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‘Find your little big thing’; let’s talk about the children of foster carers and could you help provide some Christmas cheer for our care experienced young people?

Government support for Tavistock to Plymouth rail reinstatement earns warm welcome

Good quality transport links are a driver for the local economy and support our commitment to tackle the climate emergency. So it’s very welcome news that the Government’s decision to scrap the extension of HS2 from the West Midlands to Manchester means that investment will be re-directed across the country – including rail infrastructure improvements in Devon.

Although full details of funding and timescales are yet to be unveiled, it’s been confirmed that our project to reinstate five miles of track and deliver a new single platform station at Tavistock, which would serve communities in Tavistock, Horrabridge, Lamerton, and Mary Tavy, will be included.

We submitted a Strategic Outline Business Case to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway programme last year, and Minister of State for Rail, Huw Merriman MP, has said that “the project will be funded to delivery, subject to future updates to the project business case”.

Read the full story on the news page of our website.

‘Compassionate’ service which supports Deafblind children highly rated by inspectors

Our Multi-Sensory Impairment Enabling (MSIE) service, which specialises in supporting children and young people who are registered Deafblind, has been rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

They said the service was ‘safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led’ and called it ‘kind, caring and compassionate’.

In addition to being registered Deafblind, many of the children and young people the service supports have additional needs including complex health conditions. 

Inspectors said that they found that every child and young person is “supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives” and that staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and put them ‘at the heart of the service’.

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

Let’s talk about the children of foster carers

We’ve been talking a lot about children in our care and care leavers, and about the support and guidance given to help young people. We’ve also talked about the vital role that our foster carers have in providing safe and loving homes for children and young people in our care.

But we’ve not yet talked about the pivotal role that foster carers’ own children have in helping to make foster families work well.

October is ‘Children of Foster Carers’ month, an annual campaign by The Fostering Network to acknowledge and celebrate the vital contribution that children of foster carers make to their families.

Michelle, a foster carer for our Fostering Devon service, said:

“Both our children have been brought up surrounded by fostering.

“My daughter is amazing and will act as she has seen me act. My youngest child is very similar, but loves to just be a sibling and play with them, however,  he notices when they are sad and can respond in a way many children couldn’t.

“When asked, both children said that the children we look after are part of our family, and we love them like we do each other. They admitted some days were hard, however none of us would change it for the world.”

You can read the full story on the news page of our website.

Help provide some Christmas cheer for our care experienced young people

Christmas is fast approaching and while many people look forward to spending the festive season with family, the young adults, who have left our care and are now living independently, can find it a lonely and difficult time.

We’re working with NHS Children and Family Health DevonExeter Food Bank and colleagues in Torbay to create gift hampers to ensure that all our care experienced young people aged 21 to 25-years-old receive a gift at Christmas. (Care leavers aged up to 21-years-old receive a gift from their Personal Adviser as part of our Local Offer).

If you would like to make a donation, please visit our Just Giving page before Wednesday 15 November. The money will be spent equally across the hampers to include items such as soft blankets, large towels, toiletries and other appropriate gifts.

Make a donation to the Christmas Hamper Project 2023

Scheme to enhance Queen Street in Newton Abbot

We’re working with Teignbridge District Council to make Queen Street in Newton Abbot a safer, more attractive, healthier and greener place for visitors and businesses. With work on the enhancement scheme due to start next summer, we’re looking ahead to what changes you can expect in this part of the town.

Widened footways, improved crossings, enhanced planting of trees and greenery with additional public seating will enhance the area for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, providing additional space and better access to shops and services.

The street will remain accessible for all traffic wanting to get to the businesses there, with the small section beyond the junction with Albany Street restricted to buses, pedestrians, cycles and loading. Taxis and vehicles displaying a blue badge will be able to access this area to pick up or drop off.

There will also be a new zebra crossing, as well as raised-table pedestrian-priority crossings at the side-road junctions to support pedestrian movement, in particular for less mobile visitors.

The locality will be well served with parking spaces; with 26 on-street parking spaces retained on Queen Street as well as five new blue badge holder spaces. There’s also Teignbridge District Council’s expansive car park at Cricketfield Road (over 300 spaces), and the short-stay Halcyon Road car park (115 spaces).

For more information, read the full story on the news page of our website or visit Teignbridge District Council’s webpage for the Newton Abbot Future High Street Fund.

‘Find your little big thing’

It’s World Mental Health Day next week, on Tuesday 10 October, and the focus for this year is all about doing the little things that can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.

Making time for mental wellbeing and self-care is important – and embedding small things as part of your routine can help you feel better and more resilient.

These small actions can include:

  • taking time to do mindful breathing by breathing in and out slowly
  • planning an hour of screen-free time before bed
  • reviewing your to-do list and breaking down your biggest tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks
  • taking a walk
  • seeing or getting in contact with a friend or loved one

Search Every Mind Matters for free, NHS-approved advice and simple tips to help you look after your mental wellbeing.

Visit our website to find out more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing, organisations that offer advice and support, and training courses to help encourage conversations about mental health. 

Road drainage upgrade due to start in Little Torrington

The A386 at Mile Hill in Little Torrington will be completely closed to traffic from Monday 9 October to Friday 27 October to allow drainage improvement works to take place. 

For more information, including details of the official diversion route, please visit our website.

Get your winter vaccinations to protect the NHS

Thousands of people across Devon can now book their flu and COVID-19 vaccines online, as the NHS booking system opens ahead of what could be a challenging winter for the health service.

All eligible adults can book their vaccination appointment through the NHS website, by downloading the NHS App or by calling 119.

Upgrade your home with Energy Saving Devon

With winter on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your home cosy and warm.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by improving its energy efficiency.

Energy Saving Devon can help you get ready for winter and help make your home more energy efficient, reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills.