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Sefton Mental Health Awareness Week

Tackling loneliness in Sefton this Mental Health Awareness Week

Leaders in Sefton are aiming to break the stigma of loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), by encouraging residents to open up and talk about their experiences of loneliness and how it impacts their mental health.

Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and isolation from loved ones. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for many people and those with mental health issues have seen them worsen over the last year or so. Often people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about feelings of loneliness and how it is affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Local leaders from Sefton Council and the NHS in Sefton are using Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to encourage conversations around loneliness. They are taking to social media using the hashtag #SeftonInMind to share information on support services in Sefton that are available to all residents to support them with their mental health, feelings of loneliness, or to offer a listening ear to anyone who just needs to talk.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“Now more than ever, many of us may recognise the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but the NHS and our support services in Sefton are here to help our residents during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.

“We may feel embarrassed to talk about our feelings but it’s time to break the stigma and start the conversation. You’d be surprised when you open up to others, how often you will hear ‘I’ve been there’.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:

“If you’ve been feeling lonely and your mental health is suffering, you are not alone. This week is a great opportunity to reach out and talk to a friend or family member, or get help from one of our support services in Sefton.

“We can also all help to tackle loneliness in our local areas by reaching out to those who may be at more risk of isolation, such as elderly people, unpaid carers and those in our LGBTQ+ community. Just starting a conversation can really help to lift someone’s spirits and give some much needed social connection.”

To find information on mental health support services in Sefton during Mental Health Awareness Week, you can search for the hashtag #SeftonInMind or follow the Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton CCG, and NHS Southport and Formby CCG social media channels.

You can also find a list of mental health support services for adults in Sefton at: or mental health support service for children and young people at:

Mental Health Awareness Week is organised every year by the Mental Health Foundation as an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. Find out more about the event at:


Southport surgeon awarded MBE

Posted on behalf of the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust

Southport surgeon awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Gurpreet Singh 2Retired surgeon Gurpreet Singh was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published today for services to healthcare, diversity and equality.

Mr Singh is a former urological surgeon at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust with more than 25 years’ experience in general and neuro-urology. Since April 2018 he has been a non-executive director of the Trust board.

In an active medical career, he was an executive member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons where he helped write the curriculum for functional and neuro-urology. He was also chair of the surgical speciality group for urology for the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, leading on patient safety and training. Active in the field of medical research, he has published more than 150 peer-reviewed studies and articles.

Mr Singh, who lives in Southport, has been a champion of diversity in medicine, including through the General Medical Council diversity forum, improving diverse representation on fitness to practice panels, promoting standards for international medical graduates, and fairness in examination outcomes.

He said:

“I am hugely humbled to receive this award. I want to thank everyone who has worked with me over the years to make change for the better on the issues I care about.”

Trust chair Neil Masom said:

“The Board and entire Trust offer their heartiest congratulations to Gurpreet for this richly-deserved award.

“Promoting greater equality and diversity in the NHS is a subject close to Gurpreet’s heart. He believes passionately that the NHS should be representative of the entire community that it serves.”


#ImagineFormby: The Movie

Would you like to see improvements in our town?

Or are you content with it as it is?

Julian Dobson Book CoverI have argued for a long time that a lot more thought, planning and action is needed to improve our town. Some years ago I wrote a blog post about the danger that Formby, in common with most other towns, was becoming a clone town. 

Some years ago, Cllr Mike Coles and I on behalf of Formby Parish Council submitted a bid to become a Portas Town, sadly we were unsuccessful. 

The Portas Review described a vision for bringing economic and community life back into high streets and town centres, re-imagining them as social hubs for shopping, learning, socialising and fun. It made 28 recommendations about how to deliver that vision intended to:

  • Get town centres running like businesses.
  • Get the basics right to allow businesses to flourish.
  • Level the playing field.
  • Define landlords’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Give communities a greater say. (My emphasis)

(Source: Recent article about the Portas Review - last edited 19 August 2020)

Thankfully there are still voices raising and campaigning for these ideas. Have a look at this video, it's only 10 minutes of your time, but it is full of relevant ideas for a whole town like Formby.

In my view, the COVID-19 crisis is the time to revisit these ideas. Do you want to be involved? I know that there is a hardy band of enthusiastic citizens of Formby who have a vision and are looking for like-minded residents of Formby.

It is time to #ImagineFormby renewed.

Be creative

'Twicket' : A tribute

You maybe wondering, what on earth is 'Twicket'.

According to Wikipedia it's:

Twicket (a portmanteau of Twitter and Cricket) was a village cricket match, streamed world-wide on the Internet on Easter Monday, 25 April 2011, with the intention of highlighting the need for high-capacity upstream broadband to enable community content provision. 

This innovative exercise—claimed to be a world first—caught media attention, making BBC television news, BBC Radio London,TalkSport,Radio New Zealand and being written about by The Guardian,The Observer and Metro and mentioned on Twitter by Stephen Fry, the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones and Jonathan Agnew (BBC cricket correspondent)

Source: Wikipedia

So you might be asking,  why am I making such a fuss about it. The answer is simple, it's by way of a tribute to John Popham, who sadly passed away a few days ago. In common with a huge number of admirers, to judge by the numbers of his Twitter account, he was greatly admired. His 'Twicket' project was his idea to show us all about how local communities could be connected to the Internet. Here's how our local  BBC covered the story. Do watch its only a short news item, but shows us all how John was such an imaginative and innovative man.

In John's own words;

What have you done this week that has made life better for someone? #fridayreflection

John Popham and umpire at Twicket-picsay

Are you going?

For me it all began with a hip replacement, at Wrightington Hospital. Then more with a knee replacement and finally around 18 months ago, a Whipple procedure for Pancreatic Cancer at The Liverpool Royal Hospital. So as you might imagine I'm an out and out supporter of our NHS.

I love the way our own local Hospital Trust has embraced social media to reach out to us all.

Join our virtual open week event
Virtual open week
Southport and Ormskirk hospitals are welcoming the local community to join their first ever virtual Open Hospital event. Launching on Monday 5 October, the event replaces the usual annual open day.  Sadly the usual event had to be cancelled due to ongoing Covid restrictions.
The Open Hospital event will be online only, a series of videos will be shared from the Trust’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The videos, all filmed in the last month, give an insight into:
·         Older people’s care
·         Covid-19 care in ITU
·         What therapists do to help people get back on their feet
·         What it is like to have a hip replacement
·         Life as a porter
·         Therapy dogs
Trish Armstrong Child explains:

“We were a disappointed to cancel our annual open day as it is a great opportunity for us to meet local people who use our services. We hope these specially-commissioned videos show that we’re open for business and working safely for patients, even in these challenging times.

“There should be something interesting for everyone, so we hope you catch as many of the videos as possible.”

Videos will be shared from the Trust’s website and social pages from Monday 5 October:

Hospital Trust Open Days

Our local Hospital Trust has produced a series of short videos to support their virtual open days event. I've included the introductory twitter post here for your convenience.