Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

New Year’s resolutions; Storm Henk blows canopy off footbridge; Care-experience young people helping to improve services; Funding available to help set up community reading spaces; Cold weather ahead and The Flock That Rock

Storm Henk blows canopy off footbridge

Strong winds accompanying Storm Henk this week blew most of the canopy off the Victorian-era wrought-iron bridge that connects two platforms at Okehampton Station.

Gusts of 70 mile per hour blew the canopy off the bridge leaving exposed live electrical wires.

Train services were suspended temporarily until Network Rail’s contractors, Balfour Beaty, removed the wood and metal sheeting off the train line and platform.

The line was reopened the same day, but the footbridge, which we manage, remains closed until further notice.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. Our engineers are assessing the damage to help determine the best course of action to ensure that the bridge can reopen safely.

Care-experienced young people are helping to improve services

Care-experienced young people are working with us to help influence the way that staff and councillors think, behave, and deliver support to children and young people in our care and to those who are leaving care.

We are taking a look at the support we give care-experienced young people to see what that support looks and feels like from their perspective.

We’ve asked a group of 11 young people to deliver training to frontline staff across the council.

The young people delivering the training believe it’s a vital step in helping improve support available to care-experienced young people.

While we know that every young person’s individual experience of life in care is different, we also know that we can do better to understand the perspectives of young people themselves as they journey through the system.

Emily and Millie are care leavers, and are part of the team of young people who are delivering the training. They are optimistic that their training will improve how the care system works for young people.

“All workers in the service are there for a reason, and they want to help young people. I think that this training will give them a lot more insight into how to really help young people and how to support them properly, which will be amazing,” says Emily.

You can read what Emily and Millie say in the full story on our news page.

Funding to help set up a community reading space available

We’re inviting community organisations and town and parish councils in rural areas to apply for a grant to help provide access to books and reading.

Grants of up to £300 are available through The Community Support Library Fund which are aimed at helping local groups to set up a reading space alongside existing community activities or services.

Applications are welcome from town and parish councils, charities, voluntary community groups and church or faith groups that have an open and accessible space for readers to enjoy.

Grant applications from schools are also accepted where the reading facilities can be used by other groups, such as parents or by a pre-school.

The funding can be used to enhance an existing space for things like bookshelves, comfy seats, better lighting or books.

Find out more in the full story on our news page.

Weather to turn cold again

Following a very wet December and start of January, we’re expecting a spell of much colder weather for the next week – especially overnight with temperatures expected to drop below freezing.

With the high cost of living, it’s tempting to try and ride out the cold weather to avoid spending too much on heating. But being cold can have a serious impact on your health, particularly if you’re older or have a pre-existing condition, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

If you can’t heat your whole home, it’s important to try to heat the rooms you spend the most time in (for example, the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep). And remember, wearing a few thinner layers is better at trapping heat than wearing one thick layer. The NHS website has lots of useful information about staying well during the winter.

Winter weather can make driving conditions difficult and cause problems on our roads. Our gritting teams will be out treating roads on Devon’s main salting routes. Please never assume a road has been gritted though as rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming.

Drive with care and according to the conditions, allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed, and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front. Follow Devon Alert on Facebook and X for the latest travel information from our Network Operations Control Centre.

Project to inspire school students to learn digital skills announces logo competition winner

Students from schools across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay have had the opportunity to showcase their digital skills in a competition aimed at inspiring young people to consider digital careers.

It’s part of the work we’re doing to help schools promote and raise digital career opportunities among pupils aged 11 to 14-years-old.

Schools were invited to take part in the programme’s first competition, titled Marvellous Marketers, and pupils were asked to create an eye-catching logo for the project that grabs the audience’s attention, makes a strong first impression and is understood by the audience.

Twelve year old Samson Evans from Devonport High School for Boys was awarded first place, by a panel of judges.

Samson said: “I feel really happy about winning and I’m glad I entered the competition; I feel like I developed my design skills a lot!”

Find out who the runners up were in the full story on our news page.

New year, new you?

The start of a new year often sees a surge in people wanting to make changes to their lifestyle – its an opportunity for a new start and change in direction.

Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to give up smoking? Or you might want to aim for a healthier weight or be more active, but you can’t find the time or motivation. Help is available!

Stop For Life Devon provides specialist behavioural support and stop smoking products (such as nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes) to smokers looking to quit.  

The NHS Better Health website has lots of free tools and support to help you lose weight and get active.

You can also find simple ways to lift your mood with Every Mind Matters.

Devon’s economy given wide ranging support from recovery funding

The full impact that funding support has had in helping the county’s economy to recover from the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been revealed.

Thousands of people and businesses benefited from a range of projects funded by the economic support that we provided through the pandemic and beyond.

An investment of £4.5 million was provided by us towards Team Devon’s Recovery Fund as well as £8.6 million of Community Renewal Funding awarded to us in 2021/22 by the UK Government.

From March 2021 to March 2023 Devon’s Recovery Fund focused on long-term recovery through 22 projects. The £4.5 million investment helped to:

  • Support more than 2,200 businesses to adopt digital solutions, improve their business practices, incorporate green innovation or start-up
  • Create 94 new jobs​
  • Provide employment support to more than 1,400 people​ and support over 2,300 training places​
  • Plant 14,000 trees​ and support over 300 farms to become more resilient

You can read more about how funding helped to support the Devon economy during the pandemic in the story on our news page.

Migrating to Tiverton, The Flock That Rock – Tiverton Swan Trail

The Grand Western Canal will host the launch of a new sculpture trail in April.

“The Flock That Rock – Tiverton Swan Trail” will be unveiled by Mid Devon District Council and Visit Mid Devon in Easter 2024.

The project will feature 12 elegant swan sculptures, each with a unique design by a local artist. They will be placed at key locations around the town in what is being billed as “a wonderful blend of art, nature, and community”.

A 13th swan will be “swanning around” appearing in different places around the town as a pop-up for visitors to locate and to maintain interest in the trail, which will run between Easter and October half-term 2024.

With Swans regularly nesting at the canal, the trail is designed to link the popular canal destination to the town centre, promote the shopping quarters, and highlight Tiverton’s key attractions and parks.

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