Is it right for charities to offer services you pay for if the NHS or social care system isn’t picking you up?

Does this let Jeremy Hunt off the hook and allow underfunding to continue? Is it privatisation by stealth or just local people doing good deeds for payment and to be encouraged and applauded?

“Ottery Help Scheme has launched a new chargeable service to offer more support to the community as well secure its future for years to come.

The charity says it is trying to be proactive by running a home services as it currently relies on donations from grants and members of the public. Through home services, user can pay a fee and book a member of the team come out to them. The employed staff will be able to assist with in a range of ways including cleaning, shopping, meal preparation and gardening as well as offering to sit in for carers. This will sit alongside the help scheme’s free or subsidised befriending, memory café and transportation services.

Last year, more than 100 helpers gave up nearly 6,000 hours in the community, with volunteer drivers driving 49,228 miles to take residents to appointments.

Helen Harms, chief officer for the help scheme, said: “The NHS is looking for schemes to help with allowing people to stay in their own home. “We are trying to become self-sufficient, we are trying to provide services which help people stay independent and living in their own homes and provide an income to sustain the help scheme for the future.

“We do really rely on donations and if they one day stopped we would have to fund ourselves. We are being proactive to be self sufficient and not hoping of getting enough donations in, we have been very luck for such a long time and we have been going for 20 years.”

The charity has recently been boosted by the La La Choir, which raised £1,300 at its last concert. It is also being supported by a trio of East Devon law firms throughout October as part of charity will month. Gilbert Stephens, East Devon Law and Christine Ashby, will donate 50 per cent of the service fee to the scheme.

Helen added: “We are so grateful to these local firms for their support over the setting up this scheme to benefit the charity, a 50 per cent donation for their will writing service is a significant contribution.”

Straitgate Quarry – traffic light crossing for cows proposed on B3174

“An application to create a 100-acre quarry on the outskirts of Ottery has once again faced backlash from civic leaders.

Aggregate Industries’ (AI) proposals to extract up to 1.5million tonnes of raised sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm came before Ottery Town Council’s planning committee after the firm submitted further environmental information.

In the additional documents, the developer has suggested a traffic light-controlled cattle crossing on the B3174 to meet the farm’s grazing needs.

The quarry has been earmarked as an approved site, but has not received planning permission.

On Monday, the committee voted again not to support the application.

Councillor Roger Giles said the idea of a cattle crossing was ‘absolutely outrageous’ and ‘atrocious’. He added: “This is a planning application that is very detrimental to Ottery and the surrounding areas and here is an opportunity to express our views once again.

“There are going to be four movements of cattle a day across that road, just below Daisymount, with traffic lights.

“If we weren’t concerned enough about the hundreds of slow-moving vehicles going up and down and across that road, we are now facing the prospect of traffic being stopped for cattle coming across four times a day, 365 days a year.

“I think that is absolutely outrageous and atrocious and I can’t think of anything more damaging and dangerous.”

Cllr Giles reiterated his previous concerns from March, which included traffic, flooding, water supplies, wildlife and landscape issues.

He added: “The town council has very serious concerns about the proposals to have laden lorries exiting the site and turning right across a heavy flow of fast moving traffic and travelling slowly uphill along Exeter Road to Daisymount.

“And we have very serious concerns about the proposals for unladen lorries slowly executing a left turn from the B3174 towards the site with a heavy flow of fast moving traffic coming up behind, speeding downhill from Daisymount.”

Members supported the request to resubmit their previous concerns, as well as adding ‘very strong’ objections to the cattle crossing.

The fate of the application will be decided by Devon County Council.”

River Otter restoration ‘could cost £40 million’

Four options of which:

“Dr Sam Bridgewater, Clinton Devon Estates’ Head of Wildlife and Conservation, said: “In coming up with the four options, we have ruled out a number of alternatives which are either impossible to fund, or the partners feel do not meet our requirement to safeguard the future of the estuary for the benefit of local people, wildlife and the environment. …

“At present, the long-term future of the cricket club, part of the South West Coast Path and access to homes and businesses in the South Farm Road area are under threat from the impacts of flooding and poor drainage. We hope that this project will be able to address these issues, improve the natural environment and ensure that the area remains accessible in the future to the many thousands of people who visit and enjoy the estuary each year.

“We have been gathering feedback at the exhibition to find out what people think of the options. We’re also putting all of the exhibition material on the project website, so people who couldn’t get to the event on the day can go online to learn more, and also download a feedback form to send back to us.

The exhibition material is available at:

Dr Bridgewater added: “Feedback from the public will help inform our decision about which option will be the best one to take forwards. Once we’ve analysed the feedback, we’ll share our findings with the Lower Otter Restoration Project Stakeholder Group and the public.

“At the same time, we are seeking financial support from a number of bodies which would enable us to move forward with the project.”


Identify a preferred option Summer 2017
Develop an outline design Sept – Oct 2017
Second public exhibition October 2017
Develop business case End of 2017
Submit planning application 2018 – 2019
Construction 2019 – 2021

Ottery St Mary complains about rubbish rubbish collections

Comments from Ottery Matters blog”

“… My parents has been missed ever since the new service started. Tbink they eventually got it collected last Friday after making several calls to EDDC.”

… There is an eddc app that you can use to report missed collections too.

… I spoke with the Waste Collection team earlier this afternoon – there as a long wait on hold, and when I eventually got through I was told that there have been hundreds of complaints about non-collection. Apparently many homes have been missed off the new routes.

First week of new scheme (in the heat wave) we had no collection and ended up with hundreds of maggots crawling out and over our food waste bin. Disgusting!!

So it seems like the new scheme is having major teething issues – and EDDC is failing to get the contractor to get on top of the issues.

… Neither has ours in Knightstones.

… We’ve been waiting 3 weeks in rockbeare! Well just our lane actually! Think we’ve been erased from the map!

… General enquiry. Has anyone else’s recycling not been collected for the last 2 weeks or is it just sunnyhill?”

Swire says it’s positive to close Ottery’s “geriatric home” hospital

Venner’s earlier remarks here:

Swire’s agreement here:

So, if you think it is positive and right to close your community hospital because it’s just a “geriatric home” – Venner and Swire are your (negative!) candidates and heaven help you when you.

It used to be that geriatric was defined as anyone over 60 – so Mr Swire is nearing that age and Mr Venner looks like he might qualify too – let’s hope neither of them finds the need for NHS geriatric care any time soon as, given local NHS plans, there won’t be any – though, of course, there will be luxury geriatric care for those who can afford it (perhaps at the Knowle in Sidmouth)!

Meanwhile remember that Independent candidate Claire Wright has campaigned tirelessly for a better, more secure NHS, wants to protect your environment – and isn’t geriatric but is willing to fight for anyone in that corner too!

And this information might be helpful for Messrs Swire and Venner:

“Data gathered by the charity Skills for Care, shows that in 2015-16 there were more than 1.3 million people employed in the adult social care sector in England.

Analysing the data, BBC News has found that:

An estimated 338,520 adult social care workers left their roles in 2015-16. That is equivalent to 928 people leaving their job every day.

60% of those leaving a job left working in the adult social care sector altogether

The average full-time frontline care worker earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year.

One in every four social care workers was employed on a zero hours contract.
There was an estimated shortage of 84,320 care workers, meaning around one in every 20 care roles remained vacant.”

Ottery Hospital’s “red line” led by DCC Councillor Claire Wright

Holding the Red Line at Ottery Hospital

“Ottery St Mary people (and from wider afield turned out in force this afternoon to hold the Red Line against any further risk to our hospital and its very building.

We were one of 13 such events across Devon – all residents involved are fighting for their own local hospitals.

Thank you to around 150 determined people who turned up in the pouring rain.

Ottery Hospital lost its general medical beds in 2015 and the stroke unit will transfer to the RD&E imminently.

The message from the CCG was that it would become a health hub. Then it was it “could” become a health hub, nowadays there are little or no assurances from the CCG as to the hospital’s future.

And the wolf is peering in the window…. NHS Property Services has acquired the building for free (and 11 others across Eastern Devon) and is charging commercial rent to a cash-strapped local NHS, who previously owned it!

I am personally disappointed that we were asked to move twice by staff (presumably acting from orders on high) on the basis we were causing an obstruction. Yet I had already cleared our event with Ottery’s senior GP, Dr Simon Kerr who was quite happy about us being there.

Of course we would have moved if a car or ambulance had arrived. One vehicle did during the course of the 45 minutes or so we were present and people moved accordingly.

I felt sorry for police community support officer, Maria Clapp who was having to enforce us moving around as many people, understandably, were not happy about it!

Aside from these frustrating interruptions and my speech getting soggy in the rain and then getting stuck to my foot, it was a great event and thoroughly enjoyable.

I was using my brand new megaphone, which was great fun!

The thing that always happens at these sort of protest events is that a sense of solidarity, energy, shared purpose and iron is created. NO ONE will take any more services away from Ottery Hospital, NOR will it be sold off to the highest bidder by NHS Property Services.

I think we all went away feeling absolutely determined that we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening.

Thank you to EDDC Cllr Peter Faithfull for these excellent photos and thank you to retired Ottery GP, Dr Graham Ward, who urged people to come forward with ideas for the use of the building into the future.

Here’s the call to action at the end of my speech…

1. Write to Hugo Swire MP asking that he takes up Ottery’s case with the CCG and the govt

2. Write to local newspapers – letter for publication to Ottery Herald and Pulmans View From

3. Write to CCG – Chair is Tim Burke

4. Write to chair of DCC health and wellbeing scrutiny cttee after May elections

5. IMPORTANT POINT – Make all your letters public by sending to local press for publication!

Ottery Hospital is OURS. While the beds have gone for now. I live in hope that one day that common sense will prevail and they will be returned one day.”

Until that day we must fight to retain our hospital.”