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My Council

Mayors December/January Crier Article

October and November have been very busy months in the Mayor’s diary: I am so pleased I am now able to represent the town at so many important events for the community.

In mid-October I attended Holsworthy Mayor’s Charity Ball which was an evening to remember, as it was a chance to dress up for the first time in ages. The Mayor of Holsworthy, Cllr Helen Parker, hosted the event to raise money for Blood Cancer UK and Cancer Research charities.  I was delighted to be joined at this event by my granddaughter who attended as my consort.

On the 26th October the opening of a Silent Space for people living with dementia and memory loss in the Secret Memorial Garden was a truly enlightening moment.  Chris Porter’s wish became reality when I unveiled the new sign helped by Chris’s husband Colin.  The Dementia Friendly Community working group and volunteer gardeners have made this spot a silent haven for anyone looking for peace and tranquillity.

On the 28th October I joined the very lively Children’s Expressive Arts Extravaganza in the Pannier Market which had been organised by the Town Council. Entertainers had the youngsters spellbound, and they were in full voice during the Punch and Judy Show and the Magician’s set.

I was delighted to be invited by the Scouts to attend their Coffee Morning at the end of October to open their newly refurbished kitchen, which was partially funded by a donation to the Scouts from previous Mayor, Cllr Keeley Allin.  A long way from my memories of sitting cross legged in the grass and cooking on an open fire, the new kitchen in the Scout Hut sported induction hobs and extractors. The Cubs had yummy cakes on their stall, and a wealth of craft tables lined the very fresh-looking hall.

On the 2nd November I attended a Low Carbon Future Workshop at Caddsdown which really opened my eyes to even more opportunities for us to help address climate change in Great Torrington.

That same afternoon I joined the Torrington 100 Community Fayre in the Town Hall which was a resounding success with so many organisations showing up, visitors were spoilt for choice. The Mariners Away shanty singers entertained us throughout the event, and there was evidence of a lot of foot tapping in the crowd….

The funeral of a former Town Councillor Jim Thacker took place on Wednesday 10th.  Cllr Mills and I were pleased to be able to attend the service at the crematorium on behalf of the Town Council. 

At this time of year, it is important to reflect on the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women.  To that end, on 11th November at 11:00 on the anniversary of Armistice Day, I laid a wreath on behalf of the town at our War Memorial to honour the fallen and I will be attending the annual Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service on 14th November.

I continue to be involved in plans to redevelop The Globe which is looking very positive.  Torridge District Council, who are leading this project, will be providing an update on progress to the community in due course.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas on behalf of all of us at the Town Council and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Christmas Lights Switch-on event in the town square on Saturday 27th November at 6:30pm.

Parking Charges in December 2021

Torridge District Council has confirmed the “small businesses free parking day” across all Torridge District Council car parks will be on Saturday 4th December 2021.

Great Torrington Town Council has six hours remaining of its second allocated free parking day for 2021 and Members agreed to use this to provide free parking at Sydney House Car Park only on Christmas Eve, 24th December 2021 between the hours of 8am and 2pm.

Government Green Homes Grants – Free Energy Efficiency Improvements for Torridge Residents

Low-income Residents across Torridge can benefit from free energy efficiency improvements worth up to £10,000 thanks to receiving a share of a multi-million pound Government funded programme, led by West of England Combined Authority, working with E.ON and Happy Energy Solutions.

Under the Green Homes Grants Scheme, owner occupiers will benefit from energy efficiency installations up to the value of £10,000 with nothing for them to pay towards the costs of works. Tenants of rented properties can also access grants of up to £5,000 for energy efficiency upgrades, but the landlord will be expected to contribute at least one third towards the cost of works.

To be eligible for the grants the residents of the property must have a low income (receive benefits or have the household income below £30,000 per annum) and the EPC for the property must be rated D, E, F or G. If there is no EPC for your property, you can still apply and it doesn’t matter who your energy supplier is.

If you’re struggling to keep your home warm and think you might be eligible for some help, you can submit an application at the following website www.heatdevon.co.uk

The scheme is expected to run until March 2022, but will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you qualify, Happy Energy Solutions will survey your home to assess which energy efficiency measures could be installed.The options will then be discussed with you for a final decision to be reached.

There are a number of ways for people to get further information by following one of the following links:

Telephone: Text 07520 660500 to request more information

Website: www.heatdevon.co.uk

Email: hello@heatdevon.co.uk

Post expires at 3:51pm on Tuesday November 23rd, 2021

Household Support Fund Launch

As part of the nationwide efforts to recover following the pandemic, Devon and District Councils have been provided with some funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF). 

Funding has been distributed to councils across England, who know their local areas best, to directly help those who need it most, including for example, through small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities.

More information about the fund and the national picture can be found in the Government Household Support Fund announcement

What is the Household Support Fund?

We know that sudden unexpected costs can create real challenges for our residents who are experiencing financial hardship. The Household Support Fund is available to provide rapid short-term financial support to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling to afford food, energy and water bills, and other related essentials this winter.

The scheme runs until 31 March 2022 and is designed to help ease financial pressure on residents with low incomes and to support those most in need this winter whilst the economy recovers.

Due to the limited funds available, the funding will prioritise items necessary for day to day living such as food and essential household items.

We recognise that we cannot predict every challenge that residents may face, so applications will be accepted for other essential types of support which cannot be budgeted for and which deliver on the aims of this scheme. These items will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To find out more about eligibility and to apply go to https://torridge.gov.uk/article/20618/Household-Support-Fund-Grants

What other support is available?

Further information on what financial support is available for individuals and families in Devon can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/document/support-for-people-and-families/

Purple Penguins – official opening by the Mayor

I was asked to open “Purple Penguins”, a new jewellery shop which is situated beside the Plough Arts Centre.
I was surprised how large the new shop was inside, and the feeling of space helps to show off some of the beautiful handcrafted jewellery on display.
Here we have yet another offering to enhance the town’s growing individual character, and I wish David, Lynn and their colleague Steph all the best for their future success.

Cllr Doug Smith
Mayor of Great Torrington

Remembrance Parade 2021

On Sunday 14th November, the Town paid tribute to the many local servicemen and women who laid down their lives in the two Great Wars and subsequent conflicts. The sun twinkled through the trees as we made our way out of the cemetery after the ceremony which seemed very poignant to many of us.
My thanks to the numerous people who helped make this yet another memorable day, all the more so after we missed our last one due to the pandemic.

Cllr Doug Smith
Mayor of Great Torrington

Post expires at 11:31am on Tuesday November 16th, 2021

Remembrance Parade & Service 2021

Great Torrington’s Remembrance Parade was very well attended this morning by representatives from many groups and organisations in the town together with a large turnout from members of the public. Led by the Torrington Silver Band, representatives of the armed forces and the Great Torrington Army Cadets, the parade marched to the War Memorial at the Cemetery where a very poignant service was held. Reverend Rob Blackhall led the service with readings by Mayor Cllr Doug Smith and Mr Sidney Adams, Chairman of the Great Torrington Branch of the Royal British Legion.