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Great Torrington Town Council

Recovery support for Devon businesses

We know that businesses in Devon are facing many different struggles, from rising costs to recruitment and retention. With the current financial climate following so quickly on the heels of the pandemic, some businesses are facing very difficult decisions.

The Devon Recovery Projects are funded through Devon County Council’s Economy Service £6 million Recovery Programme which aims to support four key areas: small and medium enterprises, employment and skills, the green recovery, and the hardest hit towns and communities.

Helping Devon businesses to recover, adapt, and thrive

GetSet Adapt offers support to businesses across Devon to help them recover from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and to build back better.

Through fully funded one-to-one support and bespoke advice, GetSet Adapt will help your business to develop a robust action plan to promote rapid recovery as well as enabling future growth and sustainability. The programme includes:

  • Business Diagnostic – a review of current business model and accounts  to determine recovery strategy and tactics, and what further support your business needs
  • One-to-one Support – dedicated face-to-face sessions with a specialist Business Advisor to create a bespoke action plan for recovery and growth
  • Workshops & Masterclasses – tailored workshops/masterclasses around business resilience, business models and other key areas 
  • Online Learning – 24/7 access to interactive learning modules/resources library to help your business recover and grow
Find out more information and apply online

Get local procurement ready with Get Set to Tender

If you want to win contracts from local government, Get Set to Tender can help you to better understand procurement and tenders and enable you to bid for opportunities in the public sector.

Through a blend of 2-hour group workshops and one-to-one support, Get Set to Tender will:

  • Introduce you to procurement and tendering
  • Explore how to access public sector opportunities
  • Review your past bid performance
  • And help with a live tender bid

To apply online, please complete this short form or email admin@tendervictory.co.uk


Writing tender responses virtual workshop

The next online workshop, ‘Introduction to Procurement and Tenders’, will take place Thursday 2 February, from 11am to 1pm.

This free session will outline the key guidance and information on public sector procurement and the tender process. You will also learn where to look for tender opportunities and how to register to receive tender notifications that are relevant for your business.

If you can’t make this, you can find more upcoming workshops from Tender Victory. 

Reserve your place on this free virtual workshop

Got an idea for a business, but not sure where to start?

Devon Get Started offers practical learning and support to help you to turn your idea into a real-life project or social enterprise (a business that trades for a social purpose).

The free programme provides practical and personalised support that will help you to build confidence, learn how to identify resources, and how to avoid common mistakes when starting your own business. The support is provided through a blend of workshops, networking events, peer support activities, and one-to-one support.

The sixth programme of this course will start on Monday 20 February from 1pm to 4:30pm, and run for five weeks,. To apply, please complete this short form.

Find out more about the Devon Get Started programme

Wellbeing support for you and your business

Wellbeing Works offers an exciting opportunity for Devon-based businesses and individuals (excluding Plymouth and Torbay) to benefit from the tools, techniques, and inspiration needed to prioritise and develop wellbeing and resilience.

By taking a one-to-one Wellbeing Check-In (online and in-person), Wellbeing Works can help you to:

  • Take stock of your wellbeing and share your challenges
  • Feel inspired to take positive steps towards greater wellbeing
  • Be signposted to resources and support for your wellbeing journey

Book your wellbeing check-in online, or by calling 01392 248919.


Wellbeing virtual workshops

Wellbeing Works also offers a range of inspiring and informative free online workshops, including:

‘Wellbeing for Men & Individuals Supporting Men’, Friday 27 January 10:00am to 11:30am

‘Wellbeing at Work’, Monday 13 February, midday to 1:30pm

Find out about the upcoming wellbeing workshops

Mayor’s Charity Burns Night

My Mayor’s Charity Burns supper which was held at Great Torrington Golf Club on Friday 20th January was a resounding success. I would like to thank Mike Harper, our Piper who entertained us with everything from traditional Scottish airs, to thinly disguised modern tunes played on pipes. There were also readings including some of Burns’ own work.

All the classic ingredients were there from haggis and neeps to the obligatory speeches, and plenty of Tartan for the Lassies and the Laddies.

My thanks to the many local Mayors, dignitaries and representatives of local organisations who came along, and of course to Trish and the wonderful staff at Great Torrington Golf Club who treated us to a Burns Supper well worthy of the occasion.

Overall, a total of just under £350 was raised for my Mayors Charities, Devon Air Ambulance and First Torrington Guides.

Commons Allotment Charity Grants and Precept Grants 2023/2024 Budget

The Town Council has allocated its Commons Allotment Grant Funding (£6,840.00) as well as Precept Grant Funding (£21,400.00) for 2023/24. A full list can be viewed on the Town Council’s website.

As per last year, Members decided to keep a small pot of reserve grant funding to be made available during the period 1st April 2023 – 31st March 2024 for adhoc urgent requests for funding.

At the January Town Council Meeting Members agreed a budget for 2023/24.  The precept arrangements reflect an increase of 1.43% on the Town Council element of your council tax bill in respect of 1st April 2023 – 31st March 2024.

The increase of 1.43% equates to an increase of £1.22 per annum for a Band A property and £1.43 per annum for a Band B property compared to last year. (Town Council element of increase only). Full details of increases for all Bands will be available on the Council’s website in due course.

Jennie Smithson (Town Clerk)

Great Torrington Town Council

Christmas 12 Days of Christmas – Window Spotting Competition Winner

We are pleased to announce that the winners of the “12 Days of Christmas” Window Spotting competition were Poppy and Tilly Coates!  They were presented with their prize by Assistant Town Clerk Charlotte Kirby just before Christmas.

A huge “Thank you” to the Knit and Natter group for all of the hard work which went into knitting all 78 festive creations.  We are sure you agree, they all looked beautiful as they adorned the various shop windows.

RURAL COST OF LIVING SURVEY

Research suggests that rural areas are suffering more from the cost of living crisis than urban areas, with a lack of public transport connectivity and high fuel costs. Take the “Rural Cost of Living Survey” from the Rural Services Network and share your feedback about how the crisis is impacting you and your community. Closes 31st March 2023.

Take the survey here: https://rsnonline.org.uk/suffering-from-the-rural-cost-of-living-make-your-thoughts-known-in-household-survey

Devon Communities Together also have their own cost of living website page, featuring the Big Energy Saving Network and the Devon Oil Collective, both of which aim to tackle heating and fuel insecurities. Click here to see how DCT is helping to support people in Devon: https://www.devoncommunities.org.uk/cost-living-crisis-support

Post expires at 8:34am on Saturday April 1st, 2023

A massive THANK YOU to our amazing gritter drivers! New funding for Devon projects; Teachers’ strike; Let’s Talk Pre-Teens, and more!

Let’s talk about the weather!


It’s been a cold week, hasn’t it? Many of our services, and those we’re responsible for, have been busy making sure people are safe and well during this latest cold weather snap, and that our roads are clear as best we can.

We started the week echoing a call from the UK Health Security Agency, (UKHSA), encouraging people to stay warm, but also asking everyone to look out for those most at risk from the effects of cold.

The cold weather can have a serious impact on health, especially older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. It increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

The day-time temperatures have got a little warmer this week, but it’s remained cold at night. The UKHSA has been advising you to:

  • heat your home to a temperture that’s comfortable for you. In rooms you use most, such as living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18 degrees Centigrade, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition
  • keep bedroom windows closed at night
  • wear several layers of clothing to keep warm, rather than one thicker layer

We created a special edition of this bulletin, with information and advice about the cold weather. If you missed it, you can read it here.

A massive “Thank You” to our amazing gritter drivers

Devon’s gritters have been out every night this week, working right through to keep motorists safe.

Our gritter team, shown above, are amazing, showing commitment and dedication to ensure our major routes across the county are treated.

And it can be a dangerous job – just this week one of our gritters overturned on the ice in the early hours, near Totnes.

Fortunately our driver sustained only minor injuries and was discharged from care at the scene, but it highlights the dangers that our drivers face on the front line.

We’d all like to thank them for the work they do.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, our Cabinet Member responsible for Highway Management, said:

“I want to thank the team for their dedication and commitment for heading out when the rest of us are being advised not to. We have had some extremely low temperatures and challenging conditions this week, and our teams have worked tirelessly to keep our roads as safe as possible.

“Particular thanks and thoughts for our driver involved with the incident, which illustrates the hazardous conditions that our gritter drivers contend with on a regular basis. Luckily he wasn’t injured more seriously, but we wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery.”

Levelling Up funding for projects in Devon

Multi-million pound schemes to improve transport links in Exmouth and Okehampton are among more than 100 projects receiving a share of £2.1 billion through the Government’s latest round of Levelling Up funding.

We’ve been awarded £15.7 million to complete the Dinan Way link in Exmouth, and West Devon Borough Council has successfully received £13.4 million to develop a new railway station on the eastern edge of Okehampton.

The funding for the Destination Exmouth project will enable the completion of Dinan Way link road, helping to tackle congestion and remove traffic from the town centre. The project, which is also supported by East Devon District Council, will improve walking and cycling routes as well as enhancing the town’s transport hub.

The West Devon Transport Hub will build on the successful reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line in November 2021. As well as a new station on the outskirts of Okehampton, the scheme will also include cycle facilities and electric vehicle charging points to promote active travel and green travel.

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

Community tree planting days

More than 16,500 trees are due to be planted in Devon this winter through the Emergency Tree Fund initiative. 

We have been offering free packs of trees to landowners and communities within Devon for a second year thanks to the Emergency Tree Fund granted by The Woodland Trust. The initiative is enabling private landowners, as well as town and parish councils, to plant trees as part of the response to tackle the Climate Emergency and achieve carbon net zero targets.

We’re now looking for volunteers to help plant the trees at locations across the county. If you’d like to get involved, please fill out this form and we’ll send you a timetable of volunteer tree planting events for this season and in the future. We’d love your help! It would be tree-mendous!

Teachers’ strike action announced

The National Education Union (NEU) has confirmed industrial action will take place in February and March.

Only the NEU’s teacher members have currently met the threshold for industrial action, therefore it will only be the relevant school and centrally employed teachers striking; support staff are not included.

Action will take place both nationally and regionally on different days. Strikes are scheduled in the south-west on Wednesday 1 February, Thursday 2 March, Wednesday 15 March and Thursday 16 March.

Schools will take all reasonable steps to remain open for as many pupils as possible, however, there may be some disruption and potential school closures if they do not have sufficient resources. Priority will be given to vulnerable children and young people as well as children of critical workers. Schools will contact parents as soon as possible if they need to close or restrict the number of pupils in school.

New films support vaccines and health checks for people with a learning disability

People who have a learning disability and those who care for them are being reminded that it’s not too late for them to have a free flu vaccination and additional COVID-19 booster.

Preventing COVID-19 and flu is particularly important for people with learning disabilities, who are much more vulnerable to both viruses.

We’ve launched a series of three new films, in partnership with NHS Devon to highlight the importance of having both the vaccinations and annual health checks.

The films follow Damon, who has a learning disability and is needle phobic as he has his vaccination and Kylie, who also has a learning disability and is a carer for her mum.

You can watch the films and find out more on the One Devon website.

Magdalen Road Enhancement Scheme

Work to make permanent improvements on Magdalen Road, Exeter, started this week.

Shops and businesses on Magdalen Road are all open as usual, and customer parking is still available during this first phase of the work.

The improvements will see a wider footpath, contra-flow cycle lane and additional planting, to make it a greener more enjoyable space.

Visit our website for more information.

Libraries Unlimited launches new fundraising lottery

A chance to win £25,000 each week and support vital library services in Devon is on offer with the new Libraries Unlimited weekly charity lottery.

Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 per week. As well as the potential £25,000 top prize, there will be other chances to win shopping vouchers, food subscriptions and Christmas hampers.

The first draw takes place on Saturday 28 January.

Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs libraries in Devon on our behalf, will receive 50 per cent of every ticket bought, with all proceeds going back into providing library services.

The new lottery will be run with the help of One Lottery. For more information and to sign up, please visit the One Lottery website.

Are you a parent or carer of a young person aged 9 to 12 years old?

Join the Let’s Talk Pre-teens online sessions and learn more about some of the challenges they face today, and the tools you can use to support them. 

Tuesday 24 January 2023:

  • Relationships
  • Exploitation
  • Pornography
  • Societal stereotypes

Tuesday 31 January 2023:

  • Physical risks
  • Safety planning
  • Mental health
  • Self care

Find out more and book your free place via the Eventbrite website.

Face coverings no longer routinely required across NHS services

In light of the reduced number of flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases cases, the NHS in Devon has announced that visitors, staff and patients are no longer routinely required to wear face coverings when accessing their services, unless they would prefer to.

To help keep the most vulnerable patients safe and to help protect visitors, there are some exceptions to this:

  • in settings (inpatient or outpatient) where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression, for example, oncology/haematology and renal services, visitors will be asked to wear a facemask
  • visitors will be asked to wear a surgical facemask if visiting a high-risk area or a patient with suspected/known COVID-19
  • individuals accompanying patients to the Emergency Department and admission areas will continue to be encouraged to wear face coverings

Please do not visit if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or flu or any other infection (such as diarrhoea and vomiting).

For more information on visiting, please see the NHS website.

New, easier and quicker way to contact us

We want to make sure that children and families in Devon get the right support, in the right place, at the right time. So, to make contacting us easier, to request early help support or to report a safeguarding concern, we’ve introduced a new, quick and easy-to-use, online form that you can use from your mobile phone or tablet.

You submit the form, and our team of professionals will review the request and assess what support is appropriate.

If you’re not online and want to make a request or report a concern, you can still ring us on 0345 155 1071 or send an email to mashsecure@devon.gov.uk.

The Devon Children and Families Partnership website has lots of useful information about keeping children safe and how our Early Help and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub works to support children in Devon.

If a child is at immediate risk contact the police on 999.

Stay safe during the cold weather

Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice

With the return of the cold weather, the Met Office has issued two yellow severe weather warnings covering Devon and our neighbouring counties in the South West.

It means that there’s a likely chance that snow and ice will cause some disruption, particularly on untreated roads, cycle paths and pavements. 

The recent very wet weather, combined with sub-zero temperatures overnight this week, mean that any water on the roads will freeze, causing difficult driving conditions due to icy stretches. There is also the possibility of wintry showers on higher ground.

Our gritters will continue carrying out multiple treatments on all 2,000 miles of the county’s main precautionary gritting routes and around 14 miles of cycle routes around Exeter. Devon’s volunteer snow wardens are being advised to be ready to treat their priority routes in their local communities.

Travelling during cold weather

Winter weather can make driving conditions difficult and cause problems on our roads. 

Issues such as ice, standing water and potholes can be reported via our Report a Problem webpage, but please check on the website if the issue has already been reported.

If you have to travel on our roads during this cold spell, please remember:

  • never assume a road has been salted. Rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming
  • allow additional time for your journey
  • reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front
  • drive with care and according to the conditions
  • listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications

For more information and travel advice visit our winter travel webpages or for updates from our Network Operations Control Centre, follow @DevonAlert on Twitter and Facebook.

Being cold can risk your health

With the cost of living increasing, it’s tempting to try and ride out the cold weather to avoid spending too much on heating.

But for some people, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, being cold can be harder for their bodies to manage. For example, the cold puts more pressure on our hearts and circulation and can therefore increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack, as well as hypothermia. 

Heat your home to a temperature that’s comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, such as your living room and bedroom. This is particularly important if you have a health condition.  It’s best to keep your bedroom windows closed at night, and remember that wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.

The NHS website has lots of useful information about staying well during the winter.

We’re working to keep you moving

With the arrival of another cold spell, our gritting teams are out in force treating roads on Devon’s primary, secondary and precautionary salting routes.

We’ve previously published a special edition of this newsletter about our winter gritting service.

It tells you how we make the decision for gritters to go out, and when and where we salt. It includes advice about driving on icy or wet roads, and invites you to find out what you could do as a snow warden to help keep your local roads clear of ice or snow. If you missed it, you can read it online.

Staying warm safely

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is asking you to stay warm safely and not put yourself at risk this winter.

If you’re using a portable heater to heat a small area, be aware that they can be a serious fire hazard. Heaters should always be placed at least one metre away from curtains, bedding and upholstery (never dry washing on them!) and switched off and unplugged before you go out or go to bed. An oil-filled radiator is the safest type of portable heater as they don’t have any exposed heating elements.

If you have an open fire or wood burner, make sure you have your chimney swept and only burn seasoned wood. Other wood may have moisture which can create tar in the chimney, which is highly flammable and can lead to chimney fires.

You should have working smoke alarms on every level of your home so you’re alerted quickly in the event of a fire. It’s also recommended that you have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where fuel is burnt (this includes boilers, gas cookers and ovens, open fires, and log burners).

For more advice and support to stay warm safely this winter, please visit the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue website.

Libraries are offering a warm welcome

Don’t forget that libraries around Devon are continuing to throw their doors open to help communities find warmth and overcome loneliness this winter.

The ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign has already seen customers enjoying everything from free hot drinks to crafts and making new friends in their local libraries. Now it’s being extended into the first few months of 2023 to continue to offer the huge range of support which has proved so popular.

Individual libraries have taken up the challenge with enthusiasm, so please visit the news page of our website to read the full story and find out what they’ve been up to. 

Join Devon’s libraries for free

Take moor care if there’s snow on the moors

If there is snow on the moors and you are planning a trip to head up and enjoy it, please do still be respectful. Please,

  • park sensibly and do not block roads or gates
  • do not trespass onto private fields to go sledging
  • drive carefully as not all roads are treated

We all love our moors and want to keep them special – please leave no trace, give nature space. For more information visit the Dartmoor National Park website, or the Exmoor National Park website.