum’s eyes would light up when she saw Katie. I pass on our heartfelt thanks and admiration to these caring staff at Southport hospital.”

This was one of 646 letters or cards of compliment received by the Trust between June and November 2017.

Lorraine added: “Although mum had a mini-stroke she eventually died of pneumonia as her lungs were not strong enough – she had lost a lot of weight by the end. But I would urge people to be aware of stroke and how it can be any one of the four tell-tale signs.

“I originally thought it had to be all four of the symptoms which is not the case. So please be aware of the warning signs and remember the FAST advice. If this article helps to save one life then it was worth me writing my letter to the hospital. Please have a safe Christmas and happy and healthy new year.”

Karen Jackson, interim Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, added: “Lorraine’s letter was lovely and very powerful – I was so pleased to receive it. We really appreciate that she took the time to put pen to paper to let us know of the quality care her Mother received at Southport hospital.

“We are extremely proud to have received 646 letters or cards of compliment between June and November 2017, from satisfied patients who have either used Southport or Ormskirk hospital.”

The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.stroke

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all, despite appearing to be awake.

Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑