New Council Leader visits Sefton businesses and praises their community involvement
25 January 2024 5 min read
Councillor Marion Atkinson Sefton Council’s longstanding Cabinet member for Regeneration and Skills and newly-appointed leader, recently visited two local businesses that have been supported by InvestSefton.
Accompanied by Bootle MP Peter Dowd Cllr Atkinson visited Marine in Crosby and Caz’s Kitchen in Waterloo. Both companies have received support from InvestSefton, the Council’s business growth and inward investment team.
At Marine, the visitors learned about the club’s impressive work in the community and heard about how they won the 2023 Liverpool Senior Cup for the first time in 15 years.
InvestSefton has supported Marine with business-to-business activities and sustainability activities and the club has worked closely with InvestSefton on a number of fronts with Cara Leach, Commercial Manager, chairing the 2023 summer Economic Forum. Marine also hosted a Sefton Huddle network meeting for businesses in Sefton’s digital and tech sector.
The next visit was to popular Waterloo cake shop Caz’s Kitchen on Waterloo’s St John's Rd. Established over 10 years ago by Caroline ‘Caz’ Hill, Caz’s Kitchen has become a major feature of the high street with a regular customer base, including wholesalers. The shop itself, where Caz’s range of delicious cakes that include her homegrown organic fruits and vegetables is available, has become a focal point for the local community.
Caroline, who also bakes organic sourdough bread each Friday & Saturday, has been supported on her journey by InvestSefton’s Julie Swarbrick, who assisted the business’s digital marketing plan.
Visits like last week’s have been a regular feature of the Sefton business calendar and Councillor Atkinson was keen to honour this long standing commitment made in her previous role as Cabinet member for Regeneration and Skills.
People and communities at the heart of everything they do
After the visits, Councillor Atkinson said: “These visits to local businesses we have supported have been an important feature of my calendar as the Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Skills, and today I saw two completely different organisations that both put people and communities at the heart of everything they do, which is to be applauded.
“I was delighted to see how Marine have engaged with local residents including many disadvantaged people offering a wide range of health and mental health support from walk football, women’s football, coaching for children and Yoga to name a few. It is great to see the club embrace the local community in this way.
“And meeting Caroline was a real inspiration. It was fantastic to see a local women business leader who puts community before her own interests despite the many challenges thrown at her and other independent traders including the pandemic and recession.
“We also took the opportunity to discuss other ways in which InvestSefton can support the business and I was also delighted to hear of the employment assistance they have received from Sefton@Work.
“Business sustainability and growth remains very much part of our key economic objectives and I will continue to champion Sefton businesses in my new role as Council Leader.”
Always a pleasure
Peter Dowd MP said: “It’s always a pleasure to get out and out meeting businesses across my constituency.
“I was very impressed with my visits to Caz’s Kitchen in St John's Road, Waterloo. As well as running a business Caz's Kitchen engages really well and is very active in the local community. As ever it is always good to drop into Marine AFC to see how they are developing and expanding as a club and meet up with the back room ‘team’! "
Paul Leary Chairman of Marine said “Club officials were delighted to meet Marion and Peter and to have the opportunity to show how our business has changed in recent years in addition to demonstrating the club’s extensive work in the community benefitting many people in Crosby and surrounding areas.
“The visit provided our visitors with a tour of the stadium and clubrooms that has seen significant investment in the last two years, especially."
James Leary, Chief Executive of Marine said: "It was our honour to host Councillor Marion Atkinson the new Leader of Sefton Council and MP Peter Dowd.
“We had a productive discussion about our journey to date, and plans going forward as we look to grow the Club and our activities supporting the local community."
Trading with a social consciense
Caroline Hill said: "I very much appreciated being approached by Invest Sefton and Sefton Council with regards to discussing some of the current challenges small businesses are facing at the moment.
“Open and honest conversations and transparency and understanding are key in terms of working together to improve and reform systems that making our communities and small businesses vulnerable. Trading with a social consciense is extremely important to me and intrinsic to how I want to operate my business."
Marine in the Community was created to support people of a low income and provide life-changing opportunities through sport, education, health, mental wellbeing, community projects and the arts. They are projects that enrich, inspire and celebrate the Crosby, Sefton and the Merseyside community, working together with its local partners and friends to support a better community for all. A wide and diverse range of activities take place each day at the College Road stadium and the club is going from strength-to-strength trebling their average attendance in recent years to approaching 1,250.
The club’s Function Suite, which has bar and kitchen facilities can also be hired by individuals and organisations for events for up to 150 people and the 3G pitch is available for hire for 52 weeks of the year.
Caroline Hill whose earlier career included the role of included being product development manager of chilled desserts for Marks and Spencer produces delicious cakes in her St Johns Road premises. Caroline has always been a champion of supporting independent businesses and is heavily involved in the St Johns Road Traders group and a wide range of community initiatives.
Caroline has been the recipient of a number of awards and over its 10 years, Caz’s Kitchen has become a major feature of the high street. Recipes change seasonally with Caroline sourcing her personal allotment nearby in Waterloo for many ingredients. The shop sells all kinds of treats, from classics like Victoria sponge, to new creations such as their Malteser blondies and also produces a range of homemade preserves.
InvestSefton is Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service. It offers free information and advice and access to a wide range of services. It is there to help any business, of any size, in any sector.
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