Friday 13 January 2023
Someone forgot to tell the weather about dry January!
It's been a rather wet start to the year! Over the past week, the Met Office has issued weather warnings for rain and wind and the Environment Agency predicted flooding across the county.
It all makes for challenging and often hazardous driving conditions, so we're urging road users to take extra care. Slow down, give other road users more space and yourself more time to react, and stick to main roads if you can.
Check the forecast before you travel. If severe weather is predicted, you might have to re-think your plans. And if the conditions are already treacherous, it’s best to drive only if you absolutely have to.
Nobody likes to be stuck in the car, so however long your journey, it's always advisable to plan ahead, check for any delays and leave extra time so you're not rushing. Follow Devon Alert on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates on Devon's roads from our Network Control Centre.
If you spot a problem on one of our roads, such as a fallen tree or faulty traffic lights, you can report it on our website.
Brew Monday is on 16 January
The third Monday in January is often referred to as ‘the most difficult day of the year’, and has been dubbed 'Blue Monday'.
The end of the festive season, the cold dark evenings and wintery weather combined with increased debt and New Year’s resolutions perhaps falling by the wayside all adds up to leaving people feeling a bit gloomy.
For the Samaritans, a registered charity aimed at providing support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide, there is no such thing as Blue Monday. They believe that we all have our good days and our bad days, and those can be any day of the year. So instead of Blue Monday, they are running a campaign called 'Brew Monday' where they are encouraging people to reach out to others for a cuppa and a catch-up.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday morning or Saturday night, or if you’re drinking green tea, black coffee or orange juice. If you’re sharing a cuppa and listening, you’re doing it right.
For more suggestions about how to be a good listener, take a look at the Samaritans SHUSH active listening tips and little tips to help someone open up.
Devon Work Hubs open their doors on Brew Monday
As part of the Samaritans 'Brew Monday' campaign, (more on that in the story above) members of Devon Work Hubs are inviting their communities into their work hubs and coworking spaces for coffee and conversation.
Makers Mews in Ivybridge, The Kingsbridge Work Hub, The Generator Hub in Exeter and The Tribe in Totnes are all taking part in the event to ensure that the entrepreneurs, self-employed and hybrid workers in their communities can find support at this difficult time of year.
Entrepreneurs running their own business face extreme demands, high levels of uncertainty, and the increased responsibility of running and growing a business can have a detrimental effect on mental health and wellbeing.
Isolation and a lack of a social support network are issues that adversely affect entrepreneurs, the self-employed and freelancers as well as employees who now work from home. The Devon Work Hubs network wants these people to know that their doors are always open for support and that they can offer the sense of community that may be lacking.
Warm welcoming spaces aim to beat loneliness
January can be a gruelling month with post-Christmas blues for people at the best of times but this year looks to be particularly tough. People are struggling to pay their bills, the days are short and dark and cold, and people’s feelings of loneliness and isolation can be acute.
So libraries around Devon are continuing to throw their doors open to help communities find warmth and overcome loneliness this winter.
The ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign has already seen customers enjoying everything from free hot drinks to crafts and making new friends in their local libraries. Now it’s being extended into the first few months of 2023 to continue to offer the huge range of support which has proved so popular.
Individual libraries have taken up the challenge with enthusiasm, so please visit the news page of our website to read the full story and find out what they've been up to.
Get around for £2
People in Devon are being encouraged to travel by bus, with single fares capped at £2 throughout winter.
It's part of the Government's scheme to help with the cost of living.
From now until Friday 31 March, passengers will be charged no more than £2 for a single journey as part of the Department for Transport’s new fares initiative, through the Government’s Help for Households campaign.
It's available on around 50,000 Stagecoach bus services a day across the country, and tickets can be purchased via the Stagecoach Bus App or on the bus using cash, contactless or Apple or Google Pay.
NHS ask "please help us to help you" as hospitals are extremely busy
The NHS in Devon is reporting that the county's hospitals are extremely busy.
They are asking that you do not visit any of their sites if you have symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, COVID-19 or cold or flu-like illness.
If you have a planned appointment and have symptoms of a virus, please call the number at the top of your letter to postpone your appointment.
If you do need to use their services or visit a loved one, please follow the infection prevention and control guidance in place at our hospitals. This includes washing hands or using hand gel on arrival to the area you are visiting, and on leaving, wearing a face mask unless medically exempt, and following our visiting restrictions.
For more information, please visit the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust website.
Do you know that the Government can help you pay for your childcare?
Whether you've got toddlers or teens, support is available to help you pay for childcare. We sent subscribers of our 'Connect Me: Children, Families and Education' newsletter an email about this earlier today.
If you’re a working parent or carer, you can get up to £2,000 a year per child to help with the costs of childminders, nurseries and nannies, play schemes, before and after school clubs and holiday clubs.
Depending on the age of your child and your circumstances, the Government also offer to fund either 15 or 30 hours childcare per week.
All three and four year olds can get 570 hours funded childcare per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term-time), but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks. Some two year olds are also eligible for 15 hours funded childcare, depending on their family's circumstances.
If you work at least 16 hours a week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (up to £100,000 per year) you may be entitled to up to 30 hours per week of funded childcare, for your three or four year old for 38 weeks of the year (or fewer hours over more weeks).
Visit the Childcare Choices website to find out how much you could get towards your childcare costs and check whether you’re eligible.
Get moving with your furry friend this month
🐶 January is #WalkYourDogMonth!
Our county is full of spectacular walks, including three areas of outstanding natural beauty and two national parks.
Visit our Explore Devon website to plan your next adventure!
Where's your favourite dog walking spot in Devon? Tell us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.