Page 1

Summer 2014

New ways of working pages 8–9

Blue Flag for Westward Ho! page 5

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

The front line of fostering page 15

Quick guide to recycling page 20

Devon Personal Assistant Bank Over 160,000 people with disabilities across England are now employing Personal Assistants (PAs) to help them live independently and do the activities they want to do. The Devon Personal Assistant Bank makes recruiting and employing PAs easier for individuals. It is run by the Devon Choice and Support department of the Disabled People’s User-led charity, Living Options Devon. Their easy-to-use website carries a range of information and support with employment issues, and also

about the PA ‘When I heard t it was a great Bank I though ed my vacancy idea. I advertis then waited on the website r applications. a few weeks fo member to I asked a staff iews with the arrange interv ted to meet applicants I wan e le to attend th and she was ab g in h me. Follow interviews wit ay, I decided the interview d cal woman to employ a lo r interests to who had simila es round on mine. She com e supports me Fridays and sh with cooking. in the kitchen t a lot of time We have spen with new experimenting at!’ recipes. It’s gre n wheelchairSarah, a Devo of the service user and a fan



has a space where you can share your experience of being an employer or PA with other people. People in Torridge looking to employ PAs can advertise on the website and request staff support with recruitment and employment. It costs from just £10 to access the Devon Personal Assistant Bank, depending on the level of support you want. The Devon Personal Assistant Bank is also looking to hear from PAs in Torridge who want to advertise their availability. It’s free to register and you will be able to search and apply for vacancies online.

For more inform ation see devonchoicea call 01392 459 222 or email paban k@ devonchoicea If you are not ab le to access th e internet, a mem ber of staff at Devon Choice and Support w ill be happy to d o so on your b eh alf and collect the responses.

Welcome to the summer edition of Torridge Connect, bringing you news about the work of local public services across the area. Earlier this year, Devon County Council approved a budget calling for nearly £28 million of savings in our spending for this financial year. In spite of the savings we have made already (see page 10) and the savings planned for this year, we will need to save another £49 million in 2015, and £25 million in 2016. This will inevitably mean more changes to the way we currently work and some service reductions.


Devon Personal Assistant Bank


News in brief


Helping people in need, turning lives around and taking control

10 Tough choices – take part in the consultation

We will continue to support the elderly, the young and the vulnerable but we must do it in a more cost-effective way and you will see examples in this magazine of how we are already delivering many services differently. You will also see that we are asking you to get involved in the debate with your ideas and suggestions about various suggested changes in the way we do things in different service areas.

Plough and Share – your local Credit Union page 12

page 15

One thing we do know: we need communities to step up and work with us to deliver some of the services we can no longer deliver.There has always been a great spirit of self-reliance in Devon’s communities and from adversity can also come opportunity. I believe it is in our nature to reach out and do things like help a vulnerable neighbour, keep our community centre open, volunteer in the local shop or library and cut the grass verge by our house. And I am certain that there is much un-tapped energy, enthusiasm and enterprise that could help us look at things differently and find new solutions to meeting local needs. Find out more on page 10 and get involved in the debate via But let’s not forget, Torridge is a great place to be almost any time of year. Welcoming and friendly communities, a Blue Flag beach, attractions of high quality, great value accommodation... it is no real surprise we attract so many visitors here. I hope you all enjoy the summer - whatever the weather.

John Hart

Philip Collins

Leader, Devon County Council

Leader, Torridge District Council

11 Council tax discount on your annex

Business rates changes

Moneywise – are you facing financial hardship?

12 Explore Devon, the naturally active way 14 Read easy – one-to-one coaching

Devon Home Choice changes

15 The front line of fostering 16 All-weather transport for everyone 18 Danger and opportunity at Hartland 19 NHS information 20 Torridge recycling – quick guide 21 Bank holiday collections

General enquiries

Torridge 01237 428700 MyDevon 0845 155 1015

22 North Devon Nature Improvement Area benefits more than just wildlife 23 Contact Devon and Cornwall Police 24 Torridge’s A- Z

How to contact us: Editorial queries should be directed to: Phone: 01237 428700 Email:

Front cover photo: Westward Ho! Blue Flag beach in summer The opinions and views expressed in Torridge Connect magazine are not necessarily those of Devon County Council or Torridge District Council. All data contained in adverts are accepted by us in good faith at the time of going to press. Reproduction of editorial is strictly prohibited without prior permission from Devon County Council or Torridge District Council. All rights reserved copyright © 2014.

If you would like this magazine in a different format please call 0845 155 1015 TORRIDGE CONNECT SUMMER 2014



£7m for winter damage repairs Devon County Council has received almost £7 million to help repair the damage caused to the county’s roads by the severe winter weather. The additional funding from the Department for Transport is a share of £183.5 million of extra funding made available by the government

to help with much-needed road repairs, following the wettest winter on record. Over the winter, there was significant damage to the surfaces of many roads in Devon and the number of potholes reported increased from 2,000 in December, to 7,500 in January, and a further 7,900 in February.

We are currently repairing around 500 potholes a day. The £6,985,437 will help to repair the damage to road surfaces, including pothole repairs on the county’s 8,000 miles of roads, the biggest highway network of any authority in the country.

Beach Registration Scheme Torridge District Council is urging more activity providers that use the Blue Flag beach at Westward Ho! to join its Beach Registration Scheme It’s not compulsory, but the scheme does give operators that use the beach the opportunity to disclose the necessary documentation that proves their competency to deliver high-quality, safe activities on the beach and in the water. The Council



recommends that these operators be used in preference to those that have not registered. Registered activity providers can display the logo, and the public can be assured that the provider is a suitable, safe beach operator. The Authority only endorses these registered organisations as suitable, safe operators.

For more information, or to join the Scheme (there is an administration of £75), please contact the Council’s Recreation Development Officer James Jarroudi on 01237 428737 or look at westwardho

11 Blue Flags for Westward Ho! The beach at Westward Ho! has, for the 11th year in a row, won Keep Britain Tidy’s Blue Flag distinction award. To receive this nationwide award of excellence shows Westward Ho! is clean, safe, easily accessible and a great place to come on holiday. It is a wonderful stretch of sand which attracts many, many visitors and locals each year, and this award is an assurance this is one of the best beaches in Europe. The Blue Flag award is also designed to recognise the diversity of the nation’s coastline, as well as boost domestic tourist numbers, and

Westward Ho! has met stringent criteria in the following four categories: • Environmental education and information • Environmental management • Safety and Services • Water quality. Northam Burrows Rangers provide the education and information, and regularly organise beach, Pebble Ridge and Burrows clean-ups, with the most recent one attracting more than 200 local people , including children from local schools.

Children and potential families meet at Adoption Activity Days Children and prospective adoptive families will have the chance to meet and get to know each other at funpacked activity days in Devon this year. Devon County, Torbay and Plymouth City Councils are jointly hosting the activity days with the support of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Children and adopters attending activity days are fully supported, before, during and after the events. American studies have shown that activity days are twice as effective as any other method of family-finding for children. If you are considering adopting, and want to find out more about an activity day near you, call 0345 155 1076 or visit

Landlords Forum Torridge’s next Landlords Forum is on 2 July, 10.30am and 7pm at Riverbank House. All landlords are welcome, regardless of the financial situation of their tenants. For more information call 01237 428841.

Have you registered to vote? Call the Elections Office on 01237 428702 if you’re not sure or know you haven’t. If you’ve just moved into the area – call us! If you don’t register, you won’t be able to vote in any forthcoming elections.

Follow us on Twitter for all the latest council news @torridgedc; for jobs @tdcjobs or keep up to date with shipping movements in Bideford Harbour @bidefordharbour. For the latest leisure activities @torridgeleisure

Clean up with Appledore school




95% of children going to their top choice primary this September Nearly 99 per cent of children in Devon have been offered one of their three preferences of primary school for this September, and 95 per cent of the families who applied to Devon County Council have been offered their first choice primary school. 98.5 per cent of applicants were offered one of their three preferences, three per cent were offered their second preference and 0.5 per cent their third preference. In all, 7,526 children across Devon applied for a primary school place, and every child has been offered a place.

Planning’s preapplication advice service

More informat ion on the service can be found at www.torridge. planning or b y calling 01237 42871 1

People applying for planning permission in Torridge can take advantage of a special service that can help them through the process. The ‘Pre-application advice service’ is designed to guide people through the process of applying for planning permission. It’s an opportunity for applicants to work together with the planning team to prepare a fit-forpurpose application that can save time, costs and frustration. 6


The service is free for everyday householder applications such as residential extensions and alterations. Fees ranging from £50 to £1,000 apply to larger, more complex developments depending on the type and size of the application. Pre-application discussions can really help simplify the process for applicants and tend to lead to achieving better developments that deliver benefits to both the community and the local economy.

Emergency Hardship Fund Torridge’s Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF) is a short-term emergency measure for local residents in need. The scheme was set up to help cover a shortfall between council tax liability and payments of council tax support. Every customer who is entitled to council tax support and who has a shortfall is entitled to make a claim for help from the Fund. The Fund is there as a shortterm emergency payment while the customer seeks alternative solutions. It’s intended to help in cases of extreme financial hardship rather than support a lifestyle. It can only be used in respect of council tax. Torridge has also implemented a Discretionary Housing Payments scheme which could cover some or

all of the shortfall between rent and housing benefit. Similar principles in respect of the EHF apply. Payments from these funds are discretionary and depend on the circumstances of the person applying. There is no statutory right to an award. We recognise the importance of protecting our most vulnerable customers, and also the impact the recent benefits changes forced upon us have on them. This Fund should ensure that we protect and support those most in need. For more information on the Fund, look at benefits for Discretionary Housing Payment and counciltax for Exceptional Hardship details. Or phone 01237 428700.

New social care and health website goes live The revamped site www.devon. aims to provide clear and consistent information that can be easily searched and navigated by the public. It has been designed to help people find the information they need as and to link them to other services where appropriate. Topics include Help to stay living at home, Support for carers, Safeguarding vulnerable adults and Assessments and paying for care. A toolbar at the bottom of every page also allows users to search for local services on the Devon Community Directory.

New Devon domestic violence support service The new Devon Domestic Abuse Support Service website, recently launched, can be found at There is an Introductory Information Bulletin on the new service and information on how to make referrals.

Free summer activities for children on Northam Burrows Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the summer holidays the Burrows Rangers will be organising events for children. Why not join them? You’ll make some new friends, learn loads, have lots of fun and best of all – the events are free! Call the Northam Burrows Centre on 01237 479708 or look at

Changes to opening times at your local recycling centre Summer (April - September) Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 6pm Winter (October - March) Monday - Friday, 9am - 4.30pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4.30pm Anvil Corner, Holsworthy will only be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday (closed Tuesday-Thursday)

We have developed the Health and wellbeing section in partnership with local NHS services – offering advice and information on things like stopping smoking, healthy eating, getting active and seasonal health campaigns.

Visit to find out what can be recycled at each centre.

We’ve even made sure that the website is a responsive design, which means that it is easy to navigate whether viewed on a PC monitor, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

A quick guide to recycling in Torridge and the bank holiday collections can be found on pages 20 and 21.

The changes to recycling centre opening hours are part of savings identified to reduce costs. For more information please visit



Helping people in need With an ageing population there’s a growing demand for care services for the elderly in Devon. More and more people have complex needs such as dementia. At the same time, more of us want to live independently in our own homes for as long as possible.

Turning lives around The Targeted Family Support Programme is Devon’s response to the three-year national Troubled Families Programme. The Government is committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families in England by 2015. This involves: l

getting children back into school


reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour


putting adults on a path back to work


reducing the costs to the public sector that are associated with these families.

Devon’s multi-agency approach to working with families involves joining up local services, dealing with each family’s problems as a whole rather than individually and identifying a single key worker to help them improve their lives for the long term.   Rachel is a family support worker who works with troubled families. She runs two community groups and one parent support group. “It’s my job to get to know the local professionals, such as mental health workers, social workers and school nurses, so that a full support package can be built. I look at the whole family and interact with them,” Rachel says.



Initially, the children’s centre identifies families with a child under five who is vulnerable or at risk. It also has access, along with agencies such as health, charities, schools, youth workers, social workers and police to the secure informationsharing software, HUDDLE, which was purchased specifically for the programme and means that work can be shared. Rachel will ring up the family and tell them that she would like to visit. “No one has ever said ‘No, you can’t,’” she says. “At the visit, we’ll talk about the family’s needs; then I can say, ‘You fit into a new programme that we have available,’ and they have a look at the information which talks about things like parenting and budgeting. So far everyone has signed up.” The programme offers long-term support. “Everyone has their own story and should not be labelled. If there are different professionals going in and out, the family can start to feel judged and as if they are doing something wrong. We should be

giving them empathy and praise. At different points in life, we’ll all struggle. “Relationship is the key thing. If families know it is a trusting and honest relationship, they will work hard to make changes. They know I am someone they can talk to. “I’m flexible and available, can pop in at short notice and will visit at weekends. They also know that I don’t think that I am better than them and that I believe that we are all the same. “When the targeted families scheme first started, I thought, ‘Is this going to work?’ Then I thought, ‘Let’s be more creative accessing other agencies and the community. We’re doing it already, let’s do it more.’ When everyone works together so much more is achieved.”

“This shouldn’t be a project: it’s a really lovely way of working and should be the way we’re all working.”

This presents a real challenge. Traditional council residential and day care services are being overhauled as we look at new ways to help and support people in the community. Our first Dementia Care Centres of Excellence will be opening soon in Newton Abbot and Torrington.

We are investing in purpose-built extra care housing and technology so that people can be supported in their own homes. We are also working with the NHS to invest in a range of local community support services and people in need are increasingly getting direct payments to help

them find and buy the kind of flexible care and support that suits them. While residential and nursing homes may be the most appropriate option for some, getting the right range of services in place for the future that can meet many different needs is a top priority.

Taking control with the Devon Card Karen was born with POLG, a very complicated and rare genetic disease. She lives with her mother and father who have recently retired. Karen herself had a job until she was thirty but now cannot be left alone as she can only walk a couple of steps and falls easily. Karen spent some time at a NeuroRehabilitation Centre, and when she came home the family was told about the help she could receive and she now has an enabler who comes in once a week and keeps her company and takes her out. Ceri, her enabler, is in her late 30s, around the same age as Karen and they get on very well. “It’s not like working,” Ceri has said. Karen receives direct payments and for the last few months the family have been paying for her support using the Devon Card.  This is a preloaded debit card which people who receive direct payments can use to pay for their support safely and in a far more efficient way. When Karen was assessed, a care plan was put together which identified some broad objectives for her to achieve. The money on her Devon Card can be used to pay for activities that will enable Karen to maintain her independence and day-to-day wellbeing. Karen can choose what she wants to do: it may be a walk along the

seafront, spending time in the city or pursuing an interest within her local community. Karen is able to match her support to her needs; if she doesn’t feel like doing much, she doesn’t have to and her enabler understands this. “It’s much easier with the Devon Card,” says Karen’s mother. “Once a month Ceri gives me her invoice for the hours she has worked and I transfer the payment from the Devon Card into her bank. I do all this online and it’s very simple – so much easier than the previous arrangement. “I keep an eye on the account and any money that has not been used rolls over into the next month so that if there is something that Karen particularly wants to do, the money’s there to pay for it. “Karen has an independent living advisor from the County Council who can check the account and we can run anything past her that we are not sure about.”

If you receiv e Direct Pay ments or care for som eone who d oes, you wil soon be ask l ed to consid er using the Devon Card to pay for th e support that you are buying. You will find it much easier and more co nvenient, it’s simple to set up and u se, and will save you time and pa perwork. You can find everything y ou need to know, inc luding some frequently asked quest ions, at new.devon voncard

“The good thing is that the money is going on things that benefit Karen, and these are things that she chooses to do when she’s well enough to do them.”



Plough and Share - your friendly local credit union

Tough Choices Over the past four years we have reduced our spending from £600 million a year to £500 million by cutting waste, and by reducing management and staff numbers. The latest Government spending cuts mean that over next three years we now need to save a further £100 million from our budget, so we have to look again at everything we do and make hard choices.

This ‘Devon Centre’ model will reduce the running costs of medium- tolarge libraries through sharing space, integrating services and, where appropriate, staff with other Council services and partners.

All the latest suggestions and proposals for change in your local services are on our Tough Choices website

We are proposing to develop Devon Centres similar to The Hayridge, the community hub in Cullompton, and Passmore Edwards Centre in Newton Abbot. These will include Bideford, Holsworthy and Torrington Libraries.

Recent consultations, now closed, included our day services, meals service, residential care services, waste management and recycling, public transport and concessionary bus travel. Details of all the results are available at Consultation on the future of youth services closed at the end of April and the children’s centre consultation finishes on 6 June. We are currently consulting on a vision for a public library service that is sustainable, receptive to communities’ needs, and fit for the future. The face of Devon’s library service is already changing as libraries become community hubs, offering a broader range of services. Devon Libraries consultation ends on 17 July. To take part please go to 10


It’s also proposed that we work with communities to identify how our smaller libraries could be sustained in the future. The libraries in Torridge are those in Appledore and Northam. Across the county, there is a wide range of examples emerging where communities are working in new ways to co-produce libraries. These range from volunteer-run libraries, to those where local communities have fundraised or increased their local precept (tax) to maintain existing services. Others have located the library with other community facilities.

Plough and Share is a local Credit Union – a not-for-profit financial co-operative, fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It provides loans and savings to people who live or work in Devon. Its loans are flexible, affordable and tailored to fit in with budgets. Plough and Share offers an ethical, friendly and local alternative to highcost borrowing, such as that from doorstep and payday lenders. Anyone who has ever considered getting a high-cost loan such as a payday loan, should speak to Plough and Share first. Some loans may seem like a good solution, but repayment deadlines come around quickly and the stress of not being able to repay can be a cycle which is difficult to get out of. Plus, of course, there are additional costs for those who cannot repay on time. Everyone who takes out a Plough and Share loan is encouraged to save as little as £1 per week. The young savers account is an excellent way to get children into the savings habit and all savings are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Those who want to know more should get in touch to discuss their requirements. For more information or to find out if there is a local service point in the area visit All service points are run by committed and professional volunteers. Alternatively, call the Okehampton head office on 01837 658123 or email

Council Tax: discount on your annex New legislation effective from 1 April this year means that some people living in an annex will be entitled to a 50% discount on their Council Tax. To qualify for this discount the person liable for Council Tax in the annex must be related to the person who is liable for Council Tax in the main property (to which the annex is attached). If you currently live in an annex and are exempt from Council Tax, you will not be affected by this new rule. If you think this applies to you, please phone the Council on 01237 428900 and we will discuss and advise you accordingly.

Business rates A number of changes have been announced which will affect businesses in Torridge from April 1 this year: The introduction of a discount of up to £1,000 against business rates bills of retail premises (including pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops) with a rateable value of up to £50,000 in 2014/15 and 2015/16. If you have not already received this discount and would like to find out if you qualify, please contact the Council’s Business Rates Team on 01237 428986. The introduction of a temporary re-occupation relief, granting a 50% discount from business rates for new occupants of previously empty retail premises for up to 18 months. This relief will be granted to businesses moving into long-term empty retail properties on or after 1 April 2014 and on or before 31 March 2016. Please contact the Council’s Business Rates Team on 01237 428986 to discuss further.

Small Business Rate Relief has been amended so that businesses that take on an additional property will not be penalised – at the moment they lose SBRR. In addition to the above new initiatives the Government also confirmed the following: New multipliers are normally based on the retail price index in September – this would have meant that rates would have increased by 3.2%. The increase in 2014/15 has been capped at 2%. The enhanced small business rate relief (SBRR) scheme has been extended for a further twelve months up to 31 March 2015. For more information on business rates email business.rates@ or phone 01237 428985/ 428986

Money£wise Are you facing financial hardship and don’t know who to ask for help? A Moneywise adviser at Torridge District Council may be able to help with: • Dealing with a short-term crisis • Dealing with changes to income • Debt and money advice • Budgeting • Food bank referrals • Furniture • Help to resettle

If you need help quickly, the Moneywise team hold a drop-in service from 1.30pm–4pm in Bideford Town Hall. If you don’t need help urgently but would like to book an appointment, call Moneywise on 01237 428999.



Explore Devon,

the naturally active way

Thousands of tourists flock to Devon each year to enjoy our natural environment. With two distinctive coastlines, two National Parks, two World Heritage Sites, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and countless rivers, parks and open spaces, there is something for everyone. We know we are lucky to live in Devon, but do we make the best of what is on our doorstep?

are the people whose health is not as good as it should be who would benefit the most from being outdoors. Being ‘naturally active’ can be about discovering new things, whether it’s bird-watching, going on a bug safari with the children or perhaps uncovering a fossil from the Jurassic Coast.

As well as being breath-taking, accessing Devon’s natural environment can also help improve our health and wellbeing. Whether we’re taking a gentle stroll or having a more invigorating run or bike ride, or we’re just somewhere special, feeling happier and more connected to nature there are lots of ways that our beaches, countryside and moors can make us feel good. Accessing our natural spaces not only helps us get more physically fit, it can improve our mental wellbeing, reduce stress and increase self-esteem. Devon provides endless opportunities for being ‘naturally active’ but there are many people who do not benefit from our environment. Sometimes these 12


Did you know Dartmoor has the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the country, and a recently discovered prehistoric burial cist, with nationally important remains that have captured the interest of experts from all over the country? If you are feeling a little more energetic, why not try a long circular walk with a picnic lunch along the way? Or perhaps a leisurely cycle ride along one of the many off-road routes in Devon? Or just watch the sun set behind the hills and then stargaze into the night.

The opportunities in Devon are endless and for all ages. Why not make a promise to yourself to get out and explore Devon this summer? It’s good for the mind, body and soul.

Grand Western Canal fully restored after breach The Grand Western Canal is a treasured part of Devon’s natural heritage and an important asset to the region. With several thousands of visitors every year, it plays an important economic role as well. In November 2012, during torrential downpours and flooding, water spilled over the top of the embankment near Swing Bridge and the equivalent of more than 100,000 bathtubs, or 6.5 Olympic swimming pools, flowed through the 23-metre wide breach onto neighbouring farmland. Emergency services spent days pumping water away from the area to make it safe. A new website has been launched to help give you ideas for things to do to be more naturally active. This includes accessible trails for wheelchairs and buggies.

Devon County Council and partners then embarked on a major restoration plan to reinstate the failed section of the canal and introduce the necessary measures so this will never happen again. The embankment has now been rebuilt, but is slightly higher in order to provide protection against future overtopping at this location. The Canal recently enjoyed hosting the IWA National Trailboat Festival over the May bank holiday weekend, with people travelling from all over the country to enjoy the spectacle. The Grand Western Canal also celebrates its bicentenary this year, 200 years to the day since the first cargo-laden boat travelled the length of the canal. The event will be taking place on 25 August (Bank Holiday Monday) in the Canal Basin in Tiverton. It will also celebrate 40 years of the muchloved horse-drawn barge operating on the Canal.

For more information about visiting the Grand Western Canal go to

Read Easy There are about 2.5 million adults in the UK who cannot read or who have very poor literacy skills. Read Easy gives one-to-one coaching sessions which are always in neutral venues. The Read Easy Coaches are never judgemental – they just want to help someone learn to read. The get-together is based on two ½ sessions a week on a regular timetabled basis using the phonics-based book ‘Yes We Can Read’.

Read Easy is just starting in the Torridge area, and we have several people who have already offered themselves as coaches. The challenge is to locate the people who cannot read. They will have developed strategies to hide this from family, friends, and co-workers as embarrassment is very high. The hardest thing for them is to come forward and say, “I need to learn to read.” If we can help, please contact Nigel Wright, Coordinator for Read Easy Bideford and Great Torrington on 0844 4722983 or email:

Devon Home Choice Information for applicants about the switch to Home Connections Some changes have been made to Devon Home Choice so that it continues to work as fairly and effectively as possible. The computer system has been taken over by Home Connections and all information held about people was securely transferred. Changes have been made to the Devon Home Choice website as well ( to make it easier to use. As part of this work we are reviewing what information people need to provide to log in to



their account online. We are working to ensure that this is as easy as possible but is secure enough to protect people’s personal details. Anyone registered with Devon Home Choice will be kept informed of any changes. In addition, since April last year housing association tenants have been able to look for another tenant to swap homes with by advertising their properties on Devon Home Choice. But a review of this trial has found that only a very small number of swaps have actually taken place so housing association tenants in Torridge should use the alternative online Homeswapper service to advertise homes for swap instead

The front line of fostering The Family Care Workers Scheme provides care for young people between the ages of 8 and 15 with challenging and complex behavior. Their needs can’t be met by traditional fostering.

n picture

Family Care Workers provide round-the-clock care, which means at least one carer campaig needs to be at home full-time. This allows a relationship to develop, and reduces the likelihood of more serious behavioural difficulties or the placement breaking down.

Devon County Council’s Fostering Devon team is currently looking to recruit carers to the Family Care Workers Scheme.

Nine years ago, with three children of her own and a husband who was very ill, Mandy knew that she needed a job based from home.

Settling in gently


The process took about six months and last year Mandy and her husband were approved to be Family Care Workers.

“I saw two boys on the television during Fostering Awareness Week and thought ‘I’m a parent, I’ve raised children, how hard can it be?’ Now I know that some children haven’t been parented and bring with them problems I had never experienced.”

“When a child arrives in our home, we are relaxed with them. We let them settle in gently.  Very often, our own children break the ice.

“Some children will accept a hug, some take longer. The child isn’t angry with us. They’re disappointed. They feel bad. The best part is when the child has succeeded in something, when they open up and are able to receive love, when they say that they are happy here. 

For the past eight years, over 20 children came into Mandy’s home to be cared for. Some were just a weekend respite, one stayed for three years. “We have got very close to some children and kept in touch. Some you connect to differently. You can’t explain.”  Mandy recently moved from being a mainstream foster carer into the more challenging role of working in the Family Care Workers Scheme (FCWS).  “A boy came to us.  He was nearly five and had lots of issues and low self-esteem.  We said we’d look after him until his future was sorted out.  He stayed with us for three years.  His difficulties made us realise we could manage similar children with the support he would have had if he’d been on the scheme.” 

“Each foster child has their own social worker and we have our own supporting social worker. The children also have support workers. If or when the child moves to another family, his support worker goes with him.  “Most children have had so much loss and uncertainty, and feel they have little ability to change anything. Because of this we may meet aggression and defiance. We know that any display of bad behaviour is not personal to us.”

“We have learnt good coping strategies from social workers and training courses.”

“Money matters, and recently the payments increased. It’s a job. We have to keep records every day, attend meetings, training and support groups. “Foster carers stay committed to the young people even when they leave. They still care and support - so it’s way beyond finances.  “I like working with other foster carers and being part of the foster care community. We need more people, though.  “There’s a good chance that a child in a mainstream foster placement will be able to cope in later life but a FCWS child could struggle, so preparing them for the future is more of a responsibility - although, equally, that means more of a reward.”

If you think you have the skills and compassion needed to join the Family Care Workers Scheme please call 0345 155 1077 for an informal discussion or visit TORRIDGE CONNECT SUMMER 2014


All-weather public Over the past two winters, Devon’s main rail link has been cut off twice from the rest of the country.

The devastation of the railway line at Dawlish in February highlighted just how fragile transport links to Devon and the wider South West are. It also served as a stark reminder of just how vital they are to the local economy. Devon County Council has been at the forefront in demanding action from the Government to ensure the region’s rail and road links can cope in all weather conditions, particularly at vulnerable locations such as Dawlish, Cowley Bridge and Teignmouth.

Winter resilience The County Council’s Chief Executive, Phil Norrey, recently gave evidence at a Commons Select Committee on “transport’s winter resilience.” A meeting was also held with South West MPs who were presented with a specially commissioned report from south west authorities on the £140 million damage caused by flooding in 2012/13 alone. They also heard about the ongoing issues of resilience of the South West’s transport links. While Network Rail worked flat out to restore the Dawlish rail link in time for Easter, First Great Western and Stagecoach combined their efforts to minimise disruption to the travelling public as much as possible. Behind the scenes, they have been liaising with Devon County Council and



Torbay Council to develop closer integration of public transport across the network in future and in particular on the Exeter – Paignton corridor. Devon County Council and Torbay Council are among the partners involved in the European-funded “Citizens Rail” scheme which was launched at the end of last year to provide four extra services each way between Newton Abbot and Paignton, which would also call at Torre and Torquay, as well as a further two additional stopping services each way between Exeter St Davids and Paignton. This partnership resumed in earnest once the line re-opened with the aim of encouraging more passengers back onto the route.

Devon Metro On the wider rail network, stations at Cranbrook, as well as Newcourt and Marsh Barton in Exeter, and Edginswell in Torbay, are all in the pipeline as part of the ambitious Devon Metro project. Local rail services to Exeter have seen a 53% growth in the past five years and 97% growth in ten years, and the provision of these additional stations are predicted to lead to more than a million additional passengers each year on the local network, providing extra rail revenue and tackling congestion. Devon Metro isn’t just about new stations, it’s also about improvements to existing stations, and the forecourt at Exeter Central Station has already undergone a transformation to enhance the area for passengers.

transport for everyone Photo courtesy of the Dawlish Gazette

Vital road schemes A number of vital road schemes will also form part of the current two-year £133 million capital programme in transport infrastructure by Devon County Council to benefit the local economy. This includes investment in the Crediton Link Road and the Exeter Airport Access. Other schemes, such as the improved access to the Holsworthy Agri-Business Centre and the Tithebarn Link Road connecting to the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, will unlock development for economic growth and job creation. Work on the South Devon Link Road is also continuing apace, and while the rail line was severed at Dawlish, the opportunity was taken to carry out flood relief works. A major culvert was installed beneath the Paddington to Penzance and Paddington to Paignton railway lines adjacent to the A380 near Sainsbury’s in March, with the work completed ahead of schedule. Despite the wettest winter on record, the scheme remains on schedule for completion in December 2015. Devon is also lobbying the Government with other South West authorities to upgrade the A303 at the earliest possible opportunity. The damage to our transport network caused by the recent storms and

flooding has highlighted just how fragile the area’s transport infrastructure has become. Improvements to the A303 corridor are considered a vital priority, not only to support resilience, but also to drive much-needed economic growth to the area. With the M5 being the only other road route into the far South West, and recent problems with the Great Western rail track at Somerset and Dawlish, the pressure on the A303 corridor has never been greater. The economic case for improvements to the A303 corridor has been made to Government, and Devon, alongside other South West authorities, continues to lobby for improvements to the A303 at the earliest opportunity. Variously using Local Sustainable Transport Fund and monies arising from planning developments, the County Council has improved bus links east of Exeter via Cranbrook to Honiton and Axminster; via Marsh Barton to Exminster and Dawlish; via St. David’s Station to Okehampton, as well as local routes catering for the expansion of Exeter and Newton Abbot and other centres.

Cycling and walking Alongside public transport, significant investment is also continuing in cycling and walking infrastructure. This includes the Exe Estuary Trail, which will be completed this year, and new local routes including Ogwell to Newton Abbot and Sidbury to Sidford.

There can be no doubt that, although the temporary closure of the line at Dawlish was a major setback, Devon remained open for business throughout. However, the County Council will continue to appeal for urgent support from central government to ensure the continuing economic recovery is not hampered long term.

Danger and opportunity at Hartland: AONB cultural trails The AONB’s Cultural Trail for the Hartland Peninsula, which covers the stretch of coastline from Hartland Quay to Hartland Point, is included on the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Discovering Britain’ website, under the aptly named title ‘Danger and Opportunity at Hartland.’ This will help to stimulate national interest in some of our most treasured local walks.

Although a coastal haven for many, Hartland is also infamous for its fierce currents and strong winds, evidenced by the many shipwreck sites along this spectacular stretch of coast. The sixmile circular walk takes you through the local seafaring history, steeped in shipwrecks, smuggling, piracy and trading. There are breath-taking views out over the Bristol Channel and an array of wildlife to spot. Further inland, the walk explores the more sheltered countryside and the impressive Hartland Abbey, with views to the highest tower in Devon at the Church of St Nectans at Stoke.

The next projects will include further walks in Torridgeside and a circular walk around Combe Martin, which for many years was home to a littleknown but flourishing silver mining industry. These walks – and others, including a circular walk in Westward Ho! and Abbotsham – can be found on the AONB’s Explore the Coast website and some are now also available on the Discovering Britain website

Hartland Jen Rogers Damehole Point and Blackpool Mill, taken from the South West Coast Path, which is on a part of the Hartland Cultural Trail.



‘Bees’ are inspiration for CCG’s patient experience project

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group

The simplicity of ‘bees in a beehive’ is behind a pioneering approach to gather patient feedback on NHS services in Devon.

of hospitals, outpatient clinics and surgeries. It is also available to GPs and other healthcare professionals - giving a much fuller picture of service provision.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group joined the University of Exeter and a local software company to develop the webbased service. The Hive (Hearing Individual Voices and Experiences) went live as a public pilot in May.

The Hive is based on the notion that information on services is ‘honey’ and that ‘busy bees’ within the healthcare system use this to improve commissioning decisions.

The software has been developed to help patients, their relatives and carers give feedback about their experience

The project has been developed entirely within Devon and has been piloted and evaluated by CCG staff and clinicians.

For more information on the Hive visit

Talk to us! Live Chat is a great tool for accessing information via the Internet about local health services, sharing experiences and feedback, to getting in touch. If you click on the Live Chat button at the top of NEW Devon CCG’s homepage you can have an online conversation with a member of the Patient Advice and Complaints Team (PACT), about any questions, comments or concerns you may have. Live Chat is available between 9am and 5pm on most working days. Out of hours, the Live Chat button will be grey and you can leave a message asking the PACT team to contact you.

It’s not a 999 emergency. But you need medical help fast. There’s now

Live Chat is safe to use, completely anonymous and easy. If requested, a record of your conversation with our PACT team will be emailed to you. No data will be shared with a third party. The Live Chat system allows you to: l make enquiries l access a friendly and convenient voice online l access a confidential service l share your experiences l feed back to us

You can still contact our PACT team. Call 0300 123 1672 or 01392 267665 or email at Find out more by visiting or our Facebook page. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #CCGLiveChat and the handle @newdevonccg

number to call. You’ll be asked some questions so that we can assess your symptoms, then directed straightaway to the local service that can help you best. For more information visit

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Torridge recycling: quick guide Material







Plants (household)


Garden furniture


Batteries (household)

Garden waste (green)

Plastic bottles

Batteries (car)

Gas bottles (household)

Plastic food trays


Glass (bottles/jars)

Plastics (rigid)

Buckets / Bins

Glass (panes)



Greeting cards

Ready-meal containers


Hazardous waste



Ink cartridges

Shoes (pairs)

Cartons (Tetrapak)

Junk mail

Sheets / Pillowcases

Cassette tapes

Kitchen foil

Smoke alarms


Kitchen waste


Chemicals (household)




Light bulbs (energy saving)


Cooking oil

Margarine tubs







Toner cartridges


Metal (scrap)


Duvet covers

Mobile phones


Electrical (small)

Motor oil

VHS tapes

Electrical (large)


Video players

Egg boxes

Noxious weeds





Fluorescent tubes


Yellow Pages



Yoghurt pots


Please note: not all materials accepted at Household Waste Recycling Centres are recycled and in some instances restrictions and costs may apply. For further information telephone 0845 155 10 10.



Green Box Green Bag Brown Bag Green Wheelie Composter Bring Bank Site Household Waste Recycling Centre (DCC)

Torridge District Council domestic refuse and recycling

Bank Holiday collections to March 2015

If your normal collection takes place on

Your black bag (domestic Your green wheelie bin rubbish) will be collected will be collected

Your recycling (box and bag) will be collected

W/c 25 August

one day late

one day late

one day late

Thursday 25 December

Friday 2 January 2015

Monday 22 December

Friday 2 January 2015

Friday 26 December

Saturday 3 January 2015

Tuesday 23 December

Saturday 3 January 2015

Monday 29 December

normal day

normal day

normal day

Tuesday 30 December

normal day

normal day

normal day

Wed 31 December 2014

normal day

normal day

normal day

Thursday 1 January 2015

Friday 2 January 2015

Friday 2 January 2015

Friday 2 January 2015

Friday 2 January 2015

Saturday 3 January 2015

Saturday 3 January 2015

Saturday 3 January 2015

Contacts: Torridge District Council 01237 428890 / 428734 @torridgedc South Molton Recycle 01769 573081 Devon County Council 0845 155 10 10 @devoncc

Other materials possible recycling: Art, bric-a-brac, craft items Local charity shops Spectacles Contact Vision Aid: 01293 535016 Clinical waste Under contract – Phone TDC Stamps TDC offices or charity shops Pharmaceuticals Return to local chemists Water cartridges Local supermarkets or BRITAcare (0844 742 4800) Plastic carrier bags Local supermarkets Don’t forget re-use shops

Bulky items: TDC also offers a bulky-item collection service for some larger waste items. Please visit the website or phone 01237 428890 for more information.



Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area benefits more than just wildlife

Wildlife ndis Corner eed. ra B m o fr s Volunteer ng invasive pond w ri Group clea

The Devon Wildlife Trust is the lead partner for this project, which has delivered impressive results since it began two years ago. It shows how large and ambitious landscape -scale approaches really work and it delivers added value and multiple benefits in areas such as flood management and water quality.

Highlights include: • Agricultural grants schemes secured through the project which have brought in £2.9 million to help farmers and woodland owners manage land in ways that are better for the environment • Land management which has been positively influenced beside 76km of watercourses, so that diffuse pollution is reduced and flood prevention enhanced • Partners have generated over £250,000 for additional projects



in the NIA which support environmental improvements and community work and strengthen the link between people and the environment • New school curriculum materials which have been developed to help children understand how nature works • 99 community events across the NIA which have engaged thousands of people. A fuller summary of progress with the NIA project can be found at www. nature-improvement-area.html You can find out about other water catchment scale land management projects involving the Biosphere Service at uk/what-we-do.html or you can contact the team on 01271 388647.

Simon Berry Devon Wildlife Trust advisor demonstrating the project’s new soil aerator machinery on a farm near Halwill Junction

The Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is one of only twelve such projects across England. It was set up in the River Torridge catchment area by the North Devon Biosphere to improve the quality and the size of the habitat, as well as to find better ways of reaping the economic and social benefits from a healthy, wildliferich environment.

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Torridge’s A to Z Abandoned Vehicles

01237 428890/428734

Housing Advice

01237 428849

Animal Welfare & Stray Dogs

01237 428810

Housing Benefit

01237 428700

Benefit Fraud

01237 429292

Job Vacancies

01237 428793


01237 428700

Leisure Centres:


01237 428734

Holsworthy Leisure Centre

01409 254013

Building Control Services

01237 428724

Torridge Pool

01237 471794

Torrington Pool

01805 623085

Bulky Waste Collections

01237 428734/428890


01237 428700

Torrington Sports Hall

01805 624767

Burton Art Gallery

01237 471455


01237 428991

Noise Nuisance

01237 428810

Northam Burrows Country Park

01237 479708

Caddsdown Business Support Centre 01237 424244

Planning Applications

01237 428711

Car Parks and Permits

01237 428981

Planning Policy

01237 428748


01237 428729

Private Sector Housing Conditions

01237 428848

Community Development

01237 428756


01237 428810

Compost Bins

01237 428734

Refuse Collection

01237 428734

Consumer direct (trading standards)

0845 4040506

Ring and Ride

Business Rates

01237 428985/428986

Bus Passes

Council Meetings

01392 383688

01237 428703/4

01237 423232 or 01409 259001

Safer North Devon

01271 388760

Council Tax

01237 428900

Social services / Care Direct / Blue badge 0845 155 1007

Court – Barnstaple Magistrates

01271 340410

Sports and Recreation

01237 428737

Development Control

01237 428711

Street Cleaning

01237 428734

Disabled Access – Council Offices

01237 428752

Suggestions and Compliments

01237 428789


01237 428854

Tourist Information Centres:

Economic Development

01237 428708


01237 471455


01237 428702


01409 254185


01805 626140

Emergency Planning

01237 428806/01

Environment Agency

0870 850 6506


01237 428702

Environmental Health

01237 428810

Waste Collection

01237 428734


0845 988 1188

Fly Tipping

01237 428734

Food Safety and Hygiene

01237 428809

Fraud Hotline (24hr. confidential service) 01237 429292 Freedom of Information – relevant service department Harbour

01237 475834

Health and Safety at Work

01237 428809

Historic Sites and Buildings

01237 428742

Home Energy Efficiency

01237 428848

Household Waste Collection

01237 428734

General enquiries Devon and Cornwall Police 101 (Enquiries and non-emergencies) Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service 01392 872200 Devon County Council

0845 155 1015

NHS Devon

01392 205205

Torridge District Council Email:

01237 428700

Torridge Connect Summer 2014  
Torridge Connect Summer 2014