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April 2020

Grow more trees

Why isn't Formby growing more trees?

Tree-3822149_640I know that as a community Formby recognises the importance of trees, witness the campaign to save the village horse chestnut trees. But there seems little or no movement in sowing and growing more. 

I constantly find myself asking, why is that? We've got the space, we know how important they are to the planet and well being on a personal level.

Chemists will tell you of the importance of  catalysts.

So where and who are our community catalysts?

In Frome it was a group of people who paved the way with a movement around the idea of 'Flatpack Democracy. As a Formby Parish Councillor I had hopes that it would become the source of inspiration for a myriad of community activists, a hub for community catalysts. Sadly that hasn't happened. 

We need to learn from Frome.

Here's a video from the Tree Conference 2018, lets watch Peter Macfadyen explain.

Frome town council is run by an independent party of local residence facilitated by Peter Macfadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy.  In this section of the 2018 Tree Conference we give Peter the stage to explain a bit about that pioneering work and what policies they have put in place.

Peter then interviews Julian Hight who has been working hard to restore Selwood Forest with an active group of passionate supporters, local landlords, representatives from national bodies like the Woodland Trust and Wildlife Trusts.

This is a good template for how communities can develop citizen-led wildlife corridors and landscape restoration.  The Selwood Forest group’s work continues to go from strength to strength.



Stay Fit

Coronavirus: How to keep fit and healthy at home

StayfitDuring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak when people need to stay at home as much as possible to protect everyone’s health, it is more important than ever that we all take care of our health.

NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), together with Sefton Council and Living Well Sefton want to remind people that staying physically fit not only helps fight off sickness but also works to improve mental health.

Now that Spring is here the longer, lighter days can have a positive impact on people’s mood. Increased exposure to sunlight, boosts vitamin D levels, which help us absorb minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and helps improve the immune system.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: 

“Taking a leisurely walk, cycle or jog, alone or with a member of your household is a great way to keep fit. Walking and jogging have a number of benefits for our health, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, helping maintain a healthy weight and helping to keep our bones strong.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: 

“You don’t always need to leave your home to find ways to keep active and stay healthy either, and there is a range of local and national support that you can get help and ideas from.”   

Together with its partners, Living Well Sefton is continuing to provide health and wellbeing support and information to residents during this time, offering help around keeping active and eating well, along with stopping smoking, drinking sensibly and advice on improving your mental wellbeing.

Gardening is another great way to make the most of the nice spring weather, as it can be a relaxing activity with numerous health benefits. If you don’t have a garden, balconies and any outdoor spaces can be used for planting herbs, flowers or house plants in pots and trays.

The benefits of gardening can include reducing stress, improved heart health and burning off calories through more active gardening such as digging. 

For those who can’t go outside, there are lots of things you can do in your house or garden to keep fit. Great online resources include:

  • NHS Live Well
  • NHS Fitness Studio
  • Joe Wicks’ daily P.E. videos
  • Sport England website

Along with getting enough exercise, it’s important that people make sure they’re eating well. This is a great time to try out new healthy recipes, and get the kids involved in a fun family activity. The Change 4 Life website to access dozens of exciting healthy recipes with something to suit everyone.

Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health at Sefton Council said:

“Although the current government guidelines mean that gyms and leisure centres aren’t open, there are still plenty of ways you can stay fit. Keeping active will not only improve your physical health, but it will also help to boost your mood. You should aim to do some type of physical activity each day. “

Louise McDade, Living Well Sefton Programme Manager, said:

“This is a very difficult time for people, particularly those who are isolated. During this time we have seen a fantastic community response from the community and voluntary sector, and volunteers. Staying connected is important to your health and wellbeing and the Living Well team and Sefton CVS are here to support you with your wellbeing and help you stay connected.”

For more details of the advice and support from Living Well Sefton visit:

Government guidelines, people need to stay at home as much as possible. The only reasons you should leave your home are:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise per day, such as a run, walk, cycle: alone or with a member of your household
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travel to/from work but only when necessary and where you can’t work from home

Published on behalf of our local CCGs.

NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have been responsible for buying or ‘commissioning’ the majority of local health services since 1 April 2013, when primary care trusts were abolished.

NHS South Sefton CCG brings together 30 member GP practices covering an area from Bootle in the south, Hightown in the north and Maghull to the east.

NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s membership is made up of 19 GP practices.

For more information see: / or follow us on twitter @NHSSFCCG / @NHSSSCCG


NHS still open

Don’t stay away from your GP or hospital if you need care.

Parents and carers across Sefton and West Lancashire are urged to continue to seek medical assistance should their children suffer an injury or become ill.

Despite GP surgeries, hospitals and other health and care providers still offering many of their usual services, there has been a significant drop in the number of people seeking help with more routine health issues, because of Covid-19.

The head of the NHS launched a national drive to persuade the public to seek the urgent care and treatment they need.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens warned that delays in getting treatment due to coronavirus fears pose a long term risk to people’s health.

The plea comes alongside new findings that four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP.

It is very important that people continue to follow Government advice around staying at home and practicing social distancing.

However, seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home; and your hospitals, GP Surgeries and other settings have taken significant measures, including social distancing, to ensure your safety during the pandemic.

Southport and Ormskirk hospitals are open - the A&E Department at Southport Hospital is open as usual 24 hours a day for adults who have a serious illness or injuries, for parents and carers, of children and young people up to 16 years, the A&E at Ormskirk is open between 8am and 10pm every day.

There are a number of ways to access help and advice through the NHS 111 service, online via the NHS website and app, as well as continuing to use your GP surgery or walk-in centre, through phone and video consultations and at your hospitals in Southport and Ormskirk.

Associate Professor Dr May Ng, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Endocrinologist, for Southport and Ormskirk, Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“These are worrying times, and it is extremely important that we all follow the Government advice.

“But it is not just Covid-19 that poses a health risk to our children. If parents or carers do feel that their child may have an illness of any sort, they should make sure they seek advice and help. Our GP Surgeries and hospitals are still open and ready to safely receive patients who need care.”

“I understand why people may have concerns about coming into the GP surgery or hospital at this time. But if your child has an injury or illness we are still here to help and will offer the same, safe, care through our hospitals and GPs. You may see some differences if you do need to attend a surgery or hospital at this time, however we are still here to help people when they need it.”

Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“The NHS is open and there to care for those who need treatment and support. 

“We appreciate the anxieties and hesitation around accessing healthcare during the pandemic, but many services are now shaped differently to keep both patients and staff safe.

“We are utilising technology where we can to offer remote consultations when needed, and are working as a blended team in West Lancashire with community health services so we can pool our resources and staff, to ensure quality services continue”.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG and lead for children’s services, said:

“It can be worrying at any time if your child or the young person you care for is unwell. That’s why it’s more important than ever to remember that there is a range of local health services that can help and that they are still here for you.

“You should still contact your local pharmacy, NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice. However, you will be asked to access these services slightly differently for the time being but this is to keep you and your child safe and to get them the right care as well.

“So, you should call your GP practice first rather than going along in person. Your pharmacy may be operating different opening times, so call to check before you go and remember it will be operating social distancing measures, so it may take a little longer to be seen.

“All these measures are designed protect you and your child and I’d urge anyone with concerns about their child’s health not to delay and seek help straightway as you would do in normal times.” 

This was posted on behalf of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

The Trust manages Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk and District General Hospital. The North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre is hosted by the Trust from Southport hospital.  They also provide sexual health services across the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton.


Virtual Council Meeting

Formby Parish Council holds its first virtual meeting.

Office-1209640_640The Government has introduced emergency legislation allowing local councils to have virtual meetings.

The re-arranged meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Monday 27 April at 7 pm and members of the public are welcome to join this Zoom Meeting.

The meeting ID is: 847 2531 5047 and the password is: 5A05VS.

As we are using the free version (at present) we will need to log out of the meeting just before the 40 minutes free time ends and then log back in a couple of minutes later.

To join, you will need to either download the Zoom Cloud meeting app from your device app store or by visiting the zoom website and create an account.

Please find the latest agenda and minutes on the downloads section of the Parish Council website.


Book Search

I have a passion for books, I'm an avid book reader and therefore by definition a bibliophile.

BibliophileI struggle to find space in the house to stack and display the books I've bought over the years.

But, there's an associated obsession too and that involves an overwhelming curiosity in other people's reading habits.

Lockdown is lending additional support to my intense interest. Are you like me?

Every televised interview, where for reasons of lockdown, it's conducted by a video link is enriched if the interviewee sits in front of book filled shelves.

Sometimes I'm really not interested in what's been said, rather I'm eagerly scanning the book shelves. Are there books I recognise and own, can I decipher the titles, are there clues to the readers interests or passions?
And other ideas flash through my mind,  as I frantically scan the shelves trying to note are the book shelves tidy or random, are the books arranged in order, alphabetically or subject, what topics, are the book old or relatively new, do the shelves account for the various sizes of the books?

And even more questions.

Are there other objects on the shelves, little knick knacks, photos etc
How big is the library behind the interviewee, are the shelves modern or traditional?

Finally what books if any are sitting in a stack on a table or desk. I presume that these are the books presently occupying the attention of the subject of the interview. It's so frustrating it the titles are upside down and many video link-ups are low definition and so the titles impossible to read.

Nonetheless I can't resist trying, what about you?

Kind to your mind

Sefton Council and local NHS helping people to be Kind to Your Mind during the Coronavirus outbreak.

A new campaign ‘Kind to Your Mind’, to help lift people’s people spirits during the Coronavirus outbreak, has been launched in Sefton.

Designed to support mental wellbeing of people living and working in Merseyside and Cheshire, ‘Kind to your mind’ links to the new ALMA wellbeing website, an online portal with a suite of mental and physical wellbeing resources.

When they visit ALMA, people can access a range of online therapy courses, developed by medical professionals, to help them work on their mental wellbeing. The site also includes a knowledge base of free health and wellbeing apps that have been evaluated by a medical professional for their clinical effectiveness.

The multimedia ‘Kind to Your Mind’ campaign, is targeting key workers and the general public in Sefton and will be promoted using radio, press and social media.

People will be directed to a campaign microsite, , which will signpost to the national ‘Every Mind Matters’ website and the ALMA wellbeing portal.

A series of podcasts will also be developed covering topics such as building resilience, mental health, nutrition, physical activity and sleep. These will feature special interviews with experts and be promoted through targeted social media including Facebook and Instagram.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Elected Member for Health and Wellbeing for Sefton said:

“I am very pleased to see the launch of the ‘Kind to You Mind’ campaign and the resources it makes available for local people at this difficult time when they are having to stay home or self-isolating or are busy carrying out vital roles helping the most vulnerable in our community.”

Margaret Jones, the Interim Director of Public Health for Sefton said:

“Key workers and members of the public are likely to be feeling stress or anxiety at this difficult time as we make major changes to how we live and work. It is more important than ever that we look after our mental wellbeing and encourage others to do the same. This will help us during the pandemic and aid our recovery.”

Fiona Taylor, Chief Officer for NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:

“The Kind to Your Mind campaign highlights the importance of mental wellbeing, something that is needed now more than ever. While there has been a large focus on the physical effects of both coronavirus itself and the government guidelines around it, we can’t forget the toll it takes on our mental wellbeing. This campaign provides all our people in Sefton with support and information to help them look after their mental wellbeing.”

Sheena Cumiskey, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lead for Mental Health in Cheshire and Merseyside commented:

“Taking care of your mind as well as your body is crucial. Complementing the launch of this wellbeing campaign are new telephone helplines for urgent mental health support, which will be available in each area of Cheshire and Merseyside. The helplines will operate 24/7 to enable people to receive appropriate and timely support.”

For more information visit



Get Creative

Freedom to get creative!

The competition is for paintings, drawings, prints (not reproductions), photography, textiles, sculpture or mixed media. Or any form of artwork you can come up with. However, we do ask that colouring in outlines printed or drawn by someone else is not submitted. Adults may give encouragement but must not have a hands-on role in creating the artwork.

The Atkinson may reject entries that it considers are inappropriate for any reason. Only original works will be accepted or copies that are clearly referenced either in the image or through the title, e.g. People Inspired by L.S. Lowry.


The artworks will be reviewed by a panel appointed by the Atkinson. All works are judged on individual merit and the judges’ decision is final. No correspondence or discussion will be entered into. Winners will be announced on Thursday 28 May.

Winners will receive arts vouchers to be redeemed online.

Young artist competition