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News Report Page 6 of 9
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Sefton Council elects to self supply water in partnership with Waterscan

SEFTON Council is expecting to improve its environmental performance and achieve significant efficiency savings by entering a self supply water partnership. Sefton Council has applied to Ofwat for a water and sewerage self supply licence (WSSL) following an in depth options appraisal to determine how best to enter the open water market.

The agreement will provide the Council with greater control of its water management, Jonathan Williams, Utilities Officer at Sefton Council, commented:- "Our ambition to self supply water is driven by our goals to both enhance our environmental performance and achieve cost savings across our property portfolio. Having undertaken a thorough needs analysis, we are confident that self supply will help us to achieve these goals, in turn paving the way for further investment and innovation across our borough."

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said:- "A self supply licence will mean we're an active participant in the water market. It will give us much more control over our water use and effluent discharge, enable us to make effective and confident strategic decisions based on accurate information, and build on the success of existing programs like our Climate Emergency Declaration"

Sefton Council's Energy and Environmental Management Team is responsible for managing:- gas, electriCity and water utility services for:- Council Buildings, Schools and Sport and Leisure Facilities. Combined, this portfolio of sites totals 184 measured and 64 unmeasured supply points. With a diverse estate to manage, the team recognised the need for a sophisticated understanding of water service provision, the wider marketplace, regulation and compliance. Sefton Council has therefore taken the decision to enter into a partnership agreement with specialist consultancy Waterscan to assist with its water procurement. With this agreement, Waterscan will conduct meter readings, deal with central market operating system transactions, manage wholesalers and provide technical support and services to uncover further water efficiencies. The Council will pay water and sewerage charges through the usual settlement process and be able to build a direct relationship with the Wholesaler.

Waterscan's Water Strategy Manager, Anastasia Sousanoglou, highlighted further benefits of Sefton Council being active in the water market. She said:- "While many large organisations in the private sector have confidently approached the open water market, it's incredibly important that the public sector isn't left behind because of the significant impacts that it has on effective, sustainable water stewardship, nationwide. Sefton Council; along with Blackpool Borough Council, which was granted a self supply licence in 2018; will have an important contribution to make in ensuring that public sector needs are met as the market evolves. It will be able to exercise a public sector customer voice as a member of MOSL, the market operator, and through attendance at Self Supply User Forums."

LGA responds to expansion of Covid-19 testing to Council Workers

RESPONDING to the letter from Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick to Councils on Covid-19 testing for Local Government key workers, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said:- "Councils want to continue playing a leading role in supporting local communities and the national effort to defeat this disease. As the Secretary of State rightly points out, Council staff are doing an amazing job to protect the most vulnerable and keep services running. Social Care staff, those working with vulnerable children and adults, Homelessness Support Services and many others working in Councils need to be able to stay on the frontline to help those most in need during this pandemic. Expanding testing to all Local Government workers is an essential part of this. The Government's testing regime should also be complemented by making use of existing local knowledge and skills on the ground. Where Councils do help test those with Covid-19, any demand on existing services would need to be met by additional resources and funding. We look forward to working with the Government on the detail."

Galloway's uses technology to provide support to people with sight loss during the Coronavirus crisis

INTERACTING with their family, or other people who have the same shared experiences, is a vital lifeline for people with sight loss. So life during lockdown and social distancing can be quite hard. Here at Galloway's, we have been working hard to support the blind and partially sighted community in a number of ways, from making regular phone calls, to using new forms of technology and social media. Jean Lilley is a self confessed technophobe who refuses to switch on a computer. But with help from Galloway's Assistive Technology Co-ordinator Andrew Coleman, the 73 year old from Southport has a Facebook account; uses WhatsApp; watches TV on her tablet and has an Alexa.

The grandmother of 7, who only has vision in 1 eye, says:- "During lockdown, I have had a lot of technological support from Andrew, as he talks through things at a good pace for me to understand. "He has set up WhatsApp on my phone. As he was unable to visit me because of lockdown measures, he was able to use a code to take over my phone screen and he installed WhatsApp for me. I am still getting used to it, but I will use it to video call my family. Andrew showed me how to access the Galloway's website and how to find the Coronavirus support page with useful information. I am also on Facebook but I don't really use it. Andrew has made me aware of the Coronavirus Advice and Support and Sefton Social Facebook groups, which also has useful information and it is a place I can interact with other users. A ndrew will help me out with that at a later date, as I can only take in certain bits of information at a time. There is a barrier between me and the computer andI wouldn't have anybody else to turn to for these things, without Andrew. He has been brilliant."

As well as technological help, the Galloway's team is offering Jean other forms of support. She adds:- "I have had phone calls from Jenny White, the sight loss advisor at Southport, to check I am okay. It is nice to have someone to chat to. I have been told about the Talking Together telephone 'social groups' which I may join a bit later on. So despite not being able to go out and visit people at Galloway's, I do feel really well connected and supported. The sight loss advisors are always there for any problems I may have. Sometimes I do feel a bit lonely but I am lucky compared to most people. My daughter brings me shopping and I also ring local shops and a local takeaway for delivery. I feel pretty lucky when you think how some other people on their own are struggling."

Jean, who was the 2006/07 Mayoress of Sefton and was previously a scheme manager for Ashton Court sheltered accommodation, has been a well known face at Galloway's, in Southport, for many years. She had volunteered for the charity until her health declined 2 years ago, but she is still a regular at the Wednesday social group. She adds:- "It was nice to go every Wednesday and speak to people and play bingo, so I shall look forward to doing that again when lockdown is over. It is also hard not being able to volunteer, as I also helped out at Macmillan. But never mind, I am sure it will all go right in the end."

The mother of 3 began to lose her sight in 1993 when it was discovered she had a blood clot behind her right eye. Her condition worsened after she developed double vision following an operation for cataracts in her left eye. She was given the option to have another operation to correct this, but did not want to do so in case of any further complications. She says:- "2 years ago, I suffered a fall, resulting in a fracture and I developed ulcers on my legs. Since then, my left eye has got worse and I have no sight in that eye at all. I only see using 1 eye now but it is better than some people. I am registered severely sight impaired. I just hope it doesn't get any worse."

Galloway's, which has sites in:- Penwortham, Chorley, Southport and Morecambe, supports more than 7,000 blind and partially sighted people across Sefton and Lancashire. Galloway's is urgently trying to adapt its services to ensure support is still available to people living with sight loss across Lancashire and Sefton during lockdown. But because of the detrimental effect this pandemic is having on fundraising, the charity needs your help more than ever to ensure it can continue its good work and help people like Jean. To make a donation, visit:- Galloways.Org.UK/One-Time-Donation.

Specsavers launches Remote Care Consultation Service in Southport

SPECSAVERS has launched a free sight and hearing consultation service across Southport, giving access to vital advice and care from local optometrists and audiologists, via video and telephone link. The service, Remote Care, is designed to cover concerns ranging from eye health and changes in the quality of sight, to contact lens aftercare and audiology health and aftercare. Developed in line with NHS recommendations on remote consultation, the new service is open to everyone, whether or not they are currently a Specsavers customer, and can be accessed securely from any digital device. If a customer is unable to use video, they will be able to get expert advice over the phone. Specsavers is 1 of a number of organisations that are fast tracking changes to their services to respond to the evolving needs of customers in the current crisis and the longer term.

Victoria Dunn, Director, at Specsavers Southport said:- "With our stores currently only able to offer urgent and essential care to a limited number of customers, we have been exploring innovative alternatives to in person appointments. This is clearly significant given the present restrictions, but it is a service that we plan to continue for the long term to ensure that everyone; especially those who are particularly vulnerable; can access the care and support that they need. Lockdown is affecting all of our lives and there are already fears that people are delaying accessing essential health services in the current situation. This solution removes a number of barriers, especially with health services already under immense pressure. We hope that Specsavers Remote Care, our video consultation service, will in some way help people who might otherwise have gone to their GP or to the local A&E unnecessarily. Without access to expert advice and care from our opticians and audiologists, quality of life could be greatly impacted and wider health put at risk; this is of particular concern for older people."

Stores will also be able to advise customers on how they can locate their prescription and buy new glasses by directing them to Specsavers' recently launched online glasses store. GP and media medic Dr Sarah Jarvis says:- "Clearly optometrists and audiologists cannot carry out all the detailed examinations that they would normally do via a video connection. But there are a surprising number of eye health issues which can be dealt with by taking a thorough history and by looking at the outside of the eye during a video consultation. As a GP, I regularly diagnose eye problems without the specialist equipment optometrists have in their test rooms and with so many patients unable to access face to face appointments with their GP, and concerned about attending A&E departments, this service could be invaluable. Optometrists and audiologists using video consultations can offer reassurance and recommend treatment for many conditions, providing relief from symptoms and peace of mind. They can also advise patients when their condition does need urgent assessment."

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