As somebody who was adopted 50 years ago, it is particularly poignant for me that this week is National Adoption Week.

I was adopted in Birmingham and moved to Torquay when I was 18 months old. However, when I traced my natural birth mother 15 years ago, I was amazed to discover her, my two sisters, and their families, living nearby in South Devon.

Unbeknown to me I had been walking past my sister’s house on the way to work for years.

My also-adopted brother Jamie and I couldn’t have asked for better adoptive parents than Eric and Penny and I am sure there are many incredible would-be parents like them out there who could step forward and help a child in need.

This National Adoption Week there are almost 3,000 children waiting to be adopted across the whole of England. Adoption is one of the most rewarding ways of making a difference to a child.

Torbay is part of a collective of local authority adoption agencies, Adopt Southwest. They are keen to speak to people who could adopt a child who has been waiting a long time for its eventual family.

They would also like to hear from people who will consider adopting a sibling group.

There are many misconceptions about adoption, but marital status, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, employment status and already having children will certainly not exclude you from adopting.

Often, in fact, experience of disability is positively welcomed!

To find out more about adoption, you can call Adopt Southwest on 0345 155 1076 or visit their website www.adoptsouthwest.org.uk

I am ashamed that we in Torbay only recycle around 40 per cent of our household waste and this is something that the partnership who run Torbay council want to significantly improve by seeing a 25 per cent improvement in the next two to three years, and help reduce our carbon footprint.

Our resource and waste strategy consultation is well under way and thank you to all those who have responded so far – we have already had around 400 responses.

Since this consultation was launched I have had residents get in touch saying ‘my recycling boxes/food waste caddy are full, can we order extra ones?’ The answer is yes, we want to do all we can to encourage you to recycle more.

An important point, though, is that if you do have a third recycling box, please make sure you continue to separate the items in the boxes – plastic and cans need to be separate to glass and to card.

Don’t forget as well to make use of your food waste caddy – research shows us that up to 20 per cent of the waste in residual waste bins is food waste which could have been put elsewhere.

You can order additional recycling boxes via the Torbay Council website www.torbay.gov.uk/newbin

The Prime Minister’s Covid announcement on Monday this week was bitterly disappointing. This new approach is about blame-shifting to local government.

As Chris Witty said, the measures proposed are not enough to halt the virus.

In early summer Boris Johnson promised a ‘world-beating’ track and trace system. Since then, sadly, we have witnessed an omnishambles in regard to this with thousands of cases being lost in the system just weeks ago.

As you know, we are seeing a steady rise in cases in Torbay and this demonstrates how important it is that everyone continues to wash their hands regularly, wear a mask where required and stick to the rule of six.

It is imperative that we tackle the increase in numbers of cases or we may have no choice but to implement tougher measures.

We need to work together to avoid further restrictions that will impact on daily life.

If we act now we can control the spread of the virus, help save lives and get our communities back to doing the things we love.