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Recovery and renewal

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in Devon and its impact will continue to be felt for many years. Families, businesses and community groups have all been impacted and the most vulnerable people in society have been affected the most. Many people have lost their jobs, our economy has been badly damaged and young people’s education and training has been interrupted.

But Devon’s communities quickly adapted to the outbreak. Hundreds of volunteers came forward to support vulnerable people and to assist efforts to contain the virus. Voluntary and community groups, partner agencies and private business found ways to adapt and succeed. This fantastic response reflects the underlying strength of Devon’s communities and the commitment of workers, voluntary organisations, councils and partners and local businesses.

Dealing with COVID-19 will be an ongoing part of our work. With the initial response behind us, we can turn our attention to recovery and rebuilding. In doing so we will work towards a more sustainable future that meets the critical challenge of climate change. We will also respond to the inequalities that exist between different areas and different communities within Devon and understand the ways in which COVID has deepened disadvantage for some.

There is much to do to help Devon recover. Indications are that the next 36 months will be amongst the most challenging economically in living memory for many areas of the county. These web pages set out our priorities for the next four years. With partners we will build on the many things that have worked well during the outbreak and work together for a green and fair recovery, helping to secure a more healthy and prosperous future for everyone in Devon.

Devon County Council worked with partners to put a firm response to the pandemic. We:

  • supported the adult care sector with extra funding and practical support. 
  • supported over 30,000 clinically vulnerable people shielding themselves for 12 weeks.  
  • initiated an Employment Support Programme to provide advice and support to find new employment. 
  • established a £1.7 million fund to support people experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
  • made grant funding available to help local charities and community organisations support vulnerable people affected by the outbreak.
  • increased funding for domestic violence and abuse services
  • rapidly scaled up digital services whilst enabling services to vulnerable individuals to be maintained. 

The County Council was designated as one of England’s 11 Beacon Councils by Government to lead the implementation of new Local Outbreak Management Plans, including the identification and management of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Councillor John Hart

Councillor John Hart

Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Policy, Corporate and Asset Management

“As Leader of Devon County Council, I am very concerned about the widening gaps in income, health and opportunity in the county. Over the next four years, the Council will be focusing on recovery and renewal, to make Devon a fairer and more equal place.

Protecting the most vulnerable in society has always been my top priority. Health and social care services were under immense pressure before COVID-19, and those pressures have not gone away. Our social care support for children, and our services for children with special educational needs and disabilities are facing unprecedented demand.

Supporting Devon’s economic recovery from the pandemic is another of our most urgent tasks. Our economic recovery programme will support small and medium enterprises, employment and skills, and the hardest hit towns and communities.

As part of Team Devon, the Council works collaboratively with other local authorities, the NHS, voluntary and community groups, businesses and many others. We will be working with central Government on a Team Devon devolution deal to give Devon more powers and flexibilities.”