15 May - North Devon Council Coronavirus update

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North Devon Council Newsletter

Current information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Council recommends face masks for taxi and public transport passengers

Woman wearing face mask applying hand sanitiser

Taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers are being asked to put measures in place to protect themselves and their passengers from coronavirus.

It is recommended that taxi and PHV drivers use a facial covering and also consider whether to install protective screens within their vehicles. The council supports the installation of such screens, provided they do not compromise public safety. Drivers wishing to install these should first seek advice from the Licensing team.

Passengers are also recommended to use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitiser and wash their hands before and after they travel to help reduce the rate of infection.

This follows new guidance issued by the Government to support local transport services and help residents who need to travel by public transport or taxis safely.

Reflecting these national messages, North Devon Council has set out the following advice for the public:

  • if you can work from home, please continue to do so
  • if you need to travel for work, please avoid public transport wherever possible
  • do not expect to return to the transport network you were used to before. The number of people who can be safely transported on buses and trains is severely constrained to enable social distancing
  • if you need to travel, please try to walk or cycle as much as possible, if you are able to
  • please shop locally and use local leisure facilities to help ease demand on roads and public transport
  • if using public transport, or taxi and PHVs, please use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitiser and wash your hands before and after you travel

The latest government advice is that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent you from getting the virus, they could help prevent you from giving it to others. Face coverings are particularly important where two metre social distancing is hard to maintain.

Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing, which remain the most important actions. The Government has urged the public not to buy medical grade masks, which should be reserved for front line health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home.

Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms. People with coronavirus symptoms, as well as members of their household, should continue to follow the advice to self-isolate.

The Government's full safer travel guidance is available on their website.

Don't expose your children to coronavirus at the park

Bicclescombe Park

North Devon council does not manually or chemically clean our outdoor play areas. We are advising parents and carers to take extra caution due to coronavirus now that lockdown measures have eased slightly. Bacteria and germs are likely to be present on the playground equipment so we are actively discouraging use of playgrounds at this time.

Some studies on other coronaviruses, including Sars and Mers, found they can survive on metal, glass and plastic for as long as nine days, so we urge you to think twice before letting your children play on the equipment. 

Help for domestic abuse victims

Domestic Abuse helpline

If you are at risk or experiencing domestic abuse you can still seek refuge and support is still available to you.

At home shouldn’t mean at risk. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, isolation rules do not apply. Police response & support services remain available.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is free to call 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.

Find support at bit.ly/3cCgQzi or call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

We know that the coronavirus lockdown is escalating the risk to many victim/survivors of domestic abuse who are more isolated than ever before. If you are hesitant about leaving because you're concerned for the safety of your pets, https://refuge4pets.org.uk/ can help by fostering your animals so that you can escape to safety.

Find your local service on their website www.refuge4pets.org.uk or telephone them on 03004000121.

How to make your own face mask

woman wearing facemask

The national advice is to wear a face covering when you are in an enclosed space, such as a shop or on public transport. Want to make your own? The Government have published some instructions on how to create your own using a T-shirt or a piece of cloth.


Help with energy bills

361 energy logo

The 361 Community Energy telephone advice service is now ready for action. You can give them a call on 01271 599361.

Whilst they can't offer exactly the same service as their home energy visits they can provide people with the following support:
- Help switch to cheaper energy tariffs to save money your energy bills.
- Deal with billing issues.
- Energy efficiency advice and tips to improve energy efficiency and save money.
-Advice on small home energy efficiency improvements such as LED lighting and draught proofing.
- Help people who have got into fuel debt because of the crisis
- They can sign eligible people up to the Priority Service registrations to ensure the safety of the vulnerable during a power cut.
-They also work with lots of organisations across North Devon who we can put you in touch with if you need other non- energy related support during this time.

North Devon community group and parish council grant schemes open for applications

Savings growing

Two North Devon grant schemes supporting projects and services run by community or voluntary groups, and parish council environmental projects are now open for applications.

North Devon Council is offering their new Climate and Environment Grants (CEG) to eligible parish councils in the North Devon district for the first time in 2020. The scheme aims to help fund projects that have an emphasis on sustainability and countering climate change. CEG will be available to parishes with populations of less than 1,000 (as of November 2019)  towards their project for the following:

  • training costs
  • set up costs and/or promotion
  • purchase of goods or equipment
  • costs of an event(s) to raise awareness of an issue

As well as this, the council's Community Councillor Grant (CCG) scheme opens again. This year the starting budget for each North Devon district councillor is £500 to give as grants to support projects and services run by community or voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations. Youth clubs, toddler groups, sports clubs, museums, village halls and environmental groups have all benefited from grants in the past.

Previously councillors have had £1,000 each for the CCG scheme, however this year with the current coronavirus outbreak each councillor has agreed to put half of their budget towards the Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund. This fund is being provided with Devon County Council to help fund the vital work of North Devon community and voluntary groups during the Covid-19 outbreak.

More information about both grant schemes and how to apply can be found on the community grant and support pages of our website. 

Applications for a CEG will be considered by a panel of councillors twice a year - the first round in September 2020 for applications received between April and 31 August.

Applications for a CCG are invited from any not-for-profit group or organisation with a project or service located within the North Devon district or that is of significant benefit to people living in  the North Devon district. 

Further information about the Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund and details about how to apply is also available on the coronavirus community and voluntary sector support pages of  our website.

Children's colouring competition

Child drawing on a notepad

Just a few days left to enter - final entries 20/05/20 12pm.

There's still time to enter our colouring competition. Ask your child(ren) to create a drawing or instruction sheet about separating glass from the rest of the items in your recycling box. They can let their imagination run wild!

Send your child’s drawing to communications@northdevon.gov.uk or message our Facebook page and we will decide who’s is best!

Then we’ll use the entries to help spread the message on our social media pages.

The WINNER will receive a fabulous prize!

Other sources of advice and information

Avoid misinformation on Coronavirus - only follow advice from official, trusted sources. 

Devon County Council




NHS England


Public Health England


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