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Torridge District Council Bulletins

My Property Tool Launched to Give Residents Property Based Council Service Information

Torridge District Council has launched My Property Information, a quick and easy online tool that provides details on essential services based on a resident’s address.

The digital tool has replaced the waste collection dates calendar and brings together waste collection dates and local Councillor information. It also hosts a newly developed services map, including transport links, car parks and recycling centres, all in an easy-to-use format.

Councillor Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council, said:

“The My Property Information tool is in response to resident’s calls for quick access to joined-up information on what and when services, such as waste collections, are available to them.

“The tool has been well received so far and we are looking to add more services and information, such as addition of Council Tax bands and nearby planning applications and decisions, on the interactive map.”

Residents can access the tool simply by visiting: torridge.gov.uk/my-property.

Torridge District Council Launch New and Improved Careers Website!

On Thursday the 1st of February, Torridge District Council will launch a new careers website featuring interactive web pages to showcase job opportunities at the council. With the aim of reaching an even wider audience the website has been designed to convey the attractive working conditions and terms offered by the Council as well as the many positive benefits of relocating to such a beautiful part of the UK.

The in-house project involved collaboration between the IT, Communications, and Human Resources departments, with two former apprentices playing key hands-on roles in the design and development process. The active involvement of the apprentices in the design was a further indication of the council’s commitment to training and nurturing new talent  and providing continuous learning and progression opportunities for all its employees. A large part of the project involved working closely with Bideford College and A Level student Miriam who provided many of the photographs used on the website.

Bideford College Student Miriam said:

“Working on the Torridge project was an incredible experience that allowed me to learn so much about project work and the way the council operates. The staff at the council were friendly and welcoming, and it was truly inspiring to see my photography being used on the website and social media.”

The Human Resources Team at the Council have also worked hard on the content for the new website to ensure applicants get as much information and support as possible, and to make applying for a role at the council simple and straightforward. The department also sends out regular email bulletins and operates its own Facebook page, containing lots of helpful information and regular updates on current vacancies. To visit the new website people should go to careers.torridge.gov.uk or to subscribe to email bulletin updates visit torridge.gov.uk/emailupdates or follow the councils dedicated careers Facebook page facebook.com/torridgecareers.

Councillor Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council said:

“I’m extremely proud of the team who have delivered the new website and the collaboration across so many departments. Former apprentices who have since secured full-time employment with Torridge are now playing crucial roles in developing the council’s effort to increase and improve its online presence. There are a wide variety of career options available at Torridge, including degree-level apprenticeships and work experience placements. There are also good prospects  for career progression across many departments and roles, so be sure to keep an eye on the new website!”

New strategic plan and “place board” ahead of discussions with Government for Levelling Up funding

Torridge councillors have given their seal of approval to a wide ranging new strategic plan that will help shape business plans and spending across the district over the next five years. The 2024-2029 plan has emerged from a series of workshops and six week public consultation and sets out the council’s vision for the future under four themes: the local economy, communities health and housing, the environment and council services and operations.

The plan provides a guide to key objectives and aims of the council and future businesses plans and projects will be aligned to delivering these. Collaborative working was already a key aspect of the plan with a joint local plan with North Devon Council and supporting the economy through the joint funding of North Devon Plus highlighted as recent examples. Other work will be underpinned by membership of the recently formed Northern Devon Futures, a strategic partnership of multiple organisations working together with the aim of improving the lives of everyone living and working in the wider northern Devon area. The plan has also been shaped to compliment the Northern Devon Economic Strategy, which is also being refreshed in the coming months and will focus on growth and opportunity where the previous version was understandably focused on recovery following the Covid Pandemic.

A second key decision taken at the full council meeting confirmed the setting up of a “Torridge Place Board” to address the government’s recent announcement that Torridge has been identified as one of 20 councils to be invited to form a Levelling Up Partnership with government. The details of this initiative are still emerging but around £400m in total will be available with exact monetary allocations for each authority yet to be announced. The setting up of a board with members from the district council, businesses, education, health, and the voluntary sector amongst others is designed to provide input, support and oversight for the broad workstreams and project areas that might be supported through grants from Levelling Up. The new structure recognises the once in a lifetime opportunity the policy initiative by the government represents for Torridge and surrounding areas. 

Torridge District Council Leader Ken James said:

“I am really excited about the prospects for growth and improvement that the strategic plan and new place board arrangements will underpin. It’s disappointing that historically the area has continued to experience poor educational outcomes, low average wages and poor health and life expectancy. However the governments new initiative is a great opportunity to address these inequalities and produce a better outcome for our residents. I know that members and our partners are ready to take on this challenge in the new year, and build on the £15.6 million already secured for the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre.”

♫ Dreaming of a Green Christmas ♬ – Recycling tips and Christmas collections in Torridge

Torridge District Council would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to residents who have continued to boost the recycling rates across the District which now also includes small electrical goods and batteries. While the festive season is a period for many of us to relax and spend time with family and friends, the message being sent out is to KEEP RECYCLING especially all the cardboard, drinks containers and other waste items Christmas celebrations usually generate.

Torridge crews will be taking a well-deserved short break during the festive period and there will be no kerbside recycling collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. However, crews will be working normally on other days across the holiday period to collect any festive leftovers. The Council are asking people to check their collection dates on their online calendar as some of the collections will be a day or two later than usual as a result of the public holidays.

To accommodate the extra work over this period, as usual, there will be no garden waste collections between Monday 25th December 2023 and Sunday 7th January 2024. Collections will start again on Monday 8th January 2024.

Lots of festive items can be fully recycled, including:

  • Real Christmas Trees – Ideally chopped up and placed in the Green Wheelie bin or whole trees can be placed next to the Green Bin
  • Plastic bottles, containers and tins (green box)
  • Foil trays (green box)
  • Glass bottles and jars (black box)
  • Christmas cards without glitter (brown bag)
  • Christmas card envelopes (brown bag)
  • Food waste, including turkey bones (green food caddies)
  • Cardboard (broken up or flattened) which must be placed in the brown bag. Each household can have two brown bags and to order an extra one people should visit the Councils website.

There are some items which unfortunately cannot be recycled:

  • Large, oversized cardboard boxes may be rejected unless broken into pieces and placed in the brown bags or alternatively these can be taken to one of the local Devon County Council recycling centres.
  • Items covered in glitter.
  • We can only accept brown wrapping paper due to the low-grade nature of standard wrapping paper for which there is currently no commercial end use.

Items that can’t be recycled will be collected in the black bag waste collections but no waste will be sent to landfill as these collections are sent to an energy from waste reclamation plant where it is processed to generate electricity.

Councillor Chris Leather – Lead Member for Waste and Recycling said:

“2023 has been a great year for recycling, and I would like to express my gratitude to the residents of Torridge who have supported our crews and continued to recycle throughout the year. Please remember to ‘wash and squash’ your plastic bottles and cans, as this helps our crews to collect double the amount of recycled materials on each round. In closing, I would like to wish all of our residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

More recycling information can be found on social media or on the Council’s website @ torridge.gov.uk/recycling

THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN FOR RECYCLING FOR TORRIDGE AND HAVE A MERRY GREEN FESTIVE HOLIDAY SEASON!

Great Torrington Market House sparkles in time for Christmas

The refurbishment of Great Torrington Market House has been unveiled just in time for the Christmas markets and seasonal festivities. The Grade II* listed structure, which was built in 1842, has undergone a £200k facelift funded by a grant from the Governments Rural Prosperity Fund.

The refurbishment, which started in August, began in good weather but subsequent named storms and persistent rain that occurred as the clock ticked over to the autumn proved to be a challenge, particularly for the decorators working on the project. Despite this the project was delivered on time and executed largely by local contractors including WMI ironworks, North Devon Decorators, ZW Roofing and Advanced Scaffolding.

The works were scheduled in a manner to minimise disruption to local businesses and market users so that retail and business activities could continue. The careful renovations have brought key features of the building back to their full glory including the Bellcote structure, which was removed due to safety concerns following an inspection in 2021. The original market gates have also been refurbished while other works included repairs to the render, windows, parapet and roof area. Some minor additional works are still ongoing but overall the project is nearly complete. The move is a positive step forward in securing the future of the building as a town centre anchor point and a far cry from the building previously being placed on the “at risk register” by English Heritage. 

Torridge Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin – Ward Member and Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement said:

“I’m really grateful to our officers and the contractors who worked on this project, who have taken a building that had become quite dilapidated and restored it to its former glory. It now shines as a gateway to the pannier market and I know that the traders and shop owners are very happy with the results. It’s given the whole town centre a lift and will hopefully attract greater footfall and spending in the town.” 

Torridge Business Bulletin – December 2023

Does your business need a BOOST? 

The Business BOOST programme is providing FREE support to small and micro businesses across North Devon and Torridge, through one to one business support tailored to the needs of your business.  The aim of the programme is to is to assist your business to improve performance, grow and develop, create jobs, increase turnover and / or reduce costs, and to improve sustainability. 

As part of the business support programme,  businesses will be able to work with a Business Advisor to identify projects and apply for a Small Business Support Grant of up to £1500 (this is a competitive application process with specific eligibility criteria, requires a 20% match from applicants and will be subject to available funding.).

For more information on the programme and how to book your appointment please visit our website https://northdevonplus.co.uk/contact or email us  boost@northdevonplus.co.uk quoting Business BOOST, your name and contact details.

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.’

New finance and funding opportunities for your business available on Access to Finance SW

Access to Finance SW has shared a series of new finance and funding opportunities on the free platform, connecting South West businesses with the latest funding news and resources.

The newly opened funding awards and grants are suited to innovative organisations across a variety of different sectors, including Tech, Aerospace, Medical, Marine and more, with competition deadlines throughout the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.

Upcoming opportunities address vital challenges such as energy storage, design for repair, advancing biosecurity and providing for those from deprived areas.

The opportunities on the Access to Finance SW platform are updated by funding providers, advisers, and business finance and grant funding experts, including Innovate UK, Creative UK, British Business Bank, Granted Consultancy, Social Investment Business and School for Social Entrepreneurs.

The Access to Finance SW platform, run by Tech South West and funded by Heart of the South West LEP, regularly shares the latest funding and finance opportunities, provides free finance resources, and allows members to connect with a community of South West businesses and business finance experts.

Join Access to Finance SW to find out more about the latest funding opportunities for your business, all from one accessible location: www.accesstofinancesw.co.uk.

Angel Investor Programme

A new Angel Investor Programme has launched in the Great South West!

The programme will recruit 40 new angel investors, with a strong focus on fostering diversity, generating an expected £2.8 million of angel investment annually, resulting in a total funding boost of £9 million.

The Angel Investor Programme will:

Operate with key team members including a ‘Super Connector’ and an ‘Angel Lead,’ targeting professional services firms, private banks, wealth managers, and Chamber of Commerce memberships.

Engage second-home communities and work closely with local incubators, accelerators, science parks, universities, clusters, and other key players in the tech ecosystem to identify investment opportunities and connect with the newly formed angel community.

Establish four new Angel Groups, including one dedicated to women investors, and support 68 individuals in becoming investor-ready through the UKBAA’s online Angel Education Programme.

Provide 50 founders and startups with valuable access to the angel community, facilitating growth and collaboration.

The programme is a collaborative endeavour between Tech South West and key partners including Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, Heart of the South West Growth Hub, Dorset LEP, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Dorset LEP Business, Heart of the South West LEP, and the British Business Bank.

The project is also made possible through the support of North Devon Council and Torridge District Council via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and HM Government Levelling Up programme.

If you’re interested in joining the Angel Investor Programme and being a part of this exciting journey, please email hello@techsouthwest.co.uk

Train4Tomororrow – Skills Bootcamp Programme

Devon County Council’s Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps programme has been awarded an additional £900,000, funding a further 400 places to boost skills development within our region.

Courses are open to adults aged 19 and over, looking to kickstart a new career, upskill or change roles. Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps have supported around 2000 individuals over the past three years.

For individuals: Supercharge your career with Skills Bootcamps! Free, flexible training within exciting sectors for those aged 19+ living in Devon or Cornwall. Find out more: www.train4tomorrow.org.uk

For Employers: 

  • Employers can use Skills Bootcamps to support their staff to develop new skills and transform their business. Courses are 90% part funded for SME employers who wish to use them for staff development and for larger businesses 70% of the course costs are funded.
  • For employers looking to recruit staff, Skills Bootcamps offer a pipeline of highly skilled and motivated individuals who are looking for roles where they can utilise the skills learnt.
  • With further funding expected in 2024 the team are keen to work with employers to create bespoke courses for their individual needs. Employers can get in touch with the team to discuss how Skills Bootcamps might be able to support their business development needs: train4tomorrow@devon.gov.uk.

This project is currently being delivered in partnership with 13 different training providers and offer a range of courses in priority sectors: Health and Social Care, Digital, Technical, Professional Services, Green skills, and Construction.

Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Online Careers Hub Event – 16th January 9am-12am

Are you an Enterprise Adviser? Cornerstone Employer? Or simply need support with engaging young people? If so, then this event is not to be missed!

The DPT Careers Hub, established in collaboration with The Careers and Enterprise Company, helps transform careers education for young people across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.

They work with every state-funded secondary school, special educational needs school, alternative provision & post 16 college, helping them to link with local employers to deliver high quality careers support for students. 

As well as working with employers, they link with training providers, FE colleges, universities and career professionals to help deliver the Gatsby Benchmarks and to ensure that all young people are able to identify their best next step. 

The Careers Hub will now play a critical role in supporting local skills development plans post Covid, understanding current and future job markets and feeding that intelligence into education.

This educational webinar is FREE to attend and will cover:

What do schools and students want? 

What is good information? 

Online vs physical delivery tips 

And more…

????Online |⏰ 16th January – 9am-12:00pm | Sign up today REGISTER HERE

Ecology and Conservation Skills Bootcamp

Petroc is working in partnership with Train4Tomorrow to offer free*, high-quality training to employed and unemployed adults.

Skills Bootcamps are short and flexible courses giving people the opportunity to build sector-specific skills and fast-track to a job interview with a local employer or improve their prospects in their current role.

This Skills Bootcamp will provide you with introductory knowledge and understanding of ecology and ecosystems focusing on the broad range of environmental settings in North Devon. The nature of ecosystems and the populations within them will be reviewed in theory and in practice, and you will also engage in fieldwork to gather appropriate data. National and international conservation strategies will be discussed. This course will also provide an introduction to the new Environmental Living Lab facility on the North Devon campus.

Find out more

*Subject to eligibility

English and maths qualifications with Learn Devon

Looking to gain a recognised English or maths qualification? Learn Devon is here to help.

No matter what your English or maths level is, Learn Devon can offer you a course.

Gaining a qualification (GCSE or Functional Skills) in English or maths will help you at home and work. Join a course with Learn Devon and they can help you get the qualification you want.

Explore free* Functional Skills and GCSEs courses. There is lots of support available to adult learners… Find out more and book into their enrolment events..

Learn Devon’s website

*Eligibility criteria applies for a free place.

DWP launches new Midlife MOT website

A new online Midlife MOT has been launched to help older workers with financial planning, health guidance, and to assess what their skills mean for their careers and futures.

Participants must be aged 44-56 and will receive a six-week programme of support covering three core areas: Wealth, Work and Wellbeing. Any employers wishing to get involved on behalf of their staff should go to the Midlife-Mot-Website 

Grant Funding for young people in Devon

Young people in Devon can now apply for personal grants up to £500 and business grants worth up to £2,000, helping them get into training and employment, or set up their own business. There are two funding opportunities:

Training & Employment Support Grant Up to £500 for any young person (16 to 30) who is entering training, an apprenticeship or starting a job after being unemployed. The grant can be used for essential items to help access training or employment, for example, interview clothing and travel costs.

South West Enterprise Fund Up to £2,000 for young people (18 to 30) with plans to start their own business within 6 months or have a business trading for less than 2 years. The grant is for costs directly related to the business, for example, purchasing equipment or machinery, printing marketing material or purchasing stock.

Find out more and apply: Young Devon & South West Enterprise Fund – Devon Funding News

Win a £250 cash grant for your business

Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express are giving away £250 cash grants to help small businesses grow and enhance their brands. You’ll also get free branding and marketing support for your small business.

Enter your business into the draw and take advantage of this exciting opportunity: Brand Builder monthly prize tracker | Enterprise Nation

Digital Leadership for SMEs

Free Digital Leadership training for small and medium businesses (SMEs) across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay, is now available. Business leaders who operate in the following sectors: Manufacturing, Clean Growth and Health and Adult Social Care, and who have 250 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for this free training opportunity.

Businesses can receive up to 32 hours of tutor led digital leadership training with the aim of embedding digital transformation within their business. Two training opportunities are available, these include driving digital transformation and driving digital business. More information about what you can expect from each training opportunity can be found here: https://skillslaunchpad.org.uk/digital-leadership-for-smes/.

To apply click the button below:

Free Digital Leadership training for small and medium businesses (SMEs) across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay, is now available. Business leaders who operate in the following sectors: Manufacturing, Clean Growth and Health and Adult Social Care, and who have 250 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for this free training opportunity.

Businesses can receive up to 32 hours of tutor led digital leadership training with the aim of embedding digital transformation within their business. Two training opportunities are available, these include driving digital transformation and driving digital business. More information about what you can expect from each training opportunity can be found here: https://skillslaunchpad.org.uk/digital-leadership-for-smes/.

To apply click the button below:

Digital Leadership for SMEs Application

Free cybersecurity support for small businesses

Regional police are now offering free cybersecurity support to local charities and businesses. 

We all know someone who has been scammed, and with that in mind, the South West Cyber Resilience Centre has been set up to offer you simple guidance to get some basic digital safeguards in place. Businesses can join up and receive simple help like e-learning for your staff, a twelve-week bite-sized programme on the simple measures that you can implement in place in a few minutes.

You can also access free training, use a student cadre to test your website and systems security, or take a critical look at your continuity plans and policies. With Home Office funding in place, the police-led team is genuinely here to offer you something for nothing. Around two in five businesses spot a cyber attack every year, and even the smallest of businesses are vulnerable. Find out more and join up here: www.swcrc.co.uk/membership

Free Promotion for your Business on the Discover App – don’t get left behind by your competition!

Keen to promote your business for FREE? Then take up the option of a free listing through the Discover app. The app, which is free to download, uses the latest technology to connect users to the opportunities available to them on their doorsteps, including shops, restaurants, bars, events and experiences. 

Simply get in touch with Discover and they will help promote your business using your own branding, imagery and anything else you want to be included in the listing. 

Features of the app include:

  • each town has its own area on the app meaning it can be tailored to specific locations
  • details of local businesses, special offers and links to online purchases
  • places to eat and things to do, including walking, cycling, history and even nature trails!
  • ability to identify people’s location so when they open the app, it will show them locally available content
  • Events, cultural and leisure facilities promoted for free
  • allows users to tailor their feed to what interests and matters to them
  • push notifications if there’s a message that needs to be communicated quickly

Any businesses that would like to add information or have any questions should email hello@discoverapp.co.uk or download Discover free through the App Store or Google Play.

Councils offer support to XL Bully dog owners as new government restrictions to be introduced from 31st December

Example of XL Bully Breed

Torridge and North Devon District Councils have begun working with XL Bully dog owners ahead of new restrictions for the breed, which the government will be introducing from the 31st of December 2023. The government have added the XL Bully to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 following a number of high profile attacks and fatalities involving the breed around the UK. From the 31st of December it will be against the law to sell, give away, breed, or abandon an XL Bully. However current owners may continue to own their dogs but will need to follow new rules, requiring them to have their dog on a lead and muzzled, while out and about in public. Early next year from the 1st of February it will also be illegal to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless owners have a certificate of exemption. The certificate will need to be applied for by the end of January and requires dogs to be neutered and micro chipped, have public liability insurance cover in place and carries a fee of £92.40 for the issue of the certificate.

Worried owners have already been in contact with both councils and officers are keen to emphasise that well managed dogs should not pose a threat to the general public. However, owners will be required to follow the new laws, which are similar to those already applied to other banned breeds. Following the new rules will allow existing owners to retain ownership of their dogs and give their pets a happy and healthy life, while meeting the legal requirements being imposed.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for owners will be muzzle training and officers have been keen to stress that the training needs to be positive throughout the whole process. Owners are being encouraged to start the training as early as possible to reduce any stress the dog might experience in the transition to the new arrangements. With this in mind it’s important that the pace of the training and familiarisation is not too rushed and is delivered in a manner that is kind to the animals. As well as help and assistance from officers’, owners are being signposted to resources being made available by charities and other organisations, including free webinars to help guide and reassure owners in how to muzzle train successfully.

Torridge District Councillor Philip Hackett – Lead Member for Public Health and Community Safety said:

“We’re keen to help owners to manage the transition to the new rules and colleagues at both councils are ready to support people to supplement the information available online and through other partner organisations. We hope that this will allow the many well behaved dogs of this breed to continue to live healthy lives and that owners will discover that with a little planning it is not all that difficult to successfully meet the legal requirements.”

North Devon District Councillor Ian Roome – Leader of North Devon Council says:

“The deadline for the introduction of the new laws and restrictions is fast approaching and as well as getting ready to register your dog leaving ample time for training with muzzles is also going to be important. Like all larger dogs they will need exercising to keep them healthy and happy so getting them used to the new equipment in a controlled and relaxed manner will be important in the lead up to the 31st of December. Examples of owners of other banned breeds successfully navigating rule changes will hopefully offer some encouragement.”

Further information regarding the new laws can be found on the following websites:

Example of XL Bully Breed

Councils continue to show enough land for housing with new report

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council have jointly published a report that re-affirms the councils can show a sufficient supply of land for housing to meet the target for the next five years.

The report on the so-called five-year housing land supply, published on 30 November, shows the councils can demonstrate a housing land supply equivalent to 5.18 years.

Demonstrating a housing land supply is important because if councils are unable to do so, they are required to look more favourably on housing proposals that would not usually be considered appropriate. This can often result in the grant of planning permission for housing in locations that were not expected to see development through the plan for the area’s future.

The five-year housing land supply for northern Devon was re-established in April after a period of three years where it was not possible to demonstrate it. The importance of this was shown in September when North Devon Council was able to successfully defend the refusal of 161 homes in Fremington at appeal, with the Planning Inspectorate agreeing the councils could demonstrate a sufficient land supply for housing.

This latest report brings the information on the housing supply up-to-date and incorporates lessons learned from defending the recent appeal. Continuing to demonstrate a sufficient supply means the councils can look to support proposals that contribute towards the long-term vision for northern Devon and the plan for the area’s future, whilst being able to deflect other proposals that fail to do so.

Lead Member for Planning and Development at Torridge District Council, Councillor Rosemary Lock, says: “Being able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land goes to show that the planning system and the planning teams at the councils are playing their part in the delivery of much needed housing for northern Devon’s communities.”

Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning Policy at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: “It is really positive for the communities of northern Devon that we continue to be able to demonstrate a sufficient supply of land for housing. This hopefully means we will see housing come forward to address the very real housing crisis facing northern Devon’s communities, helping to provide housing for local families, whilst still being able to balance that with the ability to protect what people find most special about the areas in which they live.”

The Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement is available to view at www.torridge.gov.uk/fiveyearsupply

Grants under Town Centre Beautification Scheme hailed as a success across Torridge

They say a little money can go a long way and that was true for the Town Centre Beautification project launched by Torridge District Council back in May. As the first round of funding closes nearly £18k has been distributed across 24 applications, with a matching amount being contributed by the business owners who applied. The money, which was allocated under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, has been used to brighten up shops and business frontages in towns across the district with the aim of making town centres more attractive and visually appealing, to increase footfall and engagement with local business outlets.

The majority of the applications came from Bideford businesses with 17 in total; followed by three each in Great Torrington and Holsworthy and one application from Appledore. One of the major successes of the scheme has been the refurbishment and occupation of previously empty premises by three new businesses, creating five new jobs in the process with other openings in the pipeline. The scheme has been praised by owners for enabling them to revamp their shop frontages and in some cases helping to align the look with changes and improvements in their branding approach. In other instances structural defects have been addressed and in the case of new business openings, brand new business frontages created.

A new scheme is expected to be announced in January 2024 to build on the legacy of the existing one, which is already yielding dividends for owners in the run up to Christmas, helping their businesses stand out from the crowd.  

Councillor Bob Hicks – Lead Member for the Economy and Estates said:

“This is a great example of how a relatively modest injection of cash into the Torridge economy can leverage further investment and innovation and have a proportionally much bigger impact. Aside from the improved frontages and visually more pleasing aesthetics for our high streets, the three new businesses and five new jobs created are an outstanding success for this relatively small investment provided as part of the UK Shared Prosperity fund. I hope that more businesses, particularly those located outside of Bideford in other towns and villages across the district, will take note and consider applying when the scheme reopens in the new year.”

Amy Eira Jewellery in Bideford commented:

“Thanks again for this grant opportunity. It’s really helped me bring the shop front in line with my business branding. I really appreciate the acceptance of my grant application and I hope the town will benefit from the plans I have with my new shop.”

Fun for all the Family on Northam Burrows this Autumn 

As the autumn nights start to draw in and we all get ready to turn back the clocks later in the month, there’s still plenty of entertainment and fun for families and adults to get involved in on Northam Burrows. With fingers crossed for continuing good weather Torridge Rangers have announced a full range of activities running from mid-October, through the half-term holidays and into November.  

With a focus on practical learning and crafts the aim is to enthuse an even wider audience with a guide to the amazing creatures and species that make their homes on the Burrows. Events kick-off at 6pm on Tuesday the 17th of October with a guided Night Walk looking at wildlife and the night sky. A self-guided spooky Halloween trail map can be collected at any time from the visitor centre from 20th to 30th November or ahead of that join fungi expert Dr Williams on 24th October for another guided experience.  

Other events include an insight into wildlife friendly gardening as well as craft events to make your own bug house or paper plant pot to sow seeds ready for next spring, which both take place on 26th October. Events are rounded off by two further guided walks including another chance for a night walk on 26th October and a guide to the winter wild bird arrivals on 11th November. With a mixture of daytime and early evening events and a wide range of subjects the rangers hope there will be something for all ages to take part in. All the events are free to attend but some require advance booking, which people should complete as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Councillor Lyndon Piper – Lead Member for Leisure said: 

“It is great to see another full programme of events put together by our rangers that should have something for all members of the family. A fantastic chance to learn about the natural habitats and wildlife on the burrows and in the night skies above, and get practical with some bug house building to give insects a helping hand. All free to attend and fingers crossed for some kind autumnal weather.”  

For a full list of events, timings and booking requirement head on over to the Northam Burrows events pages on the council’s website at https://www.torridge.gov.uk/northamburrowsevents