South West Green Party Cookbook

I’m extremely pleased to be able to announce that after many months of preparation – the South West Green Party cookbook is now available! Hot off the press from the lovely people at Axminster Printing, our book features over 60 vegetarian and vegan recipes contributed by Green Party members in the region.

The front & back cover of the book is one photo I took at the recent Embercombe apple day
The front & back cover of the book is one photo I took at the recent Embercombe apple day

You should be able to order the  book from your local Green Party here in the South West. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find your nearest group

Or contact the South West Green Party – see

As lovely as it is the turks turban squash is not included with the cookbook!
As lovely as it is the turks turban squash is not included with the cookbook!

Printed on 100% recycled paper, there are wonderful homemade soups, stews, salads, starters, main courses, cakes, biscuits, breads and more! And Caroline Lucas has contributed her delicious Christmas cake. It’s a great gift idea.


A huge thank you to Green Party member Cherry Puddicombe who did all the design work for free! Check out Cherry’s website The book includes a chapter on ‘Green Eateries’ – a useful list of veggie and vegan restaurants and cafe’s in the South West.

There are photos of Green Party members throughout the book
There are some friendly familiar faces dotted throughout the book


Sponsored Bike Ride

The South West Green Party raised over £300 on Saturday 8th October with a sponsored bike ride & walk along the canal in Exeter. The funds will go towards the campaign to get a Green MEP elected in the South West.

bike ride group
From left: Tris & Rob Woodland from Bridgwater Greens, Lizzie Woodman from Exeter Green Party, me in the pink scarf and my nine year old Natasha & Adam (Lizzie's son) on far right

The weather was much better than expected and we did about ten miles from the Quay right down past the Double Locks pub to the Turf and back again.

Natasha having a break at the ferry crossing to Topsham
Rob & Tris took the ferry over to Topsham
Rob & Tris took the ferry over to Topsham
Adam & Lizzie taking a break
A lovely place to enjoy some free time, either walking or cycling. We saw lots of wildlife along the way - herons, cormorants, dragonflies, ducks and lots of swans


Tasha enjoying a hot chocolate at The Turf
Tasha enjoying a hot chocolate at The Turf
On the way back to Exeter
On the way back to Exeter



Back on the train on the way home!
Back on the train on the way home!

Pedal Power – Improving Cycling in Honiton

East Devon Green Party Press Release Monday 22nd August 2011

While Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey was visiting the north-east last week, she took the opportunity to find out more about Darlington’s status as a designated ‘Cycling Demonstration Town’.

cyclingdarlingtonSharon says “I spent some of my childhood in Darlington so when I heard about all the work that has been done on sustainable travel there over the past seven years, I took the opportunity to find out more in order to bring some practical ideas back to Honiton.”

As a keen cyclist herself, the local Green Party co-ordinator would like to see the opportunities for cycling developed in Honiton in order to cut car journeys and congestion, reduce harmful emissions and improve health. Sharon says “I was interested to find out that 34% of car journeys in Darlington had the potential to be made using alternative transport or walking/cycling. It makes you wonder what that figure is here in Honiton which is a much smaller town with shorter distances from the outskirts into the centre”.

Darlington had less than 1% of children cycling to school in 2004 and now seven years on, 8% of children cycle to school (the national average is just 2%).

withkidsonbikesSharon adds “Apparently two out of three trips we make are less than 5 miles so there is a lot of potential to walk or cycle, but people do need safe routes, support and encouragement. Darlington was fortunate to obtain funding to allow them to run a bike hire scheme, develop a massive network of safe, marked routes, produce maps and guides, hold a cycling festival, and work constructively with schools and employers.”

Research also shows that improvements to sustainable travel can increase turnover in the high street by 5 to 15% because people who travel to the shops on foot, by bicycle or public transport perhaps surprisingly tend to spend more per head than those who travel by car.

Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it’s also a form of transport and can burn up to a staggering 650 calories in one hour. It is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK, with an estimated 3.1 million people cycling each month.

Inspired by her meeting in County Durham, Sharon is now talking with transport officers at East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and Sustrans to find out what plans they have to develop sustainable transport in the county and will be reporting back her findings to Honiton Town Council in due course.

Contact Sharon Pavey – co-ordinator East Devon Green Party


Honiton Community Centre

Honiton is split and I’m being asked which side I’m on….

For many (many) years there has been a group of people in the town who have been trying to develop and realise plans for a community centre or complex in the Devon town.

I have lived in the area now for almost three years, having moved here with my Honitonian husband Daniel and our two children aged nine and five. In my opinion, there are not enough good venues in the town for community activities and when I heard about the plans for a community centre, I thought yes, surely that would be a very good like allowing new activities as they once did with psychic reading experts. A bespoke building for the whole town to use for meetings, events, classes and more.

Then came the town poll, did they say it cost £2000 to administrate? And off the top of my head, I think it was about 70/30. That is 70% AGAINST the community centre. Very disappointing BUT this was a democratic way of measuring the feeling within the town. Democratic as far as this only measured the feelings of the minority who come out and vote in the town (I think this was ONLY about 30% in the last local elections!!)

Many objectors were opposed to the huge costs involved and money to be borrowed especially in the current economic climate. Then East Devon District Council withdrew the offer of the land to build on (the car park near the tourist info office & the Thelma Hulbert gallery).

Now I may be wrong (but my knowledge of all of this is just the same as the average Honiton resident, we pick up what is in the local papers etc) but I believe the town council is ignoring the results of the poll and pressing on with plans for the centre?

So this brings me back to whether I think Honiton should have a community centre.

I do think a town of this size should have a community centre and I do think that had the whole community been truly engaged in this debate, that many more local parents like me would have voted yes to the poll. I lived outside town at the time of the poll so couldn’t vote (which is strange in itself as my family, like many in the surrounding parishes use town facilities).

Although I think we should have a centre, I also think that we don’t need to be burdened with huge debt for future generations of Honiton. I read recently of another town in the region (I forget where) who had successfully raised enough to build their own community centre. What an admirable community!

I would like to see the plans and start thinking about how the centre could pay for itself. Perhaps this has already been discussed over the twenty or so years of planning but what about the centre being built of a low cost recycled material, eg tyres, glass, used wood etc ? Will the building be producing it’s own energy (solar etc) and making money from feed in tariffs? I presume there are also grants available for community ventures like this? if so many community groups want the venue then everyone should pull together to raise the funds to make it happen.

I think I’ve probably just touched on this issue and I do apologise if I have got my facts wrong. I welcome all comments on the issue and would like to find out more. Please add your comment below.

Sharon Pavey
Coordinator East Devon Green Party
Regional Fundraiser for South West Green Party
Prospective Green Party candidate for Honiton St Michaels ward

Communities Before Developers

I’m now part of a campaign group opposing East Devon District Council’s proposals for future development in East Devon. Communities Before Developers (CBD) was set up a few weeks ago and includes Ottery St Mary Town Councillors Claire Wright and Jo Talbot, Devon County, East Devon & Ottery St Mary councillor Roger Giles and the LibDem former parliamentary candidate for Tiverton & Honiton Dr Jon Underwood.

The public consultation on these plans (local development core strategy) started on 6 September 2010 and runs until 29 November 2010. Communities Before Developers says these proposals can only be described as a developer’s charter, resulting in urban sprawl across one of the most beautiful districts in the countryside, mainly thanks to new ‘flexible’ village built-up boundaries.

The council wants to build around 19,400 homes over the next 15 years or so. This is over 2,000 more than the previous Government imposed on East Devon, figures which were then widely regarded to be far too high. The previous Government’s housing targets have now been scrapped and most local councils have since revised their housing figures down.East Devon has increased them.

Read more over on the new website

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.

Two thirds of East Devon new mums exhausted when they leave hospital

Almost two thirds of East Devon mums are exhausted when they leave hospital after having a baby.  That’s the results of a survey published today, by campaign group, Honiton Maternity Matters.

And a worrying 16 mums (almost half the respondents) then went on to ‘struggle to manage’ or ‘really struggle to manage’ when they returned home.

The online questionnaire, which was emailed to more than 2,800 people on the Facebook group ‘Save Honiton Maternity On-site Aftercare’ was aimed at women who had given birth at Honiton maternity unit and the RD&E since transfers from the RD&E and overnight stays ceased at Honiton in February.

A total of 39 women responded to the survey – thought to be around half of East Devon women giving birth in that timeframe – which listed 28 questions on local mums’ experiences, including breast-feeding support.

Ann-Marie Chapman from Axminster, who specializes in pelvic floor physiotherapy, gave birth at Honiton in May.  After 48 hours with just a couple of hours sleep and then a difficult first night at home with her new baby, she was completely exhausted and struggled to cope.

She said:  “It was really hard.  I was utterly exhausted and was extremely teary. I was very lucky and had the support of my husband and parents who looked after my baby whilst my husband and I got little naps.”

And due to problems with trying to get a midwife to visit at the right time for help with breast-feeding, Ann-Marie decided instead to turn to her midwife sister-in-law for assistance.

Ann-Marie explained: “I had a horrible first night where my baby screamed and screamed but wouldn’t latch on properly.  We phoned the maternity unit to ask for advice but I wanted someone there in person.  Unfortunately the timing never worked.  In the end I had to ask my sister-in-law for help, who is a midwife at Yeovil.”

Retired Ottery St Mary GP, John Ackroyd said:  “I am not surprised by the results of this survey. A period of rest is very important after childbirth, whether normal or complex, for most mothers. In a community hospital experienced staff are on hand to assist with the practical initiation of breast-feeding and the essentials of baby care. Overnight stays allow this to occur but also allow recovery time from the exhaustion which accompanies many labours.”

Claire Wright, Ottery St Mary Town Councillor for West Hill, added:  “We had some very revealing remarks which prove that the new telephone advice system is impractical.

“Mums need three hands to receive telephone advice on breast-feeding – one to position the baby, one to adjust the breast and another to hold the phone.  It’s not fair and it doesn’t work.”

Ann-Marie’s experience is typical of the mums who completed the survey, with over half of the women (18 out of 33) not confident about breast-feeding when they were discharged.  13 of those women sought help once they were at home and seven women were visited by a midwife.  Three of those seven waited longer than 13 hours to be seen.  At Honiton’s maternity unit, women received instant face-to-face help and advice any time of the day or night they needed it.

Two women say they gave up breast-feeding due to difficulties.

The survey results are published ahead of Devon County Council’s Adults Health Scrutiny meeting debate on maternity services, which takes place next Thursday (23 September) at 10am.  At this meeting the scrutiny committee will decide whether or not to endorse proposals to end overnight stays at Honiton maternity unit.

Women from all over East Devon took part in the survey but the majority of respondents were from Honiton, with 16 (41%) of replies from the town.  Ottery St Mary and Exmouth had six and five responses respectively.  All the other East Devon towns had one or two respondents each.

Honiton Town Cllr, Vernon Whitlock said: “The results of the survey confirm that the retention of overnight facilities at Honiton Maternity Unit is not just a luxury, but an essential option for new mums. The unit and its staff have established an excellent reputation and provide a vital service which should be retained.”

Over half of respondents indicated that they would like to stay at Honiton Hospital for two nights.  The most popular reasons for this were rest and breast-feeding advice.

Over two thirds of women who gave birth at the RD&E said they did so for medical reasons only.  Just two said it was because the RD&E was their first choice.  The remainder of women (one quarter) said they gave birth at the RD&E because Honiton maternity unit was closed overnight.

Claire Wright commented:  “Although the numbers are quite small, one quarter as a proportion is significant and it makes us wonder that if the plans do go through, the numbers giving birth at Honiton would simply dwindle until it was difficult to justify keeping the unit open.”

“We are now looking forward to the scrutiny meeting next week, to presenting our findings and hearing the debate.  Many councillors expressed concern over proposals at their last meeting on 3 June.  We hope the results of our survey will convince them to reject NHS plans.”

Come along to Devon County Council’s Adults Health Scrutiny meeting debate on maternity services, which takes place on Thursday (23 September 2010) at 10am at Devon County Hall in Exeter. I’ll be there with other members of the Honiton Maternity Matters Group. We will be peacefully demonstrating outside before the meeting then attending the meeting where some of our members are hoping to speak. Email me for details or if you need a lift over there etc.


Local Mums offer Voters Green Alternative

Cathy Connor & Sharon Pavey (April 2010)

It has been announced this week that the adjoining constituencies of Tiverton and Honiton and East Devon are both to be contested by the Green Party. 40 year old mother of three Cathy Connor of Kentisbeare is standing for Tiverton and Honiton and 37 year old mother of two Sharon Pavey of Membury has already been out and about canvassing in Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth (the East Devon constituency).

Cathy is the 12th Green Party candidate in Devon – making this a record breaking full slate in Devon for the Greens, who are hoping to get their first MP into Parliament this year.

The two women share similar views on many issues which affect parents across Devon. Sharon has been involved with the recent campaign against cuts at Honiton Maternity Unit, attending a protest at the Knowle a couple of weeks ago, “As I have met so many worried parents in Ottery and Sidmouth who are appalled at these cuts, I felt I needed to get involved to try and stop us from losing such a wonderful facility. I myself, needed to spend five days in hospital after my first baby and cannot understand how exactly taking away the option to stay in for a night or two, would give women more choice”.

Cathy stayed at Honition Hospital after having all of her three children and found the help and support of the staff and midwives invaluable.

Cathy cares about the local economy saying “we need to put the vibrancy back into some of our small towns and villages, make it easier to use local community facilites and keep local shops and services alive. It makes no sense to me that although we live in southern England, we import lamb and apples from the other side of the world!”

Both Cathy and Sharon are very concerned about the environment but are keen to point out that the Green Party has strong polices on a wide range of issues. Sharon says “We want to raise pensions to a decent £170, withdraw our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, protect our public services and invest in green industry to provide a million much needed jobs.” Cathy adds “Affordable housing must be made available locally so that young families can have a decent place to live without having to travel great distances to work or be separated from friends and family”.

You can contact Sharon or Cathy via the East Devon Green Party – Local Party Contact is Diana Neal on or 01395 263728.

Photo above by Geoff Sharples. Sharon Pavey on the right. Cathy Connor on left.