Grants to help reduce social isolation

PersonLocal groups have been given a boost now that wellbeing organisation Living Well Sefton has launched the fifth round of the Community Resilience Grant.

Community groups and community-minded individuals are being encouraged to apply for funding for projects designed to get more people out of their houses and linking in with their communities.

Michael Swift, (below), who runs Southport’s Stepping Stones social group for those with health conditions, was successful in securing funding from a previous round and said: “We wouldn’t have been able to do the drama without the funding and it Mike Swift comhas helped give people confidence and bring them closer together.”

Karen Nolan, co-ordinator of Living Well Sefton, explains: “The focus of our latest funding is about helping people get out and about so they feel less lonely. So we want to hear from community groups that have ideas on how to make this happen.”

The Community Resilience Grant has supported local communities with a range of projects from enhancing wellbeing through gardening or craft workshops to providing cooking classes that improve healthy eating.

There are grants of up to £2,000 for organisations and £500 to individuals, who are supported by a organisational partner. Grants are subject to specific criteria being met and will be approved by a judging panel. The deadline for applications is Friday, November 30.

Anyone interested in applying can complete the application form on the Living Well Sefton website where there are guidance notes on how to complete the form as well as the criteria for applying –

Paper versions of the application form can also be downloaded from the website.

Call the team direct on 0300 323 0181 or email for further details.

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Men are encouraged to look after their health this November

It’s November, which means that as a part of ‘Movember’, health teams in Sefton are focusing on men’s health this month.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are encouraging men in the area to look after their health and make sure they know about some of the most common health problems that could affect them.

According to the Men’s Health Forum, men are much more likely to drink alcohol than women and are more likely to consume unhealthy amounts.

This week (19th – 25th November) is also Alcohol Awareness Week, highlighting how much of an issue drinking can be.

Health checks Strand By Me
May Logan’s Living Well mentors offer free mini health checks at Bootle Strand By Me Shop Wednesday, 11am-1pm Friday, 10am-12noon

The overconsumption of alcohol can have many negative effects on your health and lead to heart disease, stroke and numerous kinds of cancer.

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It is recommended that you do not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week – that’s about four pints of lager or a bottle and a third of wine.

“Even if you are staying within the recommended intake, drinking most days of the week, no matter how much, can have bad effects on your physical and mental health.

“Why not try and have a few alcohol-free days a week?”


If you think your drinking has become a problem and you want to reduce your intake, Ambition Sefton offers a range of services to help with this.  Run by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, the service provides help and support to the residents of Sefton who have a drug and alcohol problem through a wide range of recovery focused treatment pathways.

Call Ambition Sefton on 01704 534 759 in Southport or 0151 944 5334 in Bootle.

Another health issue which has a major impact on men is cancer.  Men’s Health Forum have found that males are more likely to get cancer than women.  Prostate cancer is the most common type, accounting for 1 in 4 cases of the disease in men, and the cause of 13 per cent of cancer related deaths.

Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and acting chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “With all types of cancer, it’s important that men don’t give in to bravado and talk about any concerns they have.

“If you have an increased need to pee, straining while you pee and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied, you should see your GP as these are all symptoms of prostate cancer.

“Passing blood is also a symptom you should get checked out.

“But just because you may have some of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but just highlights there could be something we need to look at a little further.”

For healthy lifestyle information and support then Living Well Sefton is the place to go as its mentors and partners can help people improve their wellbeing.  Call them on 0300 323 0181.

For any health advice you should call NHS 111 or visit your local pharmacy.

Flicks and Friends in November

In conjunction with Living Well Sefton and the Plaza Community Cinema, Age Concern Crosby is pleased to present the following film on Tuesday 20 November:

First Man
Tickets just £1 including Film, Tea/Coffee and Biscuits (pay on the door).
Doors open 12.30pm and film starts showing at 1pm.

Information about the film:
TITLE: First man: (12A)
GENRE: Biography, Drama, History
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 21 mins.
DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle
STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke

Based on the book by James R Hansen. The film examines the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July, 1969.


Pregnant women in Sefton urged to get their flu jab

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

While you are pregnant you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge at any point during your pregnancy. Getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both you and your baby if you were to catch the flu, such as premature birth, pneumonia and reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of their 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.

Pregnant flu. Dolly Loftus
Sefton resident Dolly Loftus receives her flu jab  

Dolly Loftus, a Sefton resident, 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.”

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.

“Despite us having a relatively mild autumn so far, the flu jab may be the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.

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

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. People who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice or participating pharmacies.

Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity at 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, practice nurse or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”

If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your general practice or pharmacist to get it.

You can find a wide range of information about the annual flu immunisation campaign and see whether you are eligible at:  if you have any further queries simply ask at your GP practice or pharmacist.

It’s time to take the signs of diabetes seriously this World Diabetes Day

People across Southport and Formby are being urged not to ignore signs and symptoms this World Diabetes Day (14 November 2018).

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes the blood sugar level to be too high.  Across Sefton, 6,500 are classed as being ‘at risk’ of developing type 2 diabetes – but it is preventable.

Dr Doug Callow, GP and diabetes lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It’s really important that diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

“Making sure you know the symptoms means that you can work to make the changes you need to, to make sure it doesn’t get worse.”

The signs to look out for are:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • itching around the penis, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • blurred vision

Not being diagnosed or not managing diabetes properly once diagnosed can lead to serious health problems – heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, problems with your feet, blindness and problems with your kidneys.  In women, it can also contribute to miscarriage and stillbirth.

Dr Callow added: “Not managing diabetes properly can lead to serious complications, this is why there is lots of support for you, including our Diabetes Education Programme.”

Provided by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Diabetes and You’ is a programme for people who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  ‘Diabetes and More’ is for people who have been living with the condition for more than a year.

These sessions are free, informal and are a great way of meeting other people who are also keen to learn more about managing their condition and are designed to make living with diabetes as manageable for you as possible.

John Bennett, 65, who was diagnosed with diabetes several months ago said: “I’m retired and I was a driver in my last job.

“I went to the GP for a 65 MOT and that’s when I learned that I had diabetes. I don’t have any symptoms and I was referred to the service via my GP.

“When I visited the service, I found them very useful and helpful. I have no complaints whatsoever. They are very clear, they don’t patronise you and they tell you what is what when it comes to diabetes. The clarification is perfect.

“The service gives you a lot of confidence in dealing with diabetes and I would recommend other people with diabetes to visit the Diabetes Education Team and ensure they get help early on.”

SF Diabetes
Lucy Haworth, Erin Foley, Laura Chatt, Elizabeth Bletcher community Dietitians for Southport & Formby

Erin Foley from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Diabetes Education Team said: “Locally 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

“With support to maintain a healthy diet, keep active and keep to a healthy weight, people with diabetes can stay well and reduce their risks of long-term health problems. Diabetes can have an impact on the health of the whole family. So, families have a key role to play in supporting lifestyle changes.

“Learning how to self-manage diabetes is a must for anyone who has the condition. People with diabetes are at risk of developing health problems that include renal disease, blindness, cardiovascular disease and lower limb amputations, and it is because of this that we hold regular diabetes sessions to help people with diabetes to understand their condition better and how to successfully manage it to keep themselves well.

“The sessions are free and extremely useful in learning how to live with diabetes.”

The courses are held in various venues across Southport and Formby and at various timings throughout the day, including evenings and weekends.   They’re designed to make living with diabetes as manageable for you as possible.

To find out more about these programmes or to book directly onto a course, contact the Diabetes Education Team on 01704 387271 or email

To find out more about diabetes, visit the NHS Choices website:

Health commissioners introduce new policy in self care week

During self care week (12 – 18 November 2018) health commissioners in Sefton are launching a new policy which follows national guidance, explaining that prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are explaining to residents that GPs, nurses and pharmacists are no longer recommended to routinely prescribe over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses in their medicines self care policy.

There are exceptions to the guidance which are detailed in the policy and more vulnerable patients will still be able to access the Care at the Chemist service.

Many common conditions do not need a prescription and they will often get better on their own, with medicines that can help with the symptoms, bought easily from pharmacists, supermarkets and local retailers. They are known as ‘over the counter’ medicines and you do not need to have seen a doctor or have a prescription to buy them.  That means you don’t have to wait for an appointment at your GP practice.

The minor illnesses that the policy lists include short-term conditions like:

  • sore throats
  • coughs, colds and nasal congestion
  • dandruff
  • mild acne
  • minor pain, discomfort and fever
  • sunburn and more

Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We thought self care week was a good time to tell people about our new policy which will help them to care for minor illnesses without going to their Doctor.

“It is important to say that vulnerable patients can still use the minor ailments scheme, Care at the Chemist which is available in 20 pharmacies across Sefton. I would also like to add that there are exceptions in the new policy for certain circumstances where people will continue to have their treatment prescribed.

“I urge everyone to make full use of their local pharmacist this week and all year round – they use their clinical expertise together with their practical knowledge to give you the best advice.”

Ross Powell, a pharmacist in Sefton, said: “There are changes coming in but there will be some exceptions which are detailed in the leaflet. We’re more than happy to offer advice to you and our teams are all qualified to assist.

“We have a private consultation room for more confidential discussions and can advise on the best over the counter medicines to buy, especially for over the winter months.”

Cllr Catie Page said: “The changes may confuse people at first but I believe that our pharmacists will give people the support that they need.

“I think self care is so important and I go to my  chemist at the start of each year and think about what I need for my family, that way we are prepared when one of us becomes ill and can treat it and hopefully avoid seeing the Doctor.

“My advice in self care week and beyond that would be to go and speak to your pharmacist, ask them about medications and what you might need for minor illnesses.”

The exceptions in the ‘Sefton medicines self care policy for minor illnesses and/or self-limiting conditions’ where you may still be prescribed a medicine for a condition on the list are:

  • You need treatment for a long-term condition, e.g. regular pain relief for chronic arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • You need treatment for more complex forms of minor illnesses, e.g. migraines that are very bad and where over the counter medicines do not work
  • You need an over the counter medicine to treat a side effect of a prescription medicine or symptom of another illness, e.g. constipation when taking certain painkillers
  • The medicine has a licence which doesn’t allow the product to be sold over the counter to certain groups of patients. This could include babies, children or women who are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • The person prescribing thinks that a patient cannot treat themselves, for example because of mental health problems or severe social vulnerability

This policy does not remove the clinical discretion of prescribers in accordance with their professional duties.

You can read the full policy, see a leaflet and / or a list of where the Care at the Chemist service is available on the CCG websites: /

Ross Powell and colleagues scw
Pharmacist Ross Powell and colleagues

Bootle-based Regenerus hosts Tomorrows Land – and you’re invited!

A Bootle-based organisation is hosting a major international conference in Liverpool next month to celebrate the success of a European social innovation project.

Regenerus will welcome its partners in the Erasmus + Tomorrow’s Land project from Portugal, Denmark, Italy, Germany and Latvia to the one-day event which takes place at Hinterlands on Mann Street in the city centre on Thursday 22nd November.

Regenerus is issuing an open invitation to the free conference to anyone across the city region with an interest in social innovation, including university staff and students, social entrepreneurs and representatives of the public, private and social economy sectors.

Delegates at the event will hear how Tomorrow’s Land has been working to create collaborative economies by nurturing more social innovators – people who can create new ways of working to achieve positive social change and ultimately a more inclusive society.

Emphasising that ‘small actions can make a big difference’, the focus will be on examples of real success stories in the field, from Fairtrade to digital participatory democracy.TLgroup

Connecting the local to the global, there will also be contributions from two high-profile guest speakers:

  • International consultant, educator and author Dr Daniel Christian Wahl will be sharing what he thinks are the most important skills that social innovators need to shape the future.
  • Globally renowned innovation and education guru Charles Leadbeater, an inspiring and influential author, award-winning journalist and a social innovator in his own right, will be sharing his insights into how to build successful movements for positive change.

Ruth Livesey of Regenerus commented: “Tomorrow’s Land has been a very successful project and we’re delighted that our European partners will be joining us to celebrate its achievements.

“We also hope that the conference will attract a wide range of delegates, including would-be social innovators and social entrepreneurs, trainers, educators and policy makers, as it will provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other and start to create new solutions to some of the challenges society faces in today’s world.”

The conference is supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and Well Sefton, one of ten Well North Pathfinders, an innovative, Public Health England initiative. It is free to attend. Visit and find Tomorrow’s Land to book a place.

Sefton Remembrance Services: All you need to know

The Mayor of Sefton, councillors and council officers will all attend Remembrance Day services taking place across the borough at the weekend.

They will all remember those who died in conflict at services being held on Sunday, November 11.

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, will attend a morning service at the War Memorial, King’s Gardens, Bootle at 10.50am and an afternoon service at Holy Trinity Church, Formby at 3pm.

Councillors and other Sefton Council representatives will be present at a total of 11 services being held on Sunday, November 11 throughout the borough.


These will be held at other locations in Aintree, Ainsdale, Crosby, Hightown, Ince Blundell, Litherland, Maghull, Southport and Waterloo.

As with previous years members of the public are asked to arrive at a service in plenty of time. This is due to the high volume of residents expected to turn out to pay their respects.

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “Each year Sefton councillors, officers, members of the public and our armed forces are rightfully present at the many emotional commemorative services taking place across the borough.

“As Mayor I am always very proud to attend to pay my respects and I as many people as possible will do the same on what is a very poignant and important day.

“Remembrance services give us the opportunity to spend some time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women over the years in various conflicts.”


Cllr Bobby Brennan, Sefton Council’s Armed Forces champion, added: “The services we hold in Sefton are very important as we remember those who lost their lives in conflict past and present.

“We owe a huge debt to every single one of the fallen for the peace and freedom we currently enjoy today.”


Aintree: Sefton Parish Church, Sefton Village, L29 (10.30am)
Ainsdale: Village Green War Memorial (10:30am)
Bootle: King’s Garden’s War Memorial, Stanley Road (10.25am)
Crosby: Alexandra Park War Memorial Garden, Coronation Road (10:30am)
Formby: Holy Trinity Church, Rosemary Lane (2.50pm)
Hightown: St Stephen’s Road War Memorial (10:35am)
Ince Blundell: Lady Green Lane War Memorial (12:05pm)
Litherland: Sefton Road War Memorial (10:30am)
Maghull: St Andrew’s Church, Damfield Lane (9.50am)
Southport: Lord Street War Memorial (10:25am)
Waterloo: Five Lamps War Memorial, Gt George’s Road (10:30am)

Do you know a shining star?

The deadline for nominations for Shining Stars has been extended to Friday 16th November at 5pm.

Sefton Shining Stars, now approaching its 12th year, is an annual awards ceremony organised by Sefton Council for Voluntary Service.

The evening celebrates the contribution of children and young people to their local communities, and to Sefton as a borough. The awards have a particular emphasis on young people’s achievements outside of the usual school curriculum, and look to reward those who may otherwise not receive recognition.

This year the age bracket has been extended meaning that the upper age limit for nominations is now 18.

Children can be nominated for one or more of ten awards, including the top honour of Sefton’s Shiniest Star. dsc_8386

If you know of a child or young person who deserves to be recognised, then complete a nomination form online here.

If you have any further questions feel free to get in touch via email ( or by calling 0151 920 0726 ext 222.


Innovative partnership to help prevent falls

A joint initiative between Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sefton Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service aims to help prevent falls in older people and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

People in South Sefton area who have fallen, are at risk of falling or fear falling can now benefit from a programme of educational sessions, exercise and assistance to make their homes safer.

The programme is designed to increase balance and co-ordination, while improving strength and mobility. Safety and independence in the home, via home assessments, will also help to keep people well.

The initiative is being run by Mersey Care’s South Sefton (ICRAS) therapy teams, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Sefton Council’s Active Lifestyles and was launched at an event at Bootle and Netherton Fire Station this week.

The aim is for those taking part to undergo an eight week programme, with the option of progressing on to Sefton’s Council’s Active Lifestyles classes which are also held at the fire station.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) has an important role to play by being able to refer directly into falls prevention services from their home safety assessments.

Mark Thomas, Prevention Manager for MFRS, said: “Our crews and advocates engage with hundreds of people on a daily basis during Home Fire Safety Checks and Safe and Well visits. Often during these visits, we meet older and more vulnerable people who may need a helping hand in identifying areas in the home that may cause trips or falls.

“We are very happy to support this initiative and share information with our partners to ensure that we can keep our older people safe in their homes.”

When older people fall, their injuries can be more serious because of the increased likelihood of osteoporosis (thinning bones), making broken bones more likely, especially amongst women. A key part of the service is to help avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital and the possibility of being transferred for long-term care following a fall.

Falls prevention partnership oct 2018
 A joined up approach to falls prevention and education with, from left to right: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service prevention team manager Ellie Williams, Active Steps Group and Falls Team Leader at Sefton Community Services Carol Hall, and Active Lifestyles Development Manager at Sefton Council Lindsay McDowall, at the launch event

Cathy Long, Clinical Lead for South Sefton ICCT Teams, said: “As well as keeping people safe and mobile, reducing falls also helps to relieve pressure on GPs, hospitals and the ambulance service.

“On average, one in three over 65-year-old people is likely to fall in the coming year and the physical and emotional effects of this on older patients cannot be underestimated. Falling can often trigger a loss in confidence and increase dependency.

“Our challenge is to work as hard as possible to reduce this likelihood and make falls an uncommon occurrence and it is terrific to be teaming up with our partners Sefton Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to help achieve this. “

Active Lifestyles Development Manager for Sefton Council Lindsay McDowall said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership as part of the active aging falls prevention programme funded by South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group.”

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