Rubbish Friends welcome National Litter Pick Day 2014

“Rubbish Friends” are celebrating National Litter-pick Day on the 13th September 2014 by inviting as many community groups and volunteers as possible to take part in a litter-pick along the Trans Pennine Trail in Ainsdale, Southport.

Our voluntary litter heros are organising the event with help from the Love My Beach Team & Trans Pennine Trail Volunteers which will ensure a well supported and safe event.  Councillors Sue McGuire & Pat Keith together with Sustrans Volunteer Group Coordinator Ian Bailey share a similar enthusiasm in keeping the gateways to our lovely town clean and tidy.

Councillor Sue McGuire explained “Together we hope that this will help to portray to visitors that our community really cares about the environment they reside in. Hopefully this positive clean image will encourage other visiting communities to reflect on the state of their own home environments and to continue to further initiate improvements where needed elsewhere.’

Sustrans Volunteer co-ordinator Ian Bailey added “We will be meeting at the corner of Pinfold La and the Coastal Rd in Ainsdale Southport at 10.30am on Saturday 13th September a nearby postcode is PR8 3QL for those with satnav.

Ian added “All you will need is to wear suitable clothing for walking along a tarmac track and over and around sand paths amongst the sand dunes although if you have a pair of gardening gloves then please bring them but some spare pairs will be made available.”

Councillor Keith added “We hope to see as many people as possible lending a hand to clean up our beautiful town.”

Bin bags, litter-pickers and bin hoops will be provided.

The event will take between 1.5 to 2 hours finishing around 12-12.30pm.


“Shiny Shoes, New books and Sharp Pencils” says Cllr Sue McGuire
Regular visitors to this website will have noticed a distinct lack of postings over summer for which I apologise.  
The seasons and months mean different things to different people and I’m sure each of us have our favourites.  Summer to me is children and picnics whilst my favourite season must be Autumn with its approach heralded by the month of September.
To many people the start of Autumn hints at the approaching year end but to me September represents the start of a new phase of your life and is the point of the year when I actually make my New Year resolutions. I think it must be in  related to the start of the new school term which is hard coded into most peoples psyche and although school finished a long time ago for me, the start of September always makes me think of new exercise books, new shiny shoes and sharp pencils. 
To me the very best description of Autumn can be found John Keats Ode to Autumn which is probably my favourite poem.
Ode to Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

These roads need quack action ! Says Councillor Pat Keith

Argyle Road photo

Councillor McGuire and I are hoping that Sefton Council will not duck the issue of repairing pot holes in the town after being given extra funding.

The state of several roads has led to complaints from motorists and cyclists and now residents of Argyle Road have raised the issue with us.

We have responded by visiting the site of a dangerously deep pot hole and have now raised the matter with the Sefton authorities. Sue and I were very surprised when we saw the size of one particular crater in the surface of Argyle Road , Indeed, one resident joked to us that it was big enough to bury your dead !

There’s no doubt that any vehicle or bike hitting that hole could be damaged and at night it could even pose safety problems for pedestrians. It’s just been announced that Sefton Council have been awarded more than £380,000 by the Department for Transport to fund repairs of pot holes such as this. We want to ensure the money is spent as it’s intended to be.

We believe It’s simply false economy to leave these holes unattended. If they’re ignored the situation will get worse and, ultimately, will lead to even greater expenditure to repair. If these holes get any bigger I wouldn’t be surprised if real ducks landed on them !

At the time of going to press the resurfacing lorries have now rolled into place let’s just hope they will resurface the whole of the road.

“Scam mail is blackmail – don’t be taken in” says Councillor Keith

SeniorScamsCllr. McGuire and I were dismayed to hear of the extent of criminal scamming activity aimed at elderly and vulnerable members of our community. We intend to raise awareness generally and hope the following information will be useful for you or your relatives.

Criminals worldwide are hunting down the most fragile members of our society by “working” from mailing lists which categorise people as being elderly or vulnerable in some way. Everyone is at risk but the scammers preferred target are those listed as living alone, not having the internet or are unlikely to be educated about scams and how to report them. They contact them by letter and phone call and try to trick them into parting with cash.

Those who respond end up having their details put on what criminals call a ‘suckers list’. They sell these lists to other scammers all over the world. Last year £3.5 billion was fraudulently taken from people in the UK, however, the amount is likely to be higher as only one in five cases are reported.

How to stay Scam Safe
Never send cash, disclose personal details or buy goods to claim a prize. Watch out for secret deals. Get-rich-quick-schemes, claims, and inheritance notifications. Always seek professional advice before signing up for any type of investment scheme including land and property.
If you receive a suspicious phone call
Remember, you do not have to get into discussions over the phone with anyone, and never give out any personal information, such as bank or credit- card details. These could be used fraudulently. Keep your business, your business. Just say “No thank you, I am not interested” and hang up straight away.

To report a scam call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Don’t be fooled by criminals claiming to be clairvoyants
Criminals claiming to be clairvoyants hunt down the socially isolated, superstitious, bereaved or troubled. They try to befriend the victim by showing false concern, then demand fees to keep danger away or direct happiness towards them. Many swear the victim to secrecy.
It’s important to remember that these so–called mystics, clairvoyants, mediums and spiritualists do not know you personally. They are sending identical letters and making the same phone calls to thousands of people. No harm will befall you or your loved ones if you don’t pay up but if you stay in the trap, you could be financially destroyed.

Remember – No genuine lottery or competition would ask you to buy goods or send money to claim a prize!

To find out more about True Call the call blocking device tested by Trading Standards, which stops 99% of nuisance calls visit

Ban the bag and cut down on litter

Southport councillors Sue McGuire and Pat Keith are backing the proposed five pence charge on all single-use plastic bags  in England as outlined in the Queens speech. The charge which was proposed at the Liberal Democrat conference in 2013, is set to be introduced in October 2015.

There is already a similar charge on bags in Wales and Northern Ireland and evidence suggests that a charge will significantly reduced the number of plastic bags distributed in England.

The aim of introducing a charge is to reduce the distribution of plastic bags and to tackle the issue of littering and waste.

Councillor Sue McGuire said “In 2012, more that 7 billion single-use plastic bags were handed out by supermarkets in England and this move will bring England in line with Wales where a similar charge has helped reduce plastic bag usage by 75% – anything that helps to protect the environment and reduced littering should be supported.”

Sue  Pat plastic bags

Sue & Pat tackle plastic bags at Kew Roundabout clean-up

When the councillors noticed that the majority of the litter picked up by their Rubbish Friends volunteers comprised of plastic bags they joined forces with Transition Southport to encourage people to steer away from plastic and make cloth bags instead.

Councillor Pat Keith said: “It’s perverse to think that we take a resource from the earth such as petroleum, a by-product of oil, to make plastic and create a non-biodegradable substance that will kill the very source it came from – our planet. Cloth bags don’t cost the earth but plastic bags literally cost the earth..”

Pat Sue and Yaso proudly display thier bags

Pat & Sue pictured with Yaso display their new cloth bags at a recent “bag-making” event


Dementia event at Atkinson hailed “great success”

Southport Dementia Friendly. MP John Pugh joined representatives from public health, the Alzheimer’s Society, Person Shaped Support and Lib Dem councillors Pat Keith and Sue McGuire at the Atkinson yesterday when information and advice about the condition and its care will be available to members of the public and dementia carers.


John Pugh Mp pictures with Cllrs Pat Keith & Sue McGuire with representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, Southport Library, PSS, Age Concern and PSS who all supported the event

“We’re delighted to provide the venue for this very important event, one which we feel will benefit many people in Southport and Sefton generally,” said the Akinson’s community partnership manager Philip Wroe. “We’re hoping a lot of people will come along and share their experiences with us.

Latest figures show that Sefton has one of the highest percentages of adults with dementia in the UK.

Councillor Keith said: “It’s hugely encouraging that so many people from such diverse organisations realise the importance of this campaign and have willingly come on board to help. We hope to welcome representatives from Southport businesses who want to lead the way and help make day-to-day life easier for people with dementia and their carers.”

Councillor McGuire said: “This event was a great opportunity for the business community to arrange free staff training on the day. We need businesses, residents and the third sector working together to deliver Southport’s Dementia friendly initiative.”

Park Road Improvements Finally Made

After an 8 year campaign led by Councillor Sue McGuire, work has finally been completed to make the junction at Park Road and Roe Lane safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

As Councillor Sue McGuire explains “Working with residents I first asked the Council to take action here in 2006 so am delighted that they have finally recognised how dangerous and intimidating this junction was for pedestrians.

Sue on the newly improved junction

Sue on the newly improved junction

 Councillor McGuire added “As a pedestrian crossing this junction before the work was carried out was like running the gauntlet in “Death Race 2000″. Pedestrians had in effect to cross 4 lanes of traffic near a junction so wide that cars could turn into ParkRoad without actually slowing down.”

 The work which, was finished last week, involved making the junction narrower with a larger pedestrian island installed in the centre.  Bollards have now also been added on the junction corners to help cars make the narrower turn.


Labour’s local Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has come under attack from the cross-party Merseyside Police Panel which oversees her, for her recent controversial decision to appoint a Labour Liverpool councillor as her Deputy – a part-time position for which the annual full time equivalent rate of pay is £53,000 per year.

Meeting just over a week ago, the Police Panel grilled Commissioner Jane Kennedy and her nominee, Labour councillor Ann O’Byrne about the proposed appointment. Councillors expressed worries that the move smacked of the very “cronyism” highlighted by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee in a report published earlier in May.

In their report about the proposed appointment the Panel voiced their concerns about the whole recruitment process, stating that “The panel felt it was in the public interest for a new appointment process to be carried out . . . particularly as this position would be remunerated from the public purse.”

Birkdale (Sefton) Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw is a member of the Merseyside Police Panel and was among those who raised concerns with both Jane Kennedy and Cllr O’Byrne. He said he was appalled at some of the responses given to the Panel:

Cllr Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

“In particular, Jane Kennedy quite openly stated in public session that membership of the Labour Party was a key requirement of the position. If that isn’t cronyism, I don’t know what is.”

“I also asked both of them for an assurance that Cllr Ann O’Byrne would be standing down from her current, well-remunerated positions as Assistant Executive Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing on Liverpool City Council. They both refused to give that assurance.”

“In my view the detailed questioning revealed that Mrs Kennedy had simply not thought this through. The post was unadvertised; there was no proper open recruitment process; there is no clarity as to how Cllr O’Byrne can actually “deputise” and there is no financial provision for the post, even though the Police Commissioner agreed her Budget just 3 months ago.”

“That’s why the Panel effectively said ‘Go back to the drawing board”!” added Cllr Shaw.

However, in a snub to the Panel, Jane Kennedy has now appointed Cllr O’Byrne with immediate effect to the 3 day a week position. Pay for the post is £31,800 pa which equates to a full time equivalent salary of £53,000 a year. Taking account of her allowances as a councillor, Cabinet Member and Assistant Executive Mayor on Liverpool City Council, the Labour politician’s total pay from public funds now amounts to £56,000 a year.

Cambridge Ward Election results see Sue re-elected

Sue McGuire was re-elected as the Councillor for Cambridge Ward following the local elections last week.

Cambridge Ward results are:

Cambridge – results
Election Candidate Party Votes %
 Sue McGuire Liberal Democrats 1477 40% Elected
 Gordon Ferguson United Kingdom Independence Party 940 26% Not elected
 Luke Thompson Conservative Party 762 21% Not elected
 Muriel Langley The Labour Party 362 10% Not elected
 John Volynchook The Green Party 114 3% Not elected

The results for every ward in Sefton are available on the Council Website

Following the announcement of the results Sue commented “I am absolutely delighted to have won the continued support of residents in my area.  I am privileged to serve as their elected representative and I promise to work hard for the residents and do everything I can to stand up for Southport”.

Rubbish Friends “Under the Pier” show was a great success
One of Southport’s great success stories, Rubbish Friends, rolled  out on Saturday 17th May for an ‘under the pier show’ to ensure a sparkling summer welcome for the resort’s visitors. 
“The response from Southport people since we launched Rubbish Friends has been hugely encouraging and it shows a true community spirit in the town.” said Cambridge ward Councillor Sue McGuire “Litter is a blight wherever it’s found but we’re so fortunate that we have a growing group of volunteers who willingly put in their time and effort to clear it. In my opinion they are our litter heroes.”

Rubbish Friends pictured  after their clean up under the Pier

Rubbish Friends pictured after their clean up under the Pier

Her colleague, Councillor Pat Keith, said: “We are hoping for a repeat of the last successful operation. We were delighted when the public turned out in force to back the Lib Dem organised ‘under the pier’ clean up. As a result of their efforts we were able to fill 80 bags of rubbish in less than two hours.”
Further litter picks are planned for the rest of the year and we will be releasing details shortly.