Thousands of carers in Devon supported by new service


Posted on: 20 June 2012

Over 8000 carers in Devon have been supported by Devon Carers since the new countywide service started in October last year.

Devon Carers has been operating a phone line, as part of an annual £1.3 million investment by Devon County Council and NHS Devon. This has made access to carer support simple and timely wherever they live in the County to help them to stay healthy and live a normal life outside of caring

The service has received 8000 calls in the past eight months.

There are an estimated 82,000 carers In Devon, of which around 12,500 do not have reliable support from their family and friends to be able to take a short break from caring.
On Wednesday 20 June, carers celebrated the success of the service with six parties across the county linked by a webcast of the speeches held at the service headquarters in Exminster.

Devon County Councillor Stuart Barker, who has council responsibility for carers said: “The county council’s significant investment in this service demonstrates our commitment to supporting carers, and I’m delighted with the success of the service so far.

“Different arrangements existed in different parts of the county before and this way we can ensure we are providing a high quality service that is the same for everyone, wherever they live.”

Video clip of Cllr Stuart Barker speaking at the Devon Carers launch:

Dr Simon Kerr, a GP from Ottery St Mary, said: “The new service has made it easier for GPs as they now have a single point to access practical support and short breaks for carers. This service complements the Health and Wellbeing Checks programme which continues in GP surgeries

“Many carers do not need support from health and social care, but the support that Devon Carers offers, at an early stage, has made a big difference”.

Matthew Byrne, Devon Carers manager added:” We have put in a lot of work into really finding out what type of help and support carers want and have developed the  service to reflect this.

“Carers have told us they want a service which is responsive to their needs, and a single phone call to Devon Carers will give them access to the full range of the services to support them.”

Carers are able to access the following services:

• Support and information at the ‘first stop’ from the helpline advisor

• A network of local carers’ support workers who provide face to face support and activities for young carers to enjoy being young people

• Opportunities to meet other carers in their area for mutual support, friendship and time away from caring

• Short carers breaks

The helpline (08456 434 435) is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

The helpline is run by voluntary organisation Westbank, working closely with other carers’ voluntary groups, who will also provide support in their local area. A website is at


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Posted in: Health and Wellbeing