NEW Ice Rink in Honiton

As a parent of two children under ten I was delighted to see two new opportunities for children in Honiton covered in the Midweek Herald this week. The ice rink sounds great and best of luck to the Harris family at Turks Head Lodge. I just hope the prices are affordable for all families in town.

As a candidate in the local elections and an ex-businesswoman myself, it is so important that we support our local businesses. I know some people in town are concerned about business rates being too high and shops struggling – if I’m elected on May 5th, I will look into this and find out more, and see how we can do more to help local businesses.

The other opportunity now open to all is the Allhallows Museum which is not charging an entry fee in 2011. We might now take the opportunity to visit with our children, having been put off before by the charges. Happy to leave a donation or buy a little something in the shop as we do when we visit the Thelma Hulbert Gallery and their fantastic children’s activity sessions. It would be nice to see school holiday activities returning in the library too if possible.

East Devon Green Party Opposes Maternity Cuts at Honiton Hospital


The East Devon Green Party have written to all 20 councillors on the health scrutiny committee to object to the proposals to close the Maternity Unit:

Dear Councillor

I am writing representing the East Devon Green Party and would like to raise our objections to the proposed changes to the services at Honiton Maternity Hospital.

The East Devon Green Party objects to the closure of the unit and the changes to the way mothers and expectant mothers/parents will been cared for in the East Devon area. After attending several meetings, both at The Knowle and public consultation meetings and reading the literature involved, we do not feel that the proposed changes offer any improvement in services in our community. Quite the opposite in fact, we feel that moving the care from the unit to home based/midwife care will be extremely detrimental to the service. This is not offering women more choice, again quite the opposite. It limits choice and for many women. 24 – 48 care within the unit is what they need to establish breastfeeding and simply recover from an exhausting physical experience.

The East Devon Green Party are an active part of the Honiton Maternity Matters group which involves representatives from four political parties (Green, Labour, Conservative and LibDems) as well as many councillors, medical professionals and parents. There is a huge amount of upset and outrage about this proposal within this community and we are hoping that the scrutiny committee, of which you are a member is listening to all of the objections and will do the decent thing and not allow these unworkable and unfair proposals to go any further.

I look forward to hearing from you & hope to attend the meeting in the morning.

Kind Regards

Sharon Pavey (resident in Honiton)

Coordinator East Devon Green Party

Photo above – Sharon Pavey on the right & Sharon Howe demonstrating at the East Devon District Council offices at the Knowle in Sidmouth.


East Devon Green Party invite Green Party members, friends, and supporters to a fun farm visit, and barbecue, at Mosshayne Farm, just east of Exeter, (directions below), on Sunday 26th September, starting at 3 p.m.

There will be a tour of the farm by tractor and trailer, lasting about 2 hours, suitable for families. Mosshayne Farm is an organic farm producing milk and chickens. After the tour there will be a barbecue for those who wish to stay.

The tour will cost £5 per adult, and £3 per child (under 18), proceeds going to East Devon Green Party. For the barbecue, if you wish to take part, please bring your own food to be barbecued (veggie BBQ area provided) and perhaps something to share such as a salad, and your own drink. Bread rolls, potatoes, non-alcoholic drinks, plates, etc will be provided.

The host Henry Gent is an East Devon Green Party member & press officer for the local branch. As a farmer, Henry will be giving an informative tour with information about organic farming techniques etc.You will be getting out into the fields and seeing chickens and baby calves plus milking cows!

You will have a chance to talk to Henry and ask any questions whatsoever. We may have a chance to discuss Green Party policies for agriculture, perhaps after the tour (whilst any children have a chance to eat & play etc).

We are inviting Green Party members, friends, and supporters, from East Devon and elsewhere in the area. Numbers are limited to thirty so please book your place asap to avoid disappointment. Advance payment please with cheques made payable to “East Devon Green Party”. Please post cheques or contact:

Henry Gent, Mosshayne Farm, Westclyst, Exeter, EX1 3TR.


Tel: 01392 469334 or 07974 373554

Directions: Either:

From Junction 29 of the M5 take the A30 towards Honiton but get in the left hand lane of the A30 as soon as possible then exit signposted Rockbeare. Go past the “Blackhorse Inn” and another 2-300 metres, then turn sharp left into Blackhorse Lane. Go about 150 metres then turn right into Mosshayne Lane. Go about 400 metres, to the T junction, and turn right into Mosshayne Lane private section. Go about 1 kilometre on the private lane and park at the courtyard.

Or (if approaching from the northern side of Exeter):Take the B3181 from Pinhoe towards Broadclyst, and go past Animal Kingdom on the left. Go another 4-500 metres and turn right into Mosshayne lane (about 200 metres after the speed camera). Go about 1 kilometre (passing straight past Westclyst Farm and Westclyst Barnyard). Park at the courtyard.

Listen to Honiton Parents!!!

Honiton maternity unit public meetingThere was a public meeting in Honiton on Saturday (26th June 2010) at the Royal British Legion and I managed to pop along for part of it. It is part of a series of consultation exercises so the NHS (Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) can listen to the views of people in the area – concerning the proposed changes to maternity provision at Honiton, Okehampton and Tiverton.

Unfortunately – I don’t think anyone attending the meeting really felt that the panel of three NHS representatives were really listening to anyone, except themselves! Their initial presentation was supposed to take just 5 – 10 minutes and went on for about 20 mins, with the women trying to justify cutting the excellent maternity services at Honiton with stories of their own difficult childbirth experiences!!

Vernon Whitlock (town councillor for Honiton) was a great chairperson and supported the many mothers in the room, most with their own little ones playing at their feet, with their comments and questions about the cutbacks being proposed. The Save Honiton Maternity Unit group handed in their petition (photo at the top). We collected quite a few sheets of names on our own Green Party Stalls over the past few months, which contributed to the 1500 signatures handed in (with another thousand or two to be handed in at a later date). New MP for Tiverton & Honiton Neil Parish stood up to support the parents asking for these changes to be reconsidered. See Midweek Herald article here.

I came away from the meeting quite angry and disillusioned at the NHS not seeming to listen, but just going through the motions of showing that they are consulting the public. I would be interested in all the groups and individuals who are opposed to these changes getting together to work out how this can be fought as a collective. The East Devon Green Party is against cuts to NHS services and we are prepared to work with other groups and individuals in the area to oppose these changes. Contact me (Sharon)

Beech Hayes Farm Open Day

BeechayesVisited Beech Hayes Farm in Churchinford, Somerset last Sunday – they have a fabulous annual open day. Weather was great, lots of tea and cakes and interesting stalls. Ice cream galore, baby animals and a few familiar faces. Then a mad dash off to a children’s party my little boy was going to at a farm up near Smeatharpe, except we got completely lost and were 40 minutes late! All good fun!

For more info on Beech Hayes Farm see

Clegg aims to re-balance parental responsibility

Nick Clegg today vowed to end the tradition that sees mothers do the lion’s share of looking after children by giving fathers the right to far more flexible leave.

The Deputy Prime Minister attacked the ‘measly’ two weeks he was given when his third son was born as he gave a major speech on the family. And he insisted the whole premise that mothers will be the main carers should be destroyed in what amounts to a revolution of parents’ rights. A new Childhood and Families Ministerial Task Force will look at the best way to re-balance the family set-up.

Read more:

Honiton Maternity Cuts Public Meeting Sat 15th May


Honiton town council has called a public meeting on Saturday 15th May at 10.30am, The meeting will be at the Makarness Hall, High Street Honiton. The town council has again invited NHS Devon to attend and are awaiting a response.

Anyone who has been collecting signatures for the Honiton Maternity unit petition please could you get them into Honiton town council by midday, Friday 14 May. We can then present them to the NHS and show what local feeling towards the changes at Honiton Maternity unit really are!

I’m hoping to make this meeting on Saturday, can anyone else come too? We need people to represent the East Devon Green Party. If we’re hoping to make a breakthrough by getting a Green councillor on the EDCC (East Devon County Council) then we need to be VISIBLE all throughout the year! Please add your comment below if you can come. Thanks.

I’m supporting the NSPCC

I’ve signed up to the NSPCC’s I STAND FOR CHILDREN CAMPAIGN as the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for East Devon.

The NSPCC believes that protecting children must remain a political priority, in order to keep children safe from harm and protect those who have experienced abuse. The NSPCC is a charity which means a lot to me and I’ve previously jumped out of a plane (at 12,000 feet with a fear of heights) to raise money for them !

I want the next elected Parliament to:

  • ensure that vital child protection reforms are fully implemented and resourced, following the death of Baby Peter and other child deaths since
  • continue to fund helpline services for children, and for adults concerned about a child’s safety or welfare
  • tackle domestic violence from a child’s point of view
  • make the internet safer for children
  • strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner in England
  • provide resources for therapeutic services for children who have experienced abuse

As a mother of two small children (aged 8 and 4) I understand the need to ensure that all the issues above are tackled. Unfortunately, I was one of those children who lived with domestic violence throughout my whole childhood and teenage years. There was no support there for me or my younger siblings but if we all support organisations like the NSPCC and Women’s Aid then there is much more chance the children going through abuse right now, will have help.

Please support the NSPCC by clicking here.

Fair Funding for Devon Schools

Did you know

  • Devon gets the fourth lowest Government grant for education in England. We are the 148th lowest funded out of 151 English authorities.
  • According to Government funding, every pupil in Devon is worth £375 less than the national average and that cannot be fair.
  • Schools face similar costs wherever they are. Staff pay is set nationally, not locally. But Devon schools often pay higher energy bills than other parts of England.

I had been asked to sign a petition from the Hands up for Fairer School Funding campaign for fair funding in Devon Schools The petition actually looks like it’s been closed and sent to 10 Downing Street now. I think this is the case when they have enough names on it.

Ten key facts about funding for schools in Devon

  1. The Government distributes funding for schools through local councils and each education authority historically has received different funding
  2. Devon is the 148th lowest funded out of 151 education authorities in England
  3. This year Devon is receiving £3,842 for every pupil
  4. The top funded authority in the country – City of London – receives £7,603
  5. The national average is £4,217
  6. So every pupil in a Devon school is effectively worth £375 less – every year – than the national average.  This amounts to £35 million less funding for Devon children’s education
  7. For a 1,000-pupil secondary school in Devon this amounts to £375,000 lost from the budget every year
  8. For a 200-pupil primary school in Devon this amounts to £75,000 lost from the budget every year
  9. But all schools face similar costs wherever they are. Staff pay is set nationally, not locally
  10. And Devon schools often pay higher energy bills and have higher travel costs than other parts of England.