DAWLISH Town Council has honoured the latest recipients of the Owl awards.

The Owl awards project recognises those who are reducing the stigma associated with loneliness and build a looking and listening community encouraging and empowering residents, voluntary organisations, charities, schools and businesses to feel comfortable and be positive around those who feel lonely and isolated.

Since last summer the council’s Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention Working Group have presented 17 Owl awards for outstanding citizenship to reduce loneliness and isolation in the parish of Dawlish.

The New Hope Centre were among the groups awarded an OWL award
The New Hope Centre were among the groups awarded an OWL award (Photo by Bob Simpson)

Cllr Carole Tamlyn, who heads up the group said: ‘In my opinion those who have received the awards go that extra mile in making lonely residents feel welcomed and encouraged to connect with others in a healthy, rewarding and meaningful way.

The businesses receiving the latest awards were Annie’s Tea Room, the New Hope Centre and the Strand Centre.

Carley Holmes, owner/manager of Annie’s Tea Rooms, and all the staff make their customers feel welcome by chatting to them and making sure they are OK. There is community space for young mums and babies and lonely/ isolated older people. A number of customers come in every day/week and one customer comes in once a week and that is his only day out where he can talk to staff and friends old and new.

Strand Centre volunteers with their OWL award
Strand Centre volunteers with their OWL award (Photo by Bob Simpson)

The new Hope Centre on Swift Road in Dawlish offers a wide range of ways to connect people who may be vulnerable and isolated. It works with the other charities and agencies in the town through ROC Dawlish and Helping Dawlish, and signpost the people to the help they might need.

The Strand Centre offers a warm welcome to residents of all ages and is the home of many community and support groups.

During the week it hosts a wide variety of community activities including public meetings, exhibitions, concerts, dances, antique fairs and physical activities for people of all ages.