Supporting HALFF Charity

006For those of you who have heard of the Axminster based HALFF charity, I don’t need to tell you what amazing work they do – they really need your help to get an award worth £5000 they’ve applied for. All you have to do is go to register then vote for HALFF. I did it last week – it took less than 5 minutes. The voting deadline is 31st May 2014.

For those of you who have not heard of them, where have you been!!! They are currently running FREE courses in Honiton (Learn to cook on a budget & Cooking & eating when pregnant)

HALFF are one of 250 applicants for a community award through Engage Mutual.  There are 10 awards up for grabs, and HALFF have applied for £5,000.   The grant will benefit children who for come from troubled families, so don’t have parents to cook for them, and vulnerable elderly people who are too frail to cook for themselves.

HALFF say “As a small charity, it is really hard for us to drum up the support we need so please do vote for us.  We believe that everyone should have the knowledge to cook and access good, healthy food, not just those who can afford expensive cooking courses. ”

For more info on what HALFF do see their website

Thanks for reading & don’t forget to vote – before tomorrow !!!

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)

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

No Glory in War

redwhitepoppies“Come each November over the next four years, let the red poppy and the white poppy be worn together to honour those who died, to keep our faith with them, to make of this world a place where freedom and peace can reign together.”

This is from a very moving article by Michael Morpugo who was one of the first signatories of the No Glory Open Letter. He gave a reading at the initial launch of the No Glory campaign in May 2013. Add your name to the No Glory Open Letter here…

Results of the Fire Walk

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me for the Fire Walk in the autumn for WESC. Maggie – the fundraiser who organised it has emailed me to say:


“It was indeed an epic Fire Walk this year, caused by the weather, but our brave Fire Walking team all overcame the elements, and we now know that nearly £2000 has been raised to support the children and young people here at WESC Foundation.

Everyone overcame their fears and did something incredible, and in so doing have raised this impressive total. This money will allow 2 of the young people who attend WESC all year round, to have a week long break at The Calvert Trust on Exmoor, where they can experience exciting and challenging outdoor activities. The activities include abseiling, sailing, challenge courses, zip wires, climbing, riding and much, much more. At The Calvert Trust, they will learn that it is what they can do that counts, and their confidence will literally soar.

They too, can then feel that same amazing sense of achievement when they overcome a challenge, that you all experienced at the Fire Walk.

Thank you all so much for joining in, doing it and making a difference,


Isn’t this wonderful ! Thanks everyone.

Will Devon County Councillors protect badgers?


The badger debate comes to Devon….as Devon County Council have to decide whether to allow culling on their land. There was a cabinet meeting yesterday which Ottery St Mary Councillor Claire Wright has reported back on in her blog

Labour Councillor Jill Owen (St David’s & St James – Exeter) proposed a motion to prevent badger culling on Devon County Council land arguing that the badger cull was ineffective and lacking in evidence, as well as inhumane. She proposed looking into alternatives such as vaccination instead. The cabinet was presented with a 6,000 name petition from 38 Degrees and various councillors spoke in favour of the motion.

Claire says “Devon County Council conservative leader John Hart has deferred the debate until the full council meets on Thursday 20 February. There were some brief speeches of support from opposing groups. Cllr Owen spoke, as well as Cllr Andy Hannon (Labour – Priory St Leonards Exeter) and Robert Vint (Green Party – Totnes) and I also said a few words in favour of the motion. You can pick up the webcast of the cabinet meeting this morning here. It should be available shortly –

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

Sexual Health Experiences

Yesterday marked the start of Sexual Health Week 2013, and Brook and FPA are using this week to highlight what they’ve found from the first year of the XES – We Can’t Go Backwards campaign.

The XES mapSince the campaign launched, over 100 people have come forward to tell Brook/FPA their stories on the campaign’s interactive map, providing Brook/FPAwith real life case studies.

This has given Brook/FPA really valuable insight into the range of experiences that people have had of getting contraception and support, from terrible difficulties to hugely positive experiences.

The insights from these stories have built on findings from the economic report, Unprotected Nation, launched earlier this year, which highlighted the impact of cuts to sexual health services and found that, as well as the effects on our health and wellbeing, the UK would shockingly be saddled with up to £10bn debt if cuts worsened.

Brook/FPA really need more people to rate their experiences of sexual health services, good and bad, so that they can gain an understanding of the bigger picture on the ground. If you haven’t done so, please add your experience to the map. See

If you’re a professional working in sexual health you can also tell them about the service you provide. Brook/FPA want to hear from you.

Please do forward this message on to your friends and colleagues and ask them to get involved and rate their sexual health service.

Badger cull begins

A very sad day…………..the badger cull has begun. I’ve followed this emotive issue through all the high’s and low’s and like many others hoped that we’d never see the day when our government allows thousands of previously protected wild animals to be slaughtered when there is no evidence this will make any difference to the Bovine TB situation – in fact it could make things much worse. It will also cost an incredible sum when there are other options on the table – like biosecurity and vaccination. Please sign this petition if you want the government to discuss ending the cull

I went to a Candlelit Vigil march in Minehead last night, it started off on a high, feeling positive and meeting people we’ve met at other events and meeting new people too. I was surprised to see pro-cull supporters in the crowd too doing a terrible job of blending in, taking lots of photos of us all ! There was a lot of press around and Maria below was interviewed in this video The march itself at dusk with everyone holding candles was quite moving. There was about 300 of us there, all ages, all walks of life, all united in thinking this cull is very very wrong.

This is the latest statement from the Green Party on this situation:

25 August 2013

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, speaking tonight as protesters gathered before the planned start of the slaughter of up to 5,000 badgers in six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire, condemned the cull plan as inhumane and unscientific.

Bennett said: “I completely understand the distress that the continuing problem of TB in cattle is causing to farmers. But wanting to do something should not be pushing this government to make the terrible decision to go ahead with this cull, which could actually magnify the TB problem.

“As the Randomised Badger-Culling Trial (RBCT) concluded, the focus of funding and research should be cattle-based measures to control TB, and funding for badger vaccination trials should be restored.

“The planned actions in Somerset and Gloucester are inhumane and not backed by the scientific evidence.”

Caroline Allen, veterinary surgeon and Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues, said: “This is a massive undertaking and there are so many ways in which this cull could go wrong.  The ‘perturbation effect’ is likely to result in the incidence of TB actually increasing.  When you bear in mind that the measure of success is a reduction in TB of around 15%, i.e. leaving 85% of the disease untouched, this all seems completely nonsensical.”

Bennett added: “This government, whether it’s on energy policy, on welfare benefits policy, or on drug laws, far too often ignores the evidence. It’s this policy – and approach to policy-making – that should be culled, not the badgers.”

Badger march
Me and Maria (left) at the march in Minehead

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.