How to get help if you need it

In early December South Hams District Council published a revised directory of essential information and contact details for a wide range of support available across the district from the Council and other groups.

This includes:

  • details on how to apply for the Household Support Fund to get help with paying essential bills;
  • where to go for help if you have mobility needs, including applying for a blue badge or Personal Independence Payments;
  • support to pay for energy costs as well as help to improve the energy efficiency of your home to reduce fuel bills;
  • a list of places to go for financial and practical support for young people and families;
  • contacts for a wide range of other support available locally, including foodbanks, help for people feeling isolated, mental health support and where to go for money and debt advice.

The directory is available online at: https://www.southhams.gov.uk/support-directory

Village Party Update

The Village Hall Committee is looking forward to seeing you at the Christmas party on Saturday 11th December at 6pm. The hall is decorated and ready to party.

To keep us all safe and well, we would be very grateful if all adults and older children take a lateral flow test before attending, and only attend following a negative result. We will be asking everyone to sign the attendance book.

The Village Hall Committee.

SHDC release video about co-mingled waste

South Hams District Council has received a number of enquiries and questions about their co-mingled waste collections, and what is done with it. To try and answer some of them, the South Hams District Council Communications Team released a video to show what happens once it is collected. The video is available on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NqhSlFnyho

[Video Released 24 November 2021 – by  Vicky Croughan]

Household Support Fund now open in South Hams

South Hams residents experiencing financial hardship can now get help with paying essential bills through the Government’s new Household Support Fund.

The Household Support Fund is designed to provide rapid short-term financial support for people who don’t have enough money to buy essentials like food or pay for heating. Anyone over 16 years old in the South Hams could be eligible, but you will need to confirm that your need is genuine.

These grants aim to help people to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utility bills. Payments will be made directly into your bank account. Residents without a bank account should contact SHDC.

For more information and to apply for the Household Support Fund: click here.

As well as being the place to apply for Household Support Fund money, there are other ways the Council can help people in crisis situations. This includes help with making adaptations to your home to help you live independently, support for people threatened with homelessness or struggling to pay their rent, and help to reduce energy costs.

For more support and useful contacts for help: click here

To see the original press release from the South Hams and West Devon: click here.

Police and Crime Plan 2021-2025

The new Police and Crime Plan for 2021-2025 has been released by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. It covers Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Its subtitle is “Creating safe, resilient and connected communities supported by world class sustainable policing”.

You can see a copy here The Police & Crime Plan 2021-25

SHDC News Release – Garden Waste collection further suspended, until Spring 2022

A news release from the SHDC Communications and Media Team

Council Reluctantly Suspend Garden Waste Collection Until Spring

Issued: 14 October 2021

To avoid further significant disruption to South Hams District Council’s refuse and recycling service, the Executive Committee have today reluctantly agreed to continue the suspension of the garden waste collections until spring 2022.

Council officers have explored a wide range of options to find possible ways to restore the garden waste service to all residents. Unfortunately, due to driver shortages, the Council and their contractor, FCC Environment, are unable to reinstate the service until Spring 2022; otherwise, this could significantly impact the waste, recycling and clinical collections that the Council legally has to provide.

Officers have also approached other organisations to help with a one-off collection ahead of the winter but this has not been possible because of the operational challenges others are also facing as well as the national driver shortages.

The Council are extremely regretful that the suspension at short notice caused disruption for their residents who may have had outstanding green waste to be collected. A shortage of drivers in August due to the national HGV driver issues and staff sickness meant the Council, together with FCC Environment, had to make the tough decision to prioritise the general refuse and recycling and clinical collections.

South Hams is not alone with experiencing significant delays due to the HGV driver shortages, experienced both nationally and across all business sectors. Locally, there have been challenges, which were highlighted by FCC Environment to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 13 October.

FCC Environment explained that they currently have 27% of unfilled HGV/LGV vacancies, which continue to affect refuse and recycling collections. Council officers are looking at greener ways to support residents to recycle their garden waste and will report back to Executive in December.

South Hams District Council remains the only council in Devon to provide a completely free of charge. The collection of garden waste is a non-statutory service, which means it is not one that the Council has to provide.

Cllr Keith Baldry, Executive Member for Environment, said: “We haven’t had a great set of options available to choose from, and we have chosen the best of the group.

“I greatly regret that we have to suspend the garden waste service but the alternatives available would mean further disruption for our communities with impacts to their waste and recycling collections, which we’re doing our very best to improve upon.

“Officers have worked tirelessly, doing everything in their power to try and find a resolution and I’d like to thank and congratulate them for their hard work. They’ve been contacting neighbouring local authorities and private waste companies to see if they can provide us with help to collect a one-off garden waste collection. Unfortunately, all came back with a resounding no, due to their own driver shortages and backlogs.

“I regret that we did not have time to write to all residents in August when we first suspended our service. We learnt from our mistake and this time, we will be writing a letter to every resident explaining the situation and offering our apologies.

“I’d like to thank you, our residents, for your continued patience, we know it has been difficult, but please bear with us. I am proud of the relatively high recycling rates in South Hams and I want them to get better, not worse. In the meantime, please continue to home compost or take your garden waste to recycling centres.”

So, how do you get rid of your green waste?

Please do not burn your garden waste. The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires, given the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services. You can find out more here: www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyInTheHome/Bonfires

SHDC News Release – Update about Waste and Recycling

South Hams District Council has released an update about Waste and Recycling. You can find further information about the following areas:

  • link to report any missed collections;
  • refuse and recycling information;
  • update about garden collections;
  • FAQs about waste services.

from the SHDC web page at http://www.southhams.gov.uk/waste-service-updates

 

SHDC News Release – Garden Waste Suspension to Continue in South Hams

A News Release from SHDC Communications and Media Team

Garden waste suspension to continue in South Hams

17 September 2021

South Hams District Council and its contractor FCC Environment have made the reluctant decision to keep the suspension of all garden waste collections in place and say residents will be notified when they can start using their brown bins again.

At a meeting of the South Hams Executive yesterday, Councillors received an update on the waste and recycling situation in South Hams and have reluctantly agreed to keep the suspension of garden waste in place.  The Executive will review the situation when they meet again on 14 October.

A lack of drivers meant that in August the Council and FCC Environment made the tough decision to prioritise vital collections of general waste, clinical waste, recycling and refuse collections at the expense of garden waste collections.

At the request of the Council, FCC Environment has taken several steps to try and alleviate the situation. On a local level they have increased pay to retain their current drivers and at a national level they have launched a campaign to try and recruit more drivers.

However, with the national picture not improving, the decision has been made to keep focusing resources on essential waste and recycling collections and continue the suspension of garden waste collection in the South Hams.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams Executive Member for the Environment, said: “As a Council, we were hoping that the nationwide situation on drivers may have shown signs of improvement, but in reality the situation is not getting better. When we made the original decision to suspend garden waste collections, we were left little choice to do so – and we still have no choice now but to keep the suspension in place.

“We realise that it is frustrating for our residents, but we must do all we can to keep the collections of general waste, clinical waste and recycling in place as best we can. We’re sorry to everyone for the inconvenience and hope you understand that this situation is one playing out across the country, not just here in the South Hams.

“We will let you know when you can start using your brown bins again, and there is some advice below on what you can do with your garden waste until then.”

According to Government figures, the driver shortage is reported to have increased over the last five years from 45,000 drivers in 2016 to 76,000 today.  A recent Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey put the estimated shortfall at more than 100,000, with the warning that it will take 18 months to train enough drivers to address the problem, even if there are enough candidates to take the roles.

Commenting, FCC Environment Operations Director Steve Longdon said: “All our staff have worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain our services and ensure household waste continued to be collected but, as we return to normality, the sector is facing new challenges.

“LGV 1 and 2 drivers are essential for the waste and recycling sector, and we are committed to doing everything we can to fill our driver vacancies to continue to play our part in protecting public health and the environment, as well as the UK’s green economic recovery.”

FCC Environment was one of the signatories on an open letter that the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has sent to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel.

In the letter which represents local authority waste companies and recycling businesses, the ESA says that the shortage of drivers could hinder the sector’s ability to deliver upon the government’s resource-efficiency and environmental ambitions in the “longer term”.  The letter goes on to say that immediate relief is “urgently” needed for “this acute situation”.

FCC Environment is currently running a campaign to attract more trained LGV 1 and 2 drivers to support domestic waste collection crews and household waste recycling in South Hams. If you are interested in joining the team follow the link below to find out more:

https://www.fccenvironment.co.uk/about-us/careers/current-jobs/

The Council and FCC Environment will continue to review the situation, as the national driver shortage crisis develops. In the meantime, residents are being asked not to put garden waste in the grey wheelie / residual waste bin.

The Council is offering advice on what residents can do with their garden waste:

Compost: www.recycledevon.org/in-the-garden/how-to-compost

Recycle centres: All three recycling centres located in South Hams, operated by Devon County Council, take garden waste. Full details, including opening hours: www.devon.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/centre

Please do not burn your garden waste.  The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires: www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyInTheHome/Bonfires
This is because of the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services.

Check out their downloadable bonfire leaflet:   www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyInTheHome/Bonfires/documents/DS2018-2734BonfireSafetyLeaflet.pdf 

-ENDS

Reinstatement of road closure

It seems that, despite a notice from Devon County that the closure of the road from East Portlemouth to Rickham (to the south west of the Church) was to be postponed, work started there today — Thursday 9th September 2021. It is anticipated that it will finish by the end of tomorrow (Friday 10th). The short section of road is closed to all traffic while the work takes place; the alternate route is via Rickham cross (see below).

Map of roads closed and alternative route

Change of date for the Harvest Service

The date of the Annual Harvest Service in East Portlemouth Parish Church has had to be changed; from 26th September to 3rd October. It will be at the same time as previously published, starting at 3pm

We are hoping that we will be able to hold the traditional auction of foods and produce in the village hall after the service.