Bay community groups and charities are helping people to help themselves

Torbay Weekly

It may only be autumn but SWISCo are getting prepared for the winter months with the delivery of three new salt gritting vehicles.

These new gritting machines will be a valuable tool over the coming winter.

Brand new and built to order, they come with preloaded routing software which will ensure a timelier and more efficient service, as well as preventing double gritting, reducing unnecessary wastage of gritting salt, and, most importantly, keeping drivers safer on the roads.

These new vehicles are just part of the £4.6 million we have invested in our fleet and recycling plant over the past three years.

Included in this investment have been 22 kerbside recycling vehicles and six additional refuse collection vehicles, which have enabled us to keep up with the increase in waste and recycling collections.

We took the services that SWISCo deliver back in-house last summer, away from a mostly private provider, which means we have significantly greater control of the service.

Most of the previously privately controlled contract saw limited investment in the service and so investing in these bread and butter items is extremely important to ensure we serve the public appropriately.

We are still experiencing some delays in our collections due to the shortage of HGV drivers but we are continuing our efforts to recruit more drivers.

It was great to join some of our new tree wardens at Torre Abbey earlier this summer for part of their induction.

I'm delighted that we now have 65 tree wardens.

Some of the type of work tree wardens will be able to get involved with include arranging local tree-planting days, helping to maintain our existing trees as well as growing new ones from seed, and surveying trees and hedgerows.

A number of volunteer tree wardens have also undertaken additional training to carry out an i-Tree survey to measure Torbay’s tree canopy cover.

It’s all part of our ongoing work to involve more people in volunteering and to help people enjoy and enhance Torbay’s open spaces.

Torbay Council is continuing to do all it can to support those who are financially struggling.

Our welfare support scheme provides assistance to residents who have experienced a crisis and require financial help to meet an essential need or maintain their independence.

Residents can make an application for help with food, essential medicines, fuel costs and household items, as well as deposits and advanced rental payments.

One of the key underlying principles of the scheme is to provide access to additional support services across the council helping residents to tackle deep-rooted issues and longer-term needs by offering access to advice.

We believe by offering this support that it will enable people to move away from crisis towards greater financial stability and independence.

With the withdrawal of the additional £20 a week Universal Credit uplift and rocketing fuel costs, the council has taken the exceptional decision to fund £15 per child free school meal vouchers over half-term to help families in need in Torbay.

But there are also a number of community groups and charitable organisations across the Bay who are coming forward with ways to help people help themselves.

One example is the Orchard Forest School at Lupton House in Brixham.

The school, which is set in the grounds of an ancient orchard, runs sessions for local families and members of the community that build up confidence, resilience, and life skills.

Over the half-term, the school is inviting families to visit the orchard and help themselves to apples and, in return, are asking people to bake extra treats to donate to local foodbanks and shelters.

The Big Bay Bake is just one of the many ways we are coming together to help tackle food poverty and support our community.