Photo of children smiling
Photo credit: Naomi Williams

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising cost of living, improving health and wellbeing remains a priority for East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Reducing health inequalities, particularly amongst those most in need, is central to EDDC’s Public Health Strategy for 2024 – 2027. The cost-of-living crisis, mental health, homelessness, loneliness, and isolation are highlighted by the strategy.

A variety of factors impact residents’ health and the council can influence physical, mental, and social wellbeing through the services that it provides. EDDC needs to find effective and creative ways of achieving its aims within existing resources. Strong partnerships, such as with Devon County Council and voluntary groups, also aim to improve health and wellbeing.

EDDC knows that more people are struggling because of the pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis. EDDC have provided Open Door Exmouth with a grant secured by the Environmental Health team for pandemic recovery work.

Lisa Pike, Open Door Exmouth’s Chief Executive, said:

“There were over 11,000 visits to the Community Café in the last 12 months, serving over 6,000 meals, including 1,500 hot meals given free to homeless people and to individuals and families in financial crisis. This is three times higher than the previous year”.

Open Door Exmouth will extend Café opening hours on Saturdays, thanks in part to COVID-19 grant funding secured by EDDC in 2023. This grant will help to furnish the café, as well as contributing towards the running costs of their Parent Hub, and the Community Craft Room too.

Read more about this project on EDDC’s community grant webpages.

Helen Wharam, EDDC's Public Health Officer, said:

“Everything we do at EDDC aims to ensure that East Devon is a place where people want to live, work, visit and enjoy life.”

“As a council, we can influence our population’s health and wellbeing. Our new Public Health Strategy reflects our wish for everyone in East Devon to have an equal chance to lead a long, happy, and healthy life.”

“Although public health work isn’t our statutory duty, our Strategy reflects our local choice, because we believe it is right to consider health and wellbeing in all our council activities.”

“We will work together with other organisations and with local people to create an outstanding community, economy and environment for East Devon, now and for future generations.”