East Devon residents' Coronavirus update Friday 15 May 2020

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Coronavirus weekly residents update

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update - 15 May 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.

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

It has been a busy week at the council following the Prime Minister’s statement at the weekend, which from this Wednesday allowed people in England to spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules.

We have agreed to reopen the seven remaining East Devon District Council gardens which have been closed since the coronavirus lock down began and have now undertaken a review to see whether it would be possible to re-open any of its toilets across the district, it is hoped 10 fully-accessible public toilets will reopen by Friday 22nd May.

Two pieces of good news have been received, firstly following long-awaited changes to the funding eligibility for flood and coastal risk projects from the Environment Agent the funding gap of £1 million for the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) has now been fully bridged. This allows this project to proceed to the next stage, subject to Local and National Environment Agency approval.

And secondly 12 fantastic East Devon Coronavirus related projects have been funded by the Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund, a joint grants scheme between the District Council and Devon County Council. There are still opportunities to apply to this fund, details on how to do so are below.

Lastly next week is Mental Health Awareness week, the Mental Health Foundation has announced that the theme for 2020 is kindness in response to the coronavirus outbreak. We know that one act of kindness can lead to many more. The wide variety of community action we have seen over recent weeks has been inspiring and we hope these many acts of kindness will continue to take place.

Stay Safe and Stay Well

Together #WeareDevon

Best wishes
Cllr Ben Ingham and Mark Williams

Plans to reopen key toilets across the district

After a comprehensive review including site specific risk assessments it has been agreed the council will open 10 of its 26 toilets. The remaining toilets can’t be reopened at this time due to resource, building design and budget limitations.

Subject to the completion of a risk assessment being carried out for each toilet and the sourcing of additional hand sanitisers it is hoped the 10 accessible public toilets will re-open by Friday 22 May. This timescale is subject to the delivery of the hand sanitisers.

When the toilets have reopened they will be fully cleaned 3 times a day. This is an increase from the previous frequency of 1 full clean a day with re-stock visits. Virucidal cleaners will be used, and the facilities will be closed periodically for additional disinfecting periodically.

Read more for the list of toilets to reopen.

The toilets will be open from 7.30am to 4pm to make allowances for the staff and budget restrictions and the enhanced cleaning required.

Members of the public are requested to remain vigilant, and rigorously adhere to hand washing, hygiene and social distancing rules.

Stay Alert

Seven gardens to reopen 

The seven remaining gardens which were closed since the coronavirus lockdown reopened this week. Although the gardens have reopened, the council is reiterating that the strict social distancing measures must be followed by everyone.

After an assessment of the sites by the council, the following gardens have reopened:

  • Manor Gardens - Exmouth
  • Gunfield Gardens – Exmouth
  • Queen's Drive Space – Exmouth
  • The Glen – Honiton
  • Connaught Gardens – Sidmouth
  • Blackmore Gardens – Sidmouth
  • Seafield Gardens – Seaton

Jacobs Ladder in Sidmouth will remain closed, as will all playparks, skate parks and outdoor gyms.

East Devon Coronavirus Community Support Hub Hotline

Community Hub 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 normally Monday to Friday (not Bank Holiday Friday) 9am to 5pm.

Coronavirus Community Support Hub News

Twelve fantastic East Devon Coronavirus related projects have now been funded by the Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund, a joint grants scheme from East Devon District Council and Devon County Council.

The Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund is a small grants scheme quickly provides small grants of up to £499. Community-led Coronavirus related projects and activities can apply for the small but important things that help them support vulnerable people in this difficult time.

There’s still more funding available, to find out who was successful and to apply. Read more.

Ottery Community Volunteers

Each week we thought it would be interesting, useful and encouraging to let you know more about what the fantastic communities of East Devon are doing to help support their residents during these difficult times. Last week we featured Membury’s excellent community effort, this week we have two messages, the first from the Ottery Community Volunteers, who are also doing some great things.

Ottery Community Volunteers are working to support anyone that lives in the Ottery St Mary Town Council area, which covers Ottery St Mary, plus some surrounding villages such as Tipton St John, Alfington and Wiggaton as well as more rural households. 

Read more to find out another amazing support scheme.

Honiton Coronavirus Volunteer Support Network

Beehive Honiton

The second message comes from the Honiton’s Coronavirus Support Network which is made up of existing organisations and new groups, all working together and supporting each other to support their community.

Honiton Hospital & Community League of Friends Chairperson, Heather Penwarden, invited a wide variety of voluntary organisations, healthcare providers, businesses and others to a meeting at the Beehive arts centre, when meetings were still possible! They discussed and agreed how they could work together to support their community and have been doing an amazing job of it ever since under the banner of “Be Strong, Be Kind, Be Safe”.

Read more to find out more about another excellent support service.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Business Update

Business update

Important updates for businesses are included in this week’s business update 

Please bear with us as we clarify criteria for the top-up fund for certain small businesses which were previously outside the scope of the business grants scheme. It is likely that only a limited number of businesses and organisations will be eligible.  

Our East Devon Business Continuity programme helps East Devon businesses to adapt and survive. We are working with Cosmic to provide a range of free online workshops where you can take steps to look after your business at a time when change is needed. Book on to the workshops.

Looking for work

Bookmark this page for the ‘Find a job’ service. Some of the largest sectors are recruiting both permanent and fixed term roles – including the NHS, care, supermarket retail, food production and logistics.

Stay up to date by subscribing to our business update, add your email address and choose the ‘business’ topic.

East Devon Events Update

Following the latest Government guidance which has set out the roadmap for easing the lockdown in relation to Covid-19, the need for social distancing remains. 

It is, therefore, still very difficult to plan future events with any certainty at this time. Regrettably, East Devon District Council is extending the cancellation of all permissions to hire its land until the end of July 2020.  Although we cannot be sure when events can safely be held, we would encourage you to rearrange your event to a later date.

A further review of the hire of land for events for August (and beyond) will take place within the next four weeks. 

Thelma Hulbert Gallery update

Thelma Hulbert Gallery’s doors may be closed but they are staying connected online, sharing art practices and workshops to help keep our spirits up.

Thelma Hulbert Gallery

NATURE SHORT 5- Paul Blakemore and Karen Dews

‘Air Unlimited’ features video footage of a moth captured by Paul Blakemore and Karen Dews during their work with the Devon Moth Group at the Norman Lockyer Observatory, Sidmouth. The footage was created while they were working there on their double exposure photographs for last year’s Well Trodden Wrong Ways exhibition. The film features tracks taken from Karen's debut ep ‘a book of butterflies’. Karen is a poet and photographer currently self-isolating in Somerset.

Part of Culture + Climate 2020 in partnership with East Devon AONB, NATURE SHORTS is an online series showcasing art practices which inspire, build creativity and deepen our connection with nature especially during isolation. Every Wednesday, May to June.

Join our lockdown photography project

Thelma Hulbert Photography Competition

Dust off your analogue camera to take some photographs for a new lockdown photography project! Photographers Paul Blakemore and Karen Dews invite you to shoot a roll of film recording whatever captures your eye during your lockdown walks. Wind the film back and send it to THG for the artists to create some new double exposure prints. Deadline: 29 May. More information

Wild East Devon update

Outdoor activities for lockdown

Wild East Devon

Throughout May we are sharing lots of ideas to inspire young people to learn outdoors in their garden or on their local walk. Please go to the webpage for the latest videos. So try your hand at making a weather vane, playing minibeast bingo, experiment with filtering water, create stick skeletons, map making and much more.  

Nature nurture

Wild flowers

This month we have two great ideas for how you can help nature. Why not try No Mow May - leave your lawn to grow – set aside an area of garden (or all of it) and stay away from the lawnmower for a few weeks. See the flowers grow and watch the insects thrive on the daisies and dandelions. Help our hedgehogs this month by making a small hole at the bottom of your fence or boundary. By allowing easier movement between gardens these spiky slug eaters can find more food and have a better chance of thriving. If it is shared boundary please check with your neighbour first.

Our nature reserves are still open for visiting including Seaton Wetlands where toilets and hides will remain closed. Please follow social distancing guidelines when enjoying any of our sites at this time. For site information go to our webpages  

Check out @wildeastdevon to get the latest news.

NHS Open for Business

You can still contact your GP, 111 online or call 111 for help. If you are told to go to hospital, you must go. The NHS will give you the care you need www.nhs.uk

Trusted sources of advice and information

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