Exeter Night Shelter providing refuge from the cold

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Media release | For immediate release

Exeter Night Shelter providing refuge from the cold

Exeter’s night shelter has been declared a success just weeks after opening its doors to rough sleepers.

In three weeks, more than 300 bed spaces have been filled by the Safe Sleep initiative, with on average 20 rough sleepers a night taking advantage of the facilities.

Homelessness provider Julian House is running the 40-bed facility in Market Street in conjunction with the City Council. The service operates between 8:30pm and 8:00am each night offering safe secure accommodation for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets of Exeter. The service is staffed overnight, with a minimum of two staff on at all times, and will be open until the start of March.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor of Customer Access, said it was extremely heartening to see the night shelter being so well received, especially during the recent cold spell.

“The number of people using the shelter has grown from nine on the first night to 28 at the end of December, as word has spread and rough sleepers have become aware of its existence,” she said.
Just shortly before the shelter opened on 21 December, it was estimated that around 40 people were sleeping rough on Exeter’s streets.

“You can’t persuade everyone to come inside but with a night shelter offering 40 bed spaces, there is no need for anyone to be sleeping out in these conditions,” said Cllr Morse.

“Of course we understand that many of those sleeping rough have complex issues and that is the challenge we share with our partners, to address these issues and find them a more permanent roof over their head.

“Safe Sleep is a great opportunity to help people out during the cold winter months but we realise that it is not the solution. The City Council is committed to reducing homelessness and we are constantly looking at opportunities to bring on line additional accommodation and support.

“We are working with Private Landlords and other providers to lease houses and form a shared house network across the city.”

Any private landlord who would be interested in working with the Council to reduce homelessness in the city should contact 01392 265685.

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Exeter gets share of £654,000 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping

Exeter gets share of £654,000 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping

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Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in Exeter received a big boost today with news that the city has won part of £654,000 government funding.

Working closely with homelessness providers and partners in the community and voluntary sector, along with East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge District Councils, Exeter will receive a share of the pot to help prevent homelessness through innovative solutions and tackle rough sleeping in the city.

Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for Customer Access, said the grant was a fantastic early Christmas present for Exeter. “We are committed to ensuring that everyone in Exeter has a roof over their head and that rough sleeping becomes a thing of the past.

“There is much work to be done but this money will help us work with those threatened with homelessness so that we can prevent it happening in the first place.”

The funding is split into two grants:
• Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council (EDDC), Teignbridge District Council (TDC) and Mid Devon District Council (MDDC) has been identified as one of the 28 new ‘trailblazer’ areas across the country and secured £359,000 collectively as part of a £50 million programme aimed at preventing people from becoming homeless.

• Exeter City Council working with EDDC, TDC and MDDC, as well as homelessness providers such as Julian House and St Petrocks, has won £295,000 to help tackle rough sleeping.

The grants will help the local authorities to understand why people are on the streets, their life experience and how best they can be assisted to move away from living on the streets. There will be a strong emphasis on prevention, finding solutions for families and individuals before they end up sleeping rough.

The initiative will focus on reducing unnecessary duplication between services and the introduction of early targeted support for those at risk and experiencing issues such as redundancy, illness or disability.

The new programme will work with a wide range of partners, across councils, the community sector, hospitals and the courts system to prevent households from homelessness through direct support and assistance. The overriding focus will be on the individual being encouraged to take ownership of their own housing need.

Today’s funding comes from the new £50 million programme to provide an innovative approach to tackling homelessness, with prevention at its heart, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid in October.

Further reading: 
My Storify feed on the issue: 21/12/16 | Homelessness Trailblazer Fund

Exeter City FC supporting people living with dementia

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Exeter City FC supporting people affected by dementia

As part of Exeter City Football Club’s commitment to the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) the One Game One Community match event was held at St James Park. The event enabled over 40 people living with dementia and their families to enjoy complimentary tickets to the Exeter v Luton Town game.

Gina Awad who leads EDAA delivered two Dementia Friends sessions to staff at the Club, one in the Soring and the second as part of #TeamDementiaFriends campaign. The Club were inspired to go the extra mile recognising the need for further dementia awareness in the community.

A summary of the event included; all the players sporting t-shirts for their warm up illustrating “working towards a dementia friendly city’, EDAA had a stand in Red Square raising awareness, use of the community Hospitality box for specially invited guests, a feature in the programme and a bucket collection.

In addition at half time Exeter City Council officially joined as the latest members of the alliance, honouring their commitment and action towards a dementia friendly city.

One attendee bought her 90 year old father to the match and encapsulated her feelings, she said

“It was such a lovely day yesterday. My father cannot remember how long it is since he last saw a football match, but he thinks it is at least 60 years. It is the only time my father and my son have had ‘man time’ together as well. For me, the day is a memory that I will always want to retain, along with the photos and the Exeter City FC hat I bought my father. He simply loved it every moment of the day, the hot dog, the hot chocolate, the game and spending time with family. My son, the football fan, is now trying to get the rest of the family along to a game to enjoy the atmosphere, so maybe Exeter City FC will have some new fans as well. Thank you for making a magical day for us all”.

Gina said “we have received some truly heartfelt responses as a result of the event and this illustrates how meaningful our work really is for people living with dementia in the community and their families. What was wonderful to see was the uptake from local care homes and their residents a focus that felt important to pursue”.

All that was needed for a perfect end to the day was a goal from Exeter City but it wasn’t meant to be!

Exeter City Council | Motion on Wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plans

At its meeting held on 13 December 2016, Exeter City Council considered a Notice of Motion by Cllr Chris Musgrave under Standing Order No.6.

Minute 80 of the meeting notes:

Notice of Motion by Councillor Musgrave under Standing Order No.6

 

Councillor Musgrave , seconded by Councillor Morse, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-

“Exeter City Council notes that the Government requires 44 Footprint Areas across the UK to prepare NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans for their area which will:

i. Contribute to cuts of at least £2.5bn nationally this year, and £22bn within the next five years, to wipe out the NHS so-called financial deficit; and

ii. achievethis by implementing ‘new models of care’ that are set out in NHS England’s 5-Year Forward View (2014).

NHS bodies are severely limited in how they can oppose these cuts because they risk losing access to the £8bn NHS Transformation Fund.

However, local authorities are in an excellent position to make clear their complete opposition to the programme. 

Exeter City Council therefore calls on Devon County Council to join together with other Councils and campaign groups to widely publicise the details of all proposed cuts and changes to local NHS services.

We further call on Devon County Council to refuse to sign up to any STP, until the local proposals have been subject to a full and proper consultation.”

In presenting the Notice of Motion, Cllr Musgrave highlighted that he was proud that his party had created the NHS over 60 years ago and that the NHS was vital providing free health for the residents of this country. He hoped that he would get cross party support to resist the Sustainability and Transformation Plans. The NHS was no longer financially sustainable and the closure and relocation of some services in Exeter were affecting local residents and causing stress on local services. The City Council in supporting this motion would therefore assist the County Council in resisting the plan.

A Member [Cllr Andrew Leadbetter] stated that the County Council had passed a motion opposing these Government proposals and this motion would help the County Council in challenging theSustainability and Transformation Plan.

Another Member [Cllr Kevin Mitchell] stated that the provision of social and health care should be combined and all political parties should work together to find a solution to ensure the long term sustainability of the NHS.

All Members fully supported this motion.

The Notice of Motion was put to the vote and carried unanimously.

E&E | Taking tents from Exeter homeless and on-the-spot fines dropped from controversial PSPO plans

E&E

30 November 2016

Taking tents from Exeter homeless and on-the-spot fines dropped from controversial PSPO plans

by Alex Richards

Controversial plans for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering Exeter city centre, revised after public outcry, are up for consultation.

The powers would help authorities in the city clamp down on anti social behaviour.

However, strong concern was voiced nationally that the proposed powers granted by the PSPO went too far, criminalising the homeless rather than helping them.

Reflecting public opinion, the council has returned with proposals which have either dropped or revised certain aspects of their proposals.

In particular, controls on street encampments have been completely removed from the plans.

Controls on begging have been limited to solely restrict aggressive begging, where people feel intimidated.

In addition, on-the-spot fixed fines for anti social behaviour have been replaced with notices issued after the offence.

An option would be available for “positive action”, including Acceptable Behaviour Contracts.

The revised proposals will be put to residents and businesses in a series of local public meetings in areas of the city the PSPO would directly cover.

The authority revealed it had received more than 1,200 responses following a four month consultation exercise into whether a PSPO should be introduced.

Cllr Rob Hannaford, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Place said: “Consultation is never a box ticking exercise – especially with something as important as a Public Space Protection Order.

A demo against the PSPO earlier this year

“However many residents and businesses in Exeter are suffering from the effects of chronic antisocial behaviour and we must be in a position to help them if there is an option to do so.

Adding: “I believe these revised plans get that balance right.”

In February this year, comedian Mark Thomas held a demonstration outside Exeter Civic Centre over the PSPO plans.

He labeled it a “bullies charter” and “mean-spirited rubbish.”

“These orders are all about keeping city centres nice and clean for a good shopping experience,” added Mr Thomas,

“But life has little blemishes and the council’s attitude is the mentality of a shopping mall security guard. It’s bullying, nasty and vicious.”

The proposals will go before the council in February next year.

Here’s when and where the public meetings have been scheduled:

Monday December 5 at 7pm, Riverside Church & Conference Centre, 13-14 Okehampton Street

Tuesday December 6 at 6pm, Guildhall (businesses only)

Wednesday December 7 at 7pm, Exeter Community Centre, 17 St. David’s Hill

Thursday December 8 at 7pm, St. Sidwell’s Primary School, York Road

Futher reading:
Read the article on the E&E website

Read the article on the E&E Facebook timeline

Gale & Snowden | New PassivHaus flats adjacent to Rennes Tower

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Progress on-site for more Council homes in Exeter

Work on a  social housing scheme is progressing well on-site and the next generation of council-owned homes are being realised for a Local Authority in the South West.

Work commenced in September on 26 new flats in adjacent to Rennes Tower, Pinhoe, Exeter which signify the latest and largest housing development that Gale & Snowden Architects has undertaken with Exeter City Council (ECC).  The Passivhaus scheme, incorporating Building Biology principles, marks almost ten years of teamwork, delivering low energy, healthy homes for Council tenants. The design represents the latest step in Gale & Snowden’s evolutionary approach to Passivhaus aimed at reducing costs, simplifying and speeding up construction, enhancing collaboration with the contractor, and optimising building performance for future climate scenarios.

The four-storey development on Vaughan Road is being built by CG Fry with whom G&S worked on Reed Walk and Bevan House, two previous ECC housing schemes which were completed in 2015 and 2013 respectively.  Once complete, it will take the tally of G&S Passivhaus social housing units in Exeter over the 100 mark!

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Aerial image courtesy of Beton Bauen Limited
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26 Passivhaus flats for Exeter City Council Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd

Building on Gale & Snowden’s previous experience with Passivhaus, this project for Exeter City Council explores an alternative construction methodology based around monolithic clay external walls.  These large format blocks and thin bed mortar system allow for increased speed of construction and, once the homes are finished, the hygroscopic properties of the clay blocks buffer and moderate humidity levels providing a stable, healthy internal environment.

The scheme is due for completion in 2017.

ECC signs up to EDAA

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At half time at today’s match between Exeter City FC and Luton Town, Cllr Emma Morse and myself took to the pitch at St James Park to formally announce that Exeter City Council is now a member of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance [EDAA\ and is working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Council.

The match itself provided the club and the Football in the Community [FitC] programme  the opportunity to show support for the Kick It Out campaign funded by the The Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Premier League and The English Football League (EFL).

The aim of the Kick It Out campaign is to raise the awareness of equality, inclusion and diversity policies and practices in football, and this season ECFC and FitC are using this opportunity to raise the profile of their partnership of EDAA and promote the amazing work undertaken by the Alliance.

EDAA hosted a reception in the Dick Pym Suite where Emma and myself meet with members of the Club, and people with dementia with their carers.

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EDAA reception in Dick Pym Suite

The players of both teams wore special Kick It Out T-shirts – both to warm up in and to return to the pitch for kick-off. ECFC were in black ones and LTFC wore yellow ones – and the players gave their T-shirts to [mainly young] members of the crowd.

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EDAA held a bucket collection before and after the match, as well as at half-time…

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Some of the EDAA bucket collection team

…and around 40 people either living with dementia or their family carer were guests of EDAA. They thoroughly enjoyed their time watching the game – Becky in particular was extremely vocal in her suport of City!

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Guests of EDAA at the match

Programme Note:

Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) is a group of people and organisations who believe a dementia friendly Exeter needs greater community awareness and opportunities to live well with dementia.

We are very grateful for the support of our many members which include Exeter City FC, Football in the Community and Exeter City Supporters Trust. Our members have made a commitment to take practical actions that help build a dementia friendly community.

At its heart, a dementia-friendly community is a caring community. A place where individuals are aware of each other and the challenges they face in day-to-day life; a place where organisations and businesses build an awareness of dementia into their services and environment; and a place where carers of people living with dementia are supported both practically and emotionally.

One of the best ways to build a dementia-friendly city is for people to attend a free Dementia Friends session. The sessions include learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help.

Gina Awad, who leads the Alliance, highlights the tremendous support received to date. “We are proud to share that our membership comprises a number of sectors from across the city. The response to our aspirations towards a Dementia Friendly Exeter has been inspiring and empowered businesses and individuals to take practical action.

“One of our members the Exeter Picturehouse were keen to collaborate with us and have introduced Dementia Friendly Screenings as a regular feature to their programme producing really positive outcomes for people living with dementia and their families. The community spirit and commitment to support our cause has been heartening and we look forward to galvanising more partnerships in the coming months.”

Today we are proud to welcome Exeter City Council as our newest member and thank them for their support.

Councillor Bull, Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods said. “I believe that Exeter City Council has a duty to raise awareness and help in any way it can.

“So today I am delighted to announce that the City Council has taken the next step and become a member of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance. We are already looking at ways to make signage around the council’s Customer Service Centre more accessible to people with dementia, and there is now a group of councillors meeting on a regular basis to look at ways to become a Dementia Friendly Council, and in time make Exeter a Dementia Friendly City.

“I can reveal that the council will be working to deliver a number of actions, including:

– continuing to raise awareness of dementia by arranging Dementia Friends sessions for staff, councillors and contractors

– training two Dementia Champions, to run information sessions and promoting dementia awareness with the Council

– finding ways to make our car parks more dementia friendly.

“These actions are just the start – we will be looking  to add to the Action Plan in time.

“We are proud that Exeter City Council is now committed to making the council, and the city, more Dementia Friendly.”

Free membership of the EDAA is available to organisations committed to practical change. To find out how to join the Alliance go to www.exeterdementia.org.uk or contact us exeterdaa@outlook.com.

For direct support the Alzheimer’s Society Devon Support Service provides a range of support services for people with dementia, their families and Carers. They can be contacted on 0300 123 2029 or devon@alzheimers.org.uk

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Further reading:
Local Government Association/Innovations in Dementia: Dementia friendly communities – guidance for councils [July 2015]