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The latest information and guidance to support you and our communities

Monday sees the start of a return to normal

Alan Connett

What a difference a month makes! Since last writing at the end of January, we’ve seen a significant and welcome drop in infection rates, in Teignbridge, across Devon and nationally.

Teignbridge is now among the lowest in the country, and continues to drop, and this brings some hope that we’ll be able to achieve the timescales set out for release of lockdown.

Monday signals the start of this relaxation, with, crucially, all primary school children and some secondary school students returning full time.

This is no mean achievement, and I pay tribute to the heads, teachers and school staff who have managed to prepare for the full reopening of schools ensuring they’re safe for staff and pupils, while continuing to deliver a mix of online home tuition and learning in school for those pupils who are attending. And all while looking after their students’ health and wellbeing needs. It’s been a monumental task.

We are playing our part in keeping infection rates down, by supporting the local vaccination programme and will be announcing a new community testing facility for Newton Abbot later this month. Testing and vaccinations will be the key to unlocking our communities safely, and making sure things remain open, allowing our economy and our society to repair and rebuild.

But as well as continuing to stop the spread, and support our local communities most hard hit by the pandemic, we’re planning for the future.

A recovery workshop has enabled us to identify some clear goals to support local businesses and the local economy to adapt and thrive, and we’re supporting local projects that will transform town centres and high streets.

We’re responding to our climate change agenda through projects like our carbon reduction scheme for our leisure facilities, which has just attracted £2.3m of government funding to install green technology and upgrades. The work starts this month.

And we’re making good our commitment to the Teignbridge 100 – to build 100 additional affordable houses for local people, across the district. A small development in Denbury has just opened its doors to new residents, and we’ve just published our housing strategy and are seeking your views on it.

We’ve seen glimpses of Spring over the last couple of weeks, and with it the promise of being able to get out and about again to enjoy it with our friends and family.  But in the meantime, stay safe and well throughout what we all hope will be the final throes of lockdown.

Cllr Alan Connett, Leader of the Council

All steps in the usual vaccine development process have been rigorously followed for the Covid-19 vaccine.  This includes clinical trial phases

Research shows importance of vaccinations

Latest research findings show that just a single shot of the Pfizer or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections.

The data shows that in the over 80s, who were vaccinated first, a single dose of either vaccine is more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation, around 3 to 4 weeks after the jab. Infections in over 70s were also shown to fall from around three weeks after one dose of both vaccines.

Vaccination is one of your most effective defenses against Covid-19

The clear evidence is that vaccines are highly effective in protecting people against severe illness, hospitalisation and death. Of course some people can't have the vaccine and legitimate questions raised by others have now been answered.

As more age groups receive the first jab there is nothing to suggest that the vaccines will be less effective reinforcing the importance of everyone being vaccinated to stop the spread, reduce deaths and help get back to a normal life before the summer.

So if you are offered a jab by the NHS please protect yourself, friends and family by being vaccinated as soon as possible.

stay home after your vaccination.  Image of a couple on a sofa

And as part of the drive to get all population groups vaccinated 16 frontline charities – including the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mencap have formed a new partnership to encourage those with long-term health conditions and their carers to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

It is essential that everyone continues to stay at home wherever possible, whether they have been vaccinated or not, to protect the NHS and save lives.


Don't get fooled by the fraudsters

The vaccination is free of charge and at no point will you be asked to pay or provide your bank account or card details.

The NHS will never:

  • Ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • Ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • Arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • Ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving license, bills or pay slips.

Don't block your GP phone lines

Person answering a phone behind a computer screen

The NHS is urging people in Devon who have received a letter from the National Booking System not to contact their GP practice about a vaccination. Practices are reporting a significant number of calls which are preventing people who need medical help getting through.

Image of a testing kit

Regular testing to stop the spread

Households with primary school, secondary school and college-aged children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week at home.The test kits can be accessed:

  • via employers if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

And Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said: “Over the coming weeks and months, we are going to see a lot more movement of people – students returning to education, more people getting back to work, the loosening of restrictions on how many people we can be in contact with, and in time shops, cafes, and other businesses reopening.

“Coronavirus thrives on socialisation, which is why we see case numbers fall during lockdown, when movement and socialising is restricted. Taking a test regularly – the rapid tests that give results within the hour – is going to be an absolutely vital part of our way out of coronavirus".

See the latest information on community testing in Devon.

'early warning system’ device shown on a person's finger

Life-saving ‘early warning system’ device offered 

People with Covid in Devon, who are over 65 or are clinically extremely vulnerable, are being encouraged to ask their GP about using a potentially life-saving device at home to check their blood oxygen levels are not getting dangerously low.

Under a new NHS scheme called Covid Oximetry at Home, eligible patients can be given a pulse oximeter – a small and simple device that measures levels of oxygen in the blood – to use in the comfort and safety of their home during the first 14 days of symptoms.

Images of Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, The Lido and Broadmeadow Sports Centre

£2.3 million green investment timescale keeps lido shut this summer

A successful bid for national funding will enable Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, Teignmouth Lido and Broadmeadow Sports Centre to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions by installing new, green technology. 

The significant grant funding comes from the national Public Sector Decarbonisaton Scheme and must be spent by September. Meeting this timetable, however, means that unfortunately the Teignmouth Lido will not open this summer and both leisure centres may face some disruption later in the year.

Over the next six months the £2.3 million grant will be spent installing Solar PV, battery storage and building management system upgrades at all three buildings as part of our emerging Carbon Action Plan. Gas boilers at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre and the Lido will be replaced with low-carbon air source heat pumps and pool circulation pumps will be replaced with high-efficiency modern equivalents. Lighting systems at Broadmeadow will be upgraded with modern LED equivalents throughout.

Funding awarded to covid community projects

We’re pleased to have awarded £54,000 to local community groups to deliver projects to support residents across the district adversely affected by the pandemic, through our Covid Community Hardship Fund.

The funding, which has been allocated to eight community groups spread across the district, was allocated by the council to support projects that tackled social isolation and loneliness, mental health issues or digital exclusion. The groups have benefited from sums of between £2k and £10k, and have a year to deliver the projects. 

Pie chart showing the percentage breakdown of recyclable waste put into the residual black bin

Help boost recycling rates

A plan to boost recycling rates was approved this week as the council redoubles its efforts to reduce waste.

Although we are in the top 25 of waste collection authorities nationally and third in the South West, members of the Executive voted unanimously to do more.

Almost half (49%) of recyclable waste is incorrectly put into households' residual black bins.  Much of this is food waste which could have been used to generate energy and fertiliser and more importantly some is avoidable food waste which could have been eaten. We will be working more to promote ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ food saving ideas as well as encouraging all households to use their food waste caddies for any unavoidable food waste.  The service is easy to use, and caddies can be requested if households do not have them.

Top of the action list is to help people who don't currently recycle to change their habits by making full use of the service we provide by engaging with residents via doorstepping advisors and social media, and to help residents recycle more.  We'll be providing information on recycling options as well as working as part of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee.

Recycling centres

What do you think of Devon's Waste Management Strategy?

Residents and businesses can have their say on the draft Resource and Waste Management Strategy for Devon and Torbay in a public consultation that runs until Wednesday 14 April,

Responses will help shape how Local Authority collected waste is managed in Devon up to 2030 and consultees are invited to read the draft strategy and then respond to a series of questions on subjects including reducing carbon emissions, food waste, reducing waste, increasing recycling and reuse.

By working together closely and sharing resources Devon’s authorities achieved a recycling rate of 56.6 per cent (2019/20) maintaining our position near the top of the English recycling league.

Please email Devon County Council's waste team for more information.

Devon County Council Back to School special newsletter

First stage in 'roadmap' set for Monday

Devon County Council has produced a "Back to School" special ahead of next week's return, which sets out the so-called 'roadmap' introduced last week by the Government.

And the government has issued advice for those travelling to and from school from Monday:

  • if you live a short distance from your school or college, walk, cycle or scoot to and from school wherever it is possible and safe to do so
  • avoid sharing a car with anyone outside of your household or support bubble
  • if you are using public transport to get to school or college, plan ahead and allow more time for your journey

When you are travelling by public or dedicated school transport, don’t forget to:

  • wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) for the entire journey, including in a bus or train station
  • social distance where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • be considerate to fellow passengers and staff.

Two guys sitting on a wooden bench looking out into open green space

Connecting to Nature feedback

Following the consultation earlier this year, a summary of the feedback is available on our website.

232 respondents' views will guide which areas of land we survey and help shape recommendations for future developments.

Many people also commented that they would be keen to be involved in projects ‘on the ground’ to benefit our community.

A Connecting to Nature report and interactive map will now be produced, with the project scheduled to complete by this summer.

#Thank you TeignbridgeTogether

February count totals more than 15 million

#Teignbridge Together, organised by our leisure team and partner centres, saw a successful conclusion to its month long campaign to encourage residents to walk more!

Submissions over the four-week period totalled 510 and #steptogether reached 15,912,311 steps.

This equates to around 7,534 miles or 287.5 marathons or nearly walking from London to Cape Town (7629 miles).

Congratulations to everyone who took part!

Census 2021 logo

Why wait until C Day?

Households across the country are now receiving letters with online codes explaining how they can complete their census forms on line.

Although Census Day is Sunday 21 March, you don't need to wait until then to go online and complete the census.  Remember it is a legal requirement to complete the census.

If your census code does not arrive in the next couple of weeks, or to request a paper questionnaire, please get in touch with the census contact centre.  

newish housing

Help shape our strategy for the future

Almost 400 people have already responded to our draft housing strategy and the more who take part, the more it will reflect the priorities of those living in the district.

The priorities in the strategy are to build affordable homes, improve existing homes, prevent homelessness and address rough sleeping.  It also focuses on delivering services, support and advice from the customer’s perspective and seeks to tackle climate change through reducing our carbon footprint and promoting energy efficiency.

Why not take a couple of minutes to complete the survey and give us your views?

People carrying different flags from commonwealth countries

Commonwealth Day links with International Women's day

The Commonwealth flag will fly over Forde House on Monday 8 March to mark Commonwealth Day 2021.

The theme is 'Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming', highlighting how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals, like protecting natural resources and boosting trade.

As Monday is also International Women’s Day, the Commonwealth Secretariat has launched a social media campaign #SheLeadsTheWay which ties with this year's official International Women’s Day theme: ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’

Chair of Council, Cllr John Petherick with chain of office

Council chair, Cllr John Petherick said:  "Commonwealth Day on Monday is a timely reminder of the benefits that flow from shared friendship and working together and the positive impact that has not just on countries but also on individuals. 

"Over the past year we have seen locally the strength of our communities across Teignbridge as people have worked together to meet the challenges posed by coronavirus.

"I welcome the Commonwealth’s recognition of International Women’s Day on Monday.  At Teignbridge we recognise the importance of equality of opportunity, and the strength that brings to the council’s leadership, across the organisation and throughout the district. I pay tribute to the women we are fortunate to have in some of our most vital roles, and to the strength, skills and knowledge that they bring to these roles."

Spring clean your lifestyle week

Spring clean your lifestyle

Not for profit organisation Carbon Savvy is holding a Lifestyle Spring Clean Week from 12- 21 March, encouraging everyone to take a small step to help reduce their carbon footprint and improve their quality of life

As part of the week – which is supported by local authorities across Devon - they are running a competition with a host of eco prizes including a first prize of an electric bike.

Why not join in and you can also work out your own carbon footprint via the Carbon Savvy website.

Did you know that improved mental health is seen within six weeks of stopping smoking

Quitting improves mental health

“Quitting smoking doesn’t have to be stressful” is the theme of this year’s No Smoking Day which takes place on Wednesday (10 March).

Organised by ASH and Breathe 2025, the annual campaign centres around the evidence that quitting smoking improves mental health. Just as stopping smoking improves your physical health, it also improves your sense of wellbeing.

The NHS Better Health website has a range of information and support on quitting, including several free tools including the Smokefree App, SMS and email support.

every mind matters

Poll shows local government performing well

The LGA’s latest survey into resident satisfaction with local government has produced positive results with levels of satisfaction re trust, value for money and feeling informed above the average recorded over the last nine years of polling.

Across Teignbridge, a survey conducted as part of the recovery project showed positive support, with 90 per cent of the 172 people responding saying they were satisfied with the local area as a place to live.

Asked how satisfied they felt about the way the council runs things like refuse collection, planning, council tax, housing, 22 per cent of respondents were very satisfied and 65 per cent were fairly satisfied.

In response to being asked if they agreed that the council provides value for money, 12 per cent strongly agreed and 65 per cent tended to agree.

Nationally some of the key LGA findings are:

  • 67 per cent of people are satisfied with the way their local council runs things
  • 67 per cent think their council keep residents informed
  • 66 per cent trust their council
  • 61 per cent think their council acts on the concerns of residents
  • 52 per cent agree their council provides value for money
  • 71 said they trust their council to make decisions about how services are provided in their local area, compared to 18 per cent who said the Government

70 per cent of respondents singled out councillors as people they most trust to make decisions about how local services are provided

Domestic abuse campaign

#5GCheckTheFacts campaign

MobileUK has launched a campaign to myth bust 5G health conspiracies. It has produced information packs that outline how 5G can help across society, including how it can benefit councils, rural communities and the home and workplace.

safe behaviours and every day at home is making a difference