Grey Power becomes hip
…as the number of people in Totnes and District aged 65 or over hits 35%. Elders are given a number of supports in the community and with safer streets, many are able to be more mobile. Public transport and local deliveries becomes more viable with more people using the services. Health and wellbeing spaces, gardens and cafés are widely used by young and old and are meeting places for community across the generations. Extended families are living under the same roof as housing has become more expensive and less available and many children are learning from and sharing domestic tasks with grandparents. Public Health services are reporting a rise in general health and well being for older and younger people, reflected with a decline in the number of children going in to foster care, and youth crime rates are decreasing.
Sign up for your Local SWAT Teams
Local Territorial Army members, volunteers from the over 50’s and others with occasional days to spare have formed work-parties to prepare and help out with emergencies or urgent needs. Their emergency planning is well rehearsed and they provide training to school and community groups who enjoy the sessions. Totnes Arts has designed a very visible and popular temporary shelter which most people can make quickly should a flooding or migration emergency arise; the prototype Swelter is used as a marquee for the annual festival. Suprisingly the shelter is found to be more energy efficient than some of the commercial buildings in Babbage Road.
Food & Travel Hubs keep the wheels turning
A survey into the use and benefit of the Food and Travel hubs operating in and around Totnes finds they are working like clockwork. National interest has grown in the ‘linked up system’ which was piloted in Totnes in 2010. Over 90% of local people use their local hub at least twice a month, making them one of the most successful initiatives to support local food production. Food producer reports in the survey show that 60% rely on the hubs to be viable. Amongst the other initiatives that have arisen at the hubs are reading rooms, crèches, health cafés and cycle repairs.
Happy people as affordable houses are eco-homes
In the wake of national legislation for affordable and sustainable homes, new local planning and development policies reflect an emphasis of meeting social and environmental needs rather than economic development. Community housing co-operatives and parish councils can apply for grant aid to buy up empty houses and convert large houses and other buildings according to the number of local people on their housing lists. Compulsory sustainability checks called Integrated Impact Assessments on all new builds and refurbishments of 5 or more dwelling units will be required to ensure the local community’s health and well-being; this will require a locally based, multi-agency approach.
Public representatives slash travel budgets
The increasing government levies on aviation fuel have almost brought commercial flights to a standstill. The investment in solar planes is still controversial and yet to reap reliable results. Few people take flights for holidays or business trips, preferring to use the fast trains with improved dormer units. Local public representatives have agreed a voluntary energy budget, encouraging them to minimise travel.
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