The latest information and guidance to support you and our communities

2 October 2020

Taking responsibility is essential to protect our communities

As the number of COVID-19 tests in Devon continues to rise, research suggests that fewer than one-fifth of people who develop symptoms are following the rules and self-isolating.

The latest figures show that 10,900 tests  were carried out in the community during the week ending 25 September – a significant rise on the 7,600 test carried out the previous week.

But just 18 per cent of people involved in a King’s College London study, who developed symptoms between March and August, said they had actually self-isolated, and only 11 per cent of those in contact with someone testing positive for coronavirus said they had stayed at home for the required two weeks.

A blog by Public Health England has highlighted how important self-isolating is to stop coronavirus from spreading in our community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.

Although cases have been rising among the student population in Exeter the number of confirmed cases in Teignbridge remains comparatively low.

Don’t forget, you should self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms and are waiting for a test
  • if your test is positive
  • if you’re notified by NHS Test and Trace or the new NHS COVID-19 app that you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Maintaining service delivery throughout the pandemic

Work to keep Teignbridge Council’s services operating effectively over the past six months of the pandemic was highlighted by Council leader Alan Connett at this week’s full council meeting.

He highlighted the £2 million savings we’ve made to offset the loss of income and the additional costs of dealing with Covid and set out what have done and will be doing to support the three priorities he highlighted when he became leader – climate change, jobs and homes. You can listen to what he said on our YouTube channel, starting at approximately 23 minutes.

Some of the examples Cllr Connett highlighted were:

  • 62,000 homes have their bins and recycling collected each week
  • We provided 250 food parcels for shielded and vulnerable individuals
  • Rough sleepers were supported and off the streets
  • 2,919 grant applications approved for the Small Businesses and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure funds totalling £33.8m
  • 661 Discretionary Business Grant applications approved totalling £1.9m
    Waste levels were similar to those only usually experienced at Christmas but for months rather than a few weeks.
  • The garden waste collection service kept running as many turned to tidying their gardens during lockdown
  • We kept our public toilets open throughout the lockdown
  • We were able to reinstate all three leisure centres within a week of the permitted opening, operating on reduced opening hours and with Covid-secure measures.
  • During lockdown we developed a bespoke leisure ‘app’ that has given customers a convenient way to manage their bookings, resulting in around.12,000 bookings from reopening until the end of August.
  • Providing financial support to local foodbanks (£20k); funding for the CVS to provide a community hot food service (£2k), Westbank and the CAB (£20k shared); and providing assistance to the Meadow Centre, Buckland Community Centre and Chudleigh Youth Club by allowing a six month rental break (equivalent to 13K).

Last chance to sign up to innovative solar panel group buying scheme

If you are a homeowner or landlord and haven’t yet registered your interest in our group solar panel buying scheme, Solar Together then time is running out.

Midnight on Monday 5 October is the deadline to register. It’s simple, free and there is no obligation to buy.

Research by the University of Exeter shows that 19 per cent of all Devon’s carbon emissions are created by our homes, with more than half of those by grid-supplied electricity. Installing solar panels will reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity needed for things like hot water, with a transfer to more eco-friendly solar energy.

A ‘reverse’ auction involving pre-vetted suppliers will then take place on 6 October and the winning bid will be the most cost-effective one for registered residents to then consider.

Registered households will then receive a recommendation, specifically tailored to the details they submitted in their registration. If they accept the recommendation, the specifics of their installation will be confirmed with a technical survey and then a date can be set for installation

Take advantage of Green Homes Grants

Vouchers are now available through the Green Homes Grant scheme to help towards the cost, or to meet the full cost of installing home energy improvements, such as insulation, and low carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

Homeowners and landlords can obtain financial help (up to £5,000) towards making certain home energy improvements in their home. The voucher will cover up to two thirds of the cost of the work. In some cases the voucher can cover the full cost (up to £10,000) if a homeowner is in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

The work must be carried out by a certified installer(s). The installer must be Trustmark registered, and also registered to work on the Green Homes Grant scheme. Companies who install low carbon technologies must also meet MCS standards. You can find a certified installer for a homeowner or landlord on the Simple Energy Advice website and also more information about all types of home energy improvements which can be funded, as well as applying for vouchers.

Black History month marks positive contribution of black communities

Yesterday saw the start of Black History Month which seeks to celebrate the positive contribution of Black Britons and the black community across the world.

The Black History Month website has a host of interesting articles, interviews and details of activities taking place across the country.

In July, councillors unanimously supported a proposal from Cllr Nina Jeffries which acknowledged ‘the current situation facing under-represented groups in Teignbridge and seeks to support the work that is taking place UK-wide to tackle racism and discrimination.”

Black History Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and promote the contribution of black members of our communities across Teignbridge.

Don’t forget the app!

If you haven’t already downloaded the NHS Covid-19 track and trace app, join the millions who have and download it your smart phone today!

Local businesses are now required to display NHS QR posters so visitors and customers can use the app to check-in safely and securely. QR codes will help businesses meet the legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises.

The app provides users with local risk information, alerts them if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues.

Take the 28 day Stoptober challenge

If you haven’t managed to stop smoking yet, why not try an alternative approach and download the free NHS Stoptober app to help you quit and start breathing easier? Stoptober is a 28-day stop smoking challenge. The app allows you to:

  • track your progress
  • see how much you’re saving
  • get daily support

If you can make it to 28 days smoke-free, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.

Council supports climate and ecological emergency action

Councillors this week unanimously supported the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and agreed to write to our two MPs to urge them to back it.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill CEE, presented to parliament last month, has gained support from MPs from seven political parties, that has been written by scientists, lawyers and activists calling for effective action in reassessing the urgency of the twin climate and ecological emergencies

The Council said it would also declare an ‘Ecological Emergency’ alongside the Climate Emergency it has already declared, and commit to

  • Working with partners locally and regionally to drive coordinated leadership and collaborative action to aid the recovery of nature and natural environments and identify areas for habitat restoration
  • Ensuring irreplaceable habitats are protected
  • Lead by example and promote the good work the Council is currently and will in future be doing
  • Finalising an ambitious Tree Strategy
  • Reviewing the Teignbridge District Council Green Infrastructure Strategy.

The debate can be watched on our YouTube channel, approximately 1 hr and 48mins into the meeting and the full motion is on our website.