Climate Change – how do we make a difference?

It is now 5 years since I ‘woke up’ to what was happening to our beautiful planet.

earthReports on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were all over the media in 2009 and this caught my attention. I felt the need to do something about climate change and decided entering politics was the way I could try and make a difference. I joined the Green Party and stood as Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon in 2010.

Since then I’ve stood for town, district and county councils and I’ve been a town councillor for Honiton Town council since 2011. I was a founding member of East Devon Green Party in 2011 and helped set up Transition Town Honiton the same year.

The East Devon Green Party has grown tenfold over the past three years and now has four members working hard as parish councillors. The support for the Green Party in this rural traditionally Tory area was illustrated in the results for Honiton St Michael’s last year, when I polled 25% in the Devon County Council elections.

So……five years on I’m thinking, is being in politics the way to do something about climate change? I’d love to hear from you, please do leave a comment, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Volunteers Needed in Honiton

8717873_origLooking for a voluntary job – can you spare 2 hours a month? We need you at Honiton Plough and Share Credit Union. I am the volunteer co-ordinator for the branch which is basically an ethical community bank. They do savings accounts and loans but unlike these notorious payday lenders, they offer affordable loans to people who perhaps cannot easily get credit at a low rate elsewhere. We could do with a couple more volunteers – just to do one Tuesday morning every 4-6 weeks. This is from 9.45am until just after 12. There is training and it’s a great way to meet people too. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more – contact me.

An Ethical Community Bank in Honiton

credit-union.gi_.top_The Honiton Service Point is part of the Devon wide Plough and Share Credit Union which is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Devon’s own Plough & Share Credit Union is celebrating having a service point in Honiton for a year now. Completely staffed by dedicated local volunteers, the service point is open once a week on a Tuesday from 10am – 12 midday in Honiton Library on New Street.

Town Councillor Sharon Pavey has recently taken over managing the service point and says “I am passionate about being able to provide an ethical community bank facility here in Honiton and have been involved as a volunteer since we started over a year ago. In order to make it a success we really need everyone to support it. We need more people to open savings accounts and we need to spread the word that we can offer an alternative to payday loans, because we offer affordable borrowing options.”

Sharon is hoping the local churches and schools can help promote the Credit Union which only serves the people of Devon. A small steering group will be set up to oversee the service point. Sharon adds “We need a few people who believe in the importance of having a local ethical, affordable banking option. They would need to give a little time to oversee the project, help recruit volunteers and publicise the service point.”

A Credit Union is a democratic, financial co-operative owned and controlled by its own members. Full details about the credit union are available online on www.ploughandshare.co.uk or you can call Sharon on 07447 597390.

Petition is handed in

Handing St Michaels Petition in
I handed in the petition today asking Devon County Council to maintain funding for the St. Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton and to resist pressure to cut services for the elderly and vulnerable people in our town. Pictured above with Leader of the council Cllr John Hart, who thanked me for the petition and told me that it will go forward as part of the consultation process.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and helped collect names, we managed to get a total of 1,362 signatures. The next stage is a County Council meeting next Wednesday 14th May – which you can watch live on web cam or afterwards if you cannot make it. I was told today that no decisions are being made at this stage, just discussions on the consultation process. I did explain today that I am aware of several families who feel completely in the dark and would like to know more about what is happening. I was told that we would receive a formal response to the petition detailing what is happening.
Thank you to Kate Jones for taking this photo at County Hall, Exeter

Save St Michael’s Day Centre

stall to launch st michaels petition
From left - Green Party members Emily McIvor, Olly Davies, Sharon Pavey, Ana Pulteney & Martin Paine

The East Devon Green Party launched a petition to save St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton on Saturday 8th March. Members of the local party were astounded at the response as people flooded to the stall to sign once word got round the High Street that a petition had started to stop the much loved local centre from closing.

Petition organiser and local town councillor Sharon Pavey said “We knew St Michael’s was close to everyone’s hearts but we did not expect this immediate level of support, it’s incredible. It just shows that there is such wonderful community spirit in Honiton and we look after our own.”

Over 300 people signed the petition on Saturday morning with many commenting how disgusted and let down they are by Devon County Council. The day centre provides a much needed service for older residents in Honiton and is a lifeline for their carers who only have a few hours a week to themselves when their loved ones are using the centre.

Several local town councillors have said they’re appalled at the plans to close the centre as have the local doctors surgery and Headway, a support group for people with brain injuries who use the centre.

Sharon Pavey added “I think we all know that cutting services like these is extremely short-sighted and will have a direct impact on the health of elderly people. This leads to increased spending on medical care in the long-run. We hear that levels of dementia are rising and we have a large elderly population, particularly here in East Devon, so where is the common sense in this decision.”

Petitions are available to sign at Honiton Surgery, the TRIP office on New Street, Honiton Sports Shop and Wendy’s Cookshop. There is also an online petition for anyone living in Devon to sign (if they’ve not already signed the paper version) http://freepetition.co.uk/devoncc/LivePetition.aspx

We have been hearing of people having problems accessing the petition via certain web browsers like Firefox. This has been reported to Devon County Council. If you are able to use Chrome or access the petition on a mobile phone, please do that or email me direct & I can post you a paper petition. Contact me.

PLEASE NOTE ONLY DEVON RESIDENTS’ SIGNATURES WILL BE COUNTED ON THIS PETITION (but thank you to everyone else all over the world who has offered support).

NEWSFLASH – As of Monday 17th March we have over 600 signatures on & offline combined but we need many many more – can you help take a petition round your street, your village, your workplace or put the link on Facebook – or help out at a street stall? Get in touch.

Sharon Outside St Michaels

Honiton Bygone Christmas Event

large-9008-honiton-bygone-logoJust letting you know about an event happening this weekend in Honiton. Honiton Bygone Christmas takes place on Sunday 8th December from 10am until 4pm and is your opportunity to SHOP LOCAL this Season.

What’s Happening……………..Live Music, Shops open, Pockets of Market Stalls and Family Events.

  • Stalls located at The Baptist Church, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, St Paul’s Church, Hybrid Gallery, Black Lion Court.
  • Santa & Elves will be making a visit
  • Family Events  at Honiton Pottery, The Family History Shop and Thelma Hulbert Gallery
  • Live Music at Boston Teaparty, Honiton Wine Bar, Three Tuns & St Paul’s Church and through the town
  • Wendy’s Cookshop and many independent retailers will be opening and welcoming everyone with mince pies and mulled wine.
  • Shopkeeper & stall holder ye olde costume competition, Raffle, Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt
  • A great day planned in Honiton we end the day with the Christingle Service at St Paul’s Church at 4pm


Councillor Vacancy in Honiton

Being a councillor means you can help raise awareness of local groups like Headway pictured, who I visited earlier this year
Being a councillor means you can help raise awareness of local groups like Headway pictured, who I visited earlier this year

There are currently 17 town councillors on Honiton Town Council. We normally have 18 councillors – 9 for each of the two wards but one councillor resigned last month. There is now a vacancy for a councillor to be co-opted. I personally find it a really rewarding role so I’m urging anyone who is interested in their town and has a little bit of time to invest into working for the good of the town – to apply to be a councillor.

Contact Honiton Town Council and make sure your letter of application and CV is sent in before noon on 30th September. It would be useful if you could attend the town council meeting on Monday 14th October to do a short presentation. Don’t worry – it only needs to be a one minute speech to say why you want to be a councillor.

£90k revamp planned for Honiton Skate Park

SkateboardingYoungsters in Honiton will soon be asked about their ideas for an improved skate park.
The well used but slightly tired skate park in Allhallows Field is set for the cash boost from EDDC, and in coming months East Devon District Council will be working alongside local youth groups and schools to find out what young people want to see there.
From their ideas a number of designs will be created then opened up to a vote to find the favourite.  It’s hoped the work will be completed by the end of this year.

Post election thanks

Election Day
Some of the members of East Devon Green Party at the count on May3rd 2013. From left Roger Saunders, me, Maggie Baldwin, Emily McIvor, Martin Paine and Henry Gent.

For those of you who weren’t at the count on Friday – this is my speech after gaining 25% of the vote in Honiton St Michael’s.


“Thank you to the returning officer and all the staff who have helped with this election both here and all across Devon. Congratulations to Cllr Randall Johnson and the other candidates on their results but most of all thank you to the 709 people who voted Green in Honiton St Michael’s. This is an incredible result in this area and just shows how much the tide is turning as people demand a fairer society to live in, a more supportive community and protection for this beautiful area we are so lucky to live in.


We must remember there were no Green Party candidates for the County Council election here 4 years ago, and today we have 6 outstanding Green Party candidates standing in East Devon, 48 Green Party candidates standing across the whole of Devon and 900 Green Party Candidates standing across the country –
more than ever before.


In Honiton St Michael’s – our team works all year round but we’ve been particularly busy for the last 4 months knocking on thousands of doors in all weathers! Lots of people have said we deserved to win for the sheer effort we have made, for the fact that we ask people about their concerns and issues and we LISTEN.


We will continue to listen and continue to build upon our success today. Thank you to the other 5 Green Party candidates in East Devon – Henry, Martin, Ben, Olly and Roger and my sincere thanks go to our amazing team – over 50 people who have worked so incredibly hard on this campaign. Particular thanks go to our election agent Kate Jones-Groves and our co-ordinator Emily McIvor and I mustn’t forget my husband Daniel and my children Natasha and Aleck.”

Volunteers needed for Honiton Credit Union

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I’ve just got involved with a group of people in Honiton who are working towards setting up a branch of the Devon Plough & Share Credit Union in town. A Credit Union is a democratic, financial co-operative owned and controlled by its own members – a people’s bank! The Mission of the Plough & Share Credit Union is to work towards the financial inclusion of all which fits in with the ethos of the Transition movement.

I went to the first public meeting the other day and heard that they need volunteers to staff the service point so I’ve offered but they do need a few more people to step forward. The service point might be open one morning or afternoon a week – although volunteers may just do one session per month depending on their availability. Volunteers receive training and for anyone needing to add skills and references to their CV – this is a fantastic opportunity. We can only make this happen with Community Support – so please pass this email onto anyone you think might be able to volunteer. Anyone interested should contact marianne@sutcliffe16.orangehome.co.uk