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Enjoy our wonderful counties but please ‘think twice’ before you head out – message from Devon & Cornwall Police

The easing of coronavirus restrictions a fortnight ago has given people some welcome freedoms but sadly, here in Devon and Cornwall, has been accompanied by tragedies on our roads and our coastline.
Our counties are among the safest in the country in relation to coronavirus, with just one confirmed case per 1,000 people, and we have less reported crime than all but one of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. However, our beautiful part of the world contains many threats – particularly for those who are not familiar with the risks associated with driving on rural roads or swimming in our tidal waters.
Sadly, while many enjoyed the recent bank holiday and several sunny weekends our emergency services found themselves working desperately to save lives, sometimes in vain, and attempting to advise crowds of people on our beaches.
There were road casualties – the 27-year-old driver of a car in East Devon that came off the road on Saturday, May 23, lost his life, a man died on the A38 and two motorcyclists were seriously injured in a collision on Dartmoor. Last Wednesday (28th) another motorcyclist was seriously hurt in a crash in north Devon. This weekend two cyclists, one of them just 15, were seriously injured in separate collisions involving other vehicles in Cornwall.
The RNLI, which would usually be out in force on our beaches at this time of year, has been unable to train the lifeguards it needs and warned that over the bank holiday our beaches would be unmanned. Nonetheless thousands headed to our shores.
Although the vast majority of coastal visitors were safe, heavy seas and a spring tide made swimming and surfing more dangerous activities than usual on some days. In a few dreadful hours on bank holiday Monday a teenage girl died after the boat she was in overturned at Wadebridge in Cornwall, a man died after being pulled from the water near Padstow and a third incident at Porthtowan left a man in a critical condition. The next day a jet-skier lost his life in an accident in South Devon.
This weekend there were numerous incidents including one where a man was seriously injured when he fell off a sea wall in Torbay, and a kayaker tragically lost his life in an incident in North Cornwall.
My thoughts are with the friends and families of those injured and the frontline staff who have worked so hard in recent and challenging times. Losing a loved one so suddenly is unthinkably terrible. I therefore support the RNLI’s decision, in response to the deaths, to reinstate lifeguard cover at 15 beaches, nine of them in Cornwall, and efforts by the police and partners to promote road safety that include the reintroduction of mobile speed cameras on our roads this week.
The message which I have been supportive of, and I urge others to heed, simply asks people to ‘think twice’ before they take a trip at the moment. A lot of community tension and danger could be avoided if people consider matters like where they are going to park, what toilet facilities they need and how they are going to remain a reasonable distance from others.
At the moment overnight stays are not permitted but the Government’s recovery strategy could see this change in the coming weeks, in normal years we already have more domestic visitors than any other force area. If restrictions are lifted further we can expect a busier summer than ever.
Lockdown, as I have mentioned before, comes with its own costs, to our cultural and sporting lives, people’s livelihoods and perhaps most importantly to people’s mental health, so I cautiously welcome a time when we have more freedom and once again the Westcountry can welcome in the tourists on whom it so depends.
In positive news Devon County Council and Torbay Council have received a proportion of the £300m for the test, track and trace programme to be rolled out. This is an essential part of the Government’s strategy to tackle coronavirus and means that anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and required to share information about their recent interactions.
There is some suggestion that unscrupulous criminals will seek to exploit this opportunity so it is worth knowing that if NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using a single phone number which is: 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is: Contact tracers will never ask you to dial a premium rate number, for bank or password details or to make any form of payment.

Alison Hernandez

Devon County Council Covid-19 update 2/6/20

Please click link below for more information on the following topics:-

  • Children gradually returning to school in Devon
  • Restrictions relaxed for people considered extremely clinically vulnerable
  • Free business toolkit
  • Recycling centre restrictions eased further
  • New advice about accessing green spaces safely
  • Getting around and travelling safely
  • We celebrate National Volunteer Week
  • Help is available from your local district council
  • NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter update

Coronavirus Taskforce Team

This Notice was prepared on 11.05.20

In last month’s CRIER we reported on the new Town Council Coronavirus Taskforce Team which was set up in mid-March to support those members of our community who are self-isolating and do not have family/friends or neighbours locally who can help them with everyday activities such as picking up prescriptions and essential shopping.

At the time of writing this report we are serving approx. 110 homes in a variety of ways thanks to the huge number of volunteers who have selflessly come forward to help across our lovely community. Volunteers are either delivering prescriptions and/or shopping and making friendly social phone calls. We seem to have settled into a rhythm now, although we do continue to have new clients requesting help.

Once matched with a home the volunteer will stay with that home until the scheme is disbanded as and when appropriate. We have had a couple challenging situations as one would expect, but thankfully all have been resolved.

We would again like to thank Matt Whittaker and Helyne Jennings for making additional visors and masks and also to Toni Alexander for offering to make more masks as and when needed.

The Town Council continue to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has put themselves forward to volunteer for this project. In addition the Town Council would like to thank all of the other volunteers throughout the community who we know have been helping neighbours and friends; businesses that have stepped up to meet critical needs and to those businesses who had to close their doors to ensure we keep as many people safe as we can.

If anyone reading this article and is a resident of Great Torrington is in need of any support with the activities mentioned and hasn’t already been in touch, please do not hesitate to call the Town Council on 01805 626135 or e-mail at

Karen Chapman
Town Clerk

Free Parking in Torridge Car Parks Extended to 15th June to Support Business Reopening Preparations

During recent months Torridge Councillor’s took the decision to suspended parking charges in the district in response to the evolving Coronavirus crisis. The move was in part to support NHS Staff and Care workers as they carried on working and also other residents, who found themselves restricted to their homes, with more cars than usual competing for parking places. It also meant that Council staff could be redeployed to assist with the set up of systems to support the vulnerable. The charging suspension is now being extended to 15th June, to further support shop and business owners as they return to their premises to make preparations for reopening. All Car Parking permits have also been extended for the time business were forced to close.The Government recently announced that all non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be able to reopen from 15th June. However business need to meet the government’s 5 tests and follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them around 3 weeks to prepare.The extension to free parking is aligned to this new time frame for the safe reopening of high streets set out by the Government. The Councils Economic Regeneration Team are also working hard on this programme in partnership with businesses and local trade organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, Chamber of Commerce and Town Councils. Councillor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council said:“This will be a busy time for retail and other businesses who will no doubt be able to make good use of the free parking and make it one less thing to worry about as they make their preparations to reopen. Next week we will also be announcing further support grants for businesses and as before we will continue to do everything we can to ensure a successful resurgence of the local economy during these difficult times. It should certainly also be a time when we should shop local, as much as we can, to support the reopening’s.”

Trading Standards Business News

Please click here to view full document containing information about the following topics:- 

  • Free tailored trading standards advice
  • Free online COVID-19 guides
  • Further COVID-19 resources
  • Look after your mental wellbeing
  • Cyber security 
  • Protect your business against scams
  • Business support
  • COVID-19 closure of businesses
  • Employee support
  • Non-compliant businesses
  • Support for dairy farmers
  • Scam alert
  • Free skills courses

Devon Communities Together – Coronavirus: Update, advice and resources 11th May 2020

In Mondays Covid-19 bulletin find out about various funding opportunities, learn about the new virtual chats from Devon Highlights and get involved in two surveys from the NCVO and Rural Services Network. Read on for all of this and much more!  

If you are in need of specialist advice and support, then please do call our Covid-19 helpline: 0808 1963390 (Mon – Fri, 9am-5pm) If you would like access to more helpful information, advice and resources, please do take a look at our Covid-19 information page which can be found here

Staying social whilst socially distancing, with Devon Highlights 

Harry and Aggie from Devon Highlights are inviting you to join them for virtual chat and coffee, every Tuesday! 

 If you live in the Torbay and Teignbridge area, you can join Aggie from 2-3pm. If you are living outside of those areas, meet Harry and his group shortly afterwards, from 3.30-4.30pm.  

These virtual groups are perfect for anyone over the age of 55 to meet and connect with new people. As well as this, you can enjoy various activities such as quizes, virtual museum tours and yoga.  

More details and instructions about how to join, can be found in the invitation attached. If you know someone who could benefit from attending these online groups, please do spread the word and let them know!

Find out more about Devon Highlights 

The Rural Services Network –  We aim to give a voice to our rural communities on the national level

The Rural Services Network are concerned that rural communities will suffer significant disadvantages in the coming weeks.

To support their work they have put together a very short survey for rural communities and would like to hear from Local Authorities, Parish Councils, community groups and other organisations that are working together to support their most vulnerable residents during the current national lockdown in relation to COVID-19.

Access Survey Here  

Easing the lockdown: Tell the NCVO how it will affect your organisation

Now that we are starting to see some tentative steps towards the easing of lockdown the NCVO are collecting information to report to the UK government on the support that organisations require. Please do take a moment to complete the form to help ensure support from government reflects need.

Find the Form Here 

Grants and other funding available in Devon 

There are a variety of funding options for new and established groups who are responding to the pandemic. For an up to date overview of funding options, please follow the link below.

More Here 

Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group

Swimbridge is located 5 miles from Barnstaple and 5 miles from South Molton. There are 311 houses, many of which are located outside the main village over a 4 mile radius.

The week prior to lockdown for the Covid-19 outbreak the Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group (SCSG) was set up by the Swimbridge Jubilee Hall Committee with the support of the Parish Council. The group began by: 

•Setting up a mobile phone number for the

•Setting up a facebook Swimbridge Coronavirus Support Group page

•Sending a hard copy of our Swimbridge newsletter to EVERY household in our Parish (using the electoral roll for addresses to ensure no one was missed). The newsletter informed the village that there was a support service available which included : picking up essential supplies, picking up medical supplies, transport, learning how to do an online shop, posting mail/picking up a newsletter, a friendly phone call. In addition we asked volunteers to come forward (we now have around 30). This system has so far worked extremely well.

Four lead volunteers with DBS certificates coordinate the support of other volunteers and hold details of those in the community who live alone or who are identified as vulnerable. The volunteers regularly phone those that live on their own or are vulnerable to check they were ok and have a chat.

The village hall foyer and adjacent meeting room remains open from 10am – 5pm every day. This enables our parishioners to drop off surplus non perishable food for the Foodbank and vulnerable people in the community. Books, puzzles, games, DVDs, toys are also left for people to take/donate. The front door and meeting room door is left ajar to minimise risk and clear signs have been put up stating x1 person or x1 household in the building at any one time, social distancing, washing hands, etc. Antibacterial hand wash, spray disinfectant and paper towels are located next to the sink in the meeting room. All other doors in the hall are locked.

Local support is also provided to the community with:

•The village pub offering takeaways x3 times a week.

•Lyncroft Stores in the nearby village of Landkey offer a free delivery service to vulnerable people in Swimbridge.

•The post office is open on Tuesdays between 2pm – 4pm in the Church.

It is a testing time for us all, but as a community we have pulled together. It feels that everyone is looking out for each other.

Further Call for Case Studies!

We are continuing to put together an archive of case studies from town and parish councils and community buildings to capture how you have responded to the challenges faced in the Covid19 pandemic. We would like to share case studies in these bulletins as well as collating them on our Devon Communities Together Coronavirus Information pages.  

The aim is to build a resource of shared good practice. All case studies will be appreciated but if you could provide brief background context about your community and your organisation, a description of your key challenges, and what you have done to overcome these that would be incredibly useful so we can all learn from each other.

We are particularly interested to hear how your town or parish council, community building, or community support group are finding things at this stage of the pandemic and lockdown now that many organisations are getting used to new ways of working, and many newly formed groups have had some time to get used to what they are doing.

Please avoid naming individuals in your case studies.

Your case study (or any questions about this) can be sent to

Enhance Social Enterprise Network Event

Devon Communities Together’s Enhance Social Enterprise Network is holding an event on the 18th May, for social enterprises to join online. Please do share this free-to-attend event amongst all social enterprises in your local area!

Value of Social Impact – 18th May 2020

Do you have inspiring social impact stories to share? Are you interested in engaging with a support network of social enterprises to explore the value of impact stories?

Join us on this day to explore interesting ways to better manage our social impacts and turn them into “golden tickets”, to keep creating change. Use the link below to register and find out more details about this event:

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural & Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.Devon Communities TogetherUnit 73 & 74 Basepoint Business Centre,Yeoford Way,Exeter EX2