29th March 2020
by StLukesRA
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Kevin Fosters Residents’ Update Friday 27th March 2020

Many thanks to Kevin Foster for permitting us to use part of his weekly Residents’Update.

This is an abridged version and the full version can be found on his website.

Torbay Community Helpline,

Earlier today I caught up with Simon and David from the Torbay Community Development Trust.

Staff at Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care are working with voluntary groups across the Bay and have set up a phone line for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help.

They have so far dealt with 1,000 calls and had over 400 offers of help from local residents!!!
Callers to the helpline who are offering support will be asked in what way they can help and will then be asked to provide a reference so that some necessary checks can be carried out. It is then hoped to be able to help put helpers in touch with those needing help for the duration.

The phone line, which will be staffed 24/7, covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4:30pm).

Need Something Delivered?,

One of the most common issues raised by residents in my inbox this week was how impossible it is becoming to get a slot for a shopping delivery from any of the leading supermarkets.

This is an acute problem for those who must shield themselves from the virus for next 11 weeks due to how especially vulnerable they are, meaning they urgently need to have a dependable supply.

Whilst the supermarket chains are looking to alter their supply chains and increase their staff, there are many local businesses stepping up to supply a range of goods from takeaway meals to a week’s supply of meat.

You can find details of many on the Torbay Help Hub website.

Parking Enforcement Changes,

Given the current circumstances Torbay Council is making several changes to its Parking enforcement operations.

As from yesterday (Thursday 26th March) the enforcement of limited waiting bays will cease until further notice.  This is to ensure as many residents as possible are able to park during these challenging times where everyone is required to stay at home.

The only enforcement activity during this period will focus on incidents of obstructive or dangerous parking which could have a more significant impact on safety and access for emergency and essential services.

Below is a list of restrictions which the Council advises me will still need to be enforced:

•             Double yellow lines with the priority around junctions.  Patrols will concentrate enforcement activity to ensure key routes are clear of traffic.

•             Loading Restrictions – a number of these areas are in place for road safety or to ensure deliveries are still maintained.

•             Dropped Kerbs and zig zags.  These are to ensure access across the roads is maintained for wheelchairs and pushchairs and pedestrian crossing and school entrances are kept clear.

•             Bus stops – These need to be kept free for buses but can be used as passing places in residential areas for emergency vehicles.

Civil Enforcement officers will also be working their patrols from vehicles rather than walking in order to assist with social distancing.

If a key worker does need to appeal a recent Penalty Charge Notice they can do so via the Torbay Council website. I am advised any Penalty Charge Notices received by health and social care workers while carrying out their duties in recent days will also be waived.

Roadworks Suspended,

Torbay Council has taken the decision to suspend its major planned highway works.

This means its planned Surface Dressing and Micro Asphalt programmes have been delayed for an undetermined period but will be carried out as soon as practicably possible.

Works on the already commenced site on the A379 Babbacombe Road will continue, as the site team is very small and they are able to operate adhering to the distancing guidance and for as long as supplies to site are maintained, however I am advised this will continue to be reviewed.

The Beach Hut – April Edition,

The much loved “Beach Hut” magazine will not be published this month or next.

I am advised this is because of the additional impact on regular advertisers, many of whom are small businesses who are already struggling, and to prevent door to door distribution by an elderly work force.

The April addition which had been prepared ready for printing can be viewed online.

Check Out The Local E-Library

Whilst the Coronavirus might have closed our local libraries, they cannot stop you checking out its great collection of e-books.

Many titles can be downloaded to enjoy, all you need to do is join the library. Just click here for more details.

and finally……Compare The Meerkat.

Ending on a lighter note many residents will have found it rather annoying how when trying to compare meerkats they kept on being redirected to a site selling car insurance.

Yet now you can sit back and compare meerkats all day long thanks to the team at Paignton Zoo. Whilst they may be closed for visitors their live webcams are still working, including Meerkat Cam!!!

You can find it by clicking here.

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16th March 2020
by StLukesRA
0 comments

Important information regarding the Corona-virus

Community Corona-virus helpline established for Torbay

Neighbours are being encouraged to look out for each other as the corona-virus crisis deepens across the Bay.

With more cases being reported daily, community leaders are concerned that self- isolators need support with day-to-day tasks such as shopping, prescription collections and dog walking.

Staff at Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care (BDC) are working with voluntary groups across the Bay and have set up an emergency phone line for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help.

TCDT and Ageing Well are also on call to provide advice and guidance on the best ways to help and support people that are affected in partnership with the statutory services to help as demand increases.

Callers to the helpline who are offering support will be asked in what way they can help and will then be asked to provide a reference so that some necessary checks can be carried out. It is then hoped to be able to help put helpers in touch with those needing help for the duration.

Tracey Cabache, Community Development Manager, said: “These are extraordinary times and communities are going to have to look after their own wherever possible.

We can at least provide a central point where neighbours can coordinate their efforts and between us, we can help the most vulnerable.” 


Ageing Well is already aware through their community builders that some people are self-isolating for fear of contracting the virus, particularly those that already have an underlying condition that would be exacerbated.

Some of them may not even have had the chance to tell their friends and neighbours what they were planning and may be in need of deliveries of top-up supplies.

Not everyone either has the will or the ability to stockpile – they might not be able to afford a big shop and even if they could, would never be able to carry the heavy bags home and may now have very limited supplies.

In Torbay nearly half the population is over the age of 50 with one in four over the age of 65, making many local people across the Bay more vulnerable than the average across the UK.

Nationally a campaign with the hashtag #viralkindness is gaining ground with postcards that neighbours can fill out offering help.

It then goes on to list the person’s name, phone number and a list of offers of help including picking up shopping, a friendly phone call, posting mail, urgent supplies.

But it has already come in for criticism for being open to fraudsters posing as good neighbours and people using it will have to remain vigilant and watch for their own safety. The TCDT/AWT scheme hopes to add a layer of checking to the system, but it is not foolproof, and Tracey stresses there has to be an element of trust.

“Hospital staff and doctors are doing all they can. Emergency services will require support and understanding, and so we all need to do our bit” she said

“It is an unfortunate analogy, but we really must all invoke the wartime spirit. Large numbers of people are self-isolating either because they have been ill, or are trying to avoid becoming ill. 

Not everyone will have been able to stockpile enough food for the duration, and we will all have to rely on each other. Thankfully our communities are strong, and we can provide a focus for the great work that goes on within them.” 


The phone line, which will be staffed 24/7, covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4:30pm).

If you’d like to share the poster for the helpline, it is available to download from the following link: https://www.torbaycdt.org.uk/cms/?action=open&disposition=attachment&id=e3f688d9-c867-4fbb-90c7-83fa1a2f10c3/file/TCDT%20COVID19%20Helpline%20poster.pdf
 

15th March 2020
by StLukesRA
0 comments

Kevin Fosters Residents’ Update: Friday 13th March 2020

Many thanks to Kevin Foster for permitting us to use part of his weekly Residents’ Update. This is an abridged version and the full version can be found on his website.

£1.8m For Disabled Facilities Grants,

The Government has confirmed Torbay Council will receive £1,876,076 of funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) in 2020-21.

The DFG is capital funding for the provision of home adaptations to help older and disabled people to live as independently and safely as possible in their homes.

Homeless Funding Plans Confirmed,  

Torbay Council has confirmed its plans for the latest funding it has received from the Government for reducing rough sleeping in our bay.

Over the past year a team of six workers have worked with 140 people. This funding continuing means they can continue to work with the 90 people who are on their active case load. The team will also be able to support 23 people who are in stable accommodation in case they need any help in keeping their tenancy, preventing them ending up back on the streets.

The funding, which will be available from April 2020, will continue to pay for workers in areas like resettlement, tenancy support, drug and alcohol, Landlord liaison and Prison support roles. The funding will also support much needed mental health interventions.

You can read more on the Torbay Council website 

Half a Mile of Pennies,

Once again Co-ordin8 students and staff are hoping to put together a half a mile of pennies.

Following the appeal collected coppers will be gathered up, tables will be set out and lines of pennies painstakingly placed in line. All hands will be on deck to help see if they can break last year’s record of over 5,000 individual coins!

You can drop off any spare coppers you may like to donate at Paignton Parish Church Hall (Church Path, Tower Road) on Tuesday to Friday at 10am til 3pm, with the main event taking place in the Hall on Friday 27th March at 1pm.

and finally….VIP Birds.

Ending on a different note earlier this week Torbay Council’s Planning Committee approved detailed plans for 187 new homes in Paignton, which includes a plan which is anything but cheap.

The site is at Yannon’s Farm and already had outline permission, yet as part of a scheme, the developer (not the taxpayer) is paying £437,500 to provide an alternative breeding habitat for five pairs of cirl buntings, a rare finch-like bird once common in the south of England but now only found in south Devon. At an average of £43,750 per bird these really are some VIPs.

You can read more on Devon Live website.

Forthcoming Local Events

LENT Lunch at St Marychurch (Church Hall), Thursdays throughout Lent at 12.30pm 
£5 for Home made Soup with Crusty Bread /Fruit/Coffee or tea. Money raised goes to a different charity each week.

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd March – Torbay Art Show – Torquay Boy’s Grammar School  10am – 5pm. Entry is free. The second Torbay Art Show with over 75 professional artists from across the UK exhibiting their works of art for visitors to enjoy and buy. A large selection of original paintings, observations, drawings and limited edition prints from Robert Lenkiewicz’s will be on display for all to enjoy. For more info click here. Every Monday Noon until 2pm (Soup from Noon) – Snack and Natter is in the Coverdale Centre, Church Path, Paignton. We are also looking for volunteers to come along and help out, either at Snack & Natter or Christ Church. Please call Anita 07895925785 for more information.

Every Tuesday from 0930 till 1230. The Royal British Legion Office, 39 Church Street, Paignton is open. It is where ex members of the armed forces can receive help and advice. Appointments can be made by phoning 01803 555838, or email paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

Every Tuesday & Wednesday (10:45 – 12 noon) – Lectures at Torquay Museum
529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 1HG – Lectures are free to TMSM,& cost £5 to Non-Members on the door! For more details click here.

Torbay Interfaith Forum  – The Forum was re-named as the Torbay Faith and Belief Forum from 1st January 2020. Please click here for the new Programme that has just come out for 2020.

12th March 2020
by StLukesRA
0 comments

Residents’ Update: Friday 6th March 2020

Dear All,

After a difficult week for our bay and region it is time for my latest update.

Coronavirus,

Earlier this week the first cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) were identified in our bay.

This has resulted in the closure of Chelston Hall Surgery until 16th March. Patients are being directed to contact Croft Hall Surgery in Torquay on 01803 298441 for anything else which cannot wait during this period.

The latest advice from Public Health England is to:

·       Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.

·       Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

·       Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

·       Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

The Government published an action plan on the virus earlier this week on behalf of the UK Government and the three devolved administrations.

Whilst there have been some dramatic headlines in the media, the facts provided by the NHS and scientific advisors are much better guides to how people should react.

I have been grateful to our local CCG, the Leader of Torbay Council and Torbay’s Director of Public Health for the regular briefings I have received as the situation developed. The reaction locally and nationally is being guided by clear medical and scientific advice.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister confirmed Statutory Sick Pay would be available from day one, rather than day four for those required to self-isolate. Whilst the DWP has also confirmed those affected by the virus who are required to self-isolate will not see their benefits affected if it makes them unable to attend a scheduled interview. They do though ask contact is made by phone if this applies.

Finally on the frontpage of yesterday’s The Times newspaper was a suggestion Parliament may break for months because of the Coronavirus. This, like many claims about the virus online, is a myth and no such move is being considered, although any staff or members affected would be asked to self-isolate if needed, like everyone else.

Flybe,

There was sad news for our region yesterday as Flybe ceased operating.

The Exeter based airline had been struggling for some time and earlier this year had come close to collapse. The fall of demand for travel in recent weeks meant its already weakened position be came untenable.

Thankfully very few customers of Flybe were abroad and other airlines are operating “rescue fares” for those affected. If you are a customer there is lots of advice on the CAA website.

Following talks with Britain’s train operators, all Flybe staff and customers will be offered a free, alternative way home this week. To redeem the journey, staff need to present their employee ID and passengers, their flight confirmation details in place of a train ticket.

Several routes have already been picked up by other operators, including some from Exeter. Aurigny, the Airline owned by the Guernsey Government, has already confirmed it will provide flights from Exeter to the Island starting from next week.

The loss of connectivity to our region is a concern I will be picking up along with colleagues, yet the biggest impact is for staff who suddenly find themselves without a job. This was illustrated by the sight of a stewardess at Exeter who had been rostered for yesterday’s early morning London City flight finding redundancy, not a plane, awaiting her arrival.

Other employers with relevant job vacancies are reaching out to staff affected, including our region’s main rail operator GWR who has a range of customer facing jobs available.

FirstGroup, the parent company, have now set up a special website for Flybe staff to register their interest in opportunities across their rail operations.

Immigration Bill Launched,

The Immigration Bill was introduced by me to the House of Commons yesterday.

It will end the European Union’s rules on free movement applying in the UK and confirm the status of Irish Citizens in the UK, who can live in the UK as if they were British Citizens under agreements dating back to the 1920s.

The bill represents an important milestone in paving the way for the new UK points-based immigration system and it create a single set of immigration rules for our country. It will also be a significant piece of work for me over the coming months as the Minister responsible for taking it through parliament.

You can read more about it on the Home Office website.

EUSS Appeals Regulations,

As mentioned above on Tuesday morning I had an early start as a Committee of MPs met to discuss regulations to create an Appeals System for those unhappy with the result of an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The scheme is free to apply for and in most cases those who do not receive the status they hope for can make a second application free of charge if more evidence is needed.

The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021, although those eligible are being urged to apply immediately. The process is simple with many finding it takes about 10 minutes to make a successful application.

Finally today I announced a further £8m of funding for work to support those who may struggle to make an application without assistance. This includes those who may be in care or unwell.

Edginswell Station,

There was further good news this week for plans to finally get the project for a new station at Edginswell on track again.

Leading Councillors confirmed a business plan would be revived ahead of a new round of new stations funding. You can read more on Devon Live.

I am pleased to receive this news and lets hope this project can finally build up a head of steam!

Four New Hotels On Track,

The amount of investment being injected into Torbay by a Singapore-based property developer tots up to £30 million more than first thought.

The Fragrance Group has now started work on all four of its planned new hotels. The (Torquay) Palace is expected to be completed by 2023, Park Hotel in August 2021, the Lighthouse in September 2021 and Corbyn Head will take between 18-22 months to build when it gets fully underway.

You can read more on Devon Live.

164 New Tasers For Our Police,

Devon and Cornwall Police was among the first forces to offer Tasers to all frontline officers who wanted them and this week received additional funding from the Government for another 164.

The new funding, an additional £135,300, will enable the force to equip the additional officers provided by the planned increases in officer numbers with Tasers. The allocation follows a Home Office bidding process which gave PCCs an opportunity to request money from a ring-fenced fund.

Our Police have a proud tradition of policing by consent, without the routine issuing of firearms. Yet everyday officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep our community safe and on occasions need access to equipment like taser to protect them and others.

This investment is therefore very welcome and you can read more on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.

Drugs Gang Get 93 Years Inside,

Members of a Torbay drugs gang responsible for an ambush attack, in which a man was stabbed in the head, have been jailed for a total of 93 years.

The heaviest sentence handed down at Exeter Crown Court yesterday was the 33 year sentence given to the gang’s ring leader. The gang is believed to have dominated the Class A Drugs market in Torquay, being prepared to use extreme violence to protect their £1m a year trade. Interestingly two of the gang hit the headlines some years ago when as teenagers they became some of the first in the country to receive an ASBO

Thanks to excellent work from Devon & Cornwall Police these dangerous criminals are now off our streets and behind bars. You can read more on Devon Live website and on the Police website.

Torbay Council Buys Taunton Cinema,

Whilst the new Cinema being built by Merlin Cinemas in Union St is making progress, Torbay Council has bought one of its own, in Somerset.

The £11million deal for the Odeon at the Riverside retail and leisure park near the M5 at Taunton was reported in the press this week and will provoke some debate. Although Torbay Council is far from alone in making such purchases as Councils across the country have been taking advantage of discounted borrowing rates to buy properties and generate income from the profits.

Torbay Council has said it carefully assesses the risks involved and has put measures in place to safeguard its overall investment. You can read more on Devon Live by clicking here.

It appears it is now more Somerset, than Saturday night at the movies.

Torquay Girls’ Is School Of The Year,

Torquay Girls’ Grammar School has won “School of the Year” in the Your UK Parliament Awards 2020.

The school has been extremely active in campaigning on environmental issues over the last year, including meeting then Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom. They will be invited to an awards ceremony in the House of Commons later this month to receive their prize.

This is great news and many congratulations to all at TGGS on this achievement.

Rock House Lane,

A 10-tonne landslip has blocked Rock House Lane in Maidencombe.

I am advised the soil is too wet to be removed now, but as it came from private land it is for the owner to arrange for it to be removed.

If not moved by the beginning of next week Torbay Council will arrange for it to be cleared, at the owner’s expense.

and finally…… A Horse Walks Into A Bar.

Ending on a lighter note many of us will have heard the old joke about a horse walking into a bar, yet this week instead of the classic punchline the barman said: “Your usual Patrick?”.

In a twist on the old joke Patrick the Pony has become a regular at The Drum Inn, Cockington, popping in daily for a pint. There is certainly no long face as he mixes with other customers and a birthday party, with carrot cake, is being planned for him.

You can read more on Devon Live.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best Wishes,

Kevin

Torbay Weekly Launched

Earlier today I was delighted to join a large group of local residents, business leaders and Councillors at the Belgrave Sands Hotel for the launch of a new print publication for our bay.

The Torbay Weekly aims to be a “naturally inspiring” publication and feature the range of issues going on in Torbay. The initial plans are for it to be delivered free to 15,000 homes in Torbay starting on 2nd April, with 100 pick up points across the rest of Torbay. It will be free of charge, similar to the London Evening Standard and the Manchester Evening News. 

The new paper is being supported by the Archant Group who already own titles in North Devon and Exmouth. Whilst new to Torbay there are some very familiar faces behind the new paper, including Jim Parker, former Editor of the Herald Express.

I was pleased to be asked to say a few words about the launch and to reflect on what it means for our bay. Whilst their website is yet to launch over 1,000 people have already liked their Facebook Page.

Events
Saturday 7th March 12 – 3pm raising money for Path Torbay –  Jumble and Craft Sale on in Paignton Methodist Cohurch Hall. for more details click here.

Saturday 7th March  – The Male Trail, Rowcroft’s men-only event is back for 2020!
Once again, we’re calling upon the men of South Devon to do their bit to support their local hospice involving pints, pasties and watching the 6 Nations with your mates – all in the name of charity!

This 8-mile charity walk kicks off at 11.00 on Saturday 7th March with a Hakka warm up, ready for an 11.30 start from Torquay Rugby Club. The Male Trail takes in some stunning views of Torbay from the South West Coast Path as well as over 20 conveniently located watering holes (what a coincidence!).

Thursday 12th  March –   Hot Rocks And High Places: Hair-Raising Stories Of Filming On Location With The BBC And Blue Peter – for full details click on this link.
https://www.palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk/shows/an-audience-at-the-palace-hot-rocks-and-high-places/

Thursday 12th March till Saturday 14th March – Agatha Crusty & The Village Hall Murders

The latest offering from SADS (Shiphay Amateur Drama) is guaranteed to be a great night out, with a few laughs thrown in. Evening shows start at 7:30pm (Doors open 7pm) and a Saturday Matinee at 2:30pm.

Tickets are £7.50 Adults, £5 Under 16s. You can buy yours at Shiphay Collaton Post Office or by clicking here.

Thursday 12th March @ 2.15pm at Peter Larkin Hall, St Matthias Church, Babbacombe Road, Torquay TQ1 1HW. Tim Mirfin presents “The Opera Singer’s Phenomenon” . Tickets are £8 for further details call 01803 311648 or click here 

Saturday 14th March Afternoon Tea – 2pm until 4pm Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club. 
Join Tessier Gardens Friends Group for an afternoon talk on the history of Torquay’s hidden gem ‘Tessier Gardens’ and a chance to find out about the work of Tessier Gardens Friends Group. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, cake and maybe indulge in a glass of prosecco. No charge for the talk, donations for tea and cake, charges at bar for prosecco

Every Monday Noon until 2pm (Soup from Noon) – Snack and Natter is in the Coverdale Centre, Church Path, Paignton. We are also looking for volunteers to come along and help out, either at Snack & Natter or Christ Church. Please call Anita 07895925785 for more information – for more info click here .

Every Tuesday from 0930 till 1230. The Royal British Legion Office, 39 Church Street, Paignton is open. It is where ex members of the armed forces can receive help and advice. Appointments can be made by phoning 01803 555838, or email paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

Every Tuesday & Wednesday (10:45 – 12 noon) – Lectures at Torquay Museum
529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 1HG – Lectures are free to TMSM,& cost £5 to Non-Members on the door! For more details click here.

Torbay Interfaith Forum  – The Forum was re-named as the Torbay Faith and Belief Forum from 1st January 2020. Please click here for the new Programme that has just come out for 2020.

Are you running an event in the Bay? I am always looking to promote local events, big or small. If you have an event coming up, please email kevin@kevinjfoster.com so it can be included.

Advice Surgeries

Saturday 7th March 10:00 – 12:00 @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

Friday 13th March 15:00 – 17:00 @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Saturday 21st March 11:00 – 13:00 @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 28th March 11:00 – 13:00 @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, TQ3 2RB

Friday 3rd April 09:30 – 10:30 @ 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD

Saturday 18th April 11:00 – 13:00 @ Torquay Library, Lymmington Road, Torquay TQ1 3DT

Friday 24th April 15:00 – 17:00 @ Age UK, 12 Dendy Road, Paignton TQ4 5DB

It’s always best to book a slot to guarantee being able to see me. Full details of how to do this are on my website or you can call my office on  01803 214989, Monday – Fridays, 9am – 5pm.

You can either email me at  kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

16th February 2020
by StLukesRA
0 comments

Apology

Hi all,

This is Andy Baker

I have just taken over the role of ICT Manager for the St Luke’s Residents Group.

I have made my first mistake! Martin Thrift composed the Quiz NOT compared it. Unfortunately spelling is not my strong point. In future I will get my wife to double check my reports before I post them.

Regards Andy

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