News from across East Devon and Exeter – including stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Seaton, Axminster and Honiton, plus things to do over the October half-term holiday

A roundup of news from across East Devon and Exeter – including stories from Exmouth, Sidmouth, Seaton, Axminster and Honiton, plus things to do over the October half-term holiday.


The Donkey Sanctuary’s on-site restaurant at Sidmouth has scooped gold in the 2023 Food Drink Devon awards.


The Kitchen team at The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth. Photo: with permission.

Staff at The Kitchen, pictured here, are celebrating the Hospitality Awards win, presented at a ceremony held at the Exeter Chiefs’ Sandy Park ground, in Exeter.

East Devon

Some 23 grants have been awarded to community organisations and tourism businesses in East Devon, through the district’s Culture, Leisure, and Tourism Fund.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said grants up to £20,000 were available for ‘rural community organisations’ to help decarbonise their buildings.

Tourism businesses could apply for up to £5,000 to decarbonise or improve the accessibility of their premises.

EDDC said it has paid out more than £181,000 in grants through the project this summer, estimating around 70 tonnes of carbon would be saved each year.

A further £320,000 of funding to decarbonise community organisations and businesses will be available in 2024.

East Devon

Volunteers in East Devon are needed to help end-of-life charity Marie Curie carry out its companion service, providing bereavement support over the phone.

The charity, which has partnered with Royal Devon University Hospital, is also keen to recruit volunteers to help with fundraising and raising awareness of Marie Curie’s work in Devon.

Contact the team here, or call 0800 304 7400.


Devon County Council (DCC) said it has ‘listened to people’s concerns’ and will allow Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles to use newly-imposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood zones in Exeter.

Taxis will from November 9 be allowed to use the ‘bus gates’ – residential areas where traffic has been banned – in Heavitree and Whipton, plus Wonford Road.

road blocks

Some of the new road blocks in Exeter.
Photo: George Poundlander.

The county council’s Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC) – which includes councillors from Exeter City Council, introduced the 18-month Active Streets pilot in the summer, claiming the move would make it ‘safer for residents and pedestrians and to encourage people to walk and cycle more’.

Since the traffic bans were imposed, a number of public protests have been held, with residents calling for the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to be scrapped.

DCC said an update on the ‘progress of the trial’ will be heard at the next meeting of Exeter HATOC on October 30.


A film society launches in Sidmouth this month, with monthly screenings at Kennaway House’s Cellar Bar.

Cinema Paradiso will be shown at 7.30pm on Friday, October 27. Doors will open at 7pm. Tickets are £5.50 (£4.50 for Friends of Kennaway House) and are available by calling 01395 515551.

The launch event will include a discussion on future screenings, and the type of films audiences would like to see.


Praise has been heaped on supporters of Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat who donated to the charity during the summer.

The charity thanked  those who supported the cause during its late opening over Folk Week and annual flag day, revealing the total collected during the evening event was £122, and £557 was raised in the town square.


Tickets are on sale for Honiton Community Theatre Company’s amateur production of Out of Focus by Peter Gordon.

Tickets are £11 to see the production, which runs from November 2 until 4, at 7.30pm at The Beehive.

The Friday evening show includes a British Sign Language signed performance.


Exmouth inshore lifeboat launched to help three kite surfers struggling against the tide on Wednesday morning (October 18).

The inshore lifeboat crew picked up the kite surfers close to the River Exe estuary, where they had tied themselves to a mooring after finding they could not get back to shore.

The lifeboat volunteers took the kite surfers to Belsher slipway, and returned to the mooring to recover the equipment.


Outdoor barbecue cooking school, High Grange Devon, in Axminster is celebrating being recognised in the annual Food Drink Devon Awards.

The Axminster-based business was named Best Training School at the award ceremony, held earlier in October at Sandy Park, Exeter.


A Seaton care home has been rated ‘excellent’ after an audit by a national organisation that focusses on positive relationships.

The Seaton was recently inspected by Meaningful Care Matters, who assessed the staff’s interactions with residents, as well as the home’s environment and the level of care given.


The Seaton care home. Photo: with permission.

Auditors said the 28-bed care home in Seaton created a sense of ‘family’ among those living and working there, praising the ‘highly personalised care experience’ which had ‘elements of meaningful engagement, occupation, and connections’

Emma Seal, care home manager, said: “We were thrilled the auditors noticed the strong sense of family at The Seaton between the people living and working here. “We work hard to ensure our residents feel empowered to make choices that impact on their care and wellbeing.”

She added: “The house is fun, upbeat, spontaneous and the team are always keen to try new experiences.”

East Devon

One of the residents at the care home. Photo: with permission.

East Devon – what’s on half-term

Libraries across East Devon and Exeter have a host of October free and low-cost half-term fun planned for youngsters.

Ottery St Mary Library

Monday, October 23: 10am – 1pm
Nature Doodles with Megan Dowsett. Free event (limited places, reservation is advised)

Join local artist Megan Dowsett and explore how to doodle with Nature in this interactive family friendly workshop. This workshop uses an extensive array of seed pods, sticks, leaves and cones to create temporary artworks, known as Nature Doodles.

Sidmouth Library

Monday, October 23, 10am – 12noon.
Inky Autumn Tales with Participate Arts
Tickets £2

Join Participate Arts and explore lots of different, fun drawing materials and inks to create some wonderful vivid images and artwork to take away. Participate in a large collaborative drawing. Based on favourite story characters.

Exeter Library

Wednesday, October 25, 7.30 – 8.30pm
Paddleboat Theatre presents Framed!
Tickets £7

The legendary detective Rufus Caper has been framed and needs your help to uncover the truth! Family whodunit with music, puppetry, physical comedy. Suitable for children aged eight and over.

Ottery St Mary Library

Friday, October 27, 4 – 5.30pm
Digital Media Workshop with Sound Communities
Tickets £3

A workshop with creative tech experts for young people age 8+, highlighting the possibilities of digital art. Capture what life is like for young people in Ottery. The session will explore a range of techniques.


Bookshop Day was celebrated in Seaton when two authors visited the Owl and Pyramid to sign books and meet readers.

Tim Kendall and Fiona Mathews, whose book Black Ops and Beaver Bombing was shortlisted for this year’s Wainwright prize, visited the Owl and Pyramid Bookshop on October 14, joining East Devon booklovers in the national event aimed at ‘bringing people together’.

The event in Seaton included children’s story time, quizzes, a pop-up crime fiction shop with local writers, refreshments, and a raffle to win a bundle of books.


Staff and residents at a care home in Exmouth are celebrating their managing director reaching the finals of a national industry award.

Natasha Lazovic, from Raleigh Manor Care Home, in Exmouth, has been named a finalist in the Great British Care Awards 2023 in the Outstanding Contribution to Social Care category

Natasha, pictured here, must wait until November to attend a ceremony in London to find out if she will go forward to the 2024 final.


Natasha Lazovic will learn in November if she has been successful. Photo: with permission.

She said she was ‘very humbled’ to be nominated and ‘proud’ to make the shortlist, adding it was an ‘honour’ to be recognised for doing a job that she ‘loves’.


Volunteers from East Devon will be in Exeter for Recycle Devon’s biggest repair café on October 21, to mark International Repair Day.

Devon residents are invited to take along broken toasters and other household items such as clothes (and other textiles), laptops, bikes, electrical items, mechanical goods and furniture to be fixed by expert repairers, plus tools and knives can also be sharpened.

The event, at America Hall, De La Rue Way, Exeter, is  from 10am until 1pm.

Volunteers from repair cafés in Honiton and Sidmouth will be among those on the day helping to fix items for reuse.

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