21 November 2022Small Business Grants to save energy

Help is at hand for small and micro-businesses across Sedgemoor and Somerset West and Taunton.  The councils have joined up to help support small and micro businesses save on energy with a specialised grant scheme, worth up to £2,500 for projects that help reduce energy consumption and help towards achieving carbon net zero.

There are many ways in which businesses can reduce their carbon footprint, from reducing waste by re-using and recycling to limiting energy use at night and replacing fuel-powered vehicles with electric cars and bikes.  Businesses will need to do projects and then claim back what they have spent, capped at £2,500. 

Examples of projects that could be funded through the grant scheme are:

  • Heating or lighting controls installation
  • Replacement of equipment to more energy efficient equipment
  • Replacing traditional lightbulbs with LED lighting
  • Waste segregation solutions
  • Electric transport solutions
  • Efficient glazing
  • Reuse and recycle projects
  • Repairs cafes
  • Staff training
  • Carbon offsetting

Applications open on Wednesday, 16th November and closes on December 8th. 

Businesses in Sedgemoor should apply by visiting:

Energy Efficiency Grant (sedgemoor.gov.uk)

21 November 2022Somerset Councils launch countywide Business Survey 2022

Somerset’s five Local Authorities are jointly undertaking a survey to better understand and support local businesses, now and in the future.

The Somerset Business Survey 2022 is live and can be completed here.

Businesses are encouraged to take part and share the link with their networks. The more responses there are, the more accurate the data.

Now in its third year, the survey has been developed with input from respected representative business organisations such as the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses. It will give valuable insight into current business challenges, such as inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, higher borrowing costs, ongoing recruitment and skills concerns, and the journey to net zero carbon emissions.

In addition to providing much-needed intelligence about the position of the Somerset economy, the responses will be used to inform future targeted business support programmes.

The 2022 launch is a shared initiative between Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West & Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council.  On 1st April 2023, a new unitary Somerset Council will replace the County Council and the four district councils. From that date there will be a number of benefits, including greater joint working and consistency across the county to ensure businesses are supported and the local Somerset economy prospers.

Cllr Val Keitch, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Local Government Organisation and Prosperity, said: “By completing this survey, you can help us shape Somerset Councils’ joint approach to backing businesses. It only takes 10 minutes but can make a real difference. The survey is anonymous and no personal data will be shared with anyone outside of Somerset’s Local Authorities.”

Here’s the link again: https://somerset.inconsult.uk/AnnualBusinessSurvey2022/answerQuestionnaire?qid=8297763

If you have questions or wish to provide additional feedback, please email: somerseteconomicdevelopment@somerset.gov.uk

21 November 2022Free Festive Parking in SDC car parks

Christmas is coming …..

Sedgemoor District Council is pleased to announce that it will be offering free parking in all of its car parks for the four weekends before Christmas.

People will be able to park without charge in all eighteen of the Council-owned car parks across Sedgemoor on Saturday 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th December.

Especially given the additional impacts of Covid-19 on the local economy, Sedgemoor District Council is keen to support our many local and varied traders in the towns and villages across Sedgemoor and give residents and visitors an added incentive to shop locally in the festive season.

There will be notices on the tariff machines in the car parks advising of the free parking.

SDC is also waiving charges from 1600 hrs on Saturday, 26th November in its Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea car parks to support both towns’ Christmas lights switch-on events.

26 October 2022Fire service consultation

25 October 2022Support to mitigate impact of Cost of Living crisis this winter

Somerset County Council’s Executive today (Wednesday, 19 October) approved a wide-ranging package of support to help Somerset people deal with the impacts of the Cost of Living crisis this winter.

Support includes financial assistance with food and energy bills through the Household Support Fund, a ‘Warm Welcome’ network of venues where people can find warmth and company, as well as targeted support for clinically vulnerable people in cold homes.

Somerset County Council declared a Cost of Living emergency in July of this year, and set-up a cross-party working group to investigate action the Council can take to help people through this period.

That group has worked closely with Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, South Somerset District Council and Somerset West and Taunton Council, as well as partners in the voluntary and community sector, to put in place initiatives to bolster the support package provided by central Government.

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Communities, said: “Somerset County Council declared a Cost of Living emergency because we recognised that extra support would be needed over the months ahead. Winter is never easy, especially in a rural area like Somerset, and the current economic climate has made the situation tougher.

“Working with partners, we have been able to make sure there will be a wide range of support available that complements the package of support from the Government. We aim to make sure people in Somerset do not find themselves in a position where they must choose between heating and eating.”

Somerset residents struggling to pay the bills this winter could be eligible for support through the Household Support Fund.

The County Council has been allocated £3.8m to distribute before March 31st 2023 as part of the third round of funding provided through the Government’s Household Support Fund.

This funding will be used to provide food vouchers worth £10 a week to children eligible for Free School Meals during the school holidays, and enable people to apply for support with a range of urgent essentials including fuel, food, and white goods.

Somerset County Council has contributed a total of £250,000 to Somerset Community Foundation’s Cost of Living Crisis Appeal fund which will be used to support food resilience, energy projects and the ‘Warm Welcome’ network. Somerset West and Taunton Council, Sedgemoor District Council, South Somerset District Council and Mendip District Council have also contributed £50,000 each to the SCF Cost of Living Crisis Appeal.

The Warm Welcome initiative is a network of venues that will offer an inviting place for people to keep warm. These venues will offer optional activities, or a place to get some work or homework done, or even just see a friendly face for a chat.

Spark Somerset is being funded to develop the programme and build a framework, identify appropriate spaces and co-ordinate the project moving forward. Somerset Libraries will be open as usual to offer a warm and welcoming space to all. Once all of the warm spaces have been confirmed, a public map will be made available.

Spark Somerset will also be supporting food resilience in the county as part of this work, meanwhile a map of all foodbanks, pantries, and food cupboards in Somerset is being developed which will be made publicly available.

Other support this winter includes the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) Safe and Warm Somerset helpline, which supports people who are clinically vulnerable and struggling to afford their energy bills and living in a cold home. 

A total of £314,000 has been provided from Somerset County Council’s Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) Grant which means that in addition to delivery of their standard offer, CSE will also take on targeted outreach to clinically vulnerable people in cold homes and help arrange the installation of insulation and heating measures to improve the energy efficiency of low income or low EPC-rated homes.

The Council is using an additional £65,000 from the CEV grant to fund Open Mental Health to provide targeted face-to-face help at home for approximately 500 older adults in need of mental health support.

To make an application to the Household Support Fund, please visit: bit.ly/SupportFund22. If you need help to apply, please phone Somerset County Council on 0300 123 2224. People who applied to previous rounds of the Household Support Fund are welcome to apply again in this round of funding.

To donate to the Somerset Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal today visit: Somerset Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal – Somerset Community Foundation (somersetcf.org.uk) or call 01749 344949.

For more information about support available for Somerset residents, please click here: Additional household support for Somerset residents.

05 October 2022Have you completed with your Voter Registration Form?

All households across Sedgemoor will have received an annual voter registration form within the past month.  Although there has been a good response rate, many people have not yet confirmed their details, despite it being a legal requirement for SDC to collect the information.

If you have been asked to return your form or update the details in any way residents will be seeing Electoral Services canvassers in your neighbourhood during October and November. They will have Sedgemoor District Council ID badges.

They will be making personal visits by knocking on each door of Sedgemoor properties which have not returned the form, which was sent out in early August.   The canvass staff will ask the householder to confirm the details held on the current Register of Electors. If no-one is home they call, they will post a calling card, asking you to call Electoral Services direct.

This is a costly way of collecting your details, so please do not delay and return your form as soon as possible.  Thank you.

05 October 2022Warmer home for the winter?

Retrofitting is the process of making changes to a building to reduce energy consumption and emissions.  Retrofit should also bring the benefit of a more comfortable and healthier home. Examples of retrofit measures include the installation loft or wall insulation, double or triple glazing.

So, if you want to find local businesses and services in Sedgemoor to find out more about retrofitting, then help is at hand, thanks to a new online Green Directory. You’ll find it here: retrofitsomerset.info/

The website will help residents from across the district find local businesses including architects, construction companies, insulation and renewable energy installers, all in one place.

There is information on energy efficiency and low carbon retrofits through the Retrofit Resources section on the site. And you can find out what some homeowners have already done to retrofit their homes, along with other news, in the Retrofit Stories area.

Take a look and begin your retrofit journey today    retrofitsomerset.info/

If you are a business working to improve the energy efficiency of Somerset’s housing stock, why not submit your own listing and join the Somerset Green Directory? Contact: website@retrofitsomerset.info

29 September 2022Somerset Energy Saver campaign

A campaign has been launched to help residents reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.

The Somerset Energy Saver is a free, online hub with advice for residents on how to make energy-saving changes to their home.

With energy prices soaring, the campaign helps to raise awareness of the range of measures available - whether through small, free-of-charge changes, or bigger adjustments to properties, such as installing different types of insulation and exploring alternatives to oil and gas heating.

It provides information on financial assistance available to eligible residents to help make the bigger energy-saving measures to their home. It also offers advice on Energy Performing Certificates (EPCs) and provides answers to commonly asked questions.

The launch of the Somerset Energy Saver campaign has come at a hugely important time, with energy bills on the rise and the cost of living a worry for many.  Whether residents are looking for some quick tips to save them money, or to make more significant changes to their homes, Somerset Energy Saver provides a valuable hub of information.

For more information on the Somerset Energy Saver campaign, please visit: www.somersetenergysaver.co.uk.

29 September 2022Arrive before five: winter hours for recycle sites from 1 October

All of Somerset’s 16 recycling sites will go over to their winter opening hours from
Saturday 1 October.

This means that on their open days, sites are open 9am to 5pm. Weekend opening
remains 9am to 4pm.

For more information about your local site, including opening schedules, details of
charged materials, and van and trailer permits, click on recycling centres at

Summer hours - 9am-6pm on weekday opening and 9am-4pm on weekends -
resume on Saturday 1 April 2022.

To keep up to date with recycle site changes, sign up for the SWP e-newsletter at
somersetwaste.gov.uk and follow @Somersetwaste on Facebook.

To keep up to date with waste services, sign up for the SWP e-newsletter at
somersetwaste.gov.uk or follow @somersetwaste on Facebook or Twitter.

29 September 2022An opportunity for Parent Carers to help shape the future of SEND in Somerset

Somerset County Council, NHS Somerset and Somerset Parent Carer Forum are inviting families as well as school leads, education, and health professionals to join a webinar this October to help shape the future of Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) in Somerset.

The partnership is currently in the process of developing a Somerset SEND strategy for the next three years. This will outline the focus areas and action points that will inform us to develop our services.

The partnership has identified five ‘working themes’, each has been informed by feedback from families:

  • Listening, hearing, and responding
  • Working together and co-ordinating
  • Getting help as early as possible
  • Accessing to the right support and provision
  • Preparing for the future

The webinars are on the following dates and there is no need to book in advance, just follow the link to join:

Friday 7 October 2022 11am to join Click here

Monday 10 October 2022 at 4pm to join Click here

You will only need to join one webinar as they are all the same. During the webinar, leaders from the partnership will introduce each theme in detail, provide you plenty of time for questions and invite feedback from participants.

Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset County Council’s Executive Lead for Children’s Services said: “We want to ensure the SEND services we have in place suit the users who access them. To make sure we get this right, we want to listen to families, parents and young people who use our services and ask them to help shape future services.

By joining the webinar, you can hear about our vision and tell us your ideas about changing and improving SEND services in Somerset.”

Ruth Hobbs CEO Somerset Parent Carer Forum CIC: “The SEND strategy is an essential piece of work which will shape the areas of focus over the next few years. It is really important for people to get involved and have their views heard to make sure it reflects what is important to them.”

Shelagh Meldrum, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS Somerset said: “Ensuring the development of key SEND services truly reflects the needs of families, children and young people across Somerset is crucial.”

“Without feedback and input from people working in and experiencing SEND provision, the focus of our strategy and vision for the future may not best fit the needs of our children and young people.”

It is important that as many people as possible get involved now, so we can hear from a wide range of views. This will help us to consolidate our focus, so we develop a strategy which really makes a difference for all.”

09 September 2022Information following the death of Queen Elizabeth

A message from the Rev Jonathan Philpott, Rector, Benefice of Berrow and Brean

Following the sad news last night of the death of Queen Elizabeth, we have been working on an appropriate plan to mark the days of national mourning leading up to the funeral which is expected to take place in approximately 10 days.  We recognise that for many people, Queen Elizabeth has been a sign of security and stability throughout many years of change and turmoil in the wider world, and most of us will never have experienced life without her as Queen.  Her faith has also been such an inspiration to many, and she has modelled so much of what it means to obey Jesus’ command to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

To mark this occasion appropriately, we are proposing the following:

  • This Sunday, our services will follow the planned format but with a moment of quiet and some prayers to begin.
  • On Sunday 18th September, we will be holding services of commemoration in both churches starting at the normal time.
  • St Mary’s will be open from tomorrow with a book of condolence, and St Bridget’s from Monday morning also with a book of condolence.  These will remain in both churches until the day following the funeral.
  • The tenor bell at St Bridget’s will be tolled today at 12noon to mark the occasion.
  • We will be holding midweek prayers at St Mary’s each day from Monday at 9:30am until the day before the funeral (not including Sundays) in which a time of quiet and some special prayers will be led on our behalf.  All are welcome to attend.

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