Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Is your child up-to-date with their vaccinations? Repair cafes go BIG next month; Let’s get out for Naturally Healthy May; Improved mental health support; and insulation warning from Trading Standards

Parents asked to check whether their children’s vaccinations are up-to-date

Data published by the UK Health Security Agency shows that uptake of vaccinations offered to 13 and 14-year-olds at school fell during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leaving many young people now unprotected from life-threatening diseases.

Though improving, uptake of vaccines that protect against tetanus, diptheria and polio, and against meningococcal disease are well below pre-pandemic levels.

Other routine adolescent immunisation programmes show similar impact from the pandemic, with uptake not yet back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Public Health Devon say that uptake of adolescent vaccines by young people in the county is generally good compared to the rest of the UK, with take up levels for most vaccinations above the national average.

But they are asking parents to check if their children are up-to-date with their vaccines.

“It’s never too late to catch up on any missed doses of the MMR vaccination to help protect against measles, mumps and rubella,” said Steve Brown, our Director of Public Health.

“Your GP surgery should be able to check whether your child has had both doses of the MMR vaccine, or you may be able to access their vaccination record online through GP online services.”

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

This year’s BIG FIX goes national – and takes place throughout May

The BIG FIX is back, and throughout May it aims to fix and breathe new life into as many broken things as possible.

The event, coordinated by our Waste Team, sees skilled menders fix broken items such as electronics, garden equipment, clothing, jewellery, clocks and much more to give them a new lease of life.

We hope to save people money, not only by repairing old items but also passing on skills to fix their own items in the future.

It’s become a nationwide event, with Repair Cafes across the UK registered to take part in next month’s BIG FIX.

Last year, 50 Repair Cafes and 580 volunteers took part in the BIG FIX, mending 1,100 items and saving 31 tonnes of carbon.

You can find out more about The BIG FIX in the story on our website, and visit our Recycle Devon website for the full list of Repair Cafes in Devon.

It’s Naturally Healthy May starting next week

Next week marks the start of Naturally Healthy May, and opportunity for us all to get out and about, to be more active, and to enjoy the wonderful county we live in.

At this time of year, we buddy-up with Active Devon and the Devon Local Nature Partnership (Devon LNP) to celebrate connecting with nature.

From getting outside for a bike ride, to bird watching and listening to bird song, to swimming in the sea and gardening – by increasing the time you spend outside in nature by just 10 per cent every day, you can significantly improve your health and wellbeing.

Throughout May, events and activities are taking place across Devon to offer everyone the chance to join in and try something new.

Active Devon and Devon LNP will also be sharing ideas and information on their social media channels, about how to be naturally healthy and how to best enjoy the benefits it can bring.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of NHS Devon, said:

“We know that being more active is really good for our health, but it isn’t always easy to get started and to find the activity that suits us best.

“We are so fortunate in Devon to have wonderful natural spaces across coasts and the countryside.

“So, whatever your current level of activity, it is worth joining in Naturally Healthy May to get outside in groups together or on your own. It will make a difference.”

For further information about Naturally Healthy May and how to get involved, visit

And to find out about activities in your area, please visit the Devon Connect website.

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

TALKWORKS launches new text-based therapy

NHS Talking Therapy service, TALKWORKS, has added a new support option to enable live text-based therapy, providing more accessible mental health support for adults across Devon.

The free, confidential, online therapy service is available to adults living in Devon (excluding Plymouth) between 6am and 11pm, seven days a week.

TALKWORKS hope to improve accessibility to their service through offering one-to-one, text-based support for a range of issues such as; phobias, low mood, worry, stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and sleep difficulties.

Following a switch to remote therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, TALKWORKS has since continued to offer support over the phone and by video call, alongside face-to-face appointments across Devon. The introduction of text-based therapy – for people with smartphones, laptop or tablet that can connect to the internet – is the next step in ensuring their service is as accessible as possible to those who may be struggling.

Jonny Wilkins, Head of Service at TALKWORKS, said:

We know that some people who come to see us may be anxious about a face-to-face appointment or speaking to someone on the phone. Through offering text-based therapy, our patients will be able to receive treatment from the comfort of their own home, at a time that suits them.”

To find out more about their text-based therapy service visit their website.

Spray foam insulation scam warning

Our Trading Standards team is warning householders who want to improve the insulation in their homes to ensure that the treatment is suitable for their property before agreeing to any work.

Spray foam insulation for example, which can be an effective way to improve energy efficiency, needs to be applied by trained professionals. It must also be suitable for the property, with adequate ventilation required in lofts and roof spaces.

There have been reports of sub-standard work with spray foam insulation installations – which is sprayed between rafters and sometimes to the underside of roofing felt, slates or tiles – leading to condensation and damp.

And in some cases, spray foam has resulted in problems when a homeowner wants to sell, re-mortgage or release equity from their property.

So our Trading Standards Team is advising people to check the suitability of any offered treatment, verify with their mortgage provider if considering spray foam treatment, and always get a range of quotes before agreeing to any work.

Steve Gardiner, our Heart of the South West Trading Standards Legal Process Manager, advises caution if you’re cold called by someone offering a service. He says:

“Do your own research to find an installer and don’t be swayed by glossy flyers, high pressure sales or professional-looking websites. Check for membership of reputable trade associations or trader accreditation schemes like Trading Standards’ Buy With Confidence scheme. And shop around for a range of quotes and consider a range of insulation systems.”

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