East Devon residents' Coronavirus update Friday 24 April 2020

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24Coronavirus (Covid-19) update - 24 April 2020

Welcome to the weekly Coronavirus (Covid-19) update for East Devon residents. We are working to keep you informed through this email update and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages on our website, which have all our latest information, and links to the Government, the NHS and our community.

Please forward this email to anyone you think would find it useful and encourage them to sign up.

You can also can share this update on social media and in any online groups you're part of by using this link to the update on our website.

East Devon District Council

This week's message from East Devon's Leader and Chief Executive

“The ability to step outside, take exercise and enjoy fresh air is important for us at this difficult time. For many people, especially families with children and those who live in homes without a garden, access to public parks is a lifeline.

“So we are putting our trust in our public and have reopened the majority of our large or easy to access parks sites, such as Phear Park, giving residents ample green spaces within which to exercise responsibly.

“Social distancing signs will remain in place and it is vital that you follow these measures. If people do not observe social distancing or congregate in our parks, we may be forced to close them all again. We are asking you to use common sense and to follow the two metre social distancing recommendations. We’ll will of course keep things under review, but in the meantime we want people to take responsibility for staying safe.

You can find the full list of parks and gardens that remain closed in this article.

“We are trying incredibly hard to balance the need to maintain services alongside our wider responsibilities for the health and wellbeing of our residents. This is no easy task.

“The council has been affected by the consequences of Covid-19 through additional costs and, more significantly, the impact of a drop in income from fees and charges, which pays for the funding of services.

“It is already clear that we will need considerable additional financial support from central Government. So the announcement by Government of the provision of additional funding to support local authorities is welcome and we are hopeful that they have listened to our concerns and taken our needs into account. We look forward to learning how much we will receive.”

“Finally, we’d like to assure you that we remain focused on leading the local response to the greatest challenge we have faced as a nation for decades.”

"Stay safe and remember to follow the social distancing guidance.

"Together #WeareDevon"

Best wishes

Cllr Ben Ingham (Leader) and Mark Williams (Chief Executive)

Beach Gardens in Exmouth

Beach Gardens in Exmouth is now open

Reopening of parks and gardens

Our Cabinet has agreed that the majority of East Devon's large or easy to access park sites should be reopened to the public, as soon as possible.

We decided to close parks to help people abide by social distancing measures and because we have a reduced workforce - a decision that was balanced by the fact that East Devon is a rural district with good access to the countryside and open spaces.

There are, however, still some sites, which are quite small, enclosed and with narrow access ways, poor sight lines or restricted access points. We feel it will be difficult for people to maintain appropriate social distancing in these sites, and so as not to increase the risk of viral transmission, the following sites are to remain closed:

• Manor Gardens – Exmouth
• Gunfield Gardens - Exmouth
• Queens Drive Space – Exmouth
• The Glen - Honiton
• Connaught Gardens – Sidmouth
• Blackmore Gardens – Sidmouth
• Seafield Gardens – Seaton
• All play areas
• Outdoor gym equipment
• All skate parks

It is vital that you continue to follow Government guidance on travel and social distancing. Devon and Cornwall Police have excellent FAQs covering issues such as what constitutes exercise and essential journeys, as well as daily life.

The full story can be read here.

social distancing guidance

Social distancing guidelines reminder

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people.This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  3. If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  4. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  5. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  6. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  7. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Coronavirus Community Food Fund

We have grants available for funding for any projects related to providing food to residents of East Devon who are in food poverty during Covid-19. For full guidance and to apply, visit the Coronavirus Community Food Fund page. 

Thank you to volunteers and key workers

Chairman's open letter to key workers and volunteers

Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Chairman of East Devon District Council, has written this open letter of thanks to all key workers and volunteers to show his appreciation:

To all keyworkers and volunteers

As Chairman of East Devon District Council I am writing this open letter to you on behalf of myself and my fellow council members to let you know just how grateful we are to you for your ongoing support in this unprecedented situation.

While many people are following government guidance and staying at home, I know that this is not an option for you, and that you are on the frontline caring for and providing support to the people within our community in the most incredibly challenging circumstances.

I have heard of some fantastic examples of work being undertaken and I really appreciate all of your efforts. I would personally like to thank you all for going the extra mile during this difficult time. I will be clapping for each and every one of you on Thursday evening’s at 8pm until this crisis is over.

I know the community will continue to support our frontline workforce and we will do everything in our power to help you.

Thank you once again for all of your heroic efforts.


Yours faithfully
Councillor Stuart Hughes
Chairman of East Devon District Council

Recycling and waste update

Gary and Josh are TV recycling stars!

Two East Devon recycling crew members - Gary and Josh - were featured hard at work providing an essential frontline service on the BBC's One World: Together at Home concert. We're very proud of the dedication that all our recycling and waste operatives show day in and day out, carrying out their work tirelessly - despite significant staff shortages.

Put your recyclables in separate containers

Recyclable materials in separate containers

Please separate your recyclables

As everyone is staying at home under the lockdown guidance, we are all producing near record amounts of recycling each week. Our crews are working very hard to continue to collect your recycling on your normal scheduled collection day. Please help our collection crews by putting large quantities of single materials, which would normally go in your recycling box, in a container separate from your green recycling box. Putting glass or cardboard in a separate box makes the collection a bit easier for them and is greatly appreciated by our crews. You can use a cardboard box or any old storage box as your extra container.

Thank you for helping our crews and please keep recycling these valuable resources.

Hand hygiene

Please wash your hands after handling your recycling and waste containers to and from the kerbside. Our crews are following the best hygiene practices they can but they are coming into contact with a high number of containers every day.

Recycling and waste facts

Delivery of core recycling and waste collections – recycling, food, clinical, refuse – has been completed largely on schedule with some minor interruptions.

We made 504,000 collections in March and 495,000 so far in April, which are similar volumes to normal business.

In April so far we have collected an extra 127 lorry loads of recycling compared to the same period last year.


Thank you to everyone who has raised concerns about why their waste has not been collected. There may be several reasons as to why the waste hasn't been taken:

• It is possible the material left for collection could not be identified by the crew, i.e. waste secured in black bags
• Some waste could have been contaminated
• Or the crews could not get to the areas due to staff shortages/access issues

If your recycling or waste hasn't been collected you can report using the East Devon app or via the website. Before you report it, please wait until 5pm because the collection crew may still be out working. Also check that:

Recycling graphics

If your household is affected by (COVID-19)

If your household is affected by the Coronavirus, any waste materials that you come in contact with need to be handled carefully before they are collected to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Please ensure you follow this guidance:

  • All contaminated items you produce, including tissues, cleaning cloths and wipes and masks, need to be put into a plastic bag.
  • Tie the top of the bag to prevent escape of the material
  • Put the bag inside another bin liner
  • Tie the top of the bag
  • Keep the bagged waste for a period of 72 hours in a place that cannot be accessed by other people or pets
  • Put the bag in your wheeled waste bin (or gull sack if you use one) for safe collection by our crew. The bagged waste must be contained in your wheeled bin and the bin put out in your normal collection point. Do not put the bag on the kerb-side where people could have contact with it
  • If you have an assisted collection, bag the waste as described above, and put it out in your usual assisted collection point in your wheeled bin or gull sack.
  • Keep your containers clean when you put them out for collection as our crews have to handle hundreds every day.

Community Support Hub Hotline

Community support update

Since it was set up on 30 March our Coronavirus Community Hub Hotline has received on average 50 calls per day since opening. It is supporting people with finding help for food deliveries and picking up prescriptions.

Individuals or organisations can now request or offer community support by filling out one of our online form​s. You can search by postcode on the East Devon District Council Coronavirus Community Support Hub to find your local group or organisation providing support at this time.

Call the Community Hub hotline now on 01395 571500 if you, or a group you know, needs help or you would like to volunteer. The line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Community support leaflets

Our Community Support Leaflet will be delivered to 72,000 East Devon households next week. This leaflet has all the details of our Community Support Hub and many more contact numbers signposting people to help that they might need. Our aim is to make sure that our residents can get the support they need as we move through this difficult time.

Food parcels

600 shielded people in East Devon have requested emergency food parcels delivered via the national scheme. Of this number, some 80 had told the national scheme that they might need help with their parcel. On Saturday we were requested by Devon County Council to contact these 80 people to find out what help was needed. All of them have now been contacted. In terms of the remainder, the majority who needed help wanted the food parcel to be brought inside and unpacked.

Community Grants

There are a number of community grants available including:

Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund small grants

East Devon District Council and Devon County Council are providing funding through the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund for small grants. This is providing flexible resources to organisations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the social and economic consequences of this outbreak.You can apply for a maximum of £499.

Crowdfund East Devon

East Devon District Council has extra funding available through Crowdfund Devon. This funding has been available since February 2019, but Coronavirus projects are welcome to apply where they fit in with the criteria.

For further information about the full range of grants visit the Community Grants page.

Cancellation of all land hire permissions in East Devon

Very sadly, we are extending the cancellation of all permissions to hire our land until at least the end of June 2020. Planning events with any certainty at this time is extremely difficult as, currently, no-one knows when lockdown will end. We would therefore encourage you to rearrange your event to a later date.

A further review of the hire of land and additional services permissions for July (and beyond), will take place within the next four weeks.

This decision was made following government guidance for social distancing and mass gatherings regarding containment of Covid-19 and the need for continued social distancing.

While we hope the impact will be short-term, we need to be prepared for a longer period in order to protect visitors, staff and all those involved in the delivery of events.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the StreetScene Events Team on 01404 515616 or email events@eastdevon.gov.uk

water filter project video

Water filter outdoor science experiment

Wild East Devon update

Cancellation of Wild East Devon public events

Following the government's announcement regarding the need for a further three weeks of social distancing measures, we have taken the disappointing but necessary step of extending our existing response measures to Mon 1 June. This means that all our public events, volunteering sessions, projects and school visits are now cancelled up to Mon 1 June.

If you are still able to use our reserves as part of your daily permitted exercise please continue to follow the government social distancing guidance.

While we encourage people to stay at home we have been increasing our outputs on social media and on our website to suggest fun and educational activities for the whole family to have a go at in your garden or on your daily walk. Our videos can be found here https://eastdevon.gov.uk/countryside/outdoor-activities-for-your-garden/ or across our social media platforms @wildeastdevon and include ideas such as this water filter outdoor science experiment.


Housing update

Home Safeguard

Our Home Safeguard Community Alarm Service is continuing to provide an outstanding service to customers. Since the start of lockdown Home Safeguard has taken a total of 8,516 calls, many of which have involved assisting vulnerable and elderly people who are self-isolating.

In addition, Home Safeguard has made 566 reassurance calls to customers to check on their wellbeing and to ensure they have everything they need in place.

We would like to take the opportunity to remind you that the service is a lifeline for many vulnerable and elderly people across the district, particularly for those who live alone.

Our service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, through the touch of a button, our team of trained operators are there to help and assist people who may require assistance or who might be in an emergency situation. We have a team of trained installers who can install the equipment in people’s homes - be assured we are taking extra care with how we do this currently. The service is chargeable but recent feedback from friends and families of those of who have the service has highlighted the value of the service at the current time and how reassuring it is to know our service is available to people. 

Rough sleepers

We have offered 100% of verified rough sleepers accommodation and have assisted 32 households into temporary accommodation since the lockdown began.


We have completed 100% of emergency repairs requests to council housing in under four hours.

Business update

A new coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in UK, called the Future Fund, includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms.

There will also be £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

We continue to focus efforts on providing much needed grants to local businesses.  So far, £32.6m has been paid to 2747 eligible businesses. We are currently making contact with the 1200 businesses that have not yet instigated their grant claims. Some businesses may decide not to claim but we still need to know this so we are asking people who receive a letter from us to complete this form.

If you have checked the eligibility criteria online and think you should have received a letter or email from us, then please email businessrates@eastdevon.gov.uk

If you are not eligible, you may be able to access three hours of tailored one to one business advice and support from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub: call 0800 592 872 or visit www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk.

Here are some figures to show the amount of support that has been given/is being processed by our business team:

  • £32.6m in grants paid
  • 2,747 businesses paid
  • 2,899 business grant applications have been received and 152 of those are currently being processed.
  • £18.1million in business rates relief have been given to 1080 businesses

For more business related information please read our business bulletin on the latest updates page.

How businesses can offer support

Firms who are able to offer help, such as supplying medical testing equipment, manufacturing personal protective equipment and logistics, are being invited to give their details online. They will be asked some questions about the type of support they can give. Then they will be contacted as soon as possible if their support is needed.

Printing flowers

Printing with plants

Thelma Hulbert Gallery update

Connecting with nature during isolation

Thelma Hulbert Gallery has teamed up with East Devon AONB to share NATURE SHORTS: an online series showcasing art practices, which inspire and build creativity, exploring how we can connect with nature during isolation. The highlighted artists work across a range of materials and processes including land art, photography, printmaking and performance.

The first art practice in the spotlight is ‘How to Make Simple Plant Prints’ with artist designer Emma Molony.

NATURE SHORTS are accessible online and via THG’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms, every Wednesday from 15 April to 10 June.

Facts about coronavirus and food

The Food Standards Agency has published advice for consumers in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance includes advice on food hygiene, food storage, food packaging and takeaway food. It is really important that everyone washes their hands before handling food or eating.


Further government guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely has been published by Public Health England being consistent with social distancing at funerals.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employers can now go on to the HMRC website to claim cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker. Please note that it takes six working days to process claims. Further guidance is available and there is an easy to use, step-by-step guide that takes you through the process.

Trusted sources of advice and information

Please make sure that you only follow advice from trusted, official sources: