All the latest news from Devon County Council

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Friday 20 January 2023


man blowing on his hands to keep warm

Let's talk about the weather!


It's been a cold week, hasn't it? Many of our services, and those we're responsible for, have been busy making sure people are safe and well during this latest cold weather snap, and that our roads are clear as best we can.

We started the week echoing a call from the UK Health Security Agency, (UKHSA), encouraging people to stay warm, but also asking everyone to look out for those most at risk from the effects of cold.

The cold weather can have a serious impact on health, especially older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. It increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

The day-time temperatures have got a little warmer this week, but it's remained cold at night. The UKHSA has been advising you to:

  • heat your home to a temperture that's comfortable for you. In rooms you use most, such as living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18 degrees Centigrade, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition
  • keep bedroom windows closed at night
  • wear several layers of clothing to keep warm, rather than one thicker layer

We created a special edition of this bulletin, with information and advice about the cold weather. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Gritter drivers at depot

A massive "Thank You" to our amazing gritter drivers

Devon's gritters have been out every night this week, working right through to keep motorists safe.

Our gritter team, shown above, are amazing, showing commitment and dedication to ensure our major routes across the county are treated.

And it can be a dangerous job - just this week one of our gritters overturned on the ice in the early hours, near Totnes.

Fortunately our driver sustained only minor injuries and was discharged from care at the scene, but it highlights the dangers that our drivers face on the front line.

We'd all like to thank them for the work they do.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, our Cabinet Member responsible for Highway Management, said:

"I want to thank the team for their dedication and commitment for heading out when the rest of us are being advised not to. We have had some extremely low temperatures and challenging conditions this week, and our teams have worked tirelessly to keep our roads as safe as possible.

"Particular thanks and thoughts for our driver involved with the incident, which illustrates the hazardous conditions that our gritter drivers contend with on a regular basis. Luckily he wasn't injured more seriously, but we wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery."


An artist's impression of 'Exmouth Gateway visualisation'

Levelling Up funding for projects in Devon

Multi-million pound schemes to improve transport links in Exmouth and Okehampton are among more than 100 projects receiving a share of £2.1 billion through the Government's latest round of Levelling Up funding.

We’ve been awarded £15.7 million to complete the Dinan Way link in Exmouth, and West Devon Borough Council has successfully received £13.4 million to develop a new railway station on the eastern edge of Okehampton.

The funding for the Destination Exmouth project will enable the completion of Dinan Way link road, helping to tackle congestion and remove traffic from the town centre. The project, which is also supported by East Devon District Council, will improve walking and cycling routes as well as enhancing the town’s transport hub.

The West Devon Transport Hub will build on the successful reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line in November 2021. As well as a new station on the outskirts of Okehampton, the scheme will also include cycle facilities and electric vehicle charging points to promote active travel and green travel.

You can read more about this announcement in the news story on our website.


Tree planting

Community tree planting days

More than 16,500 trees are due to be planted in Devon this winter through the Emergency Tree Fund initiative.

We have been offering free packs of trees to landowners and communities within Devon for a second year thanks to the Emergency Tree Fund granted by The Woodland Trust. The initiative is enabling private landowners, as well as town and parish councils, to plant trees as part of the response to tackle the Climate Emergency and achieve carbon net zero targets.

We're now looking for volunteers to help plant the trees at locations across the county. If you’d like to get involved, please fill out this form and we'll send you a timetable of volunteer tree planting events for this season and in the future. We'd love your help! It would be tree-mendous!


pupils in a classroom

Teachers’ strike action announced

The National Education Union (NEU) has confirmed industrial action will take place in February and March.

Only the NEU’s teacher members have currently met the threshold for industrial action, therefore it will only be the relevant school and centrally employed teachers striking; support staff are not included.

Action will take place both nationally and regionally on different days. Strikes are scheduled in the south-west on Wednesday 1 February, Thursday 2 March, Wednesday 15 March and Thursday 16 March.

Schools will take all reasonable steps to remain open for as many pupils as possible, however, there may be some disruption and potential school closures if they do not have sufficient resources. Priority will be given to vulnerable children and young people as well as children of critical workers. Schools will contact parents as soon as possible if they need to close or restrict the number of pupils in school.


Watch the videos

New films support vaccines and health checks for people with a learning disability

People who have a learning disability and those who care for them are being reminded that it’s not too late for them to have a free flu vaccination and additional COVID-19 booster.

Preventing COVID-19 and flu is particularly important for people with learning disabilities, who are much more vulnerable to both viruses.

We've launched a series of three new films, in partnership with NHS Devon to highlight the importance of having both the vaccinations and annual health checks.

The films follow Damon, who has a learning disability and is needle phobic as he has his vaccination and Kylie, who also has a learning disability and is a carer for her mum.

You can watch the films and find out more on the One Devon website.


Magdalen Road works

Magdalen Road Enhancement Scheme

Work to make permanent improvements on Magdalen Road, Exeter, started this week.

Shops and businesses on Magdalen Road are all open as usual, and customer parking is still available during this first phase of the work.

The improvements will see a wider footpath, contra-flow cycle lane and additional planting, to make it a greener more enjoyable space.

Visit our website for more information.


Libraries Unlimited lottery

Libraries Unlimited launches new fundraising lottery

A chance to win £25,000 each week and support vital library services in Devon is on offer with the new Libraries Unlimited weekly charity lottery.

Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 per week. As well as the potential £25,000 top prize, there will be other chances to win shopping vouchers, food subscriptions and Christmas hampers.

The first draw takes place on Saturday 28 January.

Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs libraries in Devon on our behalf, will receive 50 per cent of every ticket bought, with all proceeds going back into providing library services.

The new lottery will be run with the help of One Lottery. For more information and to sign up, please visit the One Lottery website.


Let's talk pre-teens

Are you a parent or carer of a young person aged 9 to 12 years old?

Join the Let’s Talk Pre-teens online sessions and learn more about some of the challenges they face today, and the tools you can use to support them.

Tuesday 24 January 2023:

  • Relationships
  • Exploitation
  • Pornography
  • Societal stereotypes

Tuesday 31 January 2023:

  • Physical risks
  • Safety planning
  • Mental health
  • Self care

Find out more and book your free place via the Eventbrite website.


Facemask

Face coverings no longer routinely required across NHS services

In light of the reduced number of flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases cases, the NHS in Devon has announced that visitors, staff and patients are no longer routinely required to wear face coverings when accessing their services, unless they would prefer to.

To help keep the most vulnerable patients safe and to help protect visitors, there are some exceptions to this:

  • in settings (inpatient or outpatient) where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression, for example, oncology/haematology and renal services, visitors will be asked to wear a facemask
  • visitors will be asked to wear a surgical facemask if visiting a high-risk area or a patient with suspected/known COVID-19
  • individuals accompanying patients to the Emergency Department and admission areas will continue to be encouraged to wear face coverings

Please do not visit if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or flu or any other infection (such as diarrhoea and vomiting).

For more information on visiting, please see the NHS website.


hands on a laptop keyboard

New, easier and quicker way to contact us

We want to make sure that children and families in Devon get the right support, in the right place, at the right time. So, to make contacting us easier, to request early help support or to report a safeguarding concern, we've introduced a new, quick and easy-to-use, online form that you can use from your mobile phone or tablet.

You submit the form, and our team of professionals will review the request and assess what support is appropriate.

If you're not online and want to make a request or report a concern, you can still ring us on 0345 155 1071 or send an email to mashsecure@devon.gov.uk.

The Devon Children and Families Partnership website has lots of useful information about keeping children safe and how our Early Help and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub works to support children in Devon.

If a child is at immediate risk contact the police on 999.


Read more at devon.gov.uk/news

Posted in DCC.