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Great Torrington Town Council

Recommendations to improve ambulance waiting times; Kingsbridge Community Works; Not too late for COVID-19 vaccinations; Financial support and cost of living; EV charge points ready for use

(Left to right) Thomas Janman, Emma Carter (from local fishmongers Catch of the Day) and Tristan Powlesland.

Kingsbridge Community Works celebrates first anniversary

This week, we’ve been celebrating Learning Disability Week, and an initiative that’s enjoying its one year anniversary since launch.

Kingsbridge Community Works is a unique project run by our adult education service, Learn Devon, with the aim of supporting traders in the town, while also teaching digital and work skills to learners with learning disabilities.

The project is working with more than 64 local businesses, and it’s helping people with learning disabilities gain new skills to design and produce flyers to promote those businesses, and distribute them in the local community.

Thomas Janman from Blackawton, said:

“Kingsbridge Community Works helped me get out and about after lockdown. It’s made me go into places I haven’t been in before. It has helped my confidence to speak to people I don’t know. I can now use Microsoft SWAY and Canva to design things and really like helping others to use it too.”

Some of the learners have gone on to gain employment locally. Louise Thomson from Kingsbridge says it’s helped her feel more confident.

“I am excited about starting my new job and I feel ready to work in an office because of the skills I’ve learned from my courses with Learn Devon and Kingsbridge Community Works.”

You can read more about how the project has helped others learn important work skills in the news story on our website.

An ambulance parked outside a hospital

Review makes recommendations to improve ambulance times

One of the democratic roles we have is having oversight and scrutiny of health and care services in Devon.

The independent Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee met this week to discuss the South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (SWAST) response times over the winter, which official figures show were slower than the national average.

The same data also shows that waiting times at acute hospitals in Devon were also longer than national averages over that period. 

The committee held a ‘spotlight review’ at which leaders in health and care, including NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, SWAST, and us, shared our collective knowledge and expertise.

They agreed that an urgent ‘system-wide’ commitment to improve average response times is needed, and that all of Devon’s acute hospitals should adopt the Rapid Patient Assessment and Triage model that is used by the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The review also highlighted the importance of Minor Injury Units (MIUs), and the committee agreed that MIUs with regular service hours and minimum standards should be available across Devon.

And they concluded that a campaign to inform people how and where to access urgent and non-urgent medical support and mental health support is needed.

You can read what the Chairman of the SWAST spotlight review said in the news story on our website. 


Elderly man receiving his vaccination

How to get your COVID-19 vaccination this summer

The COVID-19 spring booster programme draws to a close this month, but it’s not too late for people who are eligible to have their vaccination, because clinics will still run over the summer.

People turning 75 on or after Friday 1 July will not be eligible for the spring booster, however anyone who is eligible on Thursday 30 June will still be able to have their vaccination during July, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said.

Anyone who is 75 and over, immunosuppressed or a resident of a care home on the 30 June, will still be able to have their spring booster vaccination. People who are immunosuppressed include those who are undergoing chemotherapy, have leukaemia or have had an organ transplant.

If you’re in this group, you can check with your GP or consultant if you are unsure whether you are eligible. NHS Devon Chief Nurse, Darryn Allcorn, said:

“We want to ensure that the people who are most at risk of COVID-19 are protected over the summer. We know people are more likely to socialise outside this time of year, but COVID-19 is still in circulation. If you haven’t yet had your spring booster, I would encourage you to book or visit one of our walk-in sessions.”

Vaccination appointments can be made online or by calling 119 and details of walk in clinics are available here.

A further booster is planned this autumn, in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice.

You can read more about how to get your COVID-19 vaccination this summer on NHS Devon CCG’s website.


Head and shoulders photograph of Phil Norrey stood in the committee suite at County Hall, Exeter

Devon Chief Executive to retire

Our long-serving chief executive, Phil Norrey, has announced his retirement this week.

Dr Norrey has held the post since 2006 and is the longest-serving chief executive in the council’s history.

He joined the authority in 1998 as Deputy Director of Education before being promoted to Director of Education.

Dr Norrey, who will be 60 next year, said it was the right time for him to leave and hand over to his successor as a new senior management team takes shape at County Hall.

You can read what Phil Norrey said about his announcement, and what the Leader of our council said, in the news story on our website.


Make a child friendly Devon

What’s your wish for Devon?

Our ambition is to create an even better place for children and young people to grow up in – a Child Friendly Devon.

As part of this work, we are creating a new visual identity and vision for Child Friendly Devon, and we need your help!

Earlier this week we sent out a special edition of our ‘children families and education’ Connect Me newsletter with details of how you can get involved, and shape the county you want your family to live and grow up in.

There’s a survey for parents, carers and guardians to share their thoughts and opinions. 

And we’re asking all children to show us how they would make where they live an even better place to grow up! They can respond in any creative way they choose – a picture, a story or poem, a video, whatever inspires them!

If you missed it, or you don’t subscribe yet, you can catch up online 

small wooden house on top of a calculator

Financial support for households struggling to pay for energy, food and other essential items

The cost of living is affecting us all. Rising inflation and energy prices are hitting households hard, adding substantial amounts to our annual bills.

We’re keeping advice and guidance up to date on our website to help people in Devon with their rising costs.

Earlier this week we also sent out a special edition of this newsletter with information about support that is available. 

It includes details about how we’re using the £5 million allocated to us by the government to support low-income families through the Household Support Fund.

If you missed it, you can catch up online.

Members of the Celebrating Windrush in Devon group, are joined by our Chairman Ian Hall, and Chief Executive Dr Phil Norrey, to raise the flag

Devon Windrush Flag has been raised over County Hall

We marked Windrush Day this week, raising the flag over County Hall to celebrate 74 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks, and its passengers began new lives in Britain.

The flag raising was attended by members of the Celebrating Windrush in Devon group, who designed the flag, and by our Chairman, Cllr Ian Hall, and Chief Executive, Phil Norrey.

Windrush Day is an opportunity for people to recognise the contribution of Caribbean immigrants from countries including Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent, Guyana, and Jamaica, and the role they played to help rebuild a devastated and war-weary Britain.

Faye Doris, Retired Associate Professor of Midwifery and member of the Devon Windrush Group, said:

“Windrush Day is a day of acknowledging heritage, reflecting on our arrival and the contributions that we have made to the United Kingdom – and sharing this with colleagues.”

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

People stood posing for the camera alongside a car that is plugged in to an EV charging point.

New electric vehicle charging points are ready for use

The first of 80 Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points we’re planning for 38 public carparks across Devon over the next 12 months are ready for public use.

The charge points are at Dawlish’s Barton Car Park and Dartmouth’s Mayors Avenue Car Park. Each has at least two charging bays. 

The bays are fully accessible, and the spaces will be for the sole use of electric vehicle charging.

We have delivered the scheme thanks to our partners North Devon Council, Teignbridge District Council, East Devon District Council, West Devon Borough Council, South Hams District Council, ScottishPower, and Devon Climate Emergency (DCE).

The charge points are compatible with all makes of EVs and will fully charge a 50 kWh battery in two to four hours, providing a range of up to 200 miles depending on vehicle specification.

You can read more about the roll out of EV charge points in Devon in the news story on our website. 

Read more at devon.gov.uk/news

Torridge District Council – Job Vacancies

Cleansing Operative – DEADLINE 29TH JUNE 2022

£18,516 – £18,887 per annum, pro rata | Full Time, 37 hours per week (plus overtime) | Permanent

The successful candidate will be responsible for the cleansing and security of the public toilets, emptying litter bins, dog bins, hand sweeping and assisting with cleansing, refuse and recycling within the Torridge area. This role is primarily based in Bideford and the successful candidate will be required to work 37 hours per week, you will also be required to work up to a further 16 hours overtime per fortnight on a rota basis which includes weekend working. A full UK driving licence is essential.

How to apply!

Parking Services Administrator – CLOSING DATE 13TH JULY 2022

£19,650 – £20,852 per annum, pro rata (Actual Salary £9,824 – £10,425 per annum)| Permanent | Part Time (18.5 hours per week)

The successful candidate will support the day to day running of Parking Services, assisting with enquires/disputes relating to Penalty Charge Notices and other parking matters, raise invoices/purchases orders, issue parking permits and general admin duties.

For more information or to apply please visit : https://careers.torridge.gov.uk

Post expires at 7:00am on Thursday July 14th, 2022

Torridge District Council to provide further support using the Household Support Fund

As part of the Household Support Fund, Torridge District Council have announced a further payment for all pensioners in receipt of local council tax support. The payment will automatically be applied to anyone  that was in receipt of council tax support on or before 6th June 2022 and will be in the form of a £90 voucher that can be exchanged at any post office for cash. Anybody who has already applied for council tax support prior to 6th June and is subsequently found to be eligible will also receive a voucher under the scheme. It is estimated that around 2,100 households in Torridge will benefit under the scheme.

Residents eligible for the one-off payment will be contacted directly, by letter, with information about the fund and how the payment will be made. A second letter will then be issued with the voucher included, this can then be taken to any Post Office branch and exchanged for cash. Eligible residents will receive their vouchers before the 18th July.

Issuing Post Office vouchers has been determined as the most appropriate method to enable people to quickly and easily access the payment, and will ensure the money is distributed as efficiently as possible.

Alongside other Devon Local Authorities Torridge has looked at directing support to those that may be finding it most difficult to manage higher bills. The £90 can be used towards any bills including utilities (gas, electricity and water); food; essential items such as clothing, blankets and heaters, white goods or any other costs or household items.

Councillor Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council Said:

“The Council recognises that we are living in very difficult times and we hope this extra support will help people with their higher costs and stretched finances. We have tried to make the process as easy as possible and eligible households will not need to provide the Council with any personal or financial details or contact the Council to receive the voucher.”

For more information or to find out what other support is available, people should visit: www.torridge.gov.uk/householdsupportfund or email household90@torridge.gov.uk.

Dr Harry Cramp MBE – Funeral service Wednesday 29th June 2022 at 2pm (link available for those unable to attend)

A funeral service for Dr Harry Cramp MBE will take place at St Michael & All Angels Church on Wednesday, June 29th at 2pm. The interment at Great Torrington Cemetery is for family only, but everyone is invited to join them in the Town Hall afterwards to raise a toast.

The cortège will also make its way around the Square beforehand from 1.30; feel free to sign the book of condolence, which will be in both the church and the Town Hall.

If unable to attend the funeral there will be a live stream which can be accessed via the following link: https://morphav.tv/harry-cramp/

Are you struggling with the cost of living?

The cost of living is affecting us all. Rising inflation and energy prices are hitting households hard, adding substantial amounts to our annual bills.

The BBC reports today that prices for food, energy and fuel are continuing to rise at their fastest rate for 40 years, with Office for National Statistics data indicating that UK inflation is now up to 9.1 per cent in the 12 months to May.

The government has said that its £200 energy rebate in October will be doubled to £400, and will no longer have to be repaid. And that a £650, paid in two lump sums, will be available to support the country’s most vulnerable people in receipt of means-tested benefits. You can read more about that on the government’s website.

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, has also published a helpful ‘Cost of living crisis survival guide’ on his website signposting to available support.

image shows a model of a miniature house sitting on top of a calculator

Supporting Devon residents

We’ve published some helpful information and guidance on our website, to help people in Devon who are struggling to meet the rising costs of living.

Household Support Fund

We’ve been allocated around £5 million by the government to support low income families. It’s a scheme called the Household Support Fund and it runs until September 2022.

Its purpose is to provide rapid short-term financial support to households who may be struggling to afford to pay for their energy, water, food or other essential items.

Because it’s the government’s money, there are conditions on how it can be allocated. At least a third of it must support households in which there are children or young people; at least another third must also support households that include people of state pensionable age; and the rest can be used to support other vulnerable households who are struggling to pay for food, energy, water and other essential bills.

We’re working with Citizen’s Advice Devon.

We’re using some of the funding available to work with Citizen’s Advice Devon to manage an Energy Relief Scheme for people using pre-payment meters and who are struggling to meet their energy needs. Pre-payment meters are often used by people on lower incomes as a way to help them budget, but they can result in people paying more for their energy requirements.

If you are struggling with bills or worried about debt, you don’t need to struggle alone. You can get advice from Citizens Advice onlineover the phone, or by contacting your local Citizens Advice office.


Young children sitting at school having their lunch. They are smiling, chatting and eating their lunch.

Has your income changed?

If your family income has changed and you are struggling to pay food bills, we encourage you to check your eligibility and apply for free school meals.

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 at state schools in England automatically get free school meals. From year 3 onwards, children whose parents are receiving any of a range of benefits are entitled to free school meals during term time.

Support with meals during the school holidays

Families eligible for benefits-related free school meals will also receive supermarket vouchers to help pay for their food shopping at a range of supermarkets for six weeks over the summer holidays.

Parents and carers of children currently receiving benefits-related free school meals have been sent a letter or email with information about how to access their vouchers.

Please get in touch with our free school meals team if you’re are expecting to receive one but don’t. You can email them at freeschoolmeals@devon.gov.uk or call our education helpline on 0345 155 1019.

Free holiday activities and meals this Summer

Children aged five to 16 years old who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals are also invited to take up an action-packed summer holiday this year, as part of our Holiday Activities and Food programme.

It’s to provide free physical activities and healthy, nutritional, hot meals during the school holidays.

We have 40,000 places available over four weeks during the summer holidays, including a range of sports and coaching opportunities, indoor and outdoor play activities; outings to local parks and beaches; magic and circus skills; film making; arts and crafts; music; cooking; theatre workshops; yoga and mindfulness; and a lot more!

For a list of the activities available, where and when, please visit our Holiday Activities and Food programme website.

Healthy Start Scheme

If you’re more than ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, and receive certain benefits, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money added every four weeks that you can use in some UK shops. 

You can use your card to buy cow’s milk; fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables; fresh, dried, and tinned pulses and infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.

You can also use your card to collect Healthy Start vitamins to support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and vitamin drops for babies and young children – suitable from birth to four years old.

Find out more, including how to apply, on the NHS Healthy Start website.

Man working to fix solar panels on the roof of a house

Helping you save on household energy bills

If you have a household income of less than £30,000 a year, you may be eligible for free energy efficiency improvements to your home worth thousands of pounds, which is better for the environment and your pocket.

You can find out more on the Cosy Devon website.

Read more at devon.gov.uk/news

Free holiday activities with meals this summer; COVID-19 figures still low but rising slightly and we’re returning to the Devon County Show

Boy playing football, in goals

Places now available for free holiday activities with meals this summer

Places are now available for children from across Devon, aged five to 16 years old, who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals, to take part in holiday activities with meals this summer.

It’s our Holiday Activities and Food programme, providing free physical activities as well as healthy, nutritional, hot meals, for four weeks over the summer break.

This time, we’ve got 40,000 places available for a range of activities including sports and coaching opportunities; indoor and outdoor play activities; outings to local parks and beaches; magic and circus skills; film making, arts and crafts; music; cooking; theatre workshops; yoga and mindfulness, and a lot more.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, our Cabinet Member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

“School holidays can be difficult for some families, with added costs of food for example – especially now with rising food prices. For some, it can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children possibly more likely to feel social isolation and less likely to enjoy healthy exercise.

“We know young people value this time, and we’re delighted once again to be working with even more providers this summer to arrange an even fuller programme.”

You can read the full story, with details about how to book, on the news page of our website.


Coronavirus cell

Coronavirus figures still low but rising slightly

The latest COVID-19 surveillance report from the government’s UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that case rates have increased, including the numbers of people in hospital with coronavirus.

Here in Devon cases of the virus have also risen slightly, with the latest Office of National Statistics data estimating that 2.3 per cent of Devon’s population, or around one in 45 people in the county, currently have the virus.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:

“It may not make news headlines anymore, but we are continuing to see new positive cases of coronavirus on a daily basis in Devon, among people of all ages. 

“Thankfully, with most people vaccinated, the virus isn’t having the impact it once had, and most people are experiencing symptoms similar to the common cold or flu.

“With no rules to enforce, it’s reassuring to see anecdotally an awareness of risk, and that people are choosing to keep themselves to themselves when they’re feeling under the weather. 

“I would still encourage people, when showing symptoms of a virus, to continue to stay home for five days if they can, which is the period during which people are most infectious, and avoiding older or vulnerable friends and relatives especially.”

You can read what the UKHSA has said about the latest report on their website.

photo taken at a previous Devon County Show, of a crowd watching an equestrian display

We are returning to the Devon County Show!

We and our partners will once again be sharing a stand at the Devon County Show, from Thursday 30 June to Saturday 2 July.

Our stand area this year will reflect many of our priority themes, including climate, children and young people, economic recovery, and improving health and wellbeing.

And with our range of themes, we’ll have an exciting and varied mix of activities and things to come and see and do.

One of our main priorities is how we help Devon to be a better place for children and young people, and we’ll have children’s services representatives on the stand.

We’ll have information about our Holiday Activities and Food programme this summer, as well as advice about childcare funding, employment opportunities working with children; Fostering Devon, and more.

We look forward to welcoming you in our usual place: Road 8, Stand 260.

You can read more about what’s on our stand this year in the news story on our website.

Out in the sun?  Beat the heat by keeping cool, drinking lots of water and wearing sun cream to protect against high UV.

It’s hot out there!

Most of us welcome the arrival of summer, with the chance to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather. But when it’s too hot for too long, there are health risks. In England, there are on average 2,000 heat related deaths every year.

The main risks during hot weather are:

We’ve put together a special edition of this newsletter to share top tips for staying safe in the summer sunshine and urge you to look out for those in our communities who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated.

If you missed it, you can catch up online.

Make a child friendly Devon

Making a Child Friendly Devon

Our new Strategic Plan vision for a Child Friendly Devon makes it clear that we’re ambitious for this to be the best place for all children to grow up – have the best outcomes, to live an independent and healthy life and to achieve their full potential.

As part of that ambition, a new visual identity for Child Friendly Devon is being created and we’re engaging with a range of people, including children and young people, to help shape the identity.

You can get involved by completing a short survey and sharing it with as many contacts as possible. To share your thoughts before Friday 24 June, visit Wish for Devon.

Plastic bottles on the ground, against a brick wall.

Join us in the Refill revolution!

This week it’s been World Refill Day. It’s a campaign that we support that encourages people to stop using products with single-use packaging, such as for some food and drinks.

To make that easier, you can download a Refill app to your mobile device that tells you which of your local retailers encourage you to do that.

There are nearly 1,000 retailers in Devon listed on the app, and it’s not just about re-filling your drinks bottle. The app points you to Refill and Zero Waste Stores, where customers can reuse and refill containers again and again with anything from coffee beans, rice and pasta, to cereals, spices, cooking oil, and some personal care items like soap or shampoo.

Did you know that an estimated 800 plastic bottles per minute end up being disposed of as litter in the UK, and often make their way into our waterways and out to sea.

We can all do our bit to prevent that. Read more about the free Refill App on the Refill website.

grey van

Household van users can now apply for free permit to use at Newton Abbot and East Devon recycling centres

If you own a van for private use and visit the Brunel Road (Newton Abbot), Knowle Hill (Exmouth), Sutton Barton (Honiton) or Sidmouth Recycling Centres, please note that from Monday 4 July you will need a permit – and from today you can apply, online, for free. 

The new permit asks those living in the Devon County Council administrative area with privately registered panel vans or flat-bed vans, to hold a permit to use these sites. The system has been in operation at Exton Road and Pinbrook Road in Exeter since April.

It’s being introduced to help reduce commercial waste from being deposited at the sites at public expense. It will also help make it easier for residents, to use the sites by reducing queues and congestion. 

Once the permit has been received, the holder will be entitled to a total of 12 visits over the next 12 months. The permits will only be issued to vans registered to individual residents and not to vehicles registered to businesses.

Cars, pick-ups, bicycles, motorcycles, fully-fitted campervans and minibuses, vans modified for wheelchairs and van-based people carriers won’t need a permit.

Vans hired out by a householder  will also not need a permit, but terms and conditions apply. 

To apply for a permit and view all the information (including the terms and conditions) please see our van permit scheme webpage.

Read more at devon.gov.uk/news

Job Opportunity – Great Torrington Town Council Town Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer

Great Torrington Town Council are looking to appoint a new Town Clerk who will undertake the statutory duties, ensuring the instructions of the Council are carried out and advise and assist with matters relating to the interest of the Town Council and developments affecting the local community.

Salary £34,373-£36,371 (SP 30-32) per annum pro rata

25 hours per week plus evening and weekend work (Hours allocated in addition to 25 hours)

For an informal discussion regarding the post please contact Karen Chapman on 01805 626135.

Further details including a job description/essential criteria and an application form are available below or email admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

Closing Date: Friday 8th July – 12 Noon

Interview Date: Wednesday 13th July 2022

Post expires at 8:00am on Friday July 8th, 2022

Beat the heat and look out for most vulnerable in our communities as temperatures continue soar

It’s hot out there!

The Met Office has said temperatures will continue to rise this week, and it is likely to be very hot here in the south-west on Friday.

Most of us welcome the arrival of summer, with the chance to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather. But when it’s too hot for too long, there are health risks. In England, there are on average 2,000 heat related deaths every year.

We’ve put together this special edition of our newsletter to share top tips for staying safe in the summer sunshine and urge you to look out for those in our communities who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated.


The main risks during hot weather are:

Older people, people with long term conditions and young children may need help keeping cool

Take extra care if you are vulnerable and look out for those most at risk

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, is urging residents to beat the heat and look out for the most vulnerable in our communities as temperatures look set to soar this week. He says:

“Devon is a great place to be whatever the weather, and when the sun shines everyone is more likely to be enjoying the great outdoors.  

“But the summer heat can be dangerous, so please make sure you stay safe in the sun by covering up, using sunscreen and keeping hydrated. It’s also a good idea to avoid being out in the peak heat from around 11am to 3pm, and find ways to stay cool such as moving to shaded areas, taking cool showers and keeping curtains closed during the day.

“Please also look out for the most vulnerable in our communities over the summer months. Although much of the advice about beating the heat is common sense, some people may need extra help coping with the hot weather and keeping cool.

“It’s vital we all follow the advice and adapt what we do when needed, so we don’t put our local NHS services under any more pressure.”


The heat can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people – especially those over 75 years old
  • those who live on their own or in a care home
  • people who have a serious or long-term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabeteskidney diseaseParkinson’s disease or some mental health conditions
  • those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and very young children, people who are bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer’s disease
  • people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside

Top tips for staying safe in the heat

Keeping cool in hot weather. If you or other feel unwell, move to a cool place and rehydrate

Stay hydrated

Sweating is your body’s natural way of keeping you cool. Some sweat evaporates from your skin, taking heat with it, the rest runs down your face and body.

We sweat more in hot weather, so it’s really important to drink lots of water to replace what our bodies have lost. It also helps cool the body and prevents heat exhaustion. Our physical thirst is not a very reliable indicator of how dehydrated we are (urine colour is better), so you should try to drink plenty before you feel parched. Try not to drink caffeine or alcohol, as they are diuretics that can increase dehydration.

Foods with high water content such as strawberries, cucumber, lettuce, celery and melon can also help you stay hydrated. Try to avoid large, heavy meals laden with carbohydrates and protein because they take more digesting, which in turn produces more body heat.

Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it’s not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem. Visit the NHS website to find out more about how to spot the signs of dehydration and reduce the risk.

Never leave infants, young children or animals in a closed/ locked parked vehicle while the weather is hot

Keep cool

If you are going outside

Try to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm when the UV rays are strongest. Stay in the shade, drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat. Cold showers, filling up a hot water bottle with ice and blotting your skin with damp, cold cloth can help keep you cool. You should also avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day.

What to wear

What we wear can make a real difference to how our bodies handle heat. Avoid the temptation to strip off, because you may be at greater risk of sunburn, which can affect your body’s ability to cool itself. Instead wear light colours (dark colours absorb more of the light, converting it into heat) and loose cotton or linen garments that are more breathable, absorbent and encourage ventilation.

Beware cold water

If you’re heading to the coast, please remember that water temperatures remain dangerously cold. As inviting as it looks, don’t just jump straight in to the sea as cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably, and you could breathe in water and drown. If you get into trouble in the water, the RNLI urge you to remember ‘Float to Live’ – resist the urge to thrash about, instead lean back, extend your arms and legs and gently move them around to stay afloat, once you can control your breathing, call for help or swim to safety.

If you are inside

If you’re indoors, close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, spend time in cooler parts of the house (especially for sleeping), open windows when the air feels cooler outside and try to get air flowing through your home. Placing a bowl of ice at an angle in front of a fan can also help cool the air indoors.

Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially young children and animals.

Cartoon sunscreen bottles

Avoid sunburn

Sunburn is hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. You can treat it yourself, and it usually gets better within seven days.

You can treat sunburn yourself by:

  • getting out of the sun as soon as possible
  • cooling your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel
  • applying after-sun cream or spray
  • drinking plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
  • taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
  • covering sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed

Don’t put petroleum jelly or ice/ ice packs on sunburnt skin, and avoid wearing tight fitting clothes and removing any peeling skin.

If you feel like you need additional treatment, speak to a pharmacist. 

If your sunburn is severe your skin may also blister and you may feel tired, dizzy or sick. Severe sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be very serious. You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Out in the sun?  Beat the heat by keeping cool, drinking lots of water and wearing sun cream to protect against high UV.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature, headache, loss of appetite, feeling dizzy or shortness of breath during hot weather, you should consider the possibility of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion they need to be cooled down. The NHS advises that there are four things you can do to cool someone down and they should feel better within 30 minutes, which are:

  • move them to a cool place
  • get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly
  • get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK
  • cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too

Stay with them until they are better and call 999 if the person is:

  • no better after 30 minutes
  • still feeling hot and dry
  • not sweating even though they are too hot
  • showing a temperature that’s risen to 40°C or above
  • experiencing rapid or shortness of breath or is confused, has a fit or loses consciousness

Any of these could be a sign of heatstroke which is a medical emergency and can be very serious if not treated quickly. Call 999 and put the person in the recovery position if they lose consciousness while you’re waiting for help.

Read more at devon.gov.uk/news

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

A huge thank you to all who helped over the 4-day holiday period as we celebrated the Queens amazing achievement of serving her country for 70 years as our Monarch.  Our Town Crier joined others nationally by reading a Proclamation in the Town Centre at the ordained time of 2.00pm on the 2nd June.  On the same day the Cavaliers excelled themselves again by hosting a “Fun Day” at the Old Bowling Green which culminated with Stuart Gisbey Piping Diu Regnare, with the Bugle Call, “Majesty” played by Nick Megson immediately prior to the lighting of the Beacon which was followed by fabulous fireworks!

The weather was perfect and it was fabulous to see so many there, all enjoying being together.  A huge thank you to the Cavaliers who arranged it all, including building the Beacon and also the Town Band, Stuart, Nick and all who took part in the Fun Day and evening activities.

Thanks, are also extended to the Commons Conservators for allowing all of this to take place on common land.

The Sunday brought with it the Community Jubilee Picnic but also inclement weather!  On Saturday it was agreed to switch from the town centre to the Town Hall.  What a lovely afternoon it turned out to be with the Town Hall full of people of all ages in every room.  As people “picnicked” so the Town Band played renditions of suitable jubilee music.  Rob Pudner and his accomplice Chris entertained the children and adults alike, Della painted children’s faces beautifully and there were various games and activities for all to join in with, along with a crown competition.  It truly was a great afternoon and we again extend thanks to everyone involved from those who made paper flowers for the tables, to volunteers who helped set up and set down, and all who helped on the day.  Special thanks to all at the Town Hall who pulled all the stops out to enable the switch of venue at short notice!

A fabulous few community days, which demonstrates time and time again how great the community of Great Torrington really is!

Mayors July Crier Article

I am pleased to say that at this year’s Annual Business meeting, I was re-elected as your Mayor for a second year. I was very honoured by the confidence councillors showed in me, and look forward to another even busier term of office now the Covid restrictions are easing. As a number of people have remarked, with only a single year in office it is difficult to come to terms with all that is involved in the role.

The Town’s historic Bowling club had beautiful weather for its open day, and I dropped in to find a good turnout already enjoying the event. Having never set foot on a green, I was reluctant to launch myself into a new sport, so I graciously left it to the experts to amaze us with their skills!

Even in the summer months our cars are expert at gathering dust and grime, so the Fire Station Carwash was high on my go-to list. Thanks to the crews who polished up their skills on so many local cars, and I trust they raised plenty of funds for the Firefighter’s Charity.

Mayor Making is the formal Civic Ceremony which makes public the Mayoral election results. Representatives of many local organisations attend, as well as Mayors from surrounding towns. I was graced by the presence of my niece Gill who acted as my Consort for the evening, and my son Gary with his partner Becks along with my cousin David to complete my family’s representation. During the ceremony I was privileged to hand over two cheques for £750 to my Mayor’s Charity fund beneficiaries: North Devon Hospice and Tarka Valley Railway. The Mayor’s Good Citizen award was presented to Tobias Kennedy Matthews for his outstanding charitable services to the town, and The Howe Plate to a very deserving Shirley Bere for the various ways she serves our community at the Bickford Centre, the Foodbank and many other areas of community life. My Retiring Mayor’s Cadet was Jack Pledger, and I welcomed this Year’s Mayor’s cadet L/cpl Roy A special award went to Chris Allen following his retirement from Torridge District Council and his tireless work in keeping our town clean and tidy.

Two Days later, Her Majesty’s Jubilee Proclamation was read by the Town Crier outside the Town Hall. Later that same day I was proud to declare the opening of the new Commons Conservators children’s play area at the Old Bowling Green. That day was also the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Club in the Social Club which I was delighted to visit briefly.  Throughout the same day the Cavaliers showed us what they are made of yet again when they hosted their Jubilee Fun Day at the Old Bowling Green which culminated with the Piper, Stuart Gisbey, and Bugler, our own Nick Megson proclaiming the extraordinary culmination of our Queen’s Reign by heralding the lighting of the Town Beacon and another amazing Firework Display. Special thanks to the Cavaliers for organising the Beacon and fireworks as well as the whole fun day.

Saturday’s events continued with a stirring lunchtime Organ recital in St Michael’s, followed by the Torrington Roscoff Exchange Group’s petanque match followed by a lovely Cream Tea (Jam on top!) in Castle Gardens. Despite rain the spirits weren’t dampened, and the afternoon was enjoyed by all.   That evening our incomparable Silver Band’s Concert in their Hall was a resounding success, with the hall packed out. With Union Jacks waving everywhere, the Jubilee theme got us all singing along, and the band did us proud as always.

The Street Picnic on Sunday had been anticipated for ages, but the weather didn’t exactly play ball. Anticipating a wet day, the Town Hall came into its own, and was bulging at the seams with every available room pressed into service. Rob Pudner and his accomplice Chris the Magician delighted the audience who ranged from just weeks old right through to over 100!  The best Crown Competition aged 4-7 was won by Thomas, with Immy coming second.  Isabel won the 8-11 Category where the runner-up was Ellie-Mai.  The ‘Special Category’ went to the very deserving Dolcie from Castle House Care Home! Huge thanks to all at the Town Hall for helping us make the day possible and so special at such short notice.

Yet another jam-packed month of festivities to remember. After Mayfair last month the events just seemed to go on right up to Jubilee, so I must thank everyone involved in making these possible, and particularly our Council Office staff who I am sure will be looking forward to a break.

My wishes to you all

Cllr Doug Smith

Mayor of Great Torrington