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Keeping ‘Positivitree’; Help for hotel owners to realise their vision; New temporary home found for library; and what to do if your child is unwell this winter

Young people, councillors and council staff plant a Rowan tree

Tree planting symbolises commitment to care experienced young people

Care experienced young people, councillors and council staff, planted a tree together outside County Hall this week, to represent our ongoing commitment to supporting young people in our care.

The cheerful crowd, including care leavers, Chairman, and senior councillors and officers, planted a Rowan tree to symbolise our work with care experienced young people to create the best possible support.

It’s part of a national project, called ‘Positivitree’, organised by the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum, which plans to plant trees with local authorities across the country. We were one of the first!

We’ve been doing a lot of work with care experienced young people to improve our support, listening more to what young people tell us about their experience of the care system, and doing more to make improvements.

Twenty-four-year old Koda is one of the care experienced young people at the tree planting. She said:

“Things have got so much better since I was 18. Six years ago, things were bad, but now it’s actually pretty decent. While I won’t benefit much from any further improvements myself, it’s good to see Devon committing to making things even better for young people who’ve been in the care system.”

Watch our short video of the tree planting event
Alex and Michele Kleiner at Broomhill Estate

Fibre broadband helps hotel owners realise their vision

Over 315,000 homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset have access to superfast broadband as a direct result of investment by Connecting Devon and Somerset, a council-led partnership.

Broomhill Estate, a hotel a couple of miles outside Barnstaple, is one of those businesses now benefiting from new fibre broadband.

The hotel is steeped in history, and its woodland location gives it a distinctly rural feel. That was one of the main attractions for Alex and Michele Kleiner when they bought the business a couple of years ago, but they were also aware that it would make getting a decent broadband connection something of a challenge.

Since then, they’ve turned the hotel into a boutique destination and its regeneration into a sanctuary for the arts is now complete with an ultrafast Full Fibre connection, installed by Airband as part of Connecting Devon and Somerset’s fibre rollout.

You can read their inspiring journey about how the owners have regenerated the hotel and their business, on our news page.

Don’t miss your chance to get vaccinated!

People are being reminded to get their winter jabs with less than two weeks until online bookings close for COVID-19 and flu vaccines. The NHS is urging anyone still eligible for these vaccines to book an appointment and get potentially lifesaving protection ahead of Christmas.

Everyone aged 65 years old and over, pregnant women, and individuals with certain long-term health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, are eligible for free flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

The NHS online booking system, NHS App and 119 phone service will be closed for flu and COVID-19 vaccine bookings from Friday 15 December, making Thursday 14 December the last day to make a booking. So don’t delay, book today!

Exe Estuary Trail repairs to be completed in the new year

Work to replace the timber on a section of the Exe Estuary Trail between Lympstone and Exmouth has now passed the halfway stage.

It’s hoped that the repairs will be completed as early as possible in the New Year.

The timber structural beams and deck planks on all 72 wooden spans of the boardwalk have deteriorated and become unsafe, so they are being replaced with a more durable fibre-reinforced material.

A delay in the production and delivery of this material at the start of the project hampered progress early on but good progress is now being made.

Courtlands Boardwalk will remain closed until the scheme is completed, which is expected to be by the end of January.

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

Library to reopen in its temporary new home before Christmas

St Thomas Library, Exeter, will reopen in time for Christmas in its temporary new home at Emmanuel Hall, Emmanuel Road, on Monday 18 December at 10am.

The former library building in Church Road closed on Saturday 21 October after its lease was not renewed.

A new lease was offered at an increased rent, but it was unaffordable.

The pop-up library in Emmanuel Hall will deliver many popular community services until a new permanent home is found.

We and Libraries Unlimited are still searching for a permanent home for the library.

Book loans will continue to be extended for St Thomas Library customers until the library moves to a permanent location. Books can also be returned or borrowed at Exeter Library.

You can read the full story on our news page.

If your child is unwell, consult HANDi this winter

Doctors in Devon are reminding parents to consult the free HANDi app if they aren’t sure what to do when their child is unwell this winter.

The award-winning app, available to download onto any Apple or Android device, was launched specifically with children in mind and is loaded with expert advice, support and guidance for parents with concerns about their children.

It covers a range of common conditions such as high temperatures, chestiness, abdominal pain, headaches and rashes, which can cause concern to a parent or carer if they are not sure what to do.

The app asks a series of questions about the child’s symptoms and then advises the best course of action to take, whether to treat the condition at home, consult a pharmacist or GP, and if it is serious directing users to their nearest hospital.