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Great Torrington Town Council

Mayors visit to Cawsey House

Cawsey House and The Landmark Trust were honoured to have a special guest at our recent Open Day on the 10th September 2022, in conjunction with the Heritage Open Days National event.

The Mayor of Great Torrington attended the property, here are some photos of Cllr Doug Smith at Cawsey House with one of our former Housekeepers for the Property Paula Clerc-De-Saux.

Photos and wording provided by The Landmark Trust.

Unpaid carers given free access to leisure centres; government’s announcement is a step in the right direction and secondary school place applications open!

Government’s announcement is a step in the right direction

Earlier this week we joined other county councils in calling on the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to deliver on the promise she made during the Conservative’s leadership election, to provide more funding for adult social care.

Inflation is driving up costs to unsustainable levels, and by next year it could add £3.6 billion to the cost of providing social care in county areas. In Devon, we estimate a funding shortfall of between £30m to £40m over the next 10 years.

Yesterday, (Thursday), the government announced an extra £500m for adult social care, to help support people when they’re ready to leave hospital this winter. They’ve called it a ‘down payment’ as they develop their longer term plans.

“Obviously £500m spread across England doesn’t come close to resolving the challenges that we and other councils face,” says our Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care, Cllr James McInnes, “but Therese Coffey’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction.

“We need the government to swiftly follow up on this ‘down payment’ and provide councils with funding to properly support the growing numbers of people waiting for care, tackle the acute shortage of care staff, and meet the increased costs of the government’s own social care reforms.”

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

Unpaid carers given free access to leisure centres

Unpaid carers – people who voluntarily look after loved ones or friends – have told us that the rising cost-of-living means that they’re having to prioritise their spending.

Many, we understand, are choosing not to spend money on exercise or activities away from their caring roles.

That concerns us, because exercise and other activities are good for people’s health and wellbeing. And when others rely on you as a carer, it’s important that you also look after yourself.

So, we’ve teamed up with Mid Devon District Council to pilot a scheme to provide unpaid adult carers of adults free access to three leisure centres in Cullompton, Tiverton and Crediton, to encourage them to stay active.

We’re running the pilot until the end of the year.

Carers will need to show their ‘Carers Passport’ at leisure centre receptions, which are available to them for free from Devon Carers.

Details about the facilities available at the leisure centres are available on the Mid Devon Leisure Centre website. Unpaid carers can access all activities, but classes and courts are advised to be booked in advance.

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

Book your autumn COVID-19 booster appointment

People most vulnerable to COVID-19 and those who work on the frontline of care and health are being invited to book their COVID-19 autumn booster vaccination.

The following groups of people can book their autumn booster now: 

  • aged 65 years old or over
  • pregnant
  • aged 5 years old and over and at high risk due to a health condition
  • aged 5 years old and over and at high risk because of a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 years old and over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 years old and over and are a carer, either paid or unpaid
  • a frontline health and social care worker

As previously, those most at risk from serious illness will be invited for their booster jab first, with people able to book online or by calling 119 as long as it has been three months since their last dose. For more information please refer to the latest government guidance available on their website.

Secondary school place applications open!

If your child is currently in year 6 at primary school, you’ll need to start thinking now about applying for a place for them to attend their preferred secondary school, to start in September 2023.

Applications must be made before Monday 31 October 2022 and parents and guardians will be contacted with the result to their application on national offer day, 1 March 2023.

Applications can be made through our website or by calling our education helpline on 0345 155 1019 and asking for a paper copy of the form to be sent to you.

Finding the right school place for your child is an important decision and lots of schools are holding open events where you can find out more about what they have to offer as well as see the facilities and meet the teachers.

Help is also available for parents and carers who have questions or who need support, through our Family Information Service and through our School Admissions Team.

Consultation on plan to improve cycling and walking in North Devon

A public consultation has been launched on proposals that aim to close the gaps in the cycling and walking network in the Barnstaple, Bideford and Northam area.

We’re seeking views on four walking and six cycling schemes across the area, which are detailed on our Have Your Say webpages.

The draft ‘Barnstaple with Bideford and Northam Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’ outlines a number of potential walking and cycling schemes for future investment over the next 10-20 years.

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

The plan also sets out proposals to upgrade existing cycling infrastructure to improve connections to key employment sites including North Devon District Hospital, PETROC, Barnstaple town centre and Roundswell, including the development of an off-road cycle route along the entire length of North Road.

Proposals for a new access point to the Tarka Trail from Ethelwynne Brown Close will also be explored.

Is your teenager angry?

A series of FREE online sessions to help parents and carers understand and support their teenagers continues next week, with the theme of ‘anger and challenging behaviour’.

The hour long session, on Tuesday 27 September at 7pm, will focus on the challenges some young people face, child to parent abuse, safety planning and what families can do, as well as where to find additional support. 

It’s the third of five sessions in the ‘Let’s Talk Teenagers’ series, with sessions on bullying and online challenges still to come on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 October. 

There will be an updated toolkit available after the courses for everyone who signs up to this free event, which also covers topics from earlier sessions such as drugs and alcohol, body image, self-care and social and emotional changes.

The sessions are completely free, and all delivered online. Anyone who would like to find out more or book their free place can visit the website

Mayors September Crier Article

The soaring temperatures contributed to our record-breaking heatwave (Just in case no one had noticed) We had BBQs galore during the early part of the summer, and thanks to everyone for heeding the fire warnings.

Over the summer I was privileged to visit Ellie Allin as she celebrated her 100th birthday.  Ellie was very gracious when we met, surrounded by family and friends and certainly held court on a very hot and memorable day!

Christabel Palmer also celebrated her 100th birthday but unfortunately, when the time came, I was unable to visit due to Covid restrictions.  However, I was very pleased to send her my good wishes along with a bouquet of flowers.

I trust both ladies enjoyed their special day and I am thankful for being invited to join them.

We sadly lost a former 4 times Mayor, John Kelly in early August. After a service at the crematorium John was given a very heartfelt send-off at the Social Club, where we were regaled by stories of John’s own sending’s off whilst a football referee (including the time when he almost “red carded” his own son!) We did our best to make a dent in the buns and cakes, but had to admit defeat.

The Town gives thanks to John, one of our greats.

Citizen Science Core Group Sass is being promoted shortly to assess and monitor the health of our rivers and watercourses. We are hoping to encourage young and old to take very simple samples from rivers and streams, and enter the results on a worldwide database

I was pleased to attend Tarka Valley Railway’s 150th anniversary Open Day which saw me riding from Torrington Station to Bideford behind John Puddy’s steam traction engine!  That certainly was an experience I will not easily forget.  The open day was hugely successful, and the weather played its part in attracting a great crowd to enjoy the demonstrations and talks, as well as being entertained by our Silver Band who valiantly braved the heat.

The Bideford Regatta on 3rd September was a great event.  Strong winds made the course tricky for some novices, but encouragement from the riverbanks was order of the day.

This year’s Mayor’s Parade and Civic Service on 4th September drew a good crowd as we marched in procession from the Council Offices to the Methodist Church in Mill Street. Visiting Mayors voiced their usual approval at Great Torrington’s ability to throw a memorable show. My thanks go to all who participated, including our Town Council staff who organised the event, our Silver Band for their input, the Cadets who paraded perfectly, and special thanks to Rev. Rob Blackhall for conducting the service and Lance Corporal Roy, my Mayor’s Cadet, without whose assistance on the day my job would have been so much more difficult. The catering in the Methodist Church Hall was fantastic: our thanks as ever to the ladies for the glorious spread.

Six months on in the Ukrainian War, please continue to remember and support those displaced citizens who need us so desperately.

Now we have come through the summer heatwaves, droughts, fires etc, our minds are turning to Autumn and even, dare I say…Christmas? Let’s hope the financial issues we are all about to face lessen with time.

Enjoy the next season in our glorious town.

Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service 13th November 2022

This year Remembrance Sunday falls on the 13th November 2022. The Royal British Legion will once again hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the War Memorial in the Cemetery, commencing at 10.50am.

There will be some significant changes this year.

1. The Parade Route: The Parade will form at the Old Bowling Green and parade “UP” New Street to the Cemetery.

2. Dismissal at the end of the Service: The Service will be dismissed in the cemetery, contrary to previous arrangements. The mayor will give his thanks followed by “God Save The King” – 2 verses. The order for dismissal will allow for those at the back to be the first to leave.

3. Standard Practice: Will move from the Pannier Market to the Town’s Band room in Castle Street. Further information will be sent to individual organisations nearer the time.

Ordering of wreaths will be the same as last year and should be ordered direct from the Royal British Legion in plenty of time. A wreath can be ordered by contacting the Royal British Legion on 0345 845 1945. The wreath will be posted out to you.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

North Devon+ Announce New Package of Agricultural Support and Help for Northern Devon farmers

North Devon+ have announced that they will be running a new free series of workshops and support aimed at helping farmers in North Devon and Torridge get to grips with all of the changes currently being experienced in the agricultural industry. The workshops have been designed to help farmers find out more about opportunities to successfully grow their businesses and better understand and overcome the challenges to achieving this. The support will also be tailored to the type and style of farming farms are operating in or want to achieve, so that the outcome will be what’s right for each business taking part in the scheme. In addition to the workshops the offer also includes sitting down 1-1 with one of North Devon+’s experienced agricultural advisors who can assess their business, make sense of the latest schemes such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), and develop a plan to get them where they want to get to.

The workshop programme starts on 21st September and runs through to 12th October and includes:

  • Understanding your farm financials: – trading accounts and performance – to drive business profit

Wednesday 21st September at 6.30pm. Delivered by: J. Herniman – Online.

  • Farm Diversification – making the most of opportunities

Thursday 6th October at 12 noon. Delivered by: J. Herniman – Online. 

  • Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) – looking at the opportunities it brings, will it work for your farm business? How to apply

Thursday 6th October at 6.30pm. Delivered by: J. Herniman – Online.

  • Lets talk: family farm businesses – communication, future planning, in-law factors

Wednesday 12th October at 6.30pm. Delivered by: J. Herniman – Online.           

Louise Adam – Programme Delivery Manager at North Devon+ said:

“We appreciate farming is an incredibly busy business area to be working in and quite often there is simply not enough time to sit down, take stock and plan your next move. Given the ever-changing landscape of subsidies and incentives to diversify this can be a real minefield to understand and take-in. Hopefully, our workshops, 1-1 sessions and tailored plans can help with some of this complexity and as always, we would be happy to answer any questions ahead of the programme. So to book or get more information please get in touch with one of the team.”

To book any of the workshops or to chat to one of the advice team at North Devon+ farming businesses are being invited to visit: , or email or call at / 01237 428 834

The programme is part of the Thrive support initiative for non-ERDF businesses and is funded through Heart of the South West Growth Hub, Devon County Council Recovery and Back to Business funding.