Skip to content

For the next four years we will

  • Continue to support our vibrant community and voluntary sector
  • Work with voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations on shared plans and aspirations around recovery
  • Tackle social isolation, particularly among older, younger and disabled people, and those with a long-term illness
  • Enable a range of transport options, including public transport to improve access to services and jobs and to tackle social isolation
  • Work with communities to enable them to come together to tackle shared challenges to connect, and to celebrate culture and diversity
  • Do whatever we can to make it easier for key workers and people on low incomes to find affordable homes
  • Keep people safe by improving community safety and targeting domestic violence and abuse, hate crime, modern slavery and other priority crimes
  • Work with Team Devon to tackle homelessness and improve the availability of affordable housing in Devon
  • Engage directly with people in meaningful ways and encourage participation in decisions that affect them

Are you in?

We want to hear your thoughts on how we can work together to make Devon the best place to grow up, live well and prosper

Building strong and diverse communities

The strength and diversity of Devon’s communities brings great social and economic benefits to the county.

At the outset of the pandemic there was a spontaneous community response, with new neighbourhood groups forming and hundreds of people volunteering or simply supporting a neighbour informally.

We want to help Devon’s communities build on their strengths, supporting the development of inclusive, diverse and prosperous communities.

We also want to focus our attention on specific problems, including localised areas of deprivation and increasing incidence of some types of crime.

We want to help our thriving community and voluntary sector groups and organisations build a sustainable future after the pandemic.

Devon has welcomed refugees for several years and will continue to do so, including via the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy.

Why is this a priority?

A 2019 analysis by wellbeing charity Happy City found that Devon topped the quality-of-life league, based on more than 60 indicators covering equality, local conditions and sustainability. Feelings of community and high levels of volunteering were amongst Devon’s strengths.

Although this is very good news, not everyone is able to enjoy everything Devon has to offer:

  • Devon has low crime overall, but there are increased risks from drugs, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, race hate crime/extremism and modern slavery. Although comparatively low, rates of violent crime have increased over the last five years, mirroring the national trend.
  • Average house prices range from nine times to 11 times average annual earnings. High property prices and a lack of affordable housing options are pricing young people and families on low income out of rural areas.
  • Rural deprivation is an increasing but hidden problem. Limited opportunities for employment in rural areas can make it difficult for people on low incomes to travel to work.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people and communities?

  • Social impacts included significant increases in domestic violence and in mental health problems for young people and adults arising during the pandemic. Across Devon, service providers reported increases in demand for mental health, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol support services. There were also increased concerns over the safety of children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on the safety, health, wellbeing, and financial security of individuals and communities, with effects anticipated into the long-term.
  • Periods of recession correlate with higher prevalence of common mental health disorders, particularly anxiety and depression, substance disorders, alcohol misuse, and of suicidal behaviour.
  • The effects of increased poverty and deprivation will have a greater impact on the health of people living in our most deprived communities.


Useful links

Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality.

“Devon’s communities highlighted their compassion, agility and innovation in responding so magnificently during COVID-19 – helping neighbours, providing food, supporting vaccination centres and now leading local connection and recovery.

“We owe it to them and the key organisations that support them, to reflect on the learning and experiences of the last two years and build a shared future, particularly in addressing key challenges; and in supporting people who need it most.

“Pockets of homelessness, hate crime and particularly the ongoing scourge of domestic violence and abuse, still impact too many people in Devon, and I am keen to work with all partners to tackle these key issues”