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Congratulations on exam results, and next steps with our Work Hub; Investment scam warning; New powers to ease congestion; and the winter vomiting bug, in August!


We want to start this week’s newsletter by saying a huge well done to everyone who received their A Level, AS Level, T Level, BTECs or other vocational and technical qualification results yesterday.

And thank you to all our education staff for their invaluable commitment and to all the family and friends who provide support to help others achieve their goals.

In particular, we also want to congratulate all of our children in care and care leavers who have worked hard to achieve their results. 

We are incredibly proud of what learners in Devon achieve through hard work and dedication, and we will continue to ensure that our county is a place that people can thrive and have opportunities to fulfil their potential. 

Look out for a special edition of this newsletter next week with details of what education, training and employment support is available in Devon.

Exam results drop-in sessions at Youth Hub Devon

Our Youth Hub Devon service is offering drop-in support sessions to everyone who received their A-Level, T-Level and AS-Level results yesterday and those awaiting their GCSE results next week.

Whether your results are better than you thought or different from what you were expecting, you may be looking for advice or support about what to do next.

The exam result drop-in sessions provide a safe space to have an initial chat and book in for further support.

The sessions are being held at Youth Hub Devon in Exeter Library from 9:30am to 4pm on Thursday 24 August and Friday 25 August.

For anyone who can’t make the drop-in session dates, you can book an appointment for another day.

Youth Hub Devon is also recommending a number of online resources for A Level and GCSE students for results day and beyond. You can read more about that in the story on our news page.

People need to be on their guard, warns scams expert

Consumers’ champion, Martin Lewis, has repeated his advice for people not to engage with online adverts promoting investments.

“Martin never does adverts and never promotes investments,” said his spokesman. “Anything you see suggesting otherwise is fraudulent and a scam.”

The rebuke was in response to a scam that left a Somerset resident £40,000 poorer. Responding to a post that the resident had seen on Facebook, she became embroiled with a cryptocurrency investment scheme that she believed was backed by Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.

Instead, she was groomed by online scammers who took out several loans in her name. And when thousands of pounds appeared in her account, the scammer called her, demanding that she transfer the money to her online trading platform which was a scam.

“Cryptocurrency, bitcoin, and any type of investment scam is big at the moment,” warned Janet Quinn our Trading Standards lead on scams this week. The best advice is to be really cynical and think everything is a scam,” she said.

You can find more information and advice in the news story on our website, including advice to ‘Take 5 to stop fraud’.

Proposals to take on new powers to ease congestion

Traffic offences, such as driving through a no entry sign, making a turn where you’re not allowed to, driving in the bus lane…they’re all potentially dangerous, and they’re all enforceable by the police.

But we and a few other highways authorities in England are looking to apply to the Department of Transport (DfT) to take on the enforcement of such ‘moving traffic offences’ from the police.

If the DfT give us their approval, we’d initially focus on eight specific sites in Exeter and Barnstaple where we know vehicles are contravening the restrictions – ignoring a one-way restriction, for example.

We’d like to know what you think about us taking on the enforcement responsibility for these sorts of offences, and we’re asking whether people agree, are neutral, or disagree with camera enforcement at each of the eight locations we’ve identified.

You can read more about the proposal including where the eight sites are in the story on our news page.

Or visit our website to find details and a link to where you can leave a comment.

Traders reminded to check ID for sales of age-restricted goods

Test purchase operations are sometimes used to find out if retailers are following the law. Our Trading Standards service has recently carried out some test purchasing to see if retailers in Devon and Torbay were selling age-restricted products to under 18-year-olds.

And some of them were. Trading Standards sent a volunteer, under the age of 18-years-old, to different premises to buy alcohol and vapes. Four out of 19 premises approached sold our volunteer disposable vapes.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in vaping as an alternative to cigarettes over the last few years,” said Sharon Anderson, Group Manager Investigations and Compliance for Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service.

“The bright colours and sweet flavours are now worryingly attracting younger audiences, so it’s essential that store owners ensure that they do not sell these products to children.”

Trading Standards have closed two businesses this year for selling vapes to children. So traders are being reminded that they’re putting their livelihoods at risk by not asking for identification when selling age-restricted goods.

Businesses can contact Trading Standards for advice and guidance on the sale of products to underage people, and there’s a toolkit with training material to help guide businesses.

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

Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug…in August!

We are seeing slightly more norovirus in the community than normal for this time of the year.

Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It’s rather unpleasant but short-lived for most. For some though, it can have more of an impact. Symptoms include feeling sick or being sick and diarrhoea, but can also include a high temperature, headache, or aching arms and legs.

The best way to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water – and always after going to the toilet and before you prepare or eat any food. Alcohol gels won’t kill norovirus.

If you do get it there are things you can do to help yourself and to avoid passing it to others:

  • drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • stay at home until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped
  • avoid cooking and helping prepare meals for others where possible until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped
  • wash any contaminated clothes and bedding at 60 degrees and disinfect contaminated surfaces

If you are concerned about your symptoms, talk to your GP by phone, contact NHS 111 or visit the NHS norovirus webpage

You can read more in the UKHSA blog about what to do if you catch it and how you can stop it spreading.

Don’t forget – repeat prescriptions ahead of the Bank Holiday!

Don’t forget to order any repeat prescriptions you may need now ahead of the August bank holiday on Monday 28 August.

GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours over the bank holiday weekend, so ensure you have the medication you need. To ensure your health is not put at any unnecessary risk, please submit any repeat prescriptions that are due for renewal now as most practices ask patients to order prescriptions at least three working days in advance.

It’s now also quicker and easier to order repeat prescriptions is by using GP online services, via the NHS App or through your GP practice website.