Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

My Council

Grants & Funding Information – Updated 11th June 2021

Norman Family Charitable Trust – COVID Fund – deadline 18th June 2021

The Norman Family Charitable Trust recognises that the COVID pandemic emergency has placed an unprecedented strain on local communities and wishes to support non-profit organisations as they return to normal operations as restrictions are eased.

To run alongside its ongoing main grants programme the Trust is setting up the Norman Trust COVID Fund.  Substantial funds will be made available and grant applications are invited from charities and other non-profit organisations (including schools) in Devon.  There will initially be a first round of funding with decisions made in July 2021.  Depending on the response to the first round, one or two further rounds of funding may be opened to applicants later in the year and this may include extending the area of benefit to other parts of the South West.  Updates regarding further rounds will be posted on the Trust’s website.  Applying for both the COVID fund and the Trust’s ongoing Main Grants programme during the current financial year is possible, if your organisation is eligible.

Applicants will need to provide clear evidence of how COVID adversely affected their organisation and the need for funding.  This will include latest accounts and a budget for the current financial year plus details of funding received from other sources.  Please do not apply to this Fund if you are unable to demonstrate a very clear need for financial support and/or are unwilling to provide monitoring information after the grant period.

You can visit their website for a list of the eligibility criteria and an online application form.  Deadline for applications is midday Friday 18 June 2021.

Tarka Country Trust – Community Wildlife Fund

The Community Wildlife fund is currently open for applications from community groups in North Devon and Torridge Districts wanting to carry out small scale projects that both benefit wildlife and involve the community.  The maximum grant is £500.

The Tarka Country Trust’s Community Wildlife Trust has previously supported:

North Devon Moving Image CIC for “Wild Shorts” – a wildlife and environmental short film competition.

North Devon Barn Owl Box Project for supply of free barn owl boxes for farmers with suitable buildings and habitat.

Gaia Trust for creation and management of bird scrapes as Home Farm Marsh, Fremington.

The Greater Horseshoe Bat Viewing Platform, which was built to help people view these rare mammals near Braunton.

Meddon Green Local Nature Reserve to help carry out pond clearance, access improvements and interpretation.

It’s advised to read their guidance notes before applying to the Trust – click on this document for the guidance notes iCM Inline: Document Link
Community Wildlife Fund - Guidance Notes

Submit your completed application to info@tarkacountrytrust.org.uk or send a paper copy to Tarka Country Trust, Taw View, North Walk, Barnstaple, EX31 1EE

Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund – deadline 30th June 2021

Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies can apply for grants of up to £5,000 for activities that highlight the dangers of Loan Sharks and have a positive impact on their communities.

The Illegal Money Lending Team encourages bids from multiple organisations working together who can each bid for £5000 to put towards a collective project.

The Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund is made available from money seized from convicted loan sharks by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT). Organisations will need to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community, and how their project contributes to delivering the IMLT’s priorities which include:

  • Contributes to raising the awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks
  • Prevents crime and disorder and publicises the Stop Loan Sharks message
  • Promotes the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in communities
  • Encourages reporting of loan sharks

To find out more, and to apply, visit: Stop Loan Sharks

Petroc Community Grants – European Social Fund – deadline 5th July and 15th September 2021

Community Grants is a programme that is part funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. This project is designed to make available small grants of up to £ 20,000 to third sector and other small organisations for mobilising disadvantaged or excluded unemployed and inactive people to enable their progress to employment. Organisations that access grants need to be well placed to reach excluded individuals facing barriers, which hinder their access to mainstream provision. 

The purpose of the grants is to:

Engage with marginalised individuals and support them to re-engage with education, training or employment

Support a range of activities aimed at assisting the disadvantaged or excluded to move closer to the labour market by improving their access to mainstream ESF and domestic employment and skills provision

Provide support to the hardest to reach communities and individuals, especially those from deprived communities, to access employment or further learning and training.

The programme runs until 31st July, 2022 and is expected to reach 671 participants in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and 192 participants in Somerset.

Participants must be aged 16 years or over, legally resident in the UK and able to take paid employment in the UK and be unemployed or ‘inactive’.

Grant Recipients:

To access this funding organisations must be either a Small Organisation, in that you employ fewer than 49 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover equal to or under EUR 10 million or a balance sheet equal to or below EUR 10 million or a Third Sector Organisation which operates within the Third Sector meaning the part of an economy or society comprising non- governmental and non-profit making organisations or associations including charities, Voluntary and community groups.

Grant Application Process:

Petroc have developed a two stage application process and will offer training and guidance to any organisations who wish to submit an application. The full applications detailing the projects activities and targets to be achieved will be assessed by a panel including a member of Petroc staff (but not the Petroc Projects Team), a member from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a nominated person from the area in which the programme is planning to deliver. 

Application assessment windows:

Assessment window opens: 14th Jun 2021, for decisions made 5th Jul 2021

Assessment window opens: 25th Aug 2021, for decisions made 15th Sep 2021

If you would like to know more about this programme visit the petroc website or if you would like to discuss please contact Lesley Taylor on communitygrants@petroc.ac.uk

Woodward Charitable Trust – deadline 30th July 2021

The Trustees look to fund projects that help families and young people and that are aiming to improve the life chances of the beneficiaries.  Projects that promote community cohesion and the development of skills that will change the outlook and outcomes for the users are favoured by the Trustees.  Organisations that promote volunteering and involve both past and present users in their operations or management are encouraged.  Trustees only consider applications for core costs and are looking for organisations which aim to achieve a positive impact in at least one of the following areas:

  • Children and Young People who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in anti-social behaviour and projects to help those who have been in the care system.
  • Disadvantaged Families, this covers parenting support and guidance, mental health, food poverty, refuges and domestic violence projects
  • Prisoners and ex-Offenders and specifically projects that maintain and develop contact with prisoners’ families and help with the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners and/or ex-offenders after their release.

General grants are available to registered charities as well as consideration being given to Charity Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs).  Round 2 opened Monday 24 June 2021 and closes midday Friday 30 July 2021.  Decisions will be made at the October Trustees meeting with successful applicants being notified by email by the end of November 2021.

More information on the application process can be found here Link to Woodward Charitable Trust Website

Radcliffe Trust – next deadline 31st July 2021

The Radcliffe Trust supports the development of the skills, knowledge and experience that underpin the UK’s cultural heritage and crafts sectors. This includes support for emerging craftspeople of high quality craft and conservation projects demonstrating creative outcomes by designer-makers, projects with potential for capacity building within the sector, and some special needs projects focusing on therapeutic benefits of skills development.

The deadlines are twice a year, with the applications submitted by 31st January being presented for consideration by the trust in June, and a deadline of 31st July for those to be presented in December.

If you have any questions or require support contact radcliffe@thetrustpartnership.com or to apply online visit Radcliffe Heritage Trust

Armed Forces Covenant Fund – Force for Change Programme – deadline 2nd August 2021

This programme will award grants of up to £10,000 for community projects that reduce isolation and promote integration; supporting post-Covid recovery in local Armed Forces communities affected by isolation.

One-year grants are available of up to £10,000 to support ideas that need small amounts of funding to deliver nimble and focused local projects to Armed Forces communities.  Or small grants will be made to support services, projects and activities that are used by Armed Forces communities, but which are struggling as a result of the impact of the Covid pandemic.

The deadline for applications to round two of the programme is 2 August 2021.

Go to their website where you will find frequently asked questions and answers as well as the online application form, Covenant Fund

William and Jane Morris Fund; Grants for Churches – deadline 31st August 2021

The Fund accepts applications from churches, chapels and other places of worship built before 1896 for grants of between £500 and £5,000 to carry out small programmes of conservation work to decorative features and monuments. All work funded must be directed by a professional architect or established conservator and completed according to the principles of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)

Eligible work could include (but is not limited to):

  • Stained glass windows
  • Sculpture
  • Furniture
  • Internal monuments
  • Tombs
  • Wall paintings

Apply at Morris Church Conservation Grants

AONB – Small Grant Scheme Open for Applications – applications process open May to Dec 2021

Community groups, businesses and farmers can now bid into the £22,000 pot of the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB) small grant scheme, otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Fund.

Last year, ten projects were funded with grants averaging £2,400 matched with cash and in-kind time. The full list of funded projects:

  • Torridge District Council – Westward Ho! Slipway improvements
  • Braunton Countryside Centre – Online events & website developments
  • Greena Ecological Consultancy – Greater Horseshoe Bat Research
  • Georgeham Parish Council – Newberry Road Footpath
  • Plastic Free North Devon – Plastic Ambassador Virtual Reality Kit Project
  • National Trust – Biodiversity Projects at Brownsham and Middleborough Hill
  • Westcountry Rivers Trust – N. Devon Coastal Streams – Citizen Science
  • West Country Buzz – Hartland Quay and West Titchberry Farm Scrub Management
  • Woolacombe TIC – Provision of Storage Shed for Mobility Equipment
  • National Trust – Baggy Point Pond Improvements

Applications are encouraged from those carrying out projects that bring an environmental, economic, social or educational benefit to the AONB.

“This year’s top priorities are nature & wildlife or sustainable farming,” said Jenny Carey-Wood the AONB Manager. “This could be improvements to habitats in villages, on tourist sites or on farms such as ponds, hedges, small woodland planting or scrub management to benefit wildlife. Information on farming and land management for visitors or processing and marketing of food produced from the AONB are other possibilities for grant support.”

Dr Eirene Williams, the AONB Vice-chair overseeing the grant scheme said, “We encourage a wide range of applications, from people and organisations with ideas for making our local habitats “bigger, better and more joined up”.  We trust that the projects funded have lasting and sustainable benefits for our local wildlife in the face of climate change, but please go ahead and surprise us with innovative ideas”.

Grants can cover up to 75% of the project cost, and range in size from £100 up to £4,000 for an exceptional project. All projects need support from the local community.

Applications are open from May to December 2021 with projects needing to be completed by the end of February 2022.

Check out the AONB Management Plan for the full list of policies and priorities – https://www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/about/management-plan-2019-2024 

If you have a project idea, see the guidance and application form on our website www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/our-work/grants or contact Laura Carolan on 01271 388628 or aonb@devon.gov.uk to discuss.

Lloyds Bank Racial Equity Fund

The fund is aimed at small and local charities that are led by and that support Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities. Charities can apply for two-year unrestricted grants of £50,000 alongside development support.  

The funding will be open year-round and will not be restricted by deadlines. The Foundation is looking to support charities where more than half of their Trustee Board self-identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic, with an annual income of between £25,000 and £1m, and with a strong track record of helping people from minority communities across 11 complex social issues.

For the eligibility check, and the online application form visit Lloyd’s Bank Foundation

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme – Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

The Government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people suffering from slow broadband speeds in rural areas.

Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps.

The new UK Gigabit Voucher launched on Thursday 8th April 2021 and is only available through a supplier who is registered with the scheme. 

From 8th April you will be able to check whether your premises is eligible for a voucher, find a list of registered suppliers, and see those who are active in your area, using the website: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk

Barratt Foundation

To mark the completion of their 500,000th home, Barratt Homes has launched the Barratt Foundation, bringing together their charitable giving and long-term support for good causes and leading charities under one roof.

As the UK’s largest house builder, Barratt want to lead the industry in the scope, scale, and impact of their charitable work. Last year they raised and donated more than £4m – but now want to go further.

In addition to the achieving their 500,000th home milestone, with the pandemic both reducing funding for charities and making the work they do more important than ever, they feel this is the right moment to launch the Barratt Foundation.

It has a general purpose, but they will look to focus efforts on some key areas, including:

  • Promoting social inclusion, particularly young people, the armed forces and the most disadvantaged and excluded in society.
  • Helping the environment and nature, alongside our commitment to being the country’s leading national sustainable housebuilder
  • Promoting physical and mental health
  • Education and opportunity

To mark the launch of the Barratt Foundation, they are donating £500,000 across 10 charities chosen by their employees. These charities are Macmillan Cancer Support, Dementia UK, CALM, The Wildlife Trust, Marie Curie, Re-engage, The Samaritans, Refuge, The Matt Hampson Foundation and The Care Workers’ Charity.

If there is a local charity working in your area that you feel could benefit from their support, please direct them to the Foundation for more information and details on how to get in touch, or to make an application to the Barratt Foundation.

www.barrattfoundation.org.uk

Small Grants Scheme – Foyle Foundation

This Small Grants Scheme is designed to support charities registered and operating in the United Kingdom, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities.

Online applications can be accepted from charities that have an annual turnover of less than £150,000 per annum. Larger or national charities will normally not be considered under this scheme. 

The focus will be to make one-year grants only to cover core costs or essential equipment, to enable ongoing service provision, homeworking, or delivery of online digital services to charities that can show financial stability.

The priority will be to support local charities still active in their communities which are currently delivering services to the young, vulnerable, elderly, disadvantaged or the general community either directly or through online support if possible.

Grants are available between £1000 and £10,000.

Small Grants Scheme – (foylefoundation.org.uk)

Devon County Council’s Locality Budgets

Devon County Councillors each have a locality budget of £10,000 per year to enable them to respond to local needs in their divisions, supporting projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.

Councillors can, if they wish, make grants to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.

Locality budget funding adds value to projects that are beneficial to local communities, and help meet the Council’s strategic objectives. Projects are diverse and reflect the needs of local communities. All projects should include some other financial contribution(s) and/or local support.

Any properly constituted not-for-private-profit voluntary or community group (including town and parish councils) can apply to their local county councillor for a grant from the locality budget fund.

Each councillor will normally make their own decision on which applications they wish to support, the only exception would be where the councillor may have a conflict of interest and the decision will have to be approved by an officer provided that the locality budget fund grant will be normally used within the financial period (April to March) of each year and is not used to benefit individuals or private businesses.

To discuss a locality budget fund application, you should contact your local County Councillor in the first instance. You can view a Map of Devon County wards of each of the Council’s electoral divisions to help you to identify your local councillor.

If your county councillor wishes to support your application, you must complete Part A of the locality budget application form, and ensure that the reverse side of the form is completed (terms and conditions) and then send it to the councillor so that they can complete Part B.

Hargreaves Foundation

The Hargreaves Foundation is a grant-making charitable foundation set up in 2020 by Peter Hargreaves and his family.  Applications are open for organisations seeking funding to support those under the age of 18, and living with a mental health problem, physical disability or growing up in poverty through the mediums of sport and education.

The Foundation can fund clearly defined projects, initiatives or the purchase of specific items that support one or more of the following:

  • Enables individuals to experience the mental and physical health benefits of participatory sport
  • Ensures participatory sport is accessible
  • Provides sporting or educational activities that foster life skills
  • Aims to improve academic engagement and attainment
  • Encourages the development of skills and personal attributes to aid future employability.

It is the intention of the Trustees to consider a targeted approach to funding and seek out opportunities which provide scope to ‘materially change the life of an individual’.

To apply online visit: The Hargreaves Foundation

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Applications are open for National Lottery Grants for Heritage from £3,000 up to £5million. They will prioritise projects that contribute to recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Between April 2021 to March 2022, when making funding decisions, they will prioritise heritage projects that:

  • boost the local economy
  • encourage skills development and job creation
  • support wellbeing
  • create better places to live, work and visit
  • improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage

Their inclusion outcome – a wider range of people will be involved in heritage – remains mandatory for all projects funded.

In addition, all projects must demonstrate they are environmentally responsible and are integrating environmental measures into their projects.

You can read more on the Fund’s website: National Lottery Heritage Fund

Loans for charities

The Charity Bank provides loans to small and large organisations where the loan is being used for a social purpose. Loans are provided to social enterprises and other community organisations that benefit people and communities for a variety of needs including property purchase or refurbishments, capital investments, asset purchases, working capital loans and underwriting facilities for fund-raising programmes.

Loans may be offered to not-for-profit organisations, parish councils, charities, community groups, voluntary groups, community buildings and social enterprises.

Visit their website Charity Loans For UK Charities or email them: enquiries@charitybank.org.uk 

Persimmon Homes

Persimmon homes has joined forces with Team GB – The British Olympic Association – to give away over £1 million to help projects for young people aged under 18 across England, Wales and Scotland.

There are three categories, or competitions.  Each category has a first prize of £100k, second prize of £50k and third prize of £25k. 

The categories are Education and Arts, Sport, and Health.

To enter, all you need to do is compete the application form telling them why your group or organisation deserves funding and what you will spend the money on should you be lucky enough to win.  87 of the shortlisted finalists, who did not win one of the top three prizes, could also win £5000 in runner-up prizes.

There will also be smaller individual prizes of £1000 each to be given away during May, June, July and August 2021.

A public vote will decide the final winners, with the decisions announced in November 2021.

To apply online visit  Persimmon Homes Website

Ulverscroft Foundation – supporting visually impaired people

The Ulverscroft Foundation is a UK based charity supporting visually impaired people. The Foundation supplies grants to organisations looking for help with projects relating to improving the quality of life of visually impaired people.

Funding is mainly given to organisations directly helping the visually impaired, such as libraries, schools, colleges and hospitals.

Any organisation applying is only able to submit one application every 18 months regardless of the outcome of the application.

The Foundation is keen to support specific projects and associated costs, with capital costs, core salaries and general running costs not supported.

Applications can be made in writing by downloading, completing and posting an application form or, alternatively, by using their online application form. They also accept email applications. Details of the information required, as well as contact details and where to send the application, can be found on their website: Ulverscroft Foundation

Nationwide Building Society – Community Grants

Charities, Community Land Trusts and housing co-operatives who are making positive changes in their local areas can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000.

Projects will be favoured that:

  • help charities get back on their feet after the impact of Covid-19
  • illustrate a clear link to Nationwide’s ambition for everyone to have a place fit to call home and can demonstrate the impact their project will have on the local community
  • are supporting people in housing need, in original or creative ways. This includes both projects already delivering local impact and those carrying out research to find new ways to challenge the housing crisis
  • have the potential to inspire and be used by others across the country
  • have robust plans to measure and report on the difference the grant will make
  • can demonstrate sustainability beyond the life of the grant, by building the skills of staff and volunteers, diversifying funding streams and providing long-term solutions for the people they are helping
  • can evidence knowledge of local issues and have a network of local connections.

In 2021 they are capping the amount of Community Grant applications that will be accepted.

For more information visit Nationwide Grants (nationwidecommunitygrants.co.uk)

Flexible Plastic Fund

Businesses, retailers and recyclers are invited to access funding and support through the new Flexible Plastic Fund initiative. The scheme has been set up to incentivise the recycling of flexible plastics such as bags and wrappers.

The Flexible Plastic Fund is a cross-industry collaboration established in May 2021 by five founding partners: Mars, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

The aim is to create a circular system that incentivises the recycling of flexible plastics:

  1. Businesses that own brands that use flexible plastic packaging invest in the fund to become partners of the Flexible Plastic Fund.
  2. Participating retailers hold collection points within their stores where individuals can drop off their flexi-plastics for recycling.
  3. The plastics are transported to approved recyclers to create new products.
  4. These new products generate Packaging Recovery Notes which certify that the products have been recycled.
  5. If the new products meet the requirements of the Flexible Plastics Fund then a payment is made to the partners in the fund.

The Fund has a pricing hierarchy where food-grade plastic film benefits from a higher price than non-packaging material. The aim is to recycle at least 80% of the plastics collected in the UK – rising to 100% by 2023.

https://flexibleplasticfund.org.uk/

The E B M Charitable Trust

The aims of the E B M Charitable Trust are to support a wide variety of beneficiaries including charities involved in animal welfare and research, the relief of poverty and youth development.

A letter of introduction is recommended as unsolicited applications are not encouraged. Moreover, the Trust has stated that all its funds are committed. The Trust prefers to make donations to charities whose work they have researched and which is in accordance with its areas of interest. It tends not to support research projects as research is not a core priority but there are exceptions to this. Please note that the Trust receives a very high number of grant applications which are mostly unsuccessful.

However, if you have a charitable cause you believe the Trust will support, it may be worth submitting a letter or application as the Trust’s grants can be substantial and provided over a number of years.

A letter of introduction may be submitted at any time, addressed to:

Lynne Webster, the E B M Charitable Trust, Moore Family Office Ltd, 42 Berkeley Square

Community News!

Help our coastal environment by signing this petition

According to the Keep Britain Tidy report, over 16,000 cheap polystyrene bodyboards are discarded on UK beaches annually. These boards often snap and become unusable within minutes of use. When discarded, polystyrene crumbles into small white polystyrene balls, threatening our natural environment.

These boards are made from a block of standard unrecyclable block of expanded polystyrene wrapped in brightly printed plastic cloth, are sourced from abroad and transported thousands of miles only to often snap within minutes of use. They create an unnecessary carbon footprint and nature threatening waste. Once in the ocean, polystyrene attracts algae adding enough weight to cause the nuggets to sink and present itself as food to fish which could enter the human food chain.

The retailers of Westward Ho! have recently worked together to agree not to sell these and become the first town in the UK to ban their sale!

Please sign the petition to help get this great incentive rolled out across the country.

Ban the sale of cheap polystyrene bodyboards – Petitions (parliament.uk)

Don’t miss a funding opportunity

Need some funding for a project? Check out the latest list of grant funding opportunities collated here.

Grants range from £500 to £100,000 or more with deadlines for applications displayed alongside grant information summaries. Don’t miss out on funds for your project or community click on the link and download the summary.

Great Torrington Neighbourhood Plan (2014-2031)

Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to have a say in the future of the places where they live and work. It gives you the power to produce a plan with legal weight that can influence the form and location of development in the neighbourhood area. After 6 years of preparation and community engagement, undertaken by the Town Council, the Great Torrington Neighbourhood Plan has reached a significant milestone. Following a successful formal examination, and agreement by Torridge District Council, a referendum on the Neighbourhood plan will take place on 17th June 2021.

The Referendum will be managed by the District Council; all registered voters within the parish of Great Torrington will be able participate in the referendum.

If you would like to look at the referendum Neighbourhood Plan, it can be found on the following links https://www.torridge.gov.uk/torringtonnp and https://www.greattorrington-neighbourhood-plan.org/.

If you would like to see a hard copy of the Neighbourhood Plan, please contact the Town Council on 01805 626135 or email: admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

The Integrated Care System and healthcare provision in Great Torrington

At the Annual Council meeting on Thursday 6th May 2021 the Town council voted to write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ask for an assurance that the introduction of the Integrated Care System, along with budget savings will not have an adverse effect on any aspect of provision of health care provided in Great Torrington.  Members also requested that the Town Council raise its concerns in relation to scrutiny of the outcomes of these matters.

Mayor’s June Crier Article

From Your New Mayor…..

How the time has flown and Summer is almost upon us.  There have been many changes including my recent appointment as Mayor of Great Torrington.  It is often said that all good things come to an end…  well, I hope that some things will continue to be good as I take over the reins from my predecessor, Cllr Keeley Allin, who has done a fabulous job of representing the town for the past two years.

The first part of the year hasn’t been normal at all, starting with the awful news that we had to cancel Mayfair for a second time. This was absolutely the hardest decision we as a committee could have been called on to make, knowing the heartache it would bring to those youngsters who were so looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime event.  A lot of sleep was lost prior to making the call, but in the end we had absolutely no option bearing in mind the overarching responsibility we all have to each other and our children. 

As we all know, Great Torrington has been voted the “Healthiest place to live”.  During the pandemic, we did not consistently provide the country’s lowest infection statistics without effort and sacrifice.  Torridge as a District had consistently lowest infection figures nationally, and within Torridge we as a Town shone out, but we must carry on our Covid awareness and not relax our guard too quickly. This is not to say we mustn’t get back to ‘normality’ as soon as we can, but emerging from lockdown needs to be accomplished with some caution and common sense so as not to undo all the gains for which we have all paid such a high price. Our ongoing thanks to our local and regional NHS staff, and to our extraordinary volunteers who have been instrumental in making all this achievable by their tireless work.

One of my passions is raising awareness of our fragile environment. As someone with a love of scuba diving I have seen to my sadness coral bleaching and plastic rubbish in the worlds’ oceans where you’d least expect it.

Closer to home, I have been collaborating with SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) and Plastic Free North Devon both of whom have been extremely active locally with beach cleans and other similar events.  For some time now Great Torrington has been chasing Plastic Free Status. The newly opened Torrington Refill Store will go a long way to support this by raising awareness and opportunity in the town, so please support Bruce and Mike in their endeavours. The town’s Transport and Environment Working Group hasn’t been meeting through the lockdown, but watch this space as we will be looking for people interested in our planet to get more involved.

Many of you will be aware that we have changed our grass cutting policy.  This is designed to support and encourage our ever-diminishing army of pollinators, on whom we rely so heavily.

I am excited to have been involved with the Fiware4Water initiative from its inception (there are more details in this edition of the Crier, so I’ll not repeat).  Because of our unique geography amongst other things, Great Torrington was selected by Exeter University to represent the UK in an EU and UN Water awareness initiative so please do grasp this chance to participate.  

If you have concerns or ideas, please feed back to me or any of your councillors.  We’d be glad to hear your ideas. We are here FOR YOU.

Finally, I would like to confirm that my two Charities this year will be the North Devon Hospice and the Tarka Valley Railway.  I am also very pleased to invite Reverend Robert Blackhall as the Town Council’s Chaplain.

Cllr Doug Smith – Mayor of Great Torrington

cllr.smith@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

07970 636199

Howe Plate Award 2021

This year the Town Council has awarded the Howe Plate to Peter and Val Morris in recognition of their remarkable efforts over several decades in keeping the Museum going and in doing so, contributing to preserving the towns heritage for future generations.   Peter and Val stepped down from the Museum last September and Members considered the presentation of the Howe Plate to be a fitting tribute for all that they have both done for the community.

Mayor’s Chosen Charities 2021/22 – Cllr Doug Smith

When my appointment as Mayor of Great Torrington was announced, the support and encouragement I had from our retiring Mayor Cllr. Keeley Allin and so many friends and associates has been humbling and most gratifying. I was honoured to have received the confidence of my fellow Councillors, and will do all in my power to justify that trust. It will be a genuine privilege being your Mayor.

The decision about which two Local Charities are named as Mayor’s Charities for the upcoming year has been the first of many delightful challenges facing me.

A little over three years ago my late wife and I were overwhelmed by the kindness and care showered on us by the North Devon Hospice during the difficult latter part of her life. The Hospice is a very special organisation, and so many of us have benefited from its unique contribution to the community.  Covid has impacted dramatically on the funds coming into this charity on which they rely so heavily, so I will be urging everyone to continue giving as generously as ever to this vital local resource by supporting my Charity

The presence of a thriving Heritage Railway will surely put us on the ‘Holiday’ map for many more people. Tarka Valley Railway has a momentous anniversary in the offing, so I know we are going to be hearing much more from them about this event in the coming months. Emerging from lockdown, and looking at the many roads to recovery, it is clear that Tourism is one of the keys to Great Torrington’s continued regeneration, and I look forward to working with this lively group, and to supporting them with my Mayor’s Charity.