Latest News

St Calixtus Church – West Down

Churchyard Grass Cutting Service

Notice is hereby given by West Down Parochial Church Council that the Churchyard Grass Cutting Service Agreement is due to be reviewed and renewed.
The grass requires a total of 12 cuts per year – Twice each month from April to September.
Equipment can be provided if required.

For further information, or to express an interest, or to submit a tender, please contact: –

Mrs Dianne McGahran, PCC Secretary
2 Lower Broad Park
West Down, EX34 8FQ
Tel: 07719334246/01271 624153 Email: dimcg@btinternet.com

The closing date for written tenders, to be received, will be Monday 18th March 2024.


Flooding

If any householder has flooding to their property they are being asked to report this on the emergency number below as it will go straight through to the contractor for a call out.

Highway emergency number – 0345 155 1004





11th Annual General Meeting of West Down Community Park

To be held at West Down Parish Hall on Monday 11thMarch 2024 6.30pm for 6.45pm.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME at this public meeting so please come along to show your support for your community park and to make comments and suggestions.

The West Down Community Park is your amazing asset for the village and we need help to run it.

Could You Join our dedicated Group of Trustees And Help Ensure The Success Of This Amazing Asset?

Anyone wishing to stand for the next term of office, please contact the current Chairman by email at johnmstainer@btinternet.com or by letter to:  Sunrise, Croftswood Gardens, Ilfracombe, EX34 9PR

Closing date for nominations – 26th February 2024


Co-Option onto West Down Parish Council

The Parish Council comprises of up to 8 Councillors.  There are currently two vacancies for co-option onto the Parish Council.  We are a friendly, active Parish Council and would welcome you joining us to do the best for the residents of West Down.

Apply by writing a short letter to the Parish Council Chairman via the Clerk at 10 Berrynarbor Park, Sterridge Valley, Berrynarbor, Devon, EX34 9TA, giving the reasons why you would like to be co-opted onto the Council.  For more information about becoming a Parish Councillor, please speak to an existing Parish Councillor or the Parish Clerk.  Thank you.

Qualifications for Candidates
To be qualified to be elected a member of a parish council, a person must be 21 years of age or over, and a British subject or citizen of the Republic of Ireland, and either: –

  • be a local government elector of the parish, or
  • have, during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate, occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish, or
  • his/her principal or only place of work in the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate have been in the area of the parish, or
  • have resided either in the parish or within 3 miles thereof during the whole of the 12 months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate.

There are certain disqualifications for election, of which the main are: –

a)  holding a paid office under the local authority.
b)  bankruptcy.
c)  having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months, without the option of a fine during the five years preceding the election; and
d)  being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.

Parish Councillors
Chair:  Sue Ayre
Vice-Chair:  Mike Reeves
Cllrs. Richard Kensole, Hannah Knight, Tony Verney & Sarah Whitby

POSTER


Sign the Vision Zero South West Road Safety Pledge

This week marks national Road Safety Week and we’re asking all road users across Devon & Cornwall to sign up to the Vision Zero South West Road Safety Pledge.  Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and this pledge – which covers five simple ways to keep yourself and other safe – is a way of showing that you are doing your part.  Last year 47 people were killed and 741 were seriously injured on Devon & Cornwall’s roads. That number must come down.

All members of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership have committed to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured by 50% by 2030 – and eventually, to zero.

Do your part by signing the Pledge here: https://visionzerosouthwest.co.uk/the-vision-zero-pledge/.


West Down Community Shop Newsletter – October 2023

Annual Members Meeting
A big thank you to all of you who attended the Annual Members Meeting in the Iron Room at the end of July. There was a useful question and answer session which garnered some useful ideas that we will be taking forward – see below.

New Manager
Most of you will be aware that our Shop Manager, Sue Bond, moved into The Crown in late August. We wish her and Mark well in their new venture and we look forward to renewing opportunities for collaboration. Our new part time Manager, Nessie Hunt, started work in the Shop in early Sep and is already making her mark. Congratulations Nessie.  It is great to see that we are in safe hands.

Thank you Volunteers
The changeover of managers caused quite a bit of staff turmoil and it was good to see the commitment, flexibility and loyalty of our volunteers in keeping the Shop ticking over.

Shop Future
The Management Committee continues to examine a number of different approaches to running the Shop efficiently in a changing retail environment.  Our part time manager is part of that approach. Other strands are at an early stage and will be published once the way ahead is clear. Any significant changes will trigger the need for an extraordinary members meeting and a vote by members.

Survey
As part of work to shape the future of the Shop we want to consult the customer. It is intended to hold a community survey in Oct which will seek your views about a number of Shop aspects.  The survey will be available, online, delivered by hand or collected from the shop.

More Volunteers
While our appeal at the Annual Members Meeting has produced a number of new volunteers who are now part of the rota, the effects of holiday, illness and short term unavailability continues to require crisis staffing and overloads current volunteers. We urgently need more to provide a volunteer rota that is robust and fit to serve the community . So this is a further appeal for volunteers.

  • Parents, could you help us, after school drop off or before pick up?
  • Retired residents, could you help us?
  • Everyone else. All are welcome! Any gender, any age over 18.

A two hour slot, once a week (more if possible) with full training provided. We especially need help on  Monday and Friday mornings. You would not be left alone until fully confident. Why not give it a try??

YOU could make a big difference.

Community News

You may be interested in what is happening in St. Calixtus, the village church over the next few weeks: –

17th Dec at 6.00 pm – Carols with readings. Refreshments.
24th Dec at 4.00 pm – Christmas Eve Crib service for all the family.
24th Dec at 11.30 pm – Midnight Mass.
25th Dec at 10.00 am – Christmas Day for all the family with Communion.

Looking forward to seeing you at some/all of the above.

For further information please go to: –
www.westdown.org.uk/organisation/stcalixtuschurch/

Mobile Library
On the square at 10:20 until 10:50am, every 4 weeks on Thursday, next due 14th  December.

Post Office
Service available in the Parish Hall, Room 2000.  Please use as your local cash point.
Monday 1:15 – 4:15pm, Wednesday 09:15 – 12:15pm, Friday 09:15-11am.

West Down Village Community Park
TO RENT – Allotment plot available. Grow your own fruit and vegetables and Keep Fit and Healthy! For more details contact Keith Oades on 07979 188107

West Down Parish Hall will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 29th November at 7 pm in the Parish Hall.
We would welcome new members to help manage the hall.


Village Forum

A Village Forum was held on 15th November in the Parish Hall, the representatives from the following organisations attended: –

Community Park
West Down Parish Hall
West Down Women’s Institute
Community Shop
St. Calixtus Church
Parish Council
Gardening Club
Emergency Planning

The following topics were discussed.

Community Park
The representative from the Community Park thanked the Parish Council for the funding that had enabled the establishment of a useful diversity of planting, the trees and wetland area greatly enhanced the facilities of the Park. The Parish Hall was also thanked for helping with the re-location of the Fair that took place in May, providing the facilities enabling the Women’s Football Final to be enjoyed. It was stressed that the Community Park was owned by the village and, consequently, all maintenance etc. was the responsibility of the village. Two new volunteers with the necessary skills and experience had been recruited and given the training needed to help with the maintenance.

Work to remove and re-connect the overhead cables was nearly completed. This ensured that the hazards previously presented by the overhead cables for kites etc., were removed and an electricity supply to the container was established to assist with field maintenance. It was hoped that liaison with other organisations could be further established to assist with event planning. The Community Park owns marquees, gazebos, chairs and tables that can be made available for loan/hire.

New goalposts had been provided, replacing the smaller ones. It was gratifying to note that they are in constant use, even in adverse weather conditions and a football team is being organised. There was some discussion about the traditional Boxing Day football match. The issue of dog fouling was raised and it was noted that most dog owners are responsible, but closer monitoring is needed to identify the others. This is particularly important in the children’s play area due to the health hazards that dog excrement poses.

The allotments were popular and two that had been neglected were to be cleared and re-allocated. It was noted that surplus produce from the allotments was routinely given to the Community Shop. This was much appreciated.

West Down Parish Hall
The Parish Hall was said to be in good shape, with an excellent and enthusiastic committee. Additional members are always welcome. Latest improvements include led lighting inside and out, enhanced Wi-Fi and a new path leading to the kitchen area. New plans include a hedge bordering the car park and a wildflower area. An extension to the back of the hall is also planned, this will increase the much needed storage area and will allow access to the stage from both sides. Grants are continually sought to fund improvements. Owing to a traffic accident involving the promoter, the ferret race has had to be postponed. A Christmas Fair will be held on 2nd December in the Parish Hall. Attractions will include refreshments, games, an elf on the shelf and a huge raffle, with prizes including £100 worth of alcohol. All the prizes have been generously donated to support the hall. Pre-event raffle tickets will be sold in the Community Shop. An offer to organise a visit from Father Christmas was made and gratefully accepted. Events in the New Year will include the re-scheduled Ferret Race and a quiz.

It was stressed that all the improvements to the hall have been paid for by obtaining grants and fund raising. The rise in hall charges was due to the increase in costs, such as energy and wages and contributed to the running of the hall and not to improvements. ‘Start-up’ organisation are offered reduced rates to help them into viability.

Committee members attend ‘Hall Share’ meetings, visiting halls in other villages and sharing best practice. It was noted that the West Down Hall offered competitive rates and organisations from other areas such as Braunton, used it, appreciating the ease of parking and the facilities.

West Down Primary School
Raffle tickets are currently on sale at the school and at Jewsons. The draw will be held on 5th December. A Christmas Fair will be held in the Parish Hall on Saturday, November 25th. There will be music, stalls and a grotto. Everyone is welcome.

West Down Women’s Institute
The Institute meets monthly in the Parish Hall and has 23 members. New members are always welcome and can attend as guests initially. There is a varied programme of speakers, covering topics such as nature, local history and health. A craft group also meets monthly, sharing expertise and learning new skills. It is a national organisation and as such has an important role in bringing issues to the attention of the public and government. Recent resolutions have included, clean rivers, microplastics, violence against women and modern slavery. A birthday party to celebrate the 75th year of the West Down institute was held recently, with guests from other institutes and music provided by Maggie Foster and Graham Ramsden. Everyone enjoyed this immensely.

Community Shop
A new manager has been appointed after the previous manager left to take over The Crown. A new weekend assistant has also been appointed. The Committee is working to reduce overheads and an Extraordinary Meeting of shareholders is planned. Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles and it was stressed that the community needs to use the shop if it is to survive. Just a few purchases every week would enable this important community asset to continue serving the community. Recent fund-raising initiatives have included – ‘guessing the weight of the pumpkin’ and making bats for Halloween. More fund- raising events are planned. It was noted that the shop helps local organisations by selling tickets for functions, producing a newsletter and sharing important information on services.

St Calixtus Church
The church is currently without a vicar and it was explained that interviews for this position are currently ongoing. The new vicar will be based at Heanton and will be responsible for three churches. There is a full Christmas programme, including Carol Service, a Crib, and services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Full details of these are on the church pages of the West Down website. Although attendance was good at the recent Service of Remembrance, numbers are low and parishioners are urged to ‘use it or lose it’. The state of the grass was a cause of concern, this was due to a gap between contracts and the wet weather. It was explained that the church is financed by parishioners and recent problems with the ceiling have not helped the financial situation. The Gift Day will be reinstated in the summer. It was noted that there are vacancies on the PCC and church wardens are also needed. The church is available to be used for functions as long as these are respectful and suitable.

The Iron Room has had to increase the cost of hire due to rises in fuel etc. Due to dry rot, it will be necessary to put a temporary floor in the kitchen. The ‘Warm Space’ initiative had been very successful last year and it was hoped that it would be possible to provide this again in the early months of next year.

Parish Council
There is currently a vacancy on the Parish Council, it is important that there is a full complement of Councillors to enable effective operating. Parish Council meetings are attended by County and District Councillors on a regular basis. It was explained that the Parish Council is responsible for 14 footpaths and also provides the village with the defibrillator; dog excrement bins and grit bins; salt and grit distribution; maintenance of bus shelters and the provision of small grants to local groups and organisations. Financial support is also currently provided to subsidise room hire charges for the Outreach Post Office at the Parish Hall.

Over the last two years 20k has been obtained in grants mainly from our District and County Councils enabling benches to be given to the community, planting to be undertaken in the Community Park, support to assist the West Down Community Land Trust and for substantial repairs and maintenance of local footpaths. To celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, a tree with a plaque was donated to the Community Park. The Parish Council has a comprehensive website which includes the minutes of meetings.

Gardening Club
Has been going for twenty-three years now and has around sixty members coming from various local areas. They have a variety of speakers at their meetings but it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to find speakers willing to travel to North Devon due to fuel costs. Holidays have also been arranged for members and in future this will done using the holiday services provided by Filers. The programme for next year will be available on the West Down website. A Christmas lunch has been arranged at the Imperial Hotel in Barnstaple.

Other organisations are also finding the provision of speakers a problem and it was suggested that information was shared on this.

Emergency Planning
Delegates are currently meeting to finalise the Emergency Plan. A letter is to be sent out to the community very shortly seeking information on what expertise, equipment and facilities are available. Volunteers will be recruited to facilitate incident control and evacuation in the event of an emergency incident. There will be a Community Meeting on 15th January to provide information on this and a Table Top exercise is planned for 9th March. This will provide a variety of scenarios in order to investigate problems and possibilities arising from such incidents. It will also be necessary to discover the location and needs of vulnerable people in the community, this will need to be done in a way that is sensitive and confidential. These measures were considered necessary in view of the recent unforeseen pandemic.

Summary
The various organisations agreed to continue to share information on events and resources and were reminded that the West Down website contains a ‘Forthcoming Events’ section. It was important that this was used and its existence publicised.


Tender for Grass Cutting and Bus Shelter Cleaning 2024

West Down Parish Council invite tenders for grass cutting and bus shelter cleaning for 2024.

For further details please contact the Parish Clerk, Val Ford, 10 Berrynarbor Park, Sterridge Valley, Berrynarbor, Devon, EX34 9TA

Or phone: 07852627967
Or email: clerk@westdownparishcouncil.org.uk

Tenders are to be received by the end of November 2023.


Road Closures for Upcoming Patching Works from 6th November 2023

Letter from DCC
Notice


West Down Parish Council (WDPC) – Small Grant Fund

Each year West Down Parish Council allocates an expenditure budget from the annual precept in order to support local groups and organisations.  The Council’s guidelines for grant applications are now available.

This process will ensure access, openness and fairness to the groups and organisations we aim to support.  WDPC grants run within a Financial year April – March.

Application forms and our Grant Fund Policy can be obtained by contacting the Clerk, Val Ford, at clerk@westdownparishcouncil.org.uk.

Alternatively, everything can also be downloaded from the Parish Council website at www.westdownparishcouncil.org.uk.

Completed forms for the 2024/2025 financial year must be received by the Parish Clerk by Friday 20th October 2023.


See the West Down History Pages for “The Spy Who Talked Too Much


 

Scams targeting the hospitality sector

 How to protect your business:

  • Ensure that business accounts are protected using 2-step verification (2SV). This will help to prevent unauthorised access to your computer systems even if an attacker knows an employee’s login details.
  • Employees who communicate with your suppliers should be informed of what types of information a supplier will and won’t ask for. For example, a supplier will never ask for an employee’s password.  Staff should be encouraged to speak with a supervisor if they’ve received a request they’re unsure about.
  • If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber-attack (in progress), please call 0300 123 2040 immediately.  This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • For more advice on how to improve your business’ cyber security in an affordable and practical way, please see the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Business Guide

Recommended police services available to organisations in the hospitality sector:Police CyberAlarm is an award-winning free tool, provided by your local police force, to help your business or organisation monitor and report the suspicious cyber activity it faces. More information can be accessed on the Police CyberAlarm website.The South West Cyber Resilience Centre (SWCRC) is a police-led, not for profit initiative which helps businesses better protect themselves against cyber threats. Visit the SWCRC website to discover the full range of available cyber security services.Cyber Essentials is a scheme which helps organisations guard themselves against the most common cyber threats and demonstrates a commitment to cyber security. Find out more about how to achieve certification on the NCSC website.


Devon Highways – Important Updates January 2023

Potholes

We are currently dealing with a very high number of pothole reports due to the cold and wet weather.  Approximately a third of the reports we are receiving are duplicates and are already waiting to be assessed or repaired.

On our Report a Problem page you can:

  • report potholes for assessment
  • provide an email address to receive automatic updates
  • see where potholes have already been reported
  • see where we have asked our contractor to carry out repairs

Where a report already exists, you do not need to create a new report to receive updates.  Select the report and click ‘Add me to this pothole’.

Your help in reducing the number of duplicate reports we receive will enable our inspection team to work as efficiently as possible during these challenging conditions.

If you report a pothole and we don’t repair it straight away, this could be because:

  • the pothole was inspected and is not deemed to be a safety defect
  • there is a problem with the surface of the road which needs to be investigated as a repair will not solve the underlying problem
  • traffic management is needed to carry out repairs safely

Flooding and Drainage

If it’s an emergency and there is danger to life as a result of flooding call 999.  The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water so please prioritise your safety.

If a river is flooding, contact the Environment Agency on 0345 988 1188.  The environment Agency also has a range of  information about flood warnings and precautions.

Internal property flooding can be reported on our webpage.

Standing Water or Running Water

On our Report a Problem page you can report standing water, flooding and blocked drains.

Standing/running water will not be investigated during prolonged heavy rain.  Please ensure that you have checked that an issue is still present 24 hours after the rain has stopped before reporting it.

Where water is still present 24 hours after the rain has stopped, we will attempt to clear it if:

  • the road is impassable
  • the water is forcing vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians away from the nearside of the road by more than one metre
  • vehicles have to cross the centreline marking
  • there is a risk of aquaplaning where the speed limit of the road is 40mph or above, and vehicles could reasonably be expected to travel at that speed.

If we are unable to clear the water, we will use a flood sign or guard the area or close the road to make the location safe and then investigate a permanent solution.

Useful Links

Our Report a Problem page can also be used to report storm damage such as hazardous or fallen trees and debris.


Time to get walking again!

With Spring on its way we start to think about getting out to walk in the beautiful English countryside again, but where to find new and interesting walks?

Walking in Devon has loads of walks to download and print, free.  It also has books of walks, details of all the walking groups in the county and much more.  Whether you want to walk on your own or with a group, all the information is there in one place.

John Harris (who maintains the website) said “There is so much walking information on the web but it is difficult to find.  Walking in Devon (part of the Walking in England website) has brought it together in one place.  So whether you are walking from home, or away on holiday, you will be able to find a walk suitable for you”.

With walks from half a mile to twelve miles plus long, and a note of suitability for pushchairs and wheelchairs, everyone can find a walk to enjoy.

So home or away, check out the websites and get walking!

John Harris

www.walkinginengland.co.uk
john@walkinginengland.co.uk


West Down Parish Council

*20 MPH Speed Limit in West Down*

In order for West Down Parish Council to progress to  Express an Interest with Devon County Council to have the speed limit reduced in the village, one of the criteria we have to meet is to have a Community Speed Watch Group.

Many parishioners have requested that the speed limit is reduced and have raised concerns about speeding in the village and on Ilfracombe Hill.  The Parish Council have been happy to facilitate the start of this process.  The Chair of the Parish Council, Councillor Sue Ayre, has set up the West Down Community Speed Watch Group with Devon and Cornwall Police.  Currently there are two members.  There is a registration process and some online training to complete.

Councillor Ayre has circulated information to members of the community that had previously expressed an interest.

Please contact the Clerk or Councillor Sue Ayre (sue.ayre@westdown parishcouncil.org.uk) if you would like to become involved.

Without the speed watch group and the support of the community the criteria will not be met and the Parish Council can not express an interest for the reduction of the speed limit.


Bell Ringing

If anyone is interested in learning bell ringing, please come along to West Down Church Tower on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm.


 

Want to see your business grow?

Made in Devon is a new ‘buy-local’ business support scheme from Devon County Council and is looking to help 125 businesses a year with free scheme membership.  Benefits include Trading Standards advice and being part of major promotional campaigns that will make the most of new consumer trends to support local, independent businesses and artisans.

To qualify you need to be a Devon-based business who takes pride in supporting other local companies and goes out of your way to use materials and ingredients produced in Devon.  To find out more visit www.madeindevon.org.uk.  Made in Devon is part of the well-established Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme.


A Public Announcement from Heart of the South West Trading Standard
on Avian Influenza

It is that time of year again and Avian Influenza infection has been spreading across Europe and now it is in the UK.  Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service have advised us that as of 5pm on the 3 November 2021 an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across Great Britain.  This means that all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard are required by law to take a range of bio-security precautions: 

Schedule 1 – Minimum biosecurity measures applying to all keepers

  • Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry.
  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources.
  • Feed and water their birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds.
  • Minimise movement into and out of bird enclosures.
  • Cleanse and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy.
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
  • Keep free ranging birds within fenced areas, and ponds, watercourses and permanent standing water must be fenced off (except in specific circumstances, e.g., zoo birds).

Schedule 2 – Enhanced biosecurity measures for premises with over 500 poultry or other captive birds

Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Full details of what is required can be found on the government website:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1030990/aipz-declaration.pdf

To assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules, the biosecurity guidance and self-assessment checklists   have been updated and all the latest information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#biosecurity

Remember that if you have poultry it is your responsibility to keep updated on any outbreaks and an easy way to do this is to sign up for text notifications – register with the APHA alerts service.


Scam calls with matching numbers

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own. Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number.  The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.
In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number.  Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.  Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

What you need to do: 

  1. Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  2. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.  Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  3. If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge.
  4. Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website: actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing.

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk and www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk and follow @DC_CyberProtect on Twitter.


West Down Community Shop

Dear Villager,

I am writing on behalf of West Down Community Shop Ltd.  We are aware that many new people have moved in to the village over the last year and we hope that this will be of interest to them as well as being an update for more established residents.

The community shop that we are lucky enough to have in our village today was taken on by a small group of villagers in 2012 as a means of serving the people of West Down, who would otherwise be reliant on public transport or their cars for day-to-day groceries – not very convenient or environmentally friendly if all you need is a pint of milk or loaf of bread.

The business side of the shop is run by a small committee of local people who take on the roles of treasurer and vice-treasurer, secretary and vice-secretary, chair and vice-chair, with other tasks including publicity, minute taking and DIY expert being equally important.  The shop cannot run without these people but at least four of these roles will become vacant in the near future.

Do you have any skills that could help us?  Have you any experience in running a business large or small, book-keeping, or could you perhaps develop a web page for us? We really need to hear from you and nominations for places on the committee are now available ahead of our AMM in June.  The closing date for nominations at the AMM is 10 May.  Please consider anything that you might be able to contribute, either for a regular slot in the shop or on our (honestly very friendly!) committee by contacting Wendy Neligan at wwpemberton@gmail.com, or just pop in to the shop for a chat.  We’d love to hear from you and frankly, we can’t carry on without you.

The shop is run entirely for the good of the village and does not aim to make a profit above what is needed to cover our costs.  To keep our overheads to a minimum, only our manager and weekend assistant earn a salary, with all other staff being volunteers.  As a volunteer myself, I have found this to be a very rewarding experience, allowing me to get to know far more people in the village, learn new skills, and I really feel that I am contributing to my local community.  Over the last year, this has been particularly important as we have been able to support vulnerable and shielding villagers with grocery deliveries and to allow many people to be able to ‘stay local’ – and we never ran out of loo rolls!  We are also a hub of local knowledge, look after the village defibrillator and will always, always be happy to chat.

On a less altruistic note, having a village shop has a very positive impact on our house prices.  Watch a couple of episodes of Escape to the Country and it becomes obvious that a pub and local shop are the absolute musts for the perfect village to move to.  Add to that our excellent school and pretty church and we would seem to have it all. However – times are tough for the shop at present.  Many of our volunteers have not been able to help us due to the pandemic and some will not be coming back, it has recently been very difficult for us to maintain our usual hours.  We desperately need a few new people to step up and don the WDCS apron.  Full training is given and most people commit to just a two-hour weekly shift, which is a small amount of time but would make such a big difference.

Finally – there is no point in having a shop unless we use it.  Consider perhaps ordering your regular milk, bread, newspaper, yogurt or eggs from us, put in a weekly grocery order or buy your wine and beer from us, or maybe just make sure that you pop in for the odd ice-cream or tin of beans, it all helps.  We try to buy locally grown and produced items as far as possible, so we may be a couple of pence more expensive than Tesco but we try and be competitive and many items are identical in price and after all, you don’t have to get your car out.  Our stock is constantly changing and if we don’t stock something that you would like to buy from us let us know, we’ll do our best to get it for you.

Please, please, don’t let this precious service to our village and visitors disappear.  Once it’s gone it’s gone and we’ll all be the poorer for it.  Give us a little bit of time, custom or expertise and we will thrive and so will our community.

With our very kindest regards
Wendy Neligan
Vice Chair
On behalf of WDCS Ltd.


Devon Domestic Abuse Service

(See poster)


Notice from West Down Parish Council

We have received a great many complaints about

DOG FOULING
(THE OFFENCE OF BEING IN CHARGE OF A DOG AND FAILING TO REMOVE THE FAECES AFTER IT DEFICATES IN A PUBLIC PLACE)

So….
Please watch where your dog ‘goes’ and pick up after it.
If you have more than one dog off lead you can’t expect to watch them all.
All dog owners have an idea of when their dog needs to go. We are just asking you to be responsible for the mess and remove it.

There are 4 dog waste bins around the village –
Parish Hall, School, Community Field and Coronation Triangle

PLEASE USE THEM

We live in a lovely village and it is in everyone’s interest to keep it that way,
so, it is important that we all do our bit.


Urgent appeal for community equipment

If you’ve got any community equipment you no longer need, please can you return it?

We urgently need commodes, walking frames, shower stools, and raised toilet seats, as increased demand during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means these items are in danger of being in short supply.

Please contact Millbrook Care on 0330 124 4491 to arrange a free contactless collection


Selaine Saxby MP Contact Details

Dear Clerk,
I hope you are keeping safe and well at this challenging time.
I write on behalf of Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon to share her contact details and ask if you would mind adding these details to your website and/or community newsletters.
At this time of uncertainty communities are coming together and relying on parish councils and each other more than ever, and Selaine wanted to ensure that if anyone wished to contact her for help, they were able to find the information easily. Parish websites and newsletters are a great source of information and I know are widely distributed, particularly in our villages. In particular, newsletters are important for those who may not be able to access the internet or send emails, much like the posters you were recently sent.
Selaine’s website, which is updated constantly with new information, is: www.selainesaxby.org.uk
Her social media channels are:
• Twitter: @SelaineSaxby
• Instagram: @selaine_saxby_mp
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/SelaineSaxbyMP
She can also be contacted via email at selaine.saxby.mp@parliament.uk and at her office in Barnstaple for urgent cases at 01271 327990.
If you could pass these details on to the editors or administrators of your parish website and/or newsletter I would be very grateful, and if I could be copied in on that email I would also be grateful, so I might have the contact for them as well.
Please excuse the generic nature of this email, I have sent it to every clerk in North Devon.
If you or the editors should have any questions, or want more information, please do not hesitate to get back in touch with me.
Thank you for all your efforts in supporting our communities at this difficult time.
Kind regards,
Oliver John Kerr
Communications & Engagement Manager to Selaine Saxby MP
Member of Parliament for North Devon

Church House, Church Lane, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX31 1DE
@ oliver.kerr@parliament.uk
01271 327990 | 07514 158914


Parish Council – Ash dieback

Ash die-back is becoming increasingly prevalent and landowners are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure public safety. Dead or diseased trees need to be removed or made safe where they could fall across roads or pathways. Advice and information can be found on
https://www.devon.gov.uk/environment/ash-dieback.


Air Ambulance

West Down has become one of the latest villages to provide a safe landing space for the North Devon Air Ambulance.  Having already experienced the need for casualties to be evacuation using the Air Ambulance, the community came together to ensure that the helicopter could land safely by day and night.

The success of this initiative is a real tribute to the community spirit that exists, with all sections of the community coming together to provide the necessary facilities.

The Trustees of the West Down Village Green Field Association offered the landing site and the Parish Council obtained the necessary planning permission.  Fund raising for the lighting mast was aided by County and District Councillors.  West Down Women’s Institute held a cream tea which raised a substantial amount as well as being a most enjoyable event.  A grateful parishioner, who benefitted from the services of the air ambulance, was among the donors.  A local resident is providing the electricity for the mast and the air ambulance has already completed a test run.

The general Feeling is a hope that it will not be necessary to use the landing site, but it is reassuring for villages in remote locations to know that they are accessible and that aid is within easy reach.


West Down Parish Council

West Down Parish Council wish to make everyone aware that we have a fully operational AED in the village.  This is a Zoll machine and it is sited in the porch at the West Down Community Shop.  It is stored in a plastic box with an alarm on it, but there is no code to access the box and the alarm is for noise purpose only.

                                          

This machine is simple to operate and once open you follow the instructions provided by the machine – with good quality CPR the best possible care is provided to a casualty and chances of survival in a life threatening situation are raised considerably.

If anyone would like further information regarding the machine or you wanted to consider some training, please do not hesitate to contact:

Sue Ayre – 07980 182317