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People unaware of the need for photo ID to vote next month; Spring COVID-19 booster programme begins; Horse and carriage at Stover Country Park and getting out over the Easter holidays

16% of respondents were not aware of photo ID rule

It’s the local elections on Thursday 4 May, and with that a new rule from the Government that voters must have a valid form of photographic identification (photo ID) to show at the polling station, otherwise they’ll not be able to vote.

We wanted to see if people had got that message and whether they have a valid form of photo ID to take with them on the day.

So we ran a straw-poll, and from the 352 responses we found that approximately:

  • 67 per cent of people were aware of the new rule and had a valid form of photo ID
  • 16 per cent of people were aware of the new rule but didn’t have a valid form of photo ID
  • 16 per cent of people were not aware of the new rule at all

The Government says that this extra measure will prevent people from impersonating others. In other words, to stop people casting other people’s votes at polling stations.

There are various forms of photo ID that are considered valid, and you will need to take one of them with you to the polling station, for example a driving licence or passport.

They can even have expired, as long as the photo still resembles you!

But if you don’t have one of these already, you will need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate as proof of your identification.

There’s still time to do that, don’t worry, but you must apply soon in order to have it before Thursday 4 May.

You can read about this in the news story on our website.

Or you can find out more from the special bulletin we published last month.

Spring COVID-19 booster programme begins this week

People across Devon will be able to book their spring coronavirus (COVID-19) booster jab from Monday.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirmed last month that there would be a spring coronavirus booster programme.

They advise that it should be offered to:

  • adults aged 75 years and over
  • residents in care homes for older adults
  • individuals aged five and over who are immunosuppressed

Those living in care homes will be prioritised and have begun to receive vaccinations this week as roving NHS teams visit homes to offer protection.

People invited should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months since their last dose.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said:

“Case levels are relatively low in Devon but coronavirus is still circulating and can still be a risk to certain groups of people. The coronavirus vaccine is still the most effective way to protect yourself from becoming seriously ill should you catch it, and therefore it’s important for these groups of people to keep up with their vaccinations. If you are in one of these eligible groups, I encourage you to come forward for your vaccination when you are invited to do so.”

The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. 

You can read more about this and how to get your vaccination in the news story on our website.

Horse and carriage sculpture opens at Stover Country Park

A magnificent new sculpture has been officially unveiled at Stover Country Park following months of planning and construction.

It has been designed to represent the historic image of a horse and carriage travelling down the former Carriage Drive towards Stover House – which is now Stover School.

The sculpture was commissioned by the Friends of Stover Country Park, and the installation has been funded by the Co-op Local Community Fund.

Trustee of the Friends, Emily Farrell, said: 

“We are absolutely thrilled with the beautiful horse and carriage that the talented Nick Mussell of The Tanglewood Project has created. We hope visitors will enjoy using their imaginations to take a ride down the Carriage Drive. We’d like to thank all those Co-op shoppers who kindly donated to the Project through the Co-op Local Community Fund.”

You can read more about this in the news story on our website.

Youth Hub Devon to move into Exeter Library

Our Youth Hub Devon service moved this week from its former base in Princesshay, Exeter, into our flagship Exeter Library.

It’s now located alongside the library’s popular FabLab, and continues to offer a full range of bespoke support to young people, including career advice, help with CV writing, interview skills and signposting to other relevant support.

Youth Hub Devon has so far helped nearly 200 young people, with varying needs, to find employment or training, or continue in education, including those who are in our care, care leavers, young people who are struggling with their mental health or who have a disability.

“Our move to the library is a great opportunity for the service to grow and to become even more engrained into Devon’s communities,” says Tom Moodey of Youth Hub Devon.

“The library is already such an incredibly vibrant place, and we are excited to work alongside the other great services and provisions that are based there.”

If you are between ages of 16 and 24 years old and want to find the right training, support, and guidance for your future, Youth Hub Devon is there to help you.

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

Getting out and about this Easter

With the long weekend ahead, and schools on holiday, you may be looking for ideas of things to do outside, weather permitting.

And of course, blessed with our two National Parks; five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast; 12 estuaries; 400 km of coastline; and 210 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, we’re spoilt for choice!

Our Explore Devon website has some wonderful ideas for walking and cycling routes, and suggestions for where to see the best of our local wildlife and places to visit.

Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park both have very good websites with ideas for exploring the outdoors.

And right now, why not let others do the driving! Bus passengers in Devon can continue to take advantage of a cap on bus fares, with bus users paying no more than £2 for a single journey, throughout Spring.

For more information and for great travel ideas for how to get around in Devon, visit our Travel Devon website.

The Grand Western Canal is also a popular beauty spot to relax and enjoy the countryside – great for walking, cycling, fishing and boating. Visit our website for more information.

And the Stover Country Park – 114 acres of woodland, lake and marsh, heathland and grassland – with its aerial walkway, bird hide, walking routes and picnic areas, is a perfect place to spend some hours this week. Visit our website for opening times.

And don’t forget to see what our local Devon libraries have to offer this week. Find out what’s happening at your nearest library on the Libraries Unlimited website.