Author Archives: John Herbert

covid-19-update-news

Community Engagement Brief from West Lancashire Borough Council

West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) issued the following Community Engagement Brief on 1st March 2021.

Review of the COVID-19 data from the previous week across the Borough shows that the highest number of cases are within age groups 25-34 followed by 45-54. The wards most affected are:

  • SKELMERSDALE SOUTH
  • ASHURST & BURSCOUGH EAST
  • BIRCH GREEN

There is some anti-vaccination posters and graffiti happening especially in Skelmersdale. If you are aware of this please inform WLBC (preferably with a photo and the location) and a Community Safety Officer will liaise with Lancashire Police. WLBC would also like to be alerted if you see any anti-vaccination leaflets or newspapers similar to “The Light” which is being distributed in other areas of Lancashire.

Venues and dates have been set up for March for the mobile testing units for people with coronavirus-19 symptoms. This now also includes a new site which is Burscough Fitness and Racquets Centre. Testing will be available at:

All Saints Church Hall Car Park, Hesketh Bank

  • 4th
  • 11th
  • 18th
  • 25th

St. Joseph’s Church, Wrightington

  • 5th
  • 12th
  • 19th
  • 26th
  • 31st

West Lancashire College, Skelmersdale

  • 6th – 7th
  • 13th – 14th
  • 20th – 21st
  • 27th – 28th

Burscough Fitness and Racquets Centre

  • 2nd – 3rd
  • 9th – 10th
  • 16th – 17th
  • 23rd – 24th
  • 30th – 31st

For more details, including how to book a test, please visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/covid19test.

For information on community testing sites for front-line workers who cannot work from home or have physical contact with other people as part of their job, including unpaid carers, please visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/symptom-freetesting.

 

Important news from previous briefings is included below:

  • The government has published an information leaflet for people who have had their first coronavirus vaccination. It can be downloaded by clicking here.
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) residents are required to continue shielding until 31st March by which time further guidance will be issued. In addition the Government has introduced a new cohort of CEV aged 16-69 based on a predictive risk model which factors in differing health conditions, ethnicity and age.
  • Home test kits can now be ordered over the phone by calling 119, without needing access to the internet.
  • NHS Test and Trace have partnered with Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to improve home testing service for people with visual impairments. A new video-call support service with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff will assist people with vision impairments to test at home.
  • Free PPE will now be provided for unpaid carers. Lancashire County Council are developing an application form however in the meantime unpaid carers can get in touch by emailing careproviderppe@lancashire.gov.uk
  • The E484K mutation first identified in Liverpool has been detected in West Lancashire. WLBC are working closely with partners in Public Health England and Lancashire County Council to monitor the situation and will update information as necessary. Residents should not be unduly alarmed, and there is no evidence this mutation is more transmissible or causes more severe illness. However, additional symptoms of this new mutation may include mild flu or cold symptoms.
  • Everyone is urged to continue to follow the national guidance to protect themselves and others. This means staying at home except for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if you can’t do so from home or providing care for others. Wear a face covering when required unless you are exempt, maintain a two-metre space between you and other people and wash your hands often.

 

Please be alert to the many scams that are appearing and offer vaccines for payment. Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them into handing over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine or phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS, or local pharmacy. The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask for payment – the vaccine is free.
  • NEVER ask for your bank details.
  • NEVER arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • NEVER ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport.

For further information regarding vaccination fraud please see a government information poster which can be accessed by clicking here.

The latest information, guidance, and support regarding coronavirus is available from the GOV.UK website and can be accessed by clicking here.

STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES

Postal vote

Apply now for a postal vote – have your voice heard in May

Don’t delay in applying for a postal vote

A number of important local elections are taking place on 6th May 2021 and registering for a postal vote is quick and easy if you prefer not to attend a polling station.

The elections will decide who represents you on West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council. You can also vote on a Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire.

Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, Electoral Registration Officer for West Lancashire, said: “Applying for a postal vote only takes a few minutes so if you would feel safer or more comfortable voting by post then please apply as soon as you can.

“It’s important that everyone has their voice heard in our local elections, so if you would like to cast your vote by post, please register soon.”  

If you wish to vote by post, you can apply for a postal vote by emailing elections.office@westlancs.gov.uk, downloading an application form from www.westlancs.gov.uk/howtovote or calling the Elections Office on 01695 585014. Your completed application form must reach the Council by 5pm on Tuesday 20th April 2021.

If you would prefer to vote in person, and coronavirus guidelines and social distancing are still in place in May, polling stations will be as safe as possible for you to cast your vote.

If you have recently moved house you will need to register at your new address by filling in an online registration form at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or www.westlancs.gov.uk/registertovote. For more information please email elections.office@westlancs.gov.uk. You can check if you are registered to vote by calling the elections office on 01695 585014.  

Young people who will turn 18 in time to vote in these elections will also need to register to have their say.

If you do not have access to the internet please ask the elections office for a paper registration form to be sent to you. The closing date to register to vote at the May elections is midnight on Monday 19th April 2021.

Road closed 1

Scheduled Road Closures – Bescar Lane and Pool Hey Lane, Scarisbrick

Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick

Bescar Lane will be temporarily closed from Monday 29th March 2021, until Sunday 11th April 2021 to enable excavation and jointing works in relation to the replacement of plant and equipment in the Electricity Sub Station. The work is to be carried out by Network Plus on behalf of Electricity North West.  Further details can be found here.

A diversion will be in place along Drummersdale Lane (C134), Dam Wood Lane (B5242), Hall Road (B5242), Bescar Lane (C135), and vice versa. Access will be maintained whenever and wherever possible to residents within the closure area.

Diversion Bescar

 

Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick 

There will be a temporary overnight road closure on Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 (00:05 to 05:30 only) to enable the felling of hazardous trees suffering ash dieback that overhang the road to be carried out by Centurion Site Services on behalf of Network Rail. Further details can be found here.

If you have any comments or observations regarding the closure please email lhsstreetworks@lancashire.gov.uk by Thursday 18th February 2021.

Diversion

 

Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick

There will be a temporary overnight road closure on Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick from Saturday 21st August 2021 (23:59) until Sunday 22nd August 2021 (07:00) to enable the lifting of the level crossing to allow an inspection of the rails to be undertaken by Centurion Site Services on behalf of Network Rail. Further details can be found here.

An alternative route for vehicular traffic affected by the closure is not possible owing to this being a no through road.

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Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick 

There will be a temporary overnight road closure on Bescar Lane, Scarisbrick from Sunday 22nd August 2021 (23:30) until Monday 23rd August 2021 (07:00) to enable the lifting of the level crossing to allow an inspection of the rails to be undertaken by Centurion Site Services on behalf of Network Rail. Further details can be found here.

If you have any comments or observations regarding the closure please email lhsstreetworks@lancashire.gov.uk by Thursday 25th February 2021.

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Pool Hey Lane, Scarisbrick

There will be a temporary overnight road closure on Pool Hey Lane, Scarisbrick on Tuesday 22nd June 2021 (00:05 to 05:30 only) to enable the annual level crossing service to be carried out by Centurion Site Services on behalf of Network Rail. Further details can be found here.

An alternative route for vehicular traffic affected by the closure is via Pool Hey Lane (C131), Wyke Road (C136), Wyke Cop Road (C136), Snape Green (C136), Southport Road (A570), Pool Hey Lane (C131), and vice versa.

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You can also find details of any other planned works via LCC’s Highways Bulletin website which links to all planned works in Lancashire. Please click here and select the area that you are interested in.

tradingstandards

Consumer Alerts from Lancashire County Council

 

Scam Call re National Insurance Number

Reports have been received from worried residents throughout the county who have received an automated message on their mobile phone which states their National Insurance number has been compromised and to ‘press 1′ to be put through to the Fraud team. This is a scam, the alleged fraud team would be likely to try to obtain bank account details or secure a payment.

Scam NHS Covid Vaccine Text

A fake text has been reported nationally telling people they are eligible to apply for the Covid 19 vaccine. The text reads ‘we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine’ and takes you to a link which is an extremely convincing looking fake NHS website asking for personal details and bank details. As with many scams, this scam preys on peoples vulnerabilities at what is a very stressful and difficult time.

Scam DVLA Text

Beware a scam DVLA text claiming you are due a refund, the link in the mail takes you
to a cloned DVLA site designed to steal your personal and banking detail. If you get this don’t select the link or reply. Just delete or block if possible.

Scam Royal Mail Text

Beware a Royal Mail scam text asking for a shipping charge payment, this is a scam where the link takes you to a cloned Royal Mail site designed to steal your personal and banking detail. If you get this don’t select the link or reply. Just delete or block if possible.

Scam TV Licence text

Fraudsters are sending out fake texts to BBC TV licence holders offering a Covid refund payment in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. The National Trading Standards Scams Team is warning people about a text sent to TV Licence holders offering a Covid refund in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. Again the text offers a link to a very convincing website where people are asked to put in their bank details to claim a
refund.

Cold Callers in Rural Wyre

Reports have been received of cold callers offering tarmacking work, knocking on doors in rural areas surrounding Garstang. On two occasions, a small amount of work and price was agreed but the traders continued to carry out further work that had not been agreed, asking for payment in the thousands of pounds. Family members and the police were made aware and the money did not change hands.

Roofers Cold Calling

Residents in the Chorley area are advised to be on their guard following an incident where cold-calling roofers claimed that work needed to be carried out on first the front roof, then the back roof, of a retired lady’s house. A minor repair was carried out and over £1500 taken, with a further attempt to obtain another £1000. Remember, a trader should always give written cancellation rights where you agree to work being carried out in your own home. In this case no paperwork, or trader name and address details were given, which makes tracing the perpetrators very difficult. In another incident in the Chorley area a householder had seen roofers carrying out work on their street and approached them. Initially £1300 for roofing repair work was agreed, but the job soon escalated, with the householder being quoted a price of £17,000 which was then decreased to £10,000. The householder alerted the authorities and the work did not proceed. Use local, known, recommended traders and get 3 quotes before agreeing to any work, especially for larger jobs. Do your research, and never feel pressured into
making a hurried decision to agree to work. Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers. The Safetrader scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to www.safetrader.org.uk

Scams can be reported to Action Fraud,
contact 0300 123 2040 or go to
www.actionfraud.police.uk

Contact the Trading Standards Service
via the Citizens Advice Consumer
Helpline on 0808 223 1133

STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES

Coronavirus

Coronavirus – the crucial role of social responsibility

As coronavirus continues to spread circumstances have become somewhat surreal and will be causing great anxiety. There is thankfully now some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of vaccination but there is still a long way to go and the situation is destined to become considerably worse before it hopefully gets better. 

Not everyone will get the disease and the majority that are affected will have a relatively mild illness. Nonetheless, the consequences for a minority will be profound and no-one knows for sure on which side of the divide they will fall (whether they be young or old). Those of us who are older and/or have “underlying medical conditions” perhaps have most reason to be anxious but the new variant appears to be less selective in terms of the age of its victims.

So what can be done to lessen the impact? There has been plenty of advice regarding personal hygiene and hand-washing. Social-distancing and face masks are the new fashion. Self-isolation is a phrase that we once associated with hermits but is now commonplace. Guidelines change quickly as matters progress and won’t be reproduced here (our article on “Coronavirus Information” provides useful links). However, I would like to mention two of the most important weapons we have in the battle against the virus and these are community-based.

The virus will thrive if it is given the opportunity to spread but the chances of containment improve if we cut off its routes of transmission, in other words we reduce its opportunities to spread from person to person. We must all avoid becoming links in a chain of infection that will inevitably lead to deaths. This aids in protecting the more vulnerable in our society but also helps spread the burden on the NHS, from which we all benefit. The human, social, and economic costs are enormous as schools, shops, pubs, restaurants, and many other facilities we take for granted all shut down.

There are also huge personal costs to be met. Vulnerable people are again being asked to self-isolate for months, cutting themselves off from family and loved ones. Yes, this can be for their own good but they are also doing their bit for the rest of us. If they get the disease they will be a particular burden on the NHS, by avoiding exposure they help conserve this limited resource which is now under unprecedented and increasing pressure. Self-isolation is also important if you become symptomatic with a new persistent cough, temperature, or breathlessness. For most the disease will be mercifully mild but this gives rise to an inherent danger. There may be a temptation to go back to work, do the shopping, meet with friends etc whilst still contagious. This keeps a door of opportunity open to the virus which it will use to transmit itself. The next people in the chain of infection may be more vulnerable, possibly even the doctors and nurses in the frontline upon whom we all depend. It is well known from previous pandemics that they are not only the most important of resources but also the most fragile due to their intense and extended exposure. I know that frontline medical and nursing staff are very anxious about what is coming their way, particular as groups of people appear to shun restrictions thereby providing huge incubators for the virus. They fear becoming cannon fodder in the forthcoming battle, but to see so many members of the public prepared to light the fuse must be terrifying. So, the first and most important weapon to which I refer is social responsibility. In fact, it is a duty with which we must all comply if we are to avoid a possible death rate measured in hundreds of thousands. Please, please, please observe rules on hand washing, social distancing, face masks and self isolation. Nothing could be more important at this time.

This brings me to the second weapon we must use – good neighbourliness. We particularly need to look after those that are self-isolating for a prolonged period and are vulnerable; this is the true measure of us as a society. They are being socially responsible in what they are doing and it comes at a cost, particularly in terms of mental health. They need to have all the support we can give. This may mean chatting over the phone or ensuring that shopping is done for them.

There is a scheme that is better than anything we as a parish council can organise and it can be got off the ground with immediate effect. The best way anyone can help is to keep in touch with each other’s immediate neighbours. This is particularly the case if they are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, and are self-isolating. You will know them and, more importantly, they will know you. This immediately creates trust and ensures that they are not relying on people they may never have seen before (no matter how well-intentioned those people may be). This is far better than any scheme we can devise and has a built-in method of safeguarding the vulnerable from the unscrupulous. We need an army of good neighbours and this means you. Don’t wait to be organised by the council or anyone else, it’s not necessary in order for you to look after your immediate neighbour.

We will get through this – we have no choice. We may even emerge as a better society. However, we need to get as many of us as possible through this crisis. We all have to deploy the weapons of social responsibility and good neighbourliness to push this menace back.

STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES

 

 

 

Pothole 2

Lancashire County Council’s Pothole Campaign 2020/21

Lancashire County Council (LCC) are running a campaign to promote the work of their highways maintenance service and encourage online participation in the NHT (National Highways and Transport) survey. The survey gives residents the opportunity to comment on the area’s roads and can be completed online here.

Pothole

With a combination of wet and cold winter weather, this is the time of year when potholes tend to pop up. A video of LCC’s highways engineers answering frequently asked questions with regard to potholes can be watched below.

 

LCC aim to assess all reported potholes within two working days and the most serious cases should be fixed immediately, with less serious cases repaired from 5 days on major routes up to 20 days on less used routes. More information on how LCC manage potholes, including the required depths for repair, can be accessed here.

Should you wish to report a pothole this can be done online on LCC’s Report It page on their website.

ICAN1

South West Lancashire Independent Community Advice Network

For 40 years South West Lancashire Independent Community Advice Network (SWLICAN or ICAN for short) has continued to work as a grass roots organisation providing quality advice and support on Employment Law, Welfare Rights and Money Advice.

From our newly refurbished I.T. suite we also provide training and support in basic and advanced I.T., as well as providing CV writing assistance, job search and much more. Our services are free, accessible and client friendly and are delivered from our base at the Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale and at a number of outreach venues.

ICAN2

SWLICAN is a driver of social inclusion through the provisions of accessible resources, training and social activities for individuals and local Voluntary, Community and Faith organisations in West Lancashire.

ICAN’s basic philosophy is the empowerment of people to be active citizens who are able to help themselves, either by accessing services or volunteering and employment opportunities. We want people to be able to solve their problems themselves by providing them with the necessary life skills, confidence, resources and facilities to do so. We are currently offering a number of free courses via Zoom:

Click to find details of Money Management course.

Click  to find details of Welfare Rights course.

Click to find details of Getting the Right Care and Support course.

Visit our website by clicking here.

 

 

adopt

Adoption Lancashire & Blackpool launches #WishForAFamily campaign

The new regional adoption agency for Lancashire and Blackpool is celebrating a successful first six months despite the challenges of coronavirus with a new campaign highlighting the value of bringing a new child into your family.

Adoption Lancashire & Blackpool brings together expertise from both councils to simplify the adoption process, increase the number of adopters, improve the matching processes for children, and provide support for adoptive families. The agency has adapted the way it works to ensure permanent homes are still being found for youngsters in need of a loving home, including the use of digital technology.

Bookable telephone sessions are currently running, instead of the usual face-to-face adoption information events. The sessions are aimed at anyone interested in finding out more about adopting. They offer a chance to have an informal chat, ask questions and discuss options with one of the dedicated team members.

These sessions run every Monday, excluding Bank Holidays, at 2.30pm and each Wednesday at 6.30pm until further notice.

Telephone sessions can be booked by emailing the team at enquiries@adoptionlancashireblackpool.org.uk, or by calling 0300 123 6727, giving your name, telephone number and the date and time of your chosen session.

Running from Monday 21 September until Sunday 4 October, the #WishForAFamily campaign will encourage anyone wanting to start or grow their family to consider adoption.

To find out more, please visit www.adoptionlancashireblackpool.org.uk

Alternatively get in touch on 0300 123 6727.
      

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Scarisbrick Litter Group Needs New Members

PLEASE HELP KEEP OUR LOCAL ROADS AND LANES LITTER FREE

We are a friendly group of Scarisbrick residents who meet once or twice a month to collect litter from our local roadsides and verges. All you need is a pair of gardening gloves and some good footwear and we will provide the rest. All glass, cans and plastics are sorted and re-cycled. Please get in touch and join us.

Litter

If you can help please contact Mike Wilson on 07702 564654

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Coronavirus Information – reliable sources and the CRAP test.

Links to reliable sources of information are provided at the end of this article.

It is important during the coronavirus pandemic that we keep ourselves well-informed. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation circulating, particularly online and in social media. Some of this will have been posted with malicious intent but for the most part it will be the result of genuine misunderstanding or wanting to be first with the latest rumour. It is also important to remember that even genuine information will quickly change as the situation rapidly evolves.

Information must therefore be approached with common sense, certainly apply the adage “if it sounds too good to be true it usually is”. Also consider the CRAP test in evaluating information (Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose). The test was developed for academics and students to assess online information but can be adapted to this situation.

Currency:

How current is the information? When was it posted? Has it been recently updated? Even genuine information from the most reliable sources can quickly become dated in rapidly evolving circumstances. For example, the modelling exercises on which government decisions are based involve uncertainties and assumptions. The advice changes as more becomes known.

Reliability:

Is the information based on someone’s personal opinion? If it is opinion is it balanced or one-sided? Does the author offer hard evidence which can be independently confirmed? Does the author stand to profit or gain in any way (not just financially)?

Authority:

Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? What do you know about the author? Is the author reputable? Is the site sponsored (including advertisers), if so by whom? We British have a healthy scepticism of people in authority and during the Brexit debate experts were often vilified. However, now is the time to take notice. These are likely to be the most reliable sources of information, your hairdresser probably isn’t. Information that comes directly from central government (.gov.uk), local government (.gov.uk), NHS (.nhs.uk), and police (.police.uk), is likely to be the most reliable. There is some good advice from charities/non-profit organisations but they should be mainstream organisations with names you recognise. Some links are included below.

Purpose/Point of View:

Is the author trying to push an agenda or particular side? Are the arguments obviously biased? Is it an attempt to sell you something? Are you being asked for money or bank details?

Finally, before passing on information it is important to take a step back. Consider the reason for having been sent something and the possible consequences of passing it on. Before passing on any online rumour, take the time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorities, and searching key words to find another source.

Sources of information (click on the links below):

Government guidance on social distancing and protecting the vulnerable.

Coronavirus advice from the NHS.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms.

Coronavirus – Lancashire County Council response.

Coronavirus – West Lancashire Borough Council response.

Number of coronavirus cases and risk in the UK.

Coronavirus and heart or circulatory disease.

Coronavirus and lung disease.

Coronavirus and diabetes.

Coronavirus and the elderly.

Lancashire Constabulary – Coronavirus – Stay in the Know.