Devon Carers win National Award

Scheme that has supported unpaid carers during pandemic wins national award

A new project that supports unpaid carers has received a national award for its ‘outstanding contribution to healthcare’ during the height of the pandemic.

The Carers Hospital Service was awarded the System Led Support for Carers Award at the  40th Health Service Journal Awards 2020 for supporting thousands of unpaid carers.

The awards saw more than 4500 health and social care staff celebrate the dedication, innovation, and teamwork within the health care community.

 The Carers Hospital Service sees staff from Devon Carers, commissioned by Devon County Council and NHS Devon CCG, work alongside hospital teams to identify circumstances where unpaid carers are involved.

From there they identify where support is needed to help patients to return home safely, or to prevent hospital admissions.

First piloted at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Carers Hospital Service is now also running in North Devon and Torbay Hospitals.

Between April 2019 and January this year, 3,900 carers were helped by the Carers Hospital Service,  three quarters of whom were not previously known to be carers.

There are up 130,000 people in Devon who are looking after family members, neighbours or friends.

Devon Carers, which is run by Exminster-based charity Westbank, supports around 20,000 carers.

While support for carers is available, reaching them has always been difficult because people’s caring roles are often not identified.

So, Devon Carers started working within hospitals, and as patients came forward and their situations were assessed, it was possible to see whether they had anyone, like a family member, looking after them at home.

Sometimes people are unable to leave hospital because the person who is caring for them at home has become unable to cope or the patients’ care needs have grown, and the carer doesn’t know what to do.

In some cases a carer could be unwell themselves, or simply exhausted from providing round the clock care without a break.

Once the involvement of carers has been determined, the Carers Hospital Service team works with them to determine what kind of support would best help them.

Sometimes emotional help and supportive calls from the staff is enough; on other occasions being put in touch with local groups or individuals who have shared experience of caring helps. Immediate short term and simple practical help often makes all the difference.

On other occasions longer-term help is needed, and this is provided by Devon Carers, or where social care is needed, by Devon’s health and social care services.

By supporting carers, they are more able to look after themselves and in turn better able to carte for their loved one or friend.

This support also prevents further hospital admissions, and reduces the length of time that patients are in hospital because they are able to return home sooner.

The judges said: “(Devon County Council and the NHS Devon CCG, the RD&E and Devon Carers) have shown extraordinary integration with the leadership of carers being critical to the work that has been achieved. There is a strong culture of trust and esteem across the system partners and their teams where carers are confident that commitments will be followed through. The programme produced outstanding health and well-being outcomes for carers and provided clear benefits to the sustainability of health and care services…”

Sue Younger-Ross, Joint Carers Lead Devon County Council NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Our integrated approach to developing this service has resulted in this innovative project to support unpaid carers. “We continually review and adapt the services we offer to ensure we meet the needs of unpaid carers and who they care for, providing the right help when they need it most.

“It’s an understatement to say that this year has been challenging. It has undoubtedly been one of the most demanding on record for the NHS and those who work in the health and care sector.

“So, to be recognised in this way means a great deal to all involved. This Award will provide a tremendous boost to both staff and patients and I am sure it will bolster our efforts to develop and continually improve our services.”

Billy Hartstein, Head of Devon Carers, said: “Thank you to the Health Service Journal judges for recognising the dedication and hard work of the Carers Hospital Services Team at Devon Carers.

“As with all our services, unpaid carers, carer ambassadors and our partners at Devon County Council and the NHS Devon CCG have worked with us throughout and have been instrumental in ensuring our Carers Hospital Service is a success.

“We have assessed and provided support to almost 4,000 unpaid carers, which has enabled the person they care for to confidently return home from the hospital with relevant support in place.

“We are proud to have been able to make our Carers Hospital Service an integrated part of the offer available to unpaid carers at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon  Hospitals.”

We are pleased to update you on the current situation about the availability of Covid-19 vaccinations for unpaid carers. This follows the Government announcement that vaccinations will be made available to adults who are the main carer for an adult at high risk from coronavirus.


Devon Carers is commissioned jointly by Devon County Council and the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to provide support services and assessments to unpaid carers across Devon.

The NHS has recently issued a Data Provision Notice under section 259(1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Act). It requires the local authority to provide information about unpaid carers with whom they, and Devon Carers as their service provider, are engaged with.

The Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination (JCVI) definition of an unpaid carer has now been further clarified in Public Health England’s Green Book for COVID-19.

‘Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable’.

A definition of the conditions that might lead to a person being identified as at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable is included in the Public Health England’s Green Book for COVID-19, Table 3 Page 10.

A combined list where the following information is held by Devon Carers or Devon County Council has now been securely passed to the NHS containing: First name, Surname, Gender, Postcode and DoB.

What happens next

The NHS will match the information we have provided with their existing records to try and ensure you are contacted only once. The information will then be passed to the Immunisation Management Service, who will contact you by either letter, text (from NHSvaccine) or phone (0300 561 0240), inviting you to have your vaccination.

The vaccination is optional, and you do not have to have it if you don’t want to.
Please wait to be contacted.

If you meet the above criteria but have not yet been invited for vaccination, you can also register with the Devon Vaccine Query Line who will arrange a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for you. 

Please complete this simple form or phone 01752 398836 to provide your details and a member of the team will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

Alternatively you can self-refer or call 119.

Happy old lady with catPets play an important companion role in many people’s lives; however giving a home to a real pet whilst caring for someone with dementia may not always be feasible. Robotic pets have been developed in recent years, and although will never be as an effective replacement as their live counterparts, they have many attributes that can have a positive impact on those with dementia and their carers.

A recent review of studies on Robopets for dementia patients suggested time spent with them lowered levels of agitation and depression*. For those with dementia who have fond memories of owning a pet in their past, spending time petting their Robopet, keeping them calm and engaged for periods of time, may enable their carer to have some quality time to themselves.

We have recently received funding from the Devon County Council Carer’s Innovation Fund to roll out our Robopet Fostering Scheme. The scheme will enable carers to ‘foster’ a pet for an initial period of six weeks. This will allow enough time for the carer to ascertain if their cared for person benefits from having the pet in the home and if they are able to get some respite from their caring role whilst the Robopet is in use. Following this period, the carer will have the opportunity to adopt the pet!

For more information or to apply for the scheme, please contact our Helpline 03456 434 435 or chat online by clicking on ‘Ask’ on

Thank you to the Devon County Council Carer’s Innovation Fund to enable us to offer these schemes to carers. 

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
Devon County Council

* NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula ‘What are the effects of robopets on the health and wellbeing of residents of care homes. A systematic review of qualitive and quantitative evidence.’

Do you have questions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as an unpaid carer?

Carers UK have updated their helpful FAQ’s on their website which gives information about;

It is important to note that many older carers will be in a group higher up the list due to their age if they are over 65. It is hoped that all adults in the UK will be vaccinated by the autumn. For more answers to your questions please visit:

The latest independent report Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination: advice from the JCVI, 30 December 2020 – GOV.UK ( from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended to the Government that for those unpaid carers who are ‘in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside these groups’ should be included in Priority 6 in phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out.


The wording in the Government vaccination priority list still causes some confusion by referencing the ‘residents in a care home for older adults and their carers’ to be the first priority to receive the vaccine, please note that it has been clarified and refers to paid care workers in residential homes, not unpaid carers.

Whilst extremely positive, the report and advice within the report‘is provided to facilitate the development of policy on COVID-19 vaccination in the UK’ and is not current Government policy.


Current advice on the NHS page is:


Ensure that your GP surgery is aware that you are an unpaid carer.  We are seeking further clarification of how this might affect unpaid carers and will post this advice on social media as soon as received.

When Carers UK asked unpaid carers in October*** what support they needed most, they ranked their prioritised access to vaccinations highly at second place, even putting this above breaks and increases in benefits such as Carer’s Allowance.

Devon Carers support Carers UK in their call to the Government to clarify the priority position of unpaid carers to receive the vaccination.

We have been inundated with calls with regards to the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine. The Government’s vaccination priority list has caused confusion within the unpaid carers community. It references ‘residents in a care home for older adults and their carers’* to be one of the first groups to receive it.

This has caused uncertainty by referring to the term ‘carers’ which some unpaid carers believe refers to them. The NHS have amended their priority list from using the term ‘carers’ to ‘people who work in care homes’** and we believe the Government should do the same to remove any confusion.

Carers UK*** report that ‘caring during the pandemic has been one of the hardest things carers say they have done, as they have tried to manage with limited support from services that have been reduced or closed entirely. They have spent nine months worrying about the risk of infection to the people they care for with complex health or care conditions, and this has taken its toll on their own health.’

‘Carers UK has raised the issue of prioritised access to the COVID-19 vaccination with the Minister for Care and it was a recommendation from the Carers Advisory Group to the Adult Social Care Taskforce.’

‘Carers UK want to see carers prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccination for the same reasons they are recognised as a key worker during this pandemic and are prioritised for the flu jab.  The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recognised that if carers got the flu, then this could be catastrophic, impacting carers’ ability to care and putting the person they care for at risk. When unpaid carers cannot continue to carry out care, this places additional pressure on social care and health services.  They want the same logic applied to the COVID-19 vaccination.’

Devon Carers supports the actions of Carers UK and as such we have also raised our concerns with the Government to clarify the whereabouts unpaid carers lie in the vaccination priority list.

* Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination: advice from the JCVI, 2 December 2020 – GOV.UK (

** Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – NHS (

*** Carers UK calls for unpaid carers to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination – Carers UK

A pioneering new project that supports unpaid carers has been heralded nationally and is shortlisted for a prestigious care award.

It involves dedicated staff from Devon Carers, a service commissioned by Devon County Council and NHS Devon CCG, working closely with hospital teams to identify situations where carers are involved, and where support for those carers is needed for patients to return home safely, or prevent hospital admissions.

First piloted at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Carers Hospital Service is now also running in North Devon and Torbay Hospitals.

There are an estimated 130,000 people in Devon who are looking after family members, neighbours or friends. Devon Carers, which is run by Exminster-based Westbank, support around 20,000 carers, (around 15 per cent). While support for carers is available, reaching them has always been difficult because people’s caring roles are often not identified.

So the authorities and Devon Carers started working within hospitals, and as patients came forward and their situations were assessed, it was possible to see whether they had anyone looking after them, a family member say, at home.

Sometimes people are unable to leave hospital because the person who is caring for them at home has become unable to cope. It might be because the patients’ care needs have grown worse and the carer doesn’t know what to do, or the carer could be unwell themselves, or simply exhausted from providing round the clock care.

Having identified where there are carers involved, the Carers Hospital Service team works with them to understand what is happening and to see where support would help them, which might avoid a hospital admission or help get the person home more quickly.

Often, emotional help and supportive calls from the staff is enough reassurance for some carers. Other times it could include specific training in a particular condition such as dementia. There could be practical support with cleaning or arranging meal deliveries for example, and sometimes putting the carer in touch with local groups or individuals who have shared experience of caring.

If the carer’s health is poor, or they have developed care needs themselves, the team refer the carer to health or social care services.

The results have shown significant improvements. By supporting carers, they are more able to look after themselves as well as caring for their loved one, neighbour or friend. In turn, that is preventing further hospital admissions, and reducing the length of time that patients are in hospital because they are able to return home sooner.

Between April 2019 and the end of October this year, 2,193 carers have been helped by the Carers Hospital Service, 1,740 of which were previously not known to Devon Carers.

One carer said:

“The cleaning and food delivery has meant that I am able to go back to work, whilst mum recuperates and dad is looked after. Thank you so much, I was finding it so difficult to cope. I would like to say a huge thank you for all the help that you have given to both my parents and myself over the past months. I don’t know I would have managed to cope with this whole caring process and trying to work as well. It’s very much appreciated, and you seem to have gone beyond the call of duty.”

Another carer said:

“I was just finding it so difficult to juggle all aspects of care with everything else that is going on at the moment. Debbie calmly went through everything that I needed to do and also tried to take some of that responsibility off my hands so that I could breathe a bit.”

The Carers Hospital Service has been shortlisted for the Support for Carers category of this year’s prestigious Health Service Journal awards.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility adult social care and health, said:

“Many of us in life find ourselves at some point looking after a family member or a friend, who needs care and support, and that’s to be expected. Why wouldn’t we.

“Often though, it can become all-consuming, and the impact that it has on our lives can be significant if the impact is not recognised.

“Through this pilot, we have seen how sometimes even a little support can go a very long way in helping a person cope with caring for their mum or dad, husband or wife, or someone else.

“The affect that has on the carer is enormous in terms of reducing their anxiety, stress levels and to some extent any feelings of guilt they may feel should they find themselves no longer able to cope.

“From the patients’ point of view, it means that many get to go home sooner, and it has often prevented their return to hospital at a later date because the person caring for them is now better able to cope.

“Of course home is where we would all want to be cared for, and carers enable that to happen, contributing hugely to the work done by health or social care services.

“We estimate that supporting carers in this way, enabling them to carry on caring safely, is saving the health and social care system in Devon considerably each year.

“More importantly supporting carers in this way is better for their wellbeing, as well as the people that they are caring for.

“I am delighted that our pilot in Devon has been recognised nationally, and is shortlisted for one of the most prestigious care awards in the country, the Health Service Journal awards.

“We will wait to hear what the judges think, but the positive results and comments we receive back from local carers already tells me that this service is a winner.”

Billy Hartstein, Head of Devon Carers, said:

“We are thrilled that Devon Carers Hospital Service has been nominated for a Health Service Journal Award in recognition of the hard and diligent work of Simon Rapsey, Tracy Duckmanton and all the Hospital Service Team.

“Our Hospital Service is the result of ongoing communication with unpaid carers, Carers Ambassadors and our fantastic partnership with Devon County Council and the NHS Devon CCG.

“Our integrated approach to developing this service has resulted in this innovative project to support unpaid carers. We continually review and adapt the services we offer to ensure we meet the needs of unpaid carers and who they care for, providing the right help when they need it most. We hope that as the needs of unpaid carers continue to change, we respond quickly by developing new areas of work.

“Thank you to the Health Service Journal judges for shortlisting our Devon Carers Hospital Service.”

Devon County Council to fund providers who develop innovative replacement care opportunities to enable carers to take a break

Unpaid carers in Devon have told us that they haven’t been able to have a break from their caring role because they’ve been unable to access replacement care for the person they look after.

To help in these unprecedented times, Devon County Council have launched a dedicated Carers Break Fund for any 18+ unpaid carer of adults, for more information visit our website here.

In addition to this fund, Devon County Council have joined forces with NHS Devon to launch a brand-new Replacement Care Innovation Fund which will make grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 available to care providers, personal assistants, and carers themselves who can develop and provide innovative opportunities that will give other carers a break, during COVID-19 and beyond.

If you know an organisation who might be interested in apply for this fund then please pass this information on.

To read the latest news on this fund from Devon County Council click here.

For further details of the Replacement Care Innovation Fund click here.

To register your interest in applying for the Replacement Care Innovation Fund email:

Whether you are a new carer or have been caring for a while, we believe it is important you are aware of your rights and can access the support available to you, at the time, you may need it.

Know Your Rights, the theme for Carers Rights Day 2020, is about:
• making carers aware of their rights
• letting carers know where to get help and support
• raising awareness of the needs of carers

As unpaid carers, you need to know your rights wherever you are in your caring journey: whether you are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals or, at home. We want to empower carers with information and support, so you can feel confident asking for what you need. We also want carers to know how to challenge things, if their rights are not being met.

Following COVID-19 guidance and regulations, our Carers Rights Day events will be provided online through Zoom. Should you require any IT support to help you access Zoom on your device, please contact us well in advance, as we may be able to help.

Events include:
• Michelmores Solicitors answer legal questions you may have including power of attorney queries*.
• Citizens Advice will join us to chat online about your rights and the benefits available to carers.
• Our Lead Practitioner for Training will discuss new skills you would like to learn to help support you in your caring role*.
• Our Occupational Therapist will host a Q&A session to answer your equipment and manual handling queries*.
• A helpful Q&A session on caring for someone with dementia*.
• How to navigate social care with our Social Care Manager*.
• Devon County Council will host an understanding direct payments session.
• Our Lead Practitioner for Mental Health will discuss how to access services and how they can help.
* Questions required in advance of Zoom session

We will be posting our programme of events in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for our full timetable and how to book on to our online events on our Carers Rights Day page here.

Carers UK has launched this survey to capture how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an impact on carers’ lives.
Carers UK carried out a similar survey back in April to uncover the impact that the early months of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on carers. The results of that survey were effectively used to campaign for more support for carers and better recognition of their needs in the Government’s responses to coronavirus (COVID-19) across the UK.
Your responses to this survey will enable Carers UK to provide comprehensive evidence of what carers are experiencing as part of our ongoing work to influence Government decision making, highlight carers’ experiences in the media, and ensure that their advice and information resources are appropriate for carers’ needs.

In the survey, they’ll be asking you to tell them what life is like now, what has changed, what’s happened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and what support you need. Due to the urgent nature of this research, as we approach winter, this survey will only be open until Sunday 27th September.

Please note that this survey is only for unpaid carers (or former carers) who are looking after a disabled, older, or seriously ill relative or friend.

We realise that carers are busy, especially in the current circumstances. The survey will take 15-20 minutes to complete but you are able to skip questions in the survey if you don’t have much time. However, the more information you give them, the better they can build a comprehensive picture of how carers’ lives continue to be affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Please click on the link below to access the survey:

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Portfolio Holder, Adult Social Care and Health, for Devon County Council updates unpaid carers about coronavirus, social care and changes to PPE arrangements in Devon.

Carers in Devon have been resilient and resourceful during the lockdown, and first of all, I want to thank you again for everything you have done to keep our most vulnerable people safe and well.

We know that many carers are anxious about COVID 19, and indeed that many, out of concern for those they care for, have not accepted care workers coming into the home of the person they care for since the lockdown started. This message is particularly for those carers, but it will inform and hopefully reassure all carers in Devon.

Thanks to the way the people of Devon have carefully observed the measures to control COVID 19, right now infection rates are low here, and they never approached the levels we feared they could. Of course, we must continue to be careful to maintain this. However, we know that many carers have not had a break since March. Many carers are telling us they are very tired. Also, some are anxious that because they have managed during the crisis, they will be told they can carry on doing so without help. Some carers have started to come back to us to have services set up again, but many have not.

We want carers to know that eligibility for support is not affected by having managed alone. Of course, some services still have a way to go because of infection control requirements, but subject to these we can talk with carers and the people they care for about setting services up again.

We have learned a lot about providing services in a COVID-safe way during this time. Devon has Beacon Council status for the way social care has controlled the infection in services, and personal care at home has seen much lower rates of infection than anticipated. We have overcome the early difficulties that were experienced with Personal Protective Equipment, and our services can reliably access this.

Carers too can access PPE if they need it, please see full details of the new arrangements from 24th July below.

Testing is available, where required. Care workers know how to provide the service safely, and care agencies want to get back to work. We want carers who need it to have a break.

So while none of us will be 100% safe from COVID-19 until we have an effective vaccine, you might want to consider whether now is the time to ask for any more support and a bit of time off. Carers usually put their needs last, but don’t leave it too long.

If the person you care for uses social care services and you depend on this to have a break, discuss this further with Care Direct 0345 155 007 or email

New arrangements – access to PPE in Devon

We are making some changes from 24 July 2020 relating to the distribution of PPE supplies in Devon.

As an unpaid carer you will continue to be able to access the PPE you require from DCC if you are unable to source it yourself. From 24th July this is available during normal office hours only and the out-of-hours availability will cease.  

 Unpaid carers can continue to request PPE using this PPE request form. Please call the Devon Carers Helpline on 0345 643 4435 if you require support or advice on the use of PPE.

Please note that this is now a generic form for anyone who might need PPE so covers services as well as unpaid carers. Simply complete as much detail as you feel able and do not worry if there are parts you cannot complete, the team that receives the requests will still be able to respond to your request.

You need to allow at least five days’ notice when submitting a request for PPE normally, however if for any reason you urgently require PPE please indicate on the form and we will contact you as quickly as possible.

All local store arrangements for PPE collection will end on 31st July. Instead, deliveries of PPE supplies will be made direct to your home address.

For more information visit:

Millions of people juggle their caring responsibilities with paid work. For working carers, balancing work and care can be a real struggle – being tired, stressed and struggling to manage their own physical and mental health, are very real challenges. They urgently need more support to ensure they can remain in work.

A right to carer’s leave is an issue that Carers UK has campaigned on for a long time. Thanks to them and other organisations in raising this issue, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is currently consulting on a proposal to give employees a week of unpaid carer’s leave each year to provide unpaid care. This is a starting point as Carers UK are continuing to campaign for unpaid leave to be paid and are looking to increase the proposed duration.

Your voice matters so respond to this consultation and let them know your opinion by 3rd August 2020 here:

To access the Carers UK briefing regarding this consultation, please click here

Carers have been contacting us with questions with regards to the easing of lockdown and what specifically does this mean to you and the loved ones who you care for.
You have been concerned about the latest guidance and how this impacts you including advice on: shielding, support bubbles, extended households, face coverings and whether unpaid carers are on the prioritised list for COVID-19 testing (you are!)
Carers UK have updated their handy Staying Safe FAQ’s which guides you through the latest guidance. Visit their website for more information:

Life as a carer can be stressful, tiring and incredibly lonely at the best of times, but no more than ever in these unprecedented times during COVID-19.

The HOPE Programme is a course that was created for people with a long-term health condition but is also available to carers using the same registration. The online version of the HOPE Programme provides virtual support for carers helping them to cope better, feel more in control, and be more resilient in these difficult times.

The 6-week online course starts 17th July to 21st August 10am-12pm each week.

They are looking to support people who are in a wide range of caring roles.

There is a single form at where you can register your interest using the online form, but please make sure you write that you are a carer under the ‘Additional Information’ section. Alternatively phone 01803 210493 or

Carers and the Devon Carers team are celebrating Carers Week, 8th to 14th June, by walking a mile with a smile, the aim of which is to walk the perimeter of Devon, 350 miles in total.

Sadie Clarke, Devon Carers Community Engagement Manager, said “Making caring visible is the theme of Carers Week this year. As well as hosting a variety of online workshops and activities, we are encouraging carers and our team to get out and walk a mile with a smile. All miles will be recorded and shared on our website, with our goal to reach 350 miles – a walk around Devon”.
“We provide support to over 20,000 carers across the county and although we recognise the valuable role unpaid carers play throughout the year, carers week is an opportunity for us to raise awareness and say a huge thank you”.

Across the UK 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives. Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility, that equals over 2 million people each year. (Carers UK)

As part of Carers Week Devon Carers will have a range of online workshops and activities, including virtual garden tours, quiz, crafts and wellbeing sessions, taking place, please visit for more information.

For more information about any of the online workshops and activities taking place during Carers Week, 8th to 14th June, please visit or t: 03456 434 435.

Editor’s Notes:

Westbank Community Health & Care was originally set up to provide practical and emotional support to people in villages along the west bank of the River Exe; it now works with communities and individuals across Devon, and in other sites around the UK. Westbank employs over 250 members of staff with over 550 volunteers.

Devon Carers supports over 20,000 carers across Devon –

Carers Week is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of caring, taking place from 8th to 14th June. This year Carers Week is focusing on making caring visible.
3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives – 7 Carers UK (2001) It Could Be You – A report on the chances of becoming a carer

Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people each year.

For more information, please see:


Carers access to PPE from Devon County Council

Devon County Council have just announced their latest guidance on access to Personal protective equipment (PPE).

PPE provides some measure of protection against infection, injury, or risks to health and safety but cannot completely eliminate risk.

In health and social care, PPE will most commonly be things like gloves, aprons, and facemasks. More specialist PPE is used in situations of particularly high risk, for example, a doctor or nurse in a hospital setting will likely use full body overalls and fluid-repellent aprons as well as filtering face piece respirators and eye/face protection. This is in comparison to care, workers, where it is more likely that only aprons, gloves and facemask will be needed.

The supply of PPE that the Council and NHS have access to is so limited, we need to ensure that those at the greatest risk are supported first.

The supply of PPE is also not guaranteed. This is because other groups of people may need to be given priority access to PPE to minimise their risk and the risk they pose to others. At present, Devon County Council is only able to make available limited amounts of PPE at a time.

The following types of carers will be able to access the supply of PPE subject to availability:

Personal care means any type of care that can only be provided in close proximity to the cared-for person, for example, washing, dressing, feeding, medication.

This may also include where a carer must touch their cared-for person for reassurance or guidance in cases where the cared-for person has dementia or another cognitive impairment.

To read more about how to access PPE from Devon County Council please visit:

Carers Week: Monday 8th – Sunday 14th June 2020

We are busy preparing (again!) for #CarersWeek! Due to the current COVID-19 situation we are unable to bring you our original planned programme of localised carer events, so instead we are going online!

We will publish the week’s timetable soon but rest assured it will be full of online events from virtual garden tours, question of sport quiz, carer’s cookbook, arts and crafts workshops, pampering activities, web based art gallery, bike maintenance, yoga and mindfulness sessions, positive poetry and pledging to walk a mile with a smile, plus a few more surprises!

But we need your help!

We will reveal all later, but we are keen to receive more of your #StayAtHomeActivities which we have been posting on Facebook and Twitter for you. From photos of your beautiful gardens, revived hobbies, creative crafts, amazing artwork to scrumptious recipes and positive poetry from a carers perspective, we would like to see them all!

If you are happy for us to display your photos, please email them to (noting your first name only and home town so we can share activities across Devon). Due to GDPR guidelines, do not send photos with people in, just your activities! Please note by sending your photos in you are consenting to them being used on our social media and websites (and our partners Westbank and Devon County Council)

Due to the current COVID-19 situation we and our partners will be running some of our online activities on video conferencing apps such as Zoom. These will require you to download the Zoom app, receive the logon details via your email address and to be a registered carer on our Devon Carers database.

We are very conscious of keeping you safe online and will follow the latest guidelines when setting up activity ‘meetings’. If you are unsure or concerned about possible risks (as there are with all online apps) please visit our webpage with helpful video conferencing guidance:

If you need assistance with setting up the app on your mobile, tablet or laptop then please do contact us well in advance and we may be able to help you.

We look forward to bringing you more information soon!

“At this difficult time I am pleased that we are able to bring you this special edition Carers’ Bulletin with information and news for you. Carers in Devon are hugely important members of our families and communities. I want to acknowledge how much carers do to keep our most vulnerable people safe and as well as possible. You are important to us, as you are to the people you care for.” 
John Hart Leader of Devon County Council
We understand this is a worrying time for everyone and we have produced this COVID-19 Special Bulletin to keep you updated with the latest news including:
  • How our services continue to support you
  • Our new ‘What If’…Emergency Plan – to help you record important details about your caring role in the event you are unable to continue caring
  • Alert Card application now online and recognised as identity of your caring role
  • New ‘Help during Coronavirus’ website section
  • Support and updates from the Government and Devon County Council
  • Top tips on taking a break at home
  • Keeping in contact and learning online
  • Advice of carer workers visiting your loved ones
  • Response from our Hospital Services team
  • Plus much more!

Click here to read it online

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 has been published by the Government. This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support.

NHS in England are directly contacting people who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to provide further advice. Help available could include; help with food, shopping deliveries and additional care you may need. If you believe you or the person you care for should have been contacted and haven’t been by 29/03/20, please contact your GP or register online:

For guidance on shielding and protecting yourself or the person you care for visit:

Coronavirus information for Devon Carers services

We are working closely with our Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team to manage the risks to the smooth running of the Devon Carers services and groups we deliver should there be a widespread outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The facts we know about COVID-19 as at this date:

  1. According to the NHS website, COVID-19 cannot survive outside the body for long.
  2. Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.
  3. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.


Please be reassured that we are monitoring updates and advice rigorously from the Department of Health, Public Health England (PHE) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

If you are concerned about what Coronavirus might mean for you, or someone you care for Carers UK have put together the following advice:

As this is a rapidly developing situation, we advise people to check the website links above for the latest advice and information.

Devon Carers services and groups will continue to run as usual.  Our staff and volunteers are being kept up to date with the latest guidance when working with carers.   We continue to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness at our sites and when working remotely in the community.  We will continue to follow all Public Health England guidance and advice to ensure the health and wellbeing of all services users, carers, staff and volunteers remain our priority.

Specific advice is available from the Government for returning travellers.  If you have recently travelled and returned from any of the areas listed in the link, the advice from Public Health England is:

Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel.

Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.

If you require any further information, please contact

Keeping Warm This Winter

You may have noticed the beginnings of a few winter chills in the air and already started to turn the heating up at home.

It can be difficult to ensure that your house stays warm during the winter while also preventing heating bills from skyrocketing. In the UK, many carers struggle to pay energy bills as a result of costs incurred by their responsibilities.
With this in mind, it is useful to be aware of the financial support available to carers and how you can save money on heating bills.

Warm Homes Discount Scheme

You may be entitled to The Warm Home Discount Scheme which gives people a one-off discount of around £140 on their energy bills between October and March. There are a couple of ways you can qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Firstly, if you receive a pension and secondly If you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria.

Once you have applied for the Warm Home Discount Scheme and qualify for the discount, you must reapply every year in order to keep benefitting. It’s also worth noting that you can still take advantage of this scheme even if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.

For more information visit (or contact your supplier)

Energy Company Obligation

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme which requires a few energy providers to give grants to households in order to install measures for them to boost their energy efficiency and lower their energy bills.

If you’re a carer on certain benefits and own your home, you might be able to get financial help in making energy-saving improvements to your home. This may seem underwhelming but changes such as a new boiler or installing insulation can make a big difference in heating a property, and consequently to energy bills.

For more information on Energy Company Obligation contact your supplier.

Cold Weather Payment

You or the person you care for could qualify to get £25 a week between November and March, but only if the temperature in your area is particularly cold (below freezing for 7 consecutive days). Cold Weather Payments are made automatically to those on qualifying benefits.

For more information on Cold Weather payments go to

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is a scheme specifically designed to support older people cover the costs of energy during the winter. This payment can be between £100 and £300, (dependent on your circumstances). If you’re a carer looking after an elderly person, they are most likely to be eligible. It is worth noting that this payment is entirely tax free.

Contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160 or visit

It is important to not let the winter cold affect either your health or finances and these schemes are designed to help financially support you and your cared for through the winter months. So, no matter what the weather holds for us this year, you can keep your home nice and warm while saving money at the same time.

Devon Carers have recently been successful in applying for Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme. This means that when you do your weekly shop, or even just popping in for a pint of milk, and you get given a plastic token at the checkout you can now choose Devon Carers Time Out For Carers as the charitable cause to receive support. We will be using the money we receive to support carers to access breaks.


Unpaid carers are critical to the sustainability of the health and social care system, and the value of the work they do is worth about £1.75bn per year in Devon alone! Getting a break from caring is hugely important, not only to promote the wellbeing of the carer but also allowing them to stay resilient and keep on caring if that is their wish.


Please consider using your token to vote for Devon Carers and thank you for helping us to continue looking after carers in Devon.


For more information on Tesco’s Bags of Help visit:

Carers Rights Day Thursday 21st November is a national event coordinated by Carers UK and is an opportunity for organisations and services to empower the carers in their community with information about their rights.


Whether you are starting your caring journey or someone who has been caring for a long time we believe it’s important:

For Carers Rights Day 2019 we have organised an information event in each locality area (where our teams are based around the county), either on Carers Right Day (Thur 21st Nov) or on Saturday (23rd Nov), to enable carers who work in the week to attend. These events include a variety of attendees and speakers.


Follow social media and visit for up to date information.


What do you want when you book replacement care (respite)?  

Devon County Council would like to know what you would like in a replacement care booking system. 

It could have the same type of features as any on-line booking or shopping application (e.g. Trivago, Amazon), and must have method of searching for care, bookingpaying for care (if relevant) and other features, such as feedback.   

The system will be for anyone to use – self funders or people using commissioned DCC service.

Here are some examples of sites which you might use already which probably contain the features you would like to use. 


This survey is available online here

Thank you. 

Volunteers’ Week 1st-7th June 19 gives us the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our amazing volunteers. Volunteers lend their time and expertise to support carers in their local communities.

Carers volunteer for a whole variety of reasons but most want to do something useful and help others. It’s a great way to make new friends, try something different and learn new skills. You can read about the experiences of one of our volunteers in the health and wellbeing page in our Summer 19 magazine If you would like to find out more information about volunteering with us visit our website:

Devon Carers has a wide range of volunteering roles available, the process is easy and starts with a phone call or email to Tracy Thompson our Lead Practitioner for Volunteering and Social Action. She will explain the roles available and the training and support we have on offer. We can make sure that we use your skills and the time you can give to find a role which suits you best. If you would like to find out more information about volunteering with us visit our website:

For a friendly and informal chat please contact Tracy Thompson on 03456 434 435 or email on

Carers Week: Monday 10th – Sunday 16th June 19 – Supporting carers to get connected in their communities


Carers Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the role of the carer. This year the theme is ‘Getting Carers Connected’, so we are doing just that. Between 10th-16th June we will be holding a number of events to connect carers with professionals, services and, most importantly, each other. We know that caring can have an impact on our wellbeing and carers often tell us it can be a challenge to prioritise looking after themselves.

Our Carers Week events range from fun activities that can be enjoyed shoulder to shoulder with other carers, giving the opportunity to expand your network of carer allies, to those highlighting the support and services available within the community. There will be plenty of opportunity to speak with Devon Carers and Carer Ambassadors for advice and guidance, or to organise more substantial support if needed.

The events are spread across the week to maximise accessibility for all carers; we are also holding a live chat via the online pod with Citizen’s Advice, don’t worry if you aren’t available on the day you can add your questions before by signing up:

We hope to see you at your local ‘Information Market’ or giving forest bathing, mindfulness or even horsemanship for health a try!


Carers Week Events Leaflet

To view our Carers Week 19 leaflet with listings of events please click here

Please note: dates are correct at time of the Carers Week leaflet going to print. Devon Carers reserves the right to amend, add or cancel events. Please check the website and social media for up to date information.


Pre-bookable Events:

These events need to be booked in advance via our Helpline 03456 434 435 (unless otherwise indicated) as spaces are limited, these include:

Monday 10th June

Tuesday 11th June

Wednesday 12th June

Thursday 13th June

Sunday 16th June

Unfortunately, the following events have been cancelled:

– Horsemanship For Health – Thursday 13th June, Newton Abbot
– Cooking Class – Sunday 16th June, Kitchen House Café, Bovey Tracey
– Crediton Community Connection Fair, Friday 14th June, Crediton Congregational Church
Please do look at our list of Carers Week events for other alternatives.


Hot off the press –  new events added:

Monday 10th June

Carer Connection event – Venue change: Restawhile TASS Café, Pannier Market place, Tavistock, PL19 0AL

Tuesday 11th June

Making Connections Roadshow: CoLab, 3 King William Street, Exeter, EX4 6PD Drop-In activities on offer include: Find out about the Together App and meet the Learn Devon Digital Advocates, AGEUK Sitting and Enabling Home Help services, Come and join enjoy refreshments/cake and hear how what you wear and how you wear it can enhance your wellbeing

Information Stand: Drop in and chat with Devon Carers – North Devon District Hospital, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, EX31 4JB, 10am- 4pm

Wednesday 12th June

The Crafters Retreat – Crafternoon Session: For all carers – We will be upcycling glass jars to make tea light holders perfect for our summer evenings in the garden. Crafters Retreat is a low-cost community craft studio with weekly workshops for all. To book: Jenny Pearce 07753 480423 or e: Or via Facebook: The Clay Factory, Redlake Trading Estate, Ivybridge, PL21 0EZ, 12.30pm to 2.30pm

Information Stand – Awareness and information stand with Devon Carers and partners, on hand to answer any questions you may have. 9am – 1pm, Leatside Surgery, Babbage Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JA

Thursday 13th June

Making Connections for working Carers (RD&E Staff Only): RD&E Hospital, Chaplaincy Area, Barrack Road, EX2 5DW, 12.30pm-13.30pm

Information Event – Royal Hotel, Barnstaple Street, Bideford, EX39 4AE Session now extended 10am-2pm

Saturday 15th June

Making Connections for working Carers: Nancy Potter House, Nelson Close, Topsham, EX3 ODX, 10.30am-12.30pm

The Crafters Retreat – Crafternoon Session: For all carers – We will be upcycling glass jars to make tea light holders perfect for our summer evenings in the garden. Crafters Retreat is a low-cost community craft studio with weekly workshops for all. To book: Jenny Pearce 07753 480423 or e: theivycrafters@gmail.comOr via The Clay Factory, Redlake Trading Estate, Ivybridge, PL21 0EZ, 12.30pm to 2.30pm

Carers Week offers:

We are also hoping to add offers kindly donated by local organisations for carers – please do check back to this page in the run up to Carers Week for more information.

ONE free pass for carers at:
Newton Abbot Leisure centre: sports hall classes, sauna steam sessions and swimming
Dawlish Leisure Centre: Classes and swimming
Broadmeadow Sports Centre (Teignmouth): Classes or afternoon racket sports subject to availability (1-4pm) squash, badminton and short tennis
Lido outdoor pool: (please check the timetable online)
Waiver of £25 joining fee: for any carer or client that wishes to sign up to a membership during Carers Week only
Also ask the Leisure Centre staff for details of a free Carers Pass when accompanying a cared for person at their facilities.
All carers that wish to have a free session will need to bring in their Devon Carers Alert Card for verification.

Tarka Pottery are offering a half-price activity to any carer during Devon Carers Week. Visit to view their pottery activities. Tarka Pottery, Glebe Farm, Little Torrington, North Devon, EX38 8PS.

Saturday 15th June

Well Woman Workshop: Heart and Mind Devon, The Clay Factory, Redlake Trading Estate, Ivybridge, PL21 0EZ
A nurturing day attracting abundance into your life with meditation, hypnotherapy and flower essences. Book essential, email:
Carers Week Offer: £5 discount off full price of £35

People in Devon are being encouraged to ask themselves if they are ready to talk about death and dying with their families during national Dying Matters Week Mon 13th– Sun 19th May 19.

Dying Matters is a national campaign that aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

Here in Devon, two women who lost their husbands have shared their experience in the hope that it will help other families open up and talk about the difficult subject of death.

Linda, Newton Abbot, and Jean, Starcross, want to address this by encouraging people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans with friends, family and loved ones.  They have participated in a short film, sharing their experience and advising others what they can do to be more prepared.

Linda’s husband Terry died in 2017 from prostate cancer. “Nobody talked about it [death]. They just talked about how to try and get better. It was too late by then to be talking about doing forms and stuff like that, about which I knew nothing. I had to discover everything, with no one to help.

When Terry was closer to dying, she realised, “I don’t know what he wants, I don’t know where the passwords are. I don’t know how I’m going to manage with the finances because he does it all.”

Jean’s husband Peter died in 2017.  “Whilst death is there for everybody, as birth is, I’m not sure we’re prepared.

“You can go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and they will help you. I found it didn’t have to be very detailed, it was mainly expressing wishes. It was a great comfort to the family, and to myself and to Peter, to know that I had looked beyond.

She adds, “I’ve been able to grieve very naturally, and fully, because all those nitty gritty things were sorted. Live life to the full every single day, but life will end, and make it part of living, and then you’re not afraid.”


Please watch their YouTube film here:

Our latest issue is packed full of the latest news, advice, training courses, carers stories, top tips for carers, carers support groups and events. Click here to read it

We are very pleased to be supporting Carers Week (Monday 10th – Sunday 16th June) which is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate carers. We have a week packed full of events, enabling carers to get connected in their communities (for a complete list please read pages 4-5) If you are able to, please do come along to meet and chat with us at one of our events.

We always welcome your thoughts and would love to hear from you with regards to items you would like to see included in our future issues, please email us at:

Packed full of the latest news, advice, training courses carers stories, top tips for carers and much more.

Click here to read it

We hope you enjoy reading it, we always welcome your thoughts and would love to hear from you with regards to items you would like to see included in our future issues.

Please email us at:

The State of Caring Survey is the UK’s most comprehensive research into the lives and experience of carers. Last year it was completed by over 7000 carers.


The survey is due to close on 24 May 2019.

The time you take to respond to the survey provides us with incredibly important evidence that enables us to:

We need your help to paint a picture of what it’s like to be a carer in 2019.

We need your evidence to push carers up the agenda for policy makers and to campaign for recognition and change. In the next year we want to bring your voice and experience to the heart of decisions about:

Spending on care and support services: The way carers are recognised and supported will be a key part of the Government’s social care policy proposals expected soon. Decisions made will affect carers in England but also social care spending across the UK.

Financial support for carers: Campaigning to improve financial support for carers remains our top priority and we’d like to hear about how caring has affected your finances both in the short term and how you are able to save for the future.

Improving carers health and wellbeing: How the NHS puts into practice commitments to act on identifying and supporting carers earlier and ensuring they have plans in place for when they need the back up of health and care services. We also want to understand how we could support people who are caring to look after their mental and physical health by being more active. We know that carers face challenges to taking part in exercise or sport and we’re keen to see how we can help address those.

What you told us in 2018

You gave us evidence of:

Caring costs: Over a third of carers (37%) responding to our survey described their financial situation as ‘struggling to make ends meet’, while a further 20% said they are in or have been in debt as a result of caring. The impact of caring is greater the longer someone has been caring – just two in five (44%) of those caring for more than 15 years could afford their bills without struggling financially, compared with three in five (62%) of carers in their first year.

Cuts to support: Only one in ten (10%) of carers responding felt confident that the support they receive and rely upon will continue.

Carers need more support with their own health: 72% of carers responding said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring and 61% reported physical ill health as a result of caring. During Carers Week our messages about the importance of supporting carers with the health and wellbeing had a rech of 100 million.

What we did with your evidence:
Your responses enabled helped us to provide comprehensive evidence to the committee of MPs who scrutinise the work or the Department for Work and Pensions. The Committee made a series of important recommendations; calling on the Government to put in place paid care leave for employees juggling work and care and to make a number of change to Carer’s Allowance to make it easier to earn money alongside receiving it.

Your evidence of the health impacts of caring helped us push for the most robust commitments to date to improve the way that the NHS identifies and offers support to carers in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Your experience of the care and support system was at the heart of calls from influential organisations such as the Local Government Association for more funding for social care.

Thank you to everyone who is able to respond.


Top Tips for Christmas

Christmas for carers takes a little more planning. However, some of these top tips should help to make the festivities run more smoothly. If you become stressed, the chances are that the person you are caring for will become stressed and vice versa. Similarly, if the atmosphere in the house is calm, relaxed and pleasant, the person you care for will have lower stress levels. Click here to read these top tips for a happier Christmas provided by our carers.

“WHAT ABOUT ME”? – helping me look after myself as a carer

We have developed a new course, “What About Me”? – helping to look after myself as a carer.

These courses are delivered as three two hour sessions, designed to help carers look after themselves by developing current skills that carers already have, and potentially making changes to make your caring role easier. This is also an excellent opportunity to meet carers in a similar situation to you, friendships and mutual support is often formed within the carers ‘community’. By attending this pilot course it really helps us at Devon Carers to provide effective targeted training support for the future, we welcome all feedback from this course.  Any carer who attends these courses is entitled to claim travel expenses and replacement care, by prior agreement with the training team upon booking course attendance.

Carers with a Cared For with a dementia

Friday 2nd November

Friday 16th November

Friday 30th November

Venue – Manor Hotel, Exmouth   Please arrive at 10.15am, for coffee, course will start at 10.30am – 12.30pm

Carers of Young People in transition aged 18 – 24

Friday 16th November

Friday 23rd November

Friday 30th November

Venue – Matford Centre, Exeter Please arrive at 10.15am, for coffee, course will start at 10.30am – 12.30pm


Carers with a General Caring role

Friday 23rd November

Friday 7th December

Friday 14th December

Venue – TASS Centre, Tavistock

Please arrive at 10.15am, for coffee, course will start at 10.30am – 12.30pm

Early booking is encouraged, so please book your place by ringing Anna Rowsell or Sally Radcliffe on 03456 434 435 alternatively email or

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visits Devon Carers, Exminster  

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of Carers Trust, visited Devon Carers at Westbank Community Health and Care, Farm House Rise, Exminster on Monday 24th September to officially open the new Devon Carers Service.

Her Royal Highness met Westbank Chief Executive (outgoing) Mary Nisbett, Westbank Chief Executive (incoming) Matthew Byrne, Carers Trust Chief Executive Giles Myers and Devon County Council Chairman Caroline Chugg, who accompanied HRH throughout the visit.

The launch event celebrated the start in the evolution of Devon Carers, a countywide service for adults and young carers across Devon.  Devon Carers provides information and advice to carers, helps them to find support in their local community.  Devon Carers is led by carers, ensuring they have choice, control, and a voice as expert partners in care.

The launch of the newly configured service follows a five year award of a contract to lead agency Westbank Community Health and Care.

Matthew Byrne, Westbank Chief Executive, said “The new contract will enable Devon Carers to build its preventative services to enable carers to continue to care safely and independently and to increase the availability and range of peer support. I know from talking to carers over many years that learning and sharing the experiences of other carers can be an invaluable support to them”.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness met staff who deliver the service and adult and young carers who are supported by the service.

Siblings Josh 12, Lily 13 and Rachel 15, who care for their mum, shared their thoughts on meeting Her Royal Highness “It was very exciting meeting The Princess, but also a bit nerve wracking as I didn’t know what to say.  She was easy to talk to and very friendly asking about our caring role and school”.  Josh went on to say “I’ve never met royalty before, it was quite cool”.

Brana Thorn, Member of Devon Carers Governance Board, said “It was a great pleasure meeting Her Royal Highness; she took the time to talk to us all individually asking specific questions about our involvement with Devon Carers.  I found her to be very insightful and responsive to the needs of carers”.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to talk directly to young carers about their caring roles and the support they receive through Devon Carers.  Skye, aged 12, one of the young carers, talked to Her Royal Highness about a graffiti art workshop she recently attended and was able show her the artwork she designed which formed part of an art installation at Westbank.

Isabel, aged 16, who cares for her parents, said “The Princess was very nice, she asked about my caring role and family and what I’d like to do in life”

Sophie, aged 11, who cares for her sister, said “The Princess understood about caring, she listened to how I care for my little sister who has autism.  It was really good to talk to her about what I have to do at home so she could realise more about young carers”.

Before leaving, Her Royal Highness gave a speech in which she expressed her interest in hearing about some of the new areas of work Devon Carers are developing, especially new digital and online services, and targeting hard-to-reach groups of carers to improve access for example by carers living in isolated rural communities.  The Princess went on to cut a cake and was presented with a posy by Luke, aged 12.

Mary Nisbett, Westbank Chief Executive, said “We are delighted that Her Royal Highness was able to join us to meet with adult and young carers, staff, volunteers, partners and commissioners.  It was a wonderful opportunity for adult and young carers to share with The Princess their experience of being carers, examples of the support Devon Carers provides and discuss the challenges carers face and how they can be supported in the future”.

Photo: Matthew Byrne, Westbank Community Health and Care Chief Executive, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and young carer Luke Barnett


Please click here or on the image to view/download poster

As many of you will have seen in the press, the regulation that governs data protection is being updated and a new standard comes into effect from 25th May 2018.  This new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides individuals with more control over their personal data and how it can be used.  We will be sending you further information about this very soon.  Please look out for this because it will contain information about how we can continue to stay in touch with you.

Devon Partnership Trust (DPT) is looking for carers who have experience of caring for someone with a mental health problem or caring for someone with a learning disability to help train their staff. Ian Henwood from DPT’s ‘Together’ programme says:

“Evidence shows that when carers are included in a therapeutic alliance with healthcare professionals and the person that they care for, the outcomes are better for everyone. It is important for staff in DPT to be able to identify carers on or around first contact. To enable this to happen, DPT has co-designed with carers, Carer Awareness Training for all its staff”

DPT are now looking for carers who have experience of caring for someone with a mental health problem or a learning disability to help with the delivery of these sessions either by helping to facilitate and / or to tell the story of their carer experience.

DPT will be starting a pilot of one-hour sessions for all staff teams in Torbay between May and December. The plan is then to roll this training out to the rest of their workforce across Devon (which has some 80 or so staff teams!) They are seeking as many carers as possible who would be willing to take part so that they wouldn’t be relying on just a few people to help.

Carers have also co-designed training to be delivered as part of the corporate induction to DPT for new staff. These are 2-hour sessions that take place every month and they are looking for carers to help facilitate and / or tell their story for these sessions as well.

Travel expenses will be reimbursed and DPT can offer £10 per hour for your time. If anyone is interested, please contact Ian Henwood at e-mail: for more information. If you don’t have e-mail you can contact Devon Carers to register your interest and we can pass your details on to Ian. Call our helpline on 03456 434 435.

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