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Impact of flash floods being examined; support for children and young people with SEND to undergo a ‘system-wide transformation’ and a new chapter for St Thomas Library

Impact of flash floods being examined

More than 140 properties are thought to have been flooded across Devon during Sunday’s flash floods, making it one of the most significant flood events in the county for a number of years.

Although this flash flooding wasn’t widespread, it hit pockets of communities across several areas of the county, and for many residents, the impact has been devastating. 

We’ve been out with the Environment Agency and local city and district council officers as part of the flood recovery operation, visiting the worst affected areas to investigate the extent of the damage caused by the torrential rainfall.

Support is available should residents need it, and anyone who would like to submit information about flooding in their community should email

Residents are also being advised to check if their property is at risk of flood and find out if they are eligible to sign up for FREE flood warnings.

Follow @EnvAgencySW on X (formerly Twitter) for the latest flood updates or visit the Government’s website to check for flooding.

Support for children and young people with SEND to undergo a ‘system-wide transformation’

The partnership responsible for services supporting children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) has listened to families and expanded its SEND improvement plans to create ‘system-wide’ change.

It follows a recommendation by the Children’s Scrutiny Committee SEND Task Group and reflects what families have told us about the current system of SEND support. 

The commitment, made in a meeting last week (14 September) by the Devon SEND Improvement Partnership Board, of which we are a part, means that Devon will look at not just areas of weakness identified by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission but at the whole experience.    

The board said that the ‘system-wide’ transformation programme would address the significant challenges that the local area faces, improve the experiences of children, young people and their families in Devon and lead to the financial sustainability of the council.

Find out more about what the plans include in the news story on our website.

Calling all businesses and entrepreneurs in East Devon, Exeter, and Mid Devon – Prosper is here to help!

new, free, business support programme aimed at helping businesses and entrepreneurs in East Devon, Exeter and Mid Devon achieve their business development ambitions has been launched.

Prosper offers a mixture of online support and in-person one-to-one sessions or workshops to help businesses improve productivity, become more environmentally sustainable, move into new markets, develop new products and take on additional staff.

It’s being funded by East Devon, Mid Devon and Exeter City Councils through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and we’re project managing the programme with business support provided by Business Information Point and Cosmic, both of whom have a wealth of experience and local knowledge.

To access the programme, businesses need to complete the enquiry form on the Growth Hub website.

A new chapter for St Thomas Library

The library in St Thomas has been in its current premises since 2013, and has been a popular and well-used hub for people of all ages in the local community since then.

However, earlier this year the landlord of the building applied for planning permission to turn the property into accommodation, which surprised us, and we said at the time that we’d hoped to be able to renew our lease when it expires in November. The planning application was subsequently withdrawn, but conversations since have led to an offer from the landlord to renew the library’s lease at a considerably higher rent and for a much longer period.

Reluctantly, we simply can’t afford to agree to those terms, and so we’ve decided that we will not renew the lease and instead look for new premises. We’re working with Libraries Unlimited, which run libraries in Devon on our behalf, and asking local people to help identify possible alternative premises as well as inviting community and church groups, landlords and property owners in the area to contact us if they are interested in helping to provide a library service in St Thomas.

Please use this form on our website to get in touch or share your suggestions.

National booking system opens for COVID-19 autumn boosters

If you’re eligible for a free COVID-19 booster, you can now book your autumn vaccine on the NHS website, by downloading the NHS App, or by calling 119 for free.

People eligible for this offer include anyone aged 65-years-old and over, pregnant women and those with an underlying health condition. These people will also receive invitations from the NHS to encourage them to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

This year’s autumn flu and COVID-19 vaccine programmes started earlier than planned in England as a precautionary measure after a new COVID variant was identified.

The NHS is encouraging everyone who’s eligible to come forward for their jab as soon as they are invited to do so.

Overnight closures planned for Fore Street in Heavitree, Exeter

The road will be closed between the junctions with Whipton Lane and North Street from 9pm to 7am each night from Monday 2 October until Friday 6 October and then again on the evening of Monday 9 October. Please visit our website for details of the signed diversion route.

Strike pressure rises at emergency departments

The NHS in Devon is preparing to take all measures necessary to ensure the sickest patients get the help they need as industrial action by doctors continues.

Visit the One Devon website to find out more, including advice for local people.

Industrial dispute to cause more train disruption

Train drivers union ASLEF has announced two further strike dates for Saturday 30 September and Wednesday 4 October.

GWR say that it will have a major impact on services, so check before travelling.

It’s National Breastfeeding Week

It can take a while to feel confident about breastfeeding, but you’re not alone. Getting the right support can make a big difference, and your midwife and health visitor are there to help you.

The NHS website has lots of helpful information and advice on breastfeeding.