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Rewriting futures with Foster Care Fortnight

Bianca Pagan: being fostered transformed her life.

HOW a Liverpool teenager's life was transformed by her foster family at the age of 16 is the subject of a 2 minute film in a new campaign to promote foster carers. Bianca, now 19, is about to embark on a University education; an achievement unimaginable just a few short years ago. Foster Care Fortnight runs until 26 May 2019 is a national campaign organised by Fostering Network, the UK's leading Fostering Charity.  This year's theme is:- 'Change a Future' and Liverpool City Council is sharing Bianca's story as a care leaver to show how fostering can transform a young person's life. As a 19 year old on the cusp of an exciting future at University, Bianca is now able to pursue her dreams and realise her potential, because of the opportunities being fostered gave to her. Bianca said:- "Being fostered has completely turned my life around, I was given the opportunity to focus on myself which allowed me to become a person I'm proud of. Having someone who was always there for me every day, made me feel important and helped me realise my potential"

During Foster Care Fortnight, Liverpool's Foster Care team will be holding 2 drop in events each day across the City. At each session anyone who is interested in fostering, can find out more about how they could make a difference to child's future, and even meet some current foster carers to hear their stories too. For a full list of drop in's visit:- Fostering.Liverpool.Gov.UK/FCFEvents.

Steve Reddy, Director for Children's and Young Peoples Services said:- "Fostering transforms the lives of vulnerable children across Liverpool, so we want to talk to everyone across the City about promoting foster care. We need to provide more local authority foster care provision, to ensure we are looking after children in their communities, so they can maintain their connections, education and friendships"

As well as sharing their success stories, Foster carers and carer leavers who have supported Liverpool's Foster Care Fortnight campaign, will also be appearing on digital screens across the City during the fortnight. The Fostering Service's Facebook Page and website holds a wide range of information for anyone who is interested in becoming a Foster Carer. Please help by sharing this information far and wide. Liverpool Foster carers do not pay Council Tax and families also get free membership of the City's Lifestyles Fitness Centres.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said:- "There are many children's and families in Liverpool, who are going through difficult times, often for just short periods but sometimes for longer. Because we don't have enough local authority foster carers, we sometimes have to place children outside of Liverpool, which can disrupt young people. We're asking you to contact Liverpool City Council, to offer your support and help us foster some of the children within our City, who desperately need our help"

You need to be aged over 21, but there is no upper age limit and can be single, married or co-habiting, and of any sexual orientation. People interested in fostering can call the fostering team on:- 0151 515 0000 or follow the Fostering Service, on Facebook.

Sedgemoor Hub, in Norris Green, which specialises in caring for people living with dementia

PEOPLE in Liverpool can find out more about dementia at special sessions being held as part of:- 'Dementia Action Week 2019.' To be hosted at Sedgemoor Hub, Liverpool City Council's specialist dementia centre, 2 drop in sessions are running on:-

Tuesday, 21 May 2019, at 1pm, organised by the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends.

Thursday, 23 May 2019, at 10am, led by Mersey Care NHS Trust.

The sessions will include advice on how to identify signs of dementia, starting conversations about the condition, what to say and what not to say, and how to connect with groups and organisations that offer support.  Dementia affects around 5,000 people within the City, but it is estimated that only ½ of the people living with dementia have been diagnosed.  Moira McLoughlin who is a voluntary Dementia Friends champion said:- "As always Dementia Action Week is a time when people, organisations, businesses and the wider community are encouraged to improve the lives of people living with dementia. 1 way to do this is to become a Dementia Friend or even organise a Dementia Friends awareness session and learn more about dementia and how you can take action. We would encourage anyone to come along to Sedgemoor Hub to find out more."

Cllr Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult social care, said:- "Everyone knows someone who has been touched by dementia. It's an upsetting condition which can be distressing for the person living with the condition and also for those caring for them. These events are a chance for people to come together and find out more about dementia at our superb state of the art facility where the dedicated team offers such brilliant support. We have an ageing population in Liverpool and all of the evidence shows there is going to be an increased need for all of us to have awareness around the condition."

People who care for someone living with dementia are also encouraged to contact Liverpool City Council for a carer's assessment. Carer's assessments are a chance for carers to speak to a professional about how caring impacts their life, including their health and well being, and can lead to information and advice, respite support and other services.  Ste Dollard cares for him mum who is living with dementia:- "My mum attends Sedgemoor Hub. The service there is very important to us as it makes my mum happy which makes me happy."

To find out more about carer's assessments please visit:- Liverpool.Gov.UK/CarersAssessment or call Careline on:- 0151 233 3800 for an information pack.

Merseyside's Police Commissioner announces new public health approach to tackling serious violence

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has announced her intention to establish a new Violence Reduction Partnership made up of specialists in L0 Police, Health and Local Government working with communities to deliver a public health approach to tackling the causes of serious violence.

Jane Kennedy is meeting with a range of partners to seek agreement to establishing the multi agency partnership, with the aim of preventing and reducing the incidences of violence, as well as identifying the underlying reasons for the recent increase in serious crime on Merseyside.

The announcement comes in response to the Prime Minister's recent youth violence summit at which a consultation was launched on introducing a public health duty to tackling serious violence. It also follows the Government's announcement that they would be allocating ₤100m to tackle the surge in serious violence across the country. Merseyside Police are still waiting to hear if their proposal to establish the policing aspect of a Violence Reduction unit will be supported with funding from this Serious Violence fund.

Spearheading the development of this partnership will be Professor Dr John Ashton CBE, the former Regional Director of Public Health for the North West. Professor Ashton, who is a Senior Consultant Advisor to the World Health Organisation's 'Healthy Cities' project and a former Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Health Select Committee will act as the Commissioner's Public Health Advisor, helping to coordinate the response among health partners.

Following the announcement, the Commissioner will work with Professor Ashton and partners to identify and appoint an independent Chairperson to lead the partnership. Plans are also underway to hold a summit with all the partners to develop a shared vision and strategy.

This will include producing a 10 year Violence Reduction strategy that will lay out the partnership's objectives and set out the benchmark data that will be used to measure the impact of the partnership's work. The partnership will build on what works and share best practice, with research already taking place to assess similar models in other areas, including:- Glasgow, Manchester and London and overseas in Colombia, the USA and Canada.

Jane said:- "The causes of serious violence are extremely complex and deep seated. It is not possible to simply 'Police' our way out of violent crime. We need to look beyond, at societal problems including poverty, mental ill health, education, issues of addiction and lack of opportunity. Central Government are also pushing for a public health focussed response to addressing this issue and as Region we need to respond to this challenge. By developing this partnership, I want all the agencies who have a role to play in policing and community safety to step up and play their part in addressing the contagion of serious violence. Between all the partners we have a wealth of information and data on many of these factors, but at the moment we are not using it as wisely as we could, nor targeting our activities to have maximum impact. By bringing together specialists from across the sectors to set up this Violence Reduction Partnership, my aim is to pool our combined intelligence and resources so that we can diagnose the problem, better understand it and then develop and deliver effective plans to address the areas of most need. By sharing knowledge and understanding, we will be able to build on the great work already being done to ensure our endeavours are better resourced and more targeted. I am delighted that Professor John Ashton is joining me to spearhead this work. He has a long and distinguished track record working in public health, Regionally, nationally and internationally. He will bring a wealth of learning and expertise to the project team and help me in ensuring we have all the right partners around the table, who are examining the right data in the most critical way to make the biggest difference to communities in our Region. Merseyside is a fantastic place to live, work and visit. As those who are responsible for delivering public services in the Region, we are all committed to ensuring this continues to be the case for our residents and to enhancing this reputation beyond our borders. We cannot allow the contagion of serious violence and gang related activity to damage the revitalisation of our Region."

Professor Ashton said:- "I am thrilled to be invited to work with the Commissioner to develop and drive forward a long term public health approach to tackling violence in Merseyside. Serious violence is a disease which is infecting our communities. After years of treating such events as moral failings, demanding a policing response, there is finally a wider recognition that this issue needs a public health response. We know that this approach can and does work, we have seen the evidence from other parts of the world. While much has been made of recent efforts in Glasgow, the roots of this approach can be traced to Cali in Colombia, where impressive results have been achieved by adopting this approach. The development of this partnership is the 1st step in replicating this process. By listening to communities, using the best available evidence and by trying this new approach, we can provide real solutions to the causes and triggers of serious violence in our Region. As a Liverpudlian, born and bred in the City, I want to see our Region go to the next stage of its renaissance, where we do not allow violence and anti social behaviour to besmirch our great City and we take a collective stance against this type of behaviour."

Advance Notice - Armed Forces Day 2019

THE Southport Armed Forces Day take place on Sunday, 30 June 2019, on the Town Hall Gardens, Lord street. The event will be honouring Brittan's Armed Forces, Past, Present and Future.

The day will start at 10am with a Drumhead Service, followed by a Parade from Chapel Street.

Weather permitting their will be a fly past from the Battle of Brittan Memorial Flight Dakota, also on show on the gardens will be a full size replica WW1 Sopwith Camel Biplane.

A vintage live music performance will also be given by the George Formby Society and the Ukulele Minstrels. Also United Voice Choir and Dnielle Thomas will be performing.

Other attractions will include Vintage Military Vehicles along with the 208 Field Hospital Not only that but their will also be live music throughout the day, thanks to the Band of the King's Division.

Also taking part will be 238 Squadron, the 156 Royal Logistics Corps, along with local Arm and Sea Cadets.

"Please come over and show your support and take a look on what is on offer on the day. Also if you can print out the poster and display it at work, that would be amazing!" said Organiser Jason Keen.

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