SEFTON Council and partners are declaring 2017 as the Year of Sefton’s Coast. To celebrate the year ahead, they are asking schoolchildren from across the borough to design a mascot which will be used on all promotional activity for the project. One of the strongest themes to come out of the extensive engagement carried out as part of Imagine Sefton 2030 was the sense of pride and love that residents have for the coast. People responded in their thousands about how much they enjoy and want to protect this wonderful asset. Stretching more than 22 miles from Bootle in the south to Southport in the north, the Sefton coast is an amazing space filled with unique sand dunes, wonderful wildlife and woodlands and amazing art. 2017 also marks some significant milestones surrounding the Sefton coast as the National Trust celebrate 50 years at Formby and The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale takes place in July. Sefton Council and partners are also this year launching the new Sefton Coast Plan. The Year of Sefton’s Coast was officially launched at Crosby Lakeside and supported by Jamie Carragher, former Liverpool defender and Freedom of Sefton holder, and Bootle born Paralympian tennis player, Jamie Burdekin. Cllrs Paul Cummins and John Fairclough are Sefton Council’s main sponsors for the project. Cllr Paul Cummins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “The Sefton coast is one of our key assets and boasts international significance for its sand dunes and being home to rare flora and fauna. “Following the consultation into the Sefton 2030 Vision, people in their thousands told us how much the coast means to them and is a wonderful area we should conserve and enhance. “By making 2017 the Year of Sefton’s Coast, we can link with our many partners and showcase everything associated with the Sefton coast and highlight all the events taking place on this amazing stretch of land. We hope this will leave a lasting legacy to future generations to continually use and love our coast along with health benefits associated with it.” Cllr John Fairclough, Cabinet Member Locality Services, added: “Working with our many partners we are launching a dedicated website to the Sefton coast and are also asking primary school children across the borough to help design a mascot for this exciting project. “We want children to put their artistic thinking caps on and come up with a mascot which sums up the Sefton coast to them. “This will be used throughout the year with some special prizes on offer for the winner.” Former Liverpool defender, Jamie Carragher, said: “I’ve got lots of great memories of the Sefton coast. “I used to visit Crosby Marina when I was a kid and now it’s gone full circle as I bring my children down to the beach as well. “Celebrating the Year of Sefton’s Coast is something I really support and look forward to the months ahead.” Andrew Brockbank from National Trust, added: “We’re delighted to support The Year of Sefton’s Coast, especially as we celebrate the National Trust’s 50th year at Formby. “Our site was bought in 1967 through public donations to the National Trust’s Neptune fund – securing it ‘for ever for everyone’. “We’re looking forward to celebrating this and sharing some of Formby’s unique stories throughout the year.” Details on the mascot competition will be circulated to schools and partners across the borough and for further information on the Year of Sefton’s Coast, visit www.seftoncoast.co.uk Some of the partners supporting the Year of Sefton’s Coast include, Sefton Council, National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the Mersey Forest.