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Great Torrington Town Council

DCC Bulletin – Don’t cause a Halloween nightmare, half term travel advice and Exeter case numbers broadly back to national average

In this update:

  • Exeter case numbers back in line with national average
  • A plea to half-term holiday makers
  • Stay safe this Halloween
  • Helping unpaid carers take a break
  • Ask a minister a coronavirus question
  • Lockdown Legends

Exeter cases ‘broadly’ back to national average

Steve Brown, the Deputy Director for Public Health Devon has confirmed today that Exeter case numbers are now back to ‘broadly’ the national average.  

It’s the first time in weeks that case numbers in the city have fallen to the current level following a spike mostly associated with University of Exeter. 

Positive cases among the university student population have come down, thanks largely to measures introduced by the university, including restrictions to prevent student households mixing, as well as the majority of students doing their part and sticking to the tighter rules.

Case numbers across the county however are rising overall, in line with the national trend, but they remain below the English average. 

When we look at those people who are testing positive for COVID we are seeing an increase in the age profile. So we’re now seeing working age and older adults who are testing positive for COVID-19,” said Mr Brown.

“Again that’s similar to what we see across the country. While the numbers are low in Devon at the moment, it’s really important that we do all we can to maintain that,” he said.  

“We want to make sure that we stay in the medium tier, so it’s really important that everyone adheres to those key guidance and messages:  

“Keep your social distance – ideally to a minimum of two metres  

“Make sure that you wash your hands properly and regularly  

“And wear face coverings where required and appropriate.”  

South West Leaders call on everyone planning a half-term break to be extra careful and to follow the rules

Council Leaders from across the region have published a joint message this week; “Coronavirus doesn’t take a break – please respect and protect local communities.”

It’s a message for anyone thinking of coming to or travelling in and around the south west this half-term. 

And it echoes the tone of a new social media campaign across the region that is specifically targeting people coming to the region. 

“Now is the time to be extra careful,” says Leader of Devon County Council and Chair of the Devon Outbreak Engagement Board, Cllr John Hart. 

“People may be considering taking a break this half term but unfortunately coronavirus won’t be taking a holiday. 

“I urge everyone who is thinking of going away or even travelling within the area to think carefully about where they might be going and continue to follow the rules.” 

The social media campaign is targeting visitors to the region, reminding them to follow the basic rules – space, face and hands – and not to think they can relax from those just because they are away. 

‘If you’re visiting Devon this half term, please remember the rules still apply whilst you’re on holiday.  Coronavirus doesn’t take a break, so neither can we!’, the campaign message reads, in addition to reminders on the rules. 

A short video accompanies the campaign.   

Travelling around the country during COVID-19

So how do the new local COVID alert levels factor in your half-term travel plans?  

Devon is at the ‘medium’ tier alert level. So is the rest of the South West.   

Movement around the region is pretty straight forward, but remember, a holiday away from home, is not a holiday away from coronavirus.   

Everyone still needs to follow the guidance on social distancing, hand washing regularly and wearing of face coverings, wherever you are in the country. 

And please don’t travel at all if you have symptoms, however mild – a high temperature, new and continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of taste and smell – or if you’ve been advised to self-isolate.   

The general principle is that you must follow the rules of the tier you normally live in, regardless of where you are in the country.  That’s the general principle, but there may be local restrictions on top of that which you need to know about. 

We’ve written about it on our website, including a link to a postcode checker that tells you what restrictions are in place, by postcode area.

Don’t turn Halloween into a nightmare on your street

The Halloween season is fast approaching, and families may be wondering whether trick or treating is worth the risk this year. 

It’s really not. Please just stay at home and don’t turn Halloween into a COVID-19 “nightmare on your street”.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Halloween safely at home, from spooky window dressings to ghostly film nights.

This year public health teams in Devon are asking families to forget the usual trick or treat plans and instead celebrate safely indoors.

We’ve got some ‘low risk’ celebration ideas on our website, along with a list of things to avoid doing this Halloween. 

New funds available to help carers take a break

Carers are missing out on things that most people take for granted, even more so during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Recent research suggests that nearly two-thirds of unpaid carers have not been able to take any breaks at all in the last six months because they’re too busy caring for someone else. And that four in every five carers are currently providing more care than before lockdown, with three quarters saying that the needs of the person they’re caring for have increased recently.

It means carers are missing or overlooking their own health complaints because they’re too busy to go the doctors or to see the issue. Or they’re not working, when they’d like to be, because they haven’t got time beyond their hours of caring. Or they’re missing out on educational opportunities, to develop or enhance their own personal lives.

So we’ve joined forces with NHS Devon to make grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 available to care providers, personal assistants, and carers themselves who can develop and provide innovative opportunities that will give other carers a break, during COVID-19 and beyond.

Details about the Replacement Care Innovation Fund are available on our website. To register your interest in applying for funding, email carefund@devon.gov.uk.

Working together to keep essential services running

NHS organisations across Devon are sharing their resources and expertise to manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, prepare for winter and keep essential services running.

As coronavirus infections rise, health and social care partners are preparing for an increase in patients with the virus at hospitals in coming months.

Devon’s four main hospitals (Derriford, North Devon District, RD&E and Torbay) will work closely as a network to manage resources in the most effective way to deliver a range of services as safely as possible.

While all four hospitals will continue to see and treat patients with COVID-19 who present in their Emergency Departments, they are working together to share their inpatient capacity if it is deemed medically appropriate.

This may mean in some cases, to receive the most appropriate care, patients may be cared for in, or transferred to, a different hospital. This will allow the NHS in Devon to do all it can to treat COVID patients at the same time as continuing to provide planned and urgent care. The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter is also on standby, ready to receive COVID-19 patients, if needed.

Doctors are also calling on local people to do play their part by keeping their appointments and choosing the right service for their needs.

In light of the rising number of cases, local hospitals are also having to introduce tighter visiting restrictions to keep patients and staff safe.

And the NHS is reminding local people that they need to play their part by continuing to follow Government’s ‘hands, face, space’ guidance on good hygiene, wearing a mask where needed, social distancing and limiting the number of people they meet with.

Ask a minister a question about coronavirus

The government is inviting people to submit questions about coronavirus to be put to a minister. 

If your question is chosen, the minister will answer it during an event broadcast to the public.

An independent polling organisation chooses the questions. The minister will not see the question in advance. The government is not involved in choosing questions.

You must be 18 years old or over to submit a question and you will need to provide your name and email address. 

If your question is chosen the Cabinet Office will contact you within 3 days of submitting your question. You can either record a video of yourself asking your question to be shown during the public event or have your question read out by the minister.

Footage of the event will be available afterwards online. It may also be used by news services or websites.

If the Cabinet Office does not contact you within 3 days, your question will not be used. However, the Cabinet Office might contact you to ask for your permission to use your question elsewhere.

UK could be first for human challenge vaccine studies

It’s been reported this week that the UK is pushing ahead to be the first nation to carry out ‘human challenge’ studies. 

It’s a trial in which up to 90 healthy people will be deliberately exposed to coronavirus, in order that scientists can then work out if a vaccine prevents infection. 

The government is putting money towards it, believing that it will speed up the race to get a coronavirus vaccine. 

Of course the plans need ethical approval and sign-off from regulators first. If it gets the green light, the trials could begin in January. 

Lockdown Legends

A special exhibition to celebrate local people who showed particular kindness, courage, humanity or ingenuity during the coronavirus pandemic has opened.

In July 2020, The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Liveable Exeter and Exeter City Council asked people across Devon to nominate their Lockdown Legends.

They received a wide range of nominations, from refuse collectors to face mask creators, fundraising heroes to taxi drivers-turned-delivery men, and many more. All of them were truly inspiring and highlighted the selfless actions of individuals who went above and beyond to help others, showing how our communities pulled together during the crisis.

The resulting exhibition is a celebration of the resilience of the people of Devon who have helped the most vulnerable in our society during a time of great uncertainty, and serves to remind us of our shared humanity and the importance of community.

Visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery website to view the online exhibition.

The exhibition can also be visited at the following locations at Exeter’s Historical Guildhall until Friday 30 October and at Exeter Library, Barnstaple Library and Exeter Princesshay (window display) until Sunday 1 November. 

Further dates and venues for November will be announced in the near future. 

The exhibition will also be held for posterity in the Devon Heritage Centre.

Lockdown Legends is kindly supported by Radio Exe and Archant, publishers of the Exmouth Journal, Midweek Herald, North Devon Gazette, Sidmouth Herald and the Torbay Weekly.

The latest national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the
Government website and NHS website.

You can find local guidance and information about the impacts on our services on the Devon County Council website.

Devon & Cornwall Police – Halloween advice

This year we’re asking people to celebrate Halloween at home due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Sorry… No trick, or treat, meet or greet this Halloween

Due to the ‘rule of six’ which applies indoors and outdoors, gatherings that exceed this limit, such as traditional Halloween parties and social events, cannot take place this year.  

Police and partner agencies are encouraging trick-or-treaters to stay at home in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Some people, particularly if elderly or vulnerable, might be distressed by strangers knocking at their door during the evening – even more so during a global pandemic.

No Trick Or Treat Poster

Print the above poster and display on your home, or on the homes of your vulnerable neighbours or relatives.

Halloween at home – alternatives to trick or treating for families and young children

  • Organise a Halloween themed scavenger hunt around your house or garden.
  • Arrange a virtual fancy dress party online and invite your friends and family.
  • Out-boo your neighbours and have a window decorating competition.
  • Get creative in the kitchen. Go online to find the recipes for spooky snacks.
  • Decorate your living room and create your own scary cinema.
  • Play Halloween inspired games with your friends and family.
  • Try safely carving a pumpkin and share images with your friends.

Have you tried the Halloween puzzle?

Halloween Social Media Pic

Recycle Devon – Re-use of electrical items

A trial to boost re-use of electrical items is taking place at five Household Waste Recycling Centres across Devon.

The project, funded by the electricals industry to encourage the re-use of electrical items, will initially focus on flat screen TVs, vacuum cleaners and lighting. 

In 2018/19, over 7,200 tonnes of electrical items were recycled through Devon’s recycling centres and the trial aims to go one step further and capture any items that are still in good working order to keep them in circulation for longer.

The participating trial sites are:

  • Pinbrook Recycling Centre, Exeter
  • Ivybridge Recycling Centre
  • Brunel Road Recycling Centre, Newton Abbot
  • Knowle Hill Recycling Centre, Exmouth
  • Bideford Recycling Centre

Residents arriving at participating recycling centres with flat screen TVs, vacuum cleaners or lighting will now be asked by site staff if the item is still working and in good condition.

Items that can be reused will be PAT and function tested by trained site staff and then made available in the site’s reuse shop for the public to buy, along with furniture, bric-a-brac and other re-useable household items. Non-working electrical items and any failing the testing procedure will be recycled.  

It is estimated that following the testing process, 33% of TVs, 50% of vacuums and 72% of lighting/lamps will be suitable to re-use, meaning an additional 48 tonnes of electrical goods will be re-used per year at participating sites.

Recycling centre re-sale shops are popular with the public as they offer a range of household items at affordable prices.  Public demand for re-sale shops to include electrical items has grown as budget savvy shoppers embrace the cost savings of buying re-usable goods, whilst also benefiting the environment.    

The grant has helped provide workshop and testing facilities as well as staff training to allow re-useable items to be function and safety tested prior to re-sale.  It is anticipated that the scheme will be self-financing going forward which will help keep it going.

Subject to the success of the initial 5 site roll-out, other sites and other electrical items could be added to the scheme in future to further boost re-use in Devon.

For more information visit www.recycledevon.org.

Grass Cutting

You may have noticed that throughout the summer months, we deliberately left grass and any wild plants to grow on four sites across the town.  The grass land outside Woodland Vale, the bank running parallel with Greenbank and banks around Linden Close and New road.

These areas are being cultivated to enhance the environmental and ecological aspects of the area.

As we approached autumn, we have cut back the vegetation and raked the area and have sown ‘yellow rattle’ seed ready for next year.

If the seed takes well the Yellow Rattle will not only add to the aesthetic appearance bringing yellow flowers, but it will weaken the strength of the grass, ready to plant with wild flower seed at the end of next summer for 2022 season.

The aim is to create natural environments which not only look great, but will also as increase the positive impact for birds, bees and insects.

This is an ongoing project which we hope will bring long-term environmental and ecological benefits.

If you have any thoughts about this approach, please do not hesitate to contact the Town Council.

The Globe Hotel

Plans to rejuvenate the Globe Hotel in Great Torrington received a fresh boost at the start of October with the announcement of almost £63K in funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund. The money is for the partnership project between Great Torrington Town and Torridge District Councils, Petroc and the Plough Arts Centre with a goal of creating a working training hotel offering the South West’s first degree-level apprenticeship courses in Tourism and Hospitality and the first ever degree level course in Torridge. But the ambitions for the Grade II listed building don’t stop there with the wider masterplan highlighting shared workspaces, a café / restaurant space, and to become a community and cultural venue for activities in partnership with the Plough. The plan, which is supported by partners including Great Torrington School and RHS Rosemoor, will be underpinned by an innovative community ownership through a share issue to fund the acquisition.
The grant will be used to scope and draw up a more detailed Business Plan, explore possibilities for the building itself and to facilitate the community acquisition process. Key messages from recent consultations showed strong support from the community to bringing the Globe out from hibernation, to be owned and run for the benefit of the community and establishing it as a focal point in the Town and local economy. Initial plans are for 15 new permanent, full time local jobs to be created as the project progresses with seven of these being high skilled. The build will also generate opportunities for local firms and trades as part of the capital works to alter the interior and shape the 460 square feet of workspace, and spaces set aside for the food and drink offerings. Torridge District Council is still keen to hear from people who want to get involved in the project or have views on how it should proceed and a consultation webpage has been set up on Torridge District Councils website under “consultations” on their front page or via this link www.bit.ly/TheGlobeTorrington

Mayor’s November Crier Article

This year is certainly running away with us! I do hope you are continuing to keep well and are adjusting to the changing rules and the situation we find ourselves in. So far, we have been extremely lucky in Great Torrington, but we must continue to be vigilant; I want to thank everyone who is keeping us safe and to our local traders who are doing all they can to ensure we can continue to shop in safety.

On the 16th of September, I was thrilled to finally be able to hand over my Mayor’s Good Citizen Award to the “Knit and Natter” Group. I met with Rose and Marg, who received the award on behalf of the group. I thanked them both for setting up and being a part of such a fantastic group. We all remember the brilliant display of Poppies that donned the Town Hall last November for Remembrance, of which I was very humbled to unveil. The group has brought lots of people from both the town and the outskirts together and has created strong friendships; something I think everyone values, even more so in these strange times.

Whilst times are uncertain, I have been very pleased to see two new shops open in our lovely town. Firstly, I visited Deborah at Lilian Rose Interiors on the 24th September and took a look around her beautiful shop. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy lovely interior design.

In early October a new business “Polish me Pretty” opened in the Pannier Market. Sarah and Anna are offering something very different which adds to the great variety of choice available. I wish them both all the very best for their new venture!

It is just over a year now since I launched my Mayor’s Challenge to, “love your town and shop local”. I have been excited to see people taking part and realising how much we really do have to offer here in Great Torrington. I am continuing with this challenge and I recommend that everyone visits our town centre at least once a week and visit our shops, businesses, cafes and Pannier Market. We can play a part in keeping our local economy strong by supporting “local” as much as we can. I always love the saying “when you buy from a small business, the owner does a little happy dance” – lets create more happy dances!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who joined our Torrington Town Tidy over the weekend of 26th and 27th September. It was slightly different to our usual event but I felt sure that you would all do your bit and help to keep our town beautiful! I was especially delighted to see some young people joining in; they are our future and it’s amazing to see how much they care about their community at such a young age. My thanks also to Cllr Clayton who helped me organise the event and started a week early by cleaning the outside of the Great Torrington Heritage Museum – we are one team at the Town Council and I am very proud of how well we all work together.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything.
Cllr Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington
cllr.allin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

Remembrance Sunday 8th November 2020

Great Torrington Town Council has confirmed that the annual Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service at the war memorial in Great Torrington Cemetery will not be going ahead this year.  This event is jointly organised by the Town Council and the local branch of the Royal British Legion and both parties have agreed that the event cannot go ahead in accordance with the current Coronavirus pandemic restrictions on gatherings of more than 6 people.

It is expected that individuals will want to visit the war memorial to lay wreaths on Remembrance Sunday, however this will not be part of an organised service: visitors will be expected to observe the Government’s social distancing guidance, the Rule of 6 and to manage their own safety when visiting the site.  Groups and individuals are strongly encouraged to pay their respects safely at home.

During the period of Remembrance in November the Mayor will pay her respects on behalf of the Town Council; please check the Town Council’s Facebook page on Sunday 8th November at 11.00am.  More information on this will also be provided in the next edition of The Crier as well as the Town Council’s website and Facebook page.

Parking Charges in Great Torrington from 09 October and going through to the end of November 2020

Torridge District Council has agreed a “buy one-hour parking get the second hour free” to help business recovery.  From Friday 9th October and through October and November residents and visitors are urged to support local shops and businesses affected by Covid-19. Park up for two hours for the price of one: just 60p in the Great Torrington car parks!

Applicable Car Parks in Great Torrington are both Sydney House and Barley Grove Car Parks. Love your town and buy local this autumn!

Co-Option of Town Councillor

Following the resignation of Cllr Miller, we currently have a vacancy for 1 Co-Opted Councillor to join the other Council Members of Great Torrington Town Council.

This role will give you an opportunity to get involved with a number of exciting projects and interests within the community of Great Torrington.  If you are passionate about the town, prepared to roll your sleeves up and get involved, have at least one of the qualifications below we would invite you to submit a written application outlining why you are interested in becoming a Town Councillor and what you believe you can bring to the role for consideration.    

  1. I am registered as a local government elector for the parish; or
  2. I have, during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option, occupied as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the parish; or
  3. My principal or only place of work during those twelve months has been in the parish; or
  4. I have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option resided in the parish or within 3 miles of it.

Applications should be no more than one side of A4 paper.

Please forward applications to Great Torrington Town Council, Castle Hill, Great Torrington, EX38 8AA or by email to admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk  to be received no later than Thursday 5th November 2020

Karen Chapman, Town Clerk