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Unpaid carers given free access to leisure centres; government’s announcement is a step in the right direction and secondary school place applications open!

Government’s announcement is a step in the right direction

Earlier this week we joined other county councils in calling on the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to deliver on the promise she made during the Conservative’s leadership election, to provide more funding for adult social care.

Inflation is driving up costs to unsustainable levels, and by next year it could add £3.6 billion to the cost of providing social care in county areas. In Devon, we estimate a funding shortfall of between £30m to £40m over the next 10 years.

Yesterday, (Thursday), the government announced an extra £500m for adult social care, to help support people when they’re ready to leave hospital this winter. They’ve called it a ‘down payment’ as they develop their longer term plans.

“Obviously £500m spread across England doesn’t come close to resolving the challenges that we and other councils face,” says our Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care, Cllr James McInnes, “but Therese Coffey’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction.

“We need the government to swiftly follow up on this ‘down payment’ and provide councils with funding to properly support the growing numbers of people waiting for care, tackle the acute shortage of care staff, and meet the increased costs of the government’s own social care reforms.”

You can read the full story on the news page of our website.

Unpaid carers given free access to leisure centres

Unpaid carers – people who voluntarily look after loved ones or friends – have told us that the rising cost-of-living means that they’re having to prioritise their spending.

Many, we understand, are choosing not to spend money on exercise or activities away from their caring roles.

That concerns us, because exercise and other activities are good for people’s health and wellbeing. And when others rely on you as a carer, it’s important that you also look after yourself.

So, we’ve teamed up with Mid Devon District Council to pilot a scheme to provide unpaid adult carers of adults free access to three leisure centres in Cullompton, Tiverton and Crediton, to encourage them to stay active.

We’re running the pilot until the end of the year.

Carers will need to show their ‘Carers Passport’ at leisure centre receptions, which are available to them for free from Devon Carers.

Details about the facilities available at the leisure centres are available on the Mid Devon Leisure Centre website. Unpaid carers can access all activities, but classes and courts are advised to be booked in advance.

You can read more about the pilot in the story on the news page of our website.

Book your autumn COVID-19 booster appointment

People most vulnerable to COVID-19 and those who work on the frontline of care and health are being invited to book their COVID-19 autumn booster vaccination.

The following groups of people can book their autumn booster now: 

  • aged 65 years old or over
  • pregnant
  • aged 5 years old and over and at high risk due to a health condition
  • aged 5 years old and over and at high risk because of a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 years old and over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 years old and over and are a carer, either paid or unpaid
  • a frontline health and social care worker

As previously, those most at risk from serious illness will be invited for their booster jab first, with people able to book online or by calling 119 as long as it has been three months since their last dose. For more information please refer to the latest government guidance available on their website.

Secondary school place applications open!

If your child is currently in year 6 at primary school, you’ll need to start thinking now about applying for a place for them to attend their preferred secondary school, to start in September 2023.

Applications must be made before Monday 31 October 2022 and parents and guardians will be contacted with the result to their application on national offer day, 1 March 2023.

Applications can be made through our website or by calling our education helpline on 0345 155 1019 and asking for a paper copy of the form to be sent to you.

Finding the right school place for your child is an important decision and lots of schools are holding open events where you can find out more about what they have to offer as well as see the facilities and meet the teachers.

Help is also available for parents and carers who have questions or who need support, through our Family Information Service and through our School Admissions Team.

Consultation on plan to improve cycling and walking in North Devon

A public consultation has been launched on proposals that aim to close the gaps in the cycling and walking network in the Barnstaple, Bideford and Northam area.

We’re seeking views on four walking and six cycling schemes across the area, which are detailed on our Have Your Say webpages.

The draft ‘Barnstaple with Bideford and Northam Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’ outlines a number of potential walking and cycling schemes for future investment over the next 10-20 years.

You can read about the proposals in the story on our news page.

The plan also sets out proposals to upgrade existing cycling infrastructure to improve connections to key employment sites including North Devon District Hospital, PETROC, Barnstaple town centre and Roundswell, including the development of an off-road cycle route along the entire length of North Road.

Proposals for a new access point to the Tarka Trail from Ethelwynne Brown Close will also be explored.

Is your teenager angry?

A series of FREE online sessions to help parents and carers understand and support their teenagers continues next week, with the theme of ‘anger and challenging behaviour’.

The hour long session, on Tuesday 27 September at 7pm, will focus on the challenges some young people face, child to parent abuse, safety planning and what families can do, as well as where to find additional support. 

It’s the third of five sessions in the ‘Let’s Talk Teenagers’ series, with sessions on bullying and online challenges still to come on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 October. 

There will be an updated toolkit available after the courses for everyone who signs up to this free event, which also covers topics from earlier sessions such as drugs and alcohol, body image, self-care and social and emotional changes.

The sessions are completely free, and all delivered online. Anyone who would like to find out more or book their free place can visit the website