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We’re back in black; love to ride your recycled cycle and more funding available to help with the cost of living

Our budget is in the black despite unprecedented financial pressures

Our budget remained in the black in the last financial year despite rapidly rising demand for our services and soaring inflation. 

The result follows an unprecedented effort to cut costs and boost income after our Director of Finance, Angie Sinclair, called for urgent action to be taken to curb costs as Devon faced a £30.5 million overspend.

Through an organisational-wide response that resulted in a rigorous in-year savings programme, we finished the 2022/23 financial year £156,000 in the black on a revenue budget of almost £630 million.

However, in common with councils across the country, Devon continues to face tough financial challenges due to soaring demand for services, rising prices and labour market shortages.

Our Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Phil Twiss praised the relentless efforts of council staff to find savings and at the same time continue delivering services for the people of Devon. You can read his full statement on the news page of our website.

Funding will help many different groups as cost of living remains high

The homeless, families, those who are suffering from ill health and ethnic minorities and are just some of the many groups who will benefit from the £10 million we’ve recently secured from the Government’s Household Support Fund

This fourth tranche of funding to cover the period from April 2023 until March 2024, takes Devon’s total level of Household Support Funding, allocated by the Department of Work and Pensions, to just over £25 million.

The funding comes with conditions on how it can be allocated and is to support households in most need – those that are struggling to pay for food, energy, water bills and other related essentials. It is also intended for those that may not be eligible for other Government support.

To find out more, please read the full story on the news page of our website.

Pick up a bargain; ‘Recycled Cycles’ on offer at recycling centres!

Each year an estimated 10,000 bikes come through our Household Waste Recycling Centres in Devon as residents outgrow them, break them or get frustrated that they’re taking up valuable space in the garage.  

In order to reduce waste and offer more people access to cycling, a specially trained team at SUEZ, who run the recycling centres on our behalf, are repairing and reconditioning these old bikes at their new ‘Re-Cycle Hub’ at the Brunel Road facility in Newton Abbot. They are then being sold through the network of reuse shops at recycling centres across the county. Each bike will be fully serviced and include a warranty.  

With some brands of bike as much as 20 per cent more expensive than a year ago, the initiative offers those who want to saddle up a chance to do so at an affordable price.

So, if you’re thinking of getting fit, the kids have outgrown their bikes, or you’re on the search for a sustainable travel option, then come along to the reuse shops and see what we’ve got in stock. 

To find out more, read the full story on the news page of our website.

Pioneering local company on mission to transform battery waste into critical minerals

A pioneering Devon company is helping to transform the UK automotive industry and support the transition to net zero. Tavistock-based Altilium Metals opened its EV battery technology centre in 2022 and is now the only company in the UK recovering critical battery minerals from waste EV batteries.

They’ve developed their innovative electric vehicle battery recycling technology with the support of our Green Innovation Fund. Through its technology focused subsidiary Altilitech, it was one of seven ground-breaking projects in the county to receive a share of the £750,000 we’ve invested to drive green growth in Devon’s economy.

Visit the news page on our website to find out more about Altilium Metals’ cutting-edge technology and why, despite expanding its footprint elsewhere in the UK and Europe, Devon is vital to the future of their business.

We published a special Economy bulletin this week to include our latest economy-related stories. Read it here.

We’ve been celebrating Carers Week

It’s been Carers Week this week, and Devon Carers, who provide support to unpaid carers on our behalf, has been out and about across the county raising awareness.

They’ve had stands at locations including local libraries, North Devon District Hospital, John Lewis in Exeter, and Trago Mills near Newton Abbot.

Did you know that there are over 74,000 people in Devon providing unpaid care to friends and family members?

Almost half of them provide at least 20 hours of care each week; and nearly a third are providing more than 50 hours of care a week.

Recent research shows that around eight out of 10 carers say they have felt lonely or socially isolated as a result of their caring role.

If you provide unpaid care to an adult, support is available to you. Carers can access a range of services, from information and advice, to training, peer support, Carer Assessments, emergency planning and a Carers Hospital Service.

For information, advice and support, visit the Devon Carers website, or email or contact the Devon Carers Helpline on tel: 03456 434 435. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (except bank holidays) and on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

Help is also available for young carers, aged four to 18, who help look after someone in their family or a friend. For more information, visit the Young Carers website or email or contact the helpline on 03456 434 435 

Find out more about this year’s Carers Week on the Devon Carers website.

Foot and cycle bridge spanning A379 successfully lifted into place

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge, which will eventually link new homes and a school to local amenities in South West Exeter, was successfully lifted into place last week.

The bridge, which was delivered in sections and constructed on the roadside before it was lifted into place in one piece by a large crane, spans the A379 between Chudleigh Road and the Devon Hotel.

It forms part of the infrastructure being delivered to support the new development, which is expected to deliver 2,500 new homes and 21.5 hectares of land for new employment and following £55.1 million of funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is administered by Homes England, a government agency.

For more information, please read the full story on the news page of our website.

Free personalised support to help local businesses

We’ve been providing free one-to-one support for local businesses, through the ‘Thrive’ programme, overseen by the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

It’s so far helped more than 600 local businesses across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay, providing them with personalised guidance about their unique challenges and opportunities – refining marketing strategies, bolstering resilience, growth, recruitment and more.

And we’ve now been able to extend the Thrive programme until the end of July 2023.

Businesses new to the programme, or those who have attended previous Thrive workshops, are entitled to a complimentary one-to-one support session.

And those businesses that have benefited already, have been very positive:

“The support I received was first rate. The expertise provided has made a tangible difference to our business,” said one business owner.

“Amazing! It was such a fantastic opportunity for our small business to receive the support we needed,” said another.

“Brilliant! My discussions with the advisor were incredible helpful. I have successfully implemented multiple aspects of their advice and now feel more in control,” said another business owner.

If you are a sole trader or run a micro business or small to medium sized business in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth or Torbay, visit Thrive – Heart of the South West Growth Hub, and complete the short registration form, and one of our advisors will be in touch to arrange a one-to-one session.

Praise for roads teams who reopened major route in time for holiday rush

Our Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor Stuart Hughes, has praised the engineers, work crews and contactors for ‘pulling out all the stops’ to ensure that a major South Hams holiday route was reopened in time for the recent bank holiday rush.

In early May the A381 at Halwell, the main road linking Kingsbridge and Dartmouth to Totnes was closed after a section of the carriageway collapsed. A deep culvert running underneath the road, linked to the drainage system, failed. The road surface began cracking, and it lead to a three-metre-long hole.

Teams worked 18 days straight to excavate fifteen metres of road down to a depth of more than two metres; install three new gullies; rebuild the drainage system; and resurface 43 metres of road – all while coping with bouts of flooding.

For good measure, they also replaced 10 defective gully gratings, and jetted and cleared out every gully from Totnes Cross to Halwell. They even cut back the vegetation, swept the road and removed a large dead ash tree.

You can read Councillor Hughes’ statement in full on the news page of our website.