Pregnant women in Sefton urged to get their free flu jab

Pregnant women across the borough are being urged by Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG to make sure they get the flu jab this winter.

If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and of complications and potential harmful consequences for both mother and baby if you do catch the flu, such as premature birth and pneumonia. It also reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of its life.

The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk – including expectant mothers.

Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result mothers may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said: “Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.

“The flu jab can be the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.

“However, while for many people flu is an unpleasant illness, for pregnant women it is extremely dangerous. My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before flu starts to circulate in the Sefton community.”

Laura Gibson (below), who works at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “This is my first pregnancy and I think it’s so important to be vaccinated as it protects both me and my baby. It’s great that the NHS is offering the jab for free to pregnant women like me and that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.”

Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long-term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.

Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity, NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “You can have the flu vaccine at any point in your pregnancy and not only is it safe for you and your baby, it’ll reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu from things like pneumonia, premature birth or even miscarriage.

“The added advantage is that your baby will continue to be protected from flu for the first few months of their life. Talk to your GP or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”

Have your say on joining up Sefton’s children’s centres

There is still time for families to have their say on Sefton Council’s consultation to join up Family and Children’s Centres, which you can complete online

The idea behind the proposals is to make sure that children and young people aged 0-19 years can find the right support, for the right issue at the right time.

The consultation runs until November 17 and anyone who is interested in the proposals are being encouraged to give their views.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said:

“We must stress that the proposals we are consulting on are not about closure. Some of the options for re-location need further discussion and we want to hear what our communities think about our plans to provide inclusive Family Wellbeing Centres for 0-19 year olds and their families.

“Communities have told us that we need to be more joined up, most recently through the consultation on Imagine Sefton 2030. We have listened to this feedback and developed these plans on the back of what people have told us.

“While no decisions have yet been made, we believe the proposals will make the most of the money that we have available, allowing us to support those most in need while offering families, children and young people the opportunity to enjoy many health and wellbeing activities.”

To take part in the consultation, please visit or go directly to a Children’s and Family Centre, a Sefton library or leisure centre where paper copies can be filled in and shared with us.


Families can also directly discuss the proposals at the consultation engagement sessions taking place across the borough. A number of sessions have already taken place and upcoming dates include:

• Netherton Children’s Centre and Family Centre, every Wednesday from 9.30am-11.30am, and every Thursday from 12.45pm-2.45pm.
• Springwell Park Children’s Centre, today (3 November), at 2.30pm.
• Linaker Children’s Centre in Southport, 6 November, from 9am-10.30am
• Cambridge Children’s Centre, 7 November, from 1pm-2pm.

Feedback from this consultation will be considered by Cabinet in December 2017.

Merseyside Police introduce ‘The Herbert Protocol’ for missing or vulnerable people

Merseyside Police would like to introduce you to The Herbert Protocol – an initiative named after George Herbert – a War veteran of the Normandy landings – who lived with dementia.

“We appreciate that caring for people with dementia is challenging – and that planning ahead and keeping safe is really important. More than 60% of people living with dementia can at some point start to ‘walk about’.  Whilst this may only be into the garden or street and returning a short time later, people can get lost and go missing; leading to feelings of confusion, fear and vulnerability – particularly at night time or at times of extreme weather.

“As part of making reasonable life adjustments, we want to help by putting a system in place that will help to give the emergency services the best possible information should there be a need for them to become involved in a search for someone with dementia.”

The Herbert Protocol is just that; by joining the Protocol, the Police would gain access to important information as soon as possible, helping to speed up and simplify the response, ensuring that the right information is readily available so that the search can be targeted appropriately and effectively.

Joining the Protocol

To join, you need to:

  1. Read the attached guidance information below.
  2. Complete and retain The Herbert Protocol Missing Person Incident Form; information is a key component, as often a person with dementia will be following what was a routine process, activity or journey.

Continue reading “Merseyside Police introduce ‘The Herbert Protocol’ for missing or vulnerable people”

Sign up for Active Sefton’s Festive Fun Run

Get a head start on the festive season and join Active Sefton for a fun run on Sunday, December 10!

Taking place at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, the run is open to all abilities.

Festive fancy dress is optional but encouraged with prizes on offer for the best dressed participants.

Everyone will receive a medal and bottled water on the day and all runners will have access to changing facilities, lockers and showers.

The 5K festive fun run is open to anybody aged 14 or over, no matter what their athletic ability is and a shorter 1K race will also take place for younger participants (aged 4+) to try their hand at. 

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Active Sefton’s Festive Fun Run offers an exciting opportunity to stay fit and healthy in the run up to Christmas.

“Whether you want to walk, jog or run, I encourage everybody to get into the festive spirit and join the fun run on December 10. Good luck to all those taking part!”

Active Sefton can offer support to anybody who would like to gain some extra training support by taking part in Couch to 5k sessions.

To take part it’s £10 for adults and £5 for children, the 5k race will start at 10am and the 1k will begin at 11am.

For more information call Active Sefton on 0151 934 2355 or register online via





Knitters get busy with twiddle muffs

Patients with dementia are being offered a novel way to relax in hospital.

Twiddle muffs are knitted or crocheted tubes with accessories such as ribbons or buttons sewn into them and are given to patients with dementia.

For many people living with dementia these muffs can be a source of comfort. They provide warmth and security, keep hands and minds occupied, and can help decrease agitation. They can also stimulate conversation and are a useful way to hide any tubes or wires which a patient may attempt to remove.

Local knitters have been busy knitting twiddle muffs but Southport and Ormskirk hospitals need a constant supply as each muff can only be used by a single patient who is encouraged to take it home.

Barbara Weldrake was one of the first twiddle muff knitters. “I saw an article in a knitting magazine about twiddle muffs being used elsewhere in the country and approached an occupational therapist at the hospital. They thought it was a great idea so I started to make them. I took them along to my knitting group and some of the other ladies started doing them too!”

Ann Burket also makes twiddle muffs and started making them after completing treatment for cancer.

Ann said: “Knitting the twiddle muffs provides a distraction to my pain and is helping my recovery by giving me a focus and improving my concentration.  Also it brings great satisfaction to know I am helping and providing comfort to the dementia patients. They are easy and fun to make and I would recommend anyone to have a go.”

Anyone wishing to get involved making a twiddle muff should contact  Michelle Kitson, Matron for Patient Experience on 01704 704094 and, or Occupational Therapist Sally Nichol on 01704 704889 or

A twiddle muff pattern is available on the Trust website with this story.

Barbara Weldrake at work




Residents warned of hoax health offer

Residents in North Sefton are being asked to be vilgilant after reports some have been receiving phone calls offering a full body MRI or CAT scan for £150.

The fraudsters are asking for payment details over the phone and then giving an appointment time for the person to turn up at a local hotel where the mobile scanner is alleged to be.

If you receive a call of this nature, it will be a hoax! The NHS and private health providers do not conduct business in this way.

Sergeant Keith Burke, Merseyside Police Community Engagement Unit, says: “Please take care when providing details over the phone or internet. If you don’t believe the person to be who they say they are, do not, under any circumstances, give them any details. Also, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

If you think you have uncovered a scam, have been targeted or fallen victim to a scam, you can report it in a number of ways: by calling Merseyside non emergency line 101 or online via the Merseyside Police website; by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040; or online at

Join #SeftonSelfie campaign to celebrate Sefton’s coast

There is still time to join hundreds of coast lovers who are getting behind Sefton Council’s #SeftonSelfie campaign.

They have been inundated with images, snaps, selfies and stunning shots of families, community groups and animals enjoying the 22 miles of our beautiful coastline

The photographs will be collected together and the very best ones will form a huge collage to commemorate the end of Sefton’s Year of the Coast campaign.


Montages will then be displayed across some of Sefton Council’s iconic buildings.

Councillor Paul Cummins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and coast champion, said:

“Each year thousands of people come to our beautiful borough to enjoy the coast.

“By making 2017 Sefton’s Year of the Coast, we have been working alongside our many partners to showcase everything associated with the coast – highlighting all the events that take place on this amazing stretch of land.

“To mark the end of such a great campaign we want as many people as possible to send in their sandy selfies, picnic portraits, sunset snaps and more to form a wonderful collage to commemorate the Year of the Coast.

“We hope the collage will be the pinnacle of a lasting legacy to future generations to encourage them to continually use and love our coast.”

Stretching more than 22 miles from Bootle to Southport, the Sefton coast is filled with unique sand dunes, wonderful wildlife, woodlands and amazing art.

To get involved in the competition, submit your snaps to the official Sefton Council Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, using the hashtag #SeftonSelfie. You can also submit photographs to


Grants to help your community

Do you have an idea that could benefit your community? Wonder how you could do something to support people’s wellbeing? Then Living Well Sefton, the local collaboration of wellbeing partners, could help.

It launched the third round of its Community Resilience Grant recently at the Sefton CVS conference and is particularly keen to hear from individuals who want to improve their local community.

Karen Nolan, co-ordinator of Living Well Sefton, explains: “We have grants of £500 for small projects that are designed to increase people’s wellbeing and our partners can support individuals to deliver these projects.”

Already several individuals have been successful in securing a £500 grant. These include Bim Bam, which provides a place for families who don’t speak English to socialise and build friendships.

Another Southport individual project is Art for Arts Sake which received £500 towards therapeutic art classes for older people where they could brush up on their painting skills as well as meet other people.

Karen adds: “If someone has an idea but is unsure of what organisation they need to approach as a support partner then they should contact us and we would be happy to discuss this.”

In addition, there are grants available to organisations working in partnership to improve health and wellbeing. The maximum grant available is £5,000 per partnership. Deadline for all applications is Friday, 17 November 2017.

The Living Well Sefton team is looking forward to receiving your application. For further details of the grant visit the website: call the team direct on 0300 323 0181 or email

Matt Ashton and Bim Bam
Bim Bam receiving their cheque from Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health Sefton and Knowsley

Nominations open for Sefton Shining Stars Awards 2017

The Sefton Shining Stars Awards – now in their 11th year – are organised by Sefton CVS to celebrate the contribution made by children to community life, outside of the normal school curriculum areas.

The awards will be presented to deserving youngsters up to the age of 16 at a high-profile ceremony at Bootle Town Hall on Tuesday 12th December.

They are supported by sponsors including Sefton Council, Urgent Care 24, Driscoll Kingston Solicitors, Living Well Sefton and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Shining Stars organiser, Joanne Lee, commented: “These awards give everyone in the borough the opportunity to celebrate our children’s achievements in a positive, warm and unique way.

“Over the last 11 years they have also become a great motivation for children and young people, and for those who support and work with them.”

Children can be nominated for one or more of ten awards, including the top honour of Sefton’s Shiniest Star.

Categories include:

  • Achieving and Caring
  • Volunteering and Community Spirit
  • The Mary Roberson Award for Inspiring Change
  • Achiever of the Year Award
  • Fundraising
  • Changing Attitudes
  • The Catherine Strickland Award for Bravery
  • Personality of the Year Award
  • Participation Award

“Previous Shining Stars Awards have put the spotlight on some wonderful achievements by Sefton’s children and young people,” added Joanne.

“We’re hoping for a bumper crop of nominations to help us make the 2017 awards the best year yet.”

Joanne also pointed out that children and young people also play a vital role in planning and organising the awards ceremony, and also as hosts and performers on the night.

To nominate follow the link here to the online nomination form. The closing date for nominations this year is midnight on Friday 3rd November.

Click here to download an informational flyer (PDF)

For more information about the awards and a nomination form contact the Shining Stars team on 0151 920 0726, or email


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