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The latest information and guidance to support you and our communities

Take advantage of our wonderful countryside stay safe and support our local businesses

Alan Connett

This week is National Mental Health Awareness week, and there has never been a more important time for us all to focus on our own, and others’ mental wellbeing. The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health across the age range, but particularly in young people. The financial impact of Covid has also affected people’s mental health disproportionately; those who have faced the greatest disadvantage through the pandemic have also faced the greatest risk to their mental health.

We urgently need to address the stigma of mental health issues, and find ways to promote better mental health for all.

Mental Health Awareness week

The theme for this year’s mental health awareness week is nature, and we are incredibly fortunate living in Teignbridge to have such beauty and diversity of nature on our doorsteps. There is much evidence about the benefits of being outdoors to our mental health – helping address problems like anxiety and depression, and it’s also a good way to get active, which boosts our mood.

So this weekend, even if the weather continues to disappoint, why not visit one of the amazing parks, beaches or trails on your doorstep and take some time out to be mindful and enjoy all that nature has to offer?

From 17 May you will be able to visit indoor entertainment such as cinemas and childrens' play areas

Thanks to the collective efforts of our local communities we’re now seeing very low Covid numbers across Teignbridge and Devon.

Monday sees the next stage of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ to reopening, and I know that our hospitality industry is looking forward to welcoming customers back inside their venues, and have been working extremely hard to ensure they are safe and welcoming places to be.

We’re working with town centres to help them make their businesses safe, welcoming and attractive, and will also be embarking on a programme of support across the district to help the local economy recover. These include major regeneration projects in Newton Abbot and Teignmouth town centres, over the coming months.   So please do support your local shops, restaurants and pubs and entertainment venues, and enjoy all that they have to offer.

As we begin to get out and about and enjoy the increased freedoms we should all be making sure we’re getting regular covid tests.

Most peole catch Covid-19 from the people they spend most time with. Rapid testing twice a week will help stop the virus spreading

It’s a good idea to have a test before you meet up with friends or visit a vulnerable relative, go out shopping for the day or go to a sports match or a restaurant. And although the guidance is to continue to work from home if possible until June 21, if you’re having to go in to work, or are working in a front line service, regular testing should be part of your weekly routine. There are lots of testing options available.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for turning out across Teignbridge for the Devon County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections this week, and for respecting the covid restrictions. And a special thank you to everyone who helped out at this year’s elections, in what were quite exceptional circumstances!

Cllr Alan Connett
Teignbridge Council Leader

Dawlish Warren Blue Flag celebrate 23 consecutive years!

Cllrs Linda Goodman-Bradbury, Andrew McGregor and Martin Wrigley hold up the blue flag awarded to Dawlish Warren beach

Councillors today unveiled a blue flag at Dawlish Warren beach highlighting the quality of the bathing water on our coast. It is the 21st year that the beach has been recognised in this way and explains why when the weather warns up, locals and visitors head to Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth beach which also has blue flag status.

Pictured from left to right are Councillors Linda Goodman-Bradbury, Andrew McGregor and Martin Wrigley. Photograph Steve Pope, Photojournalist

Naturally healthy

Join in with Naturally Healthy May and feel happier and healthier

May is Devon’s Naturally Healthy month

Naturally Healthy May is all about getting outside, enjoying the amazing natural environment and feeling happier and healthier for it.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives, from children and young people to families and adults of all ages. Looking after our physical and mental health is more important than ever and there is clear evidence that being in a natural environment and connecting actively to nature is good for us.

With all the joys of Spring, May is a wonderful month to enjoy the beautiful green and blue spaces, so why not take some time, even if it’s just ten minutes, to invest in yourself and connect actively with nature.

Join the millions already vaccinated.  We'll let you know when your covid-19 vaccination is ready for you.   Each vaccination gives us hope.

Capacity increased as vaccination centre moves from Sherborne House to Racecourse 

From tomorrow (Saturday 15 May) Newton Abbot Racecourse will be used by a group of local GP practices as a Covid-19 vaccination centre.

Two Primary Care Networks have been involved in setting up the vaccination centre and will be using the site for their patients. The practices involves are Buckland Surgery, Cricketfield Surgery, Devon Square Surgery, Kingsteignton Medical Practice, Albany Surgery, Bovey Tracey and Chudleigh Surgery and Kingskerswell and Ipplepen Medical Centre.

Patients at these surgeries will be offered vaccinations at Newton Abbot Racecourse and this will allow the surgeries to increase the current capacity they have been using at Sherborne House.

The site will deliver both first and second dose vaccinations for patients and the GP practices will invite their patients directly when they are eligible, and appointments are available.

Shaun Steer

Stay safe and make testing part of your weekly routine

Testing is an important step in preventing people unknowingly spreading Covid.

It is especially important as restrictions are eased and you come into contact with more people.  Testing helps to identify the one in three people who have Covid but show no symptoms. 

Bulking station charge hand Shaun Steer is part of a team of six who work in close proximity to one another. He also comes into contact with recycling crews who unload at the bulk station several times a day as do outside contractors.

Working with so many people, Shaun has taken advantage of the mobile testing unit that visits the Depot weekly on a Friday.  “Regular testing gives me peace of mind, it lets me know that I am keeping my family safe as well as my work colleagues."

Shaun says the process is really easy.  “You just need to register for an account once on your mobile phone (or the tester can do this for you) and then each week you scan a QR code and answer a few questions.  It takes about 5 minutes with the test itself taking less than a minute.  The result comes through as a text/email within the hour.

"I’d recommend people to get tested at least once a week for peace of mind for yourself, your family and the wellbeing of anyone you have contact with.  Without testing you may be unaware that you have Covid and may pass it on to your loved ones and friends, why risk that when regular testing is available to all.”

In addition to the Depot, Devon County Council mobile testing units regularly visit communities across the county including Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth. You can find out where and when they are in your area on Devon's website. The mobile units will stop in each community, at a specific location, twice a week on given days and results are usually received within an hour.

Anyone with a new and continuous cough, high temperature or a change to their sense of taste or smell should immediately self-isolate and book a test online or by calling 119.

Find out more about testing on Devon County Council website.

How we can all get free rapid Covid 19 tests to help protect each other. Let's take this next step safely. Free Rapid Covid 19 Tests

From 17 May overnight stays with friends  and family will be allowed with groups of six people or two households. Open a window to let fresh air in

Next stage in roadmap on Monday

Further easing of national restrictions comes into effect on Monday with the return of international travel, indoor gatherings and overnight stays involving two households or six individuals, indoor opening of pubs and restaurants and the re-opening of cinemas and hotels.

This includes the reopening of indoor hospitality and indoor and outdoor entertainment, including museums, children’s play areas and outdoor performances.

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes. The number of people able to attend a funeral will be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.

The Stay in the UK restriction will be lifted and people will be able to travel to green list countries, if they permit inbound travel. to edit this placeholder text.

The government has published guidance on meeting friends and family safely and you can minimise the risks as social contact increases.  This includes

  • Meet outside
  • If you do meet inside, make sure the space is well ventilated – open windows and doors
  • Take the vaccine when you are offered it, and encourage others to as well
  • Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others to being seriously ill from COVID-19
  • Minimise how many people you’re in close contact with, and for how long
  • Get tested twice a week
  • Wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly to remove virus particles
From 17 May groups of up to siz people or two households can meet indoors.  Open a window to let fresh air in

Exercise classes aqua circuits

Classes reopen as restrictions ease

Exercise Classes are returning to our centres from Monday (17 May) with Covid secure measures in place

Classes are available across our three  Centres, Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, Broadmeadow Sports Centre and Dawlish Leisure Centre. Our instructors are experienced, knowledgeable and arguably the best locally in delivering classes to all levels and abilities.

Whether you're a beginner with us or don't have much fitness knowledge, group fitness classes may be your solution. Joining a class can help build a foundation and structure that you can use to fuel your health journey for years to come.

Classes are available to both members and non-members. Members can book five days in advance and non-members three days in advance. We have a membership for everyone - check out our website to see what we have to offer.

From 17 May you will be able to take part in indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.  Where possible keep your distance from others

Covid variants

Find out more about Covid variants

With the growth in Covid variants, Public Health England has published a blog on what we know about variants.

The government also updates its information on variants regularly

Devon climate emergency citizens assembly

Opportunity to shape Devon's climate change agenda

Fourteen thousand randomly selected Devon households are being invited to enter a ‘civic lottery’ to determine who represents the county at this summer’s Devon Climate Assembly.

Over the next week invitations will drop through letterboxes giving households the chance to help shape and safeguard Devon’s future.

It follows the recent public consultation of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, the county’s climate roadmap which outlines what every resident, business and organisation will have to do to reduce carbon emissions. 

The Assembly itself will be conducted entirely online, and no prior knowledge of climate change or digital skills are needed.  Digital devices and support will be available.

Members will meet over a series of weekday evenings and three weekends in June and July to hear from a range of expert speakers to discuss the issues and form recommendations decided on by a vote.  

The Devon Climate Emergency partnership, which includes Teignbridge, will respond to each of the Assembly’s recommendations to complete the Devon Carbon Plan

Crowdfunder climate emergency workshop

Crowdfunder support for climate emergency

Crowdfunder is running a free virtual interactive workshop where participants can find out about the relevance of crowdfunding to the climate emergency and the opportunities for communities to help make their climate focussed ideas happen.

The workshop will cover a range of topics including an introduction to Climate Change Challenge Live, how crowdfunding can amplify funds available to tackle the climate emergency and why the approach delivers measurable social impact.

More info

Financial support still available for businesses

Financial support is still available to help businesses affected by Covid, such as the Restart Grants which provides one-off payments to rate-paying businesses, predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public, in the non-essential retail and hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

If you know of a business that might need some support, please encourage them to use our Business Grant Checker to make sure they are not missing out on potential financial support.  


Keep up to date with wildlife on our doorstep

Find out about the latest projects in your local parks, how you can walk on the wild side and what to look out for this summer!

Connect to nature news by subscribing to our Green Spaces newsletter.


Complete our survey and win a month's leisure centre membership

Our green spaces team has launched a short survey seeking your views on Teignbridge's parks and green spaces.

By completing the survey you will help us make changes to the service we provide.
And as a thank you for doing so, people who complete the survey have the option to be entered into a draw to win a free month’s all-inclusive membership at our leisure facilities.

graphic of a house, a telephone handset ringng and dotted space for words

Notice period for evictions to be reduced

With the ban on evictions ending on 31 May, more people who are currently renting may find themselves having to find somewhere else to live.

Rather than wait until they become homeless, our housing team would like people who fear they may have nowhere to stay to contact them (01626 361101) as soon as possible so we can support them to find a new place to live.

The Government has said that longer notice periods will remain in place until at least October with tenants having to be given four months’ notice from 1 June

Subject to the public health advice and progress with the Government’s roadmap, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1 October.

Although restrictions on bailiff-enforced evictions will end on 31 May, bailiffs have been asked by the Government not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.

National consultation on plans to boost recycling

The Government has launched a consultation on household and business recycling which runs until 4 July.

Under the proposals, every household in England will receive separate, weekly food waste collections from 2023 and the introduction of statutory guidance on new minimum service standards for rubbish and recycling collections is being considered including free garden waste collections for every home.

Moor Otters coming to Newton Abbot

Moor otters

This summer sees the return of Moor Otters Arts Trails and the hosting of six in Newton Abbot.

Moor Otters Arts Trail will launch on 28 May and is a fund-raising arts initiative that takes people on a journey of discovery. Ahead of the launch, Dartmoor National Park has revealed where people can find the stunning otters and cub sculptures - all designed and decorated by artists, local talent and organisations – so they can plan their otter spotting.

Six moor otters will be Newton Abbot – at Austin's toy store, Austin's main store, Newton's Place, Market Walk, Market Hall and Westcountry Books

Check out this map of the five arts trails where moor otters will be seen, and if you want to see all the moor otters over the summer start planning your routes now!

Moor Otters Arts Trail aims to raise £60,000. At the end of the summer otter-spotters, art collectors and individuals will have the opportunity to give their favourite sculpture a new home when they are auctioned with funds going to Donate for Dartmoor.

Parents and carers invited to virtual roadshow

Parent carer virtual roadshow.  Devon's SEND startegy.  Seeking parent carer views

Devon County Council is hosting two online events for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to find out more about its new SEND strategy and to provide an opportunity to comment on proposals for the new service design across the county. The events are being held on 19 May (10-11.30) and 20 May (7.30 - 9pm).

More info 

Do you have what it takes to foster a teenager - row of teenagers

Foster parents urgently needed

Devon County Council’s fostering service, has launched in This Foster Care Fortnight (10 – 23 May) an urgent appeal to find more foster carers for teenagers.

There are 821 children in care in Devon, but only 336 fostering households. Almost 70% of those in care are young people aged 11 to 18 years old

Find out more

Use our online portal to claim tax relief if working from home

Working from home tax relief to continue

HM Revenue and Customs has announced that it is accepting tax relief claims for working from home due to coronavirus during the current 2021/22 financial year.

If you have been working at home because of coronavirus and, as a result, your household costs have increased, working from home tax relief can be claimed.

Since 6 April 2020, the amount employers have been able to pay tax-free without employees having to provide evidence of an increased bill is up to £6 a week. 

If you worked from home last year but did not claim tax relief, HMRC says it will accept backdated claims for up to four years.

You can check if you are eligible and apply via GOV.UK and can apply directly via GOV.UK portal for free.

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