More help for carers in East Devon

Carers in Devon can now find out about support and information from one place for the first time, as part of a �1.3 million investment by Devon County Council and NHS Devon.

As part of the new Devon Carers Centre, a new telephone helpline has been launched to give carers better access to support to help them stay healthy and live a normal life outside of caring.

Carers will be able to access the following services through the helpline:

? 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.

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The new 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 will also be launched shortly at

Mary Nisbett, chief executive of Westbank, which is based in Exminster, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to take this important work forward, and are pleased that many of the voluntary organisations we have worked so closely with in the past will continue to be involved in providing these important services for carers.”

Devon County Councillor Stuart Barker, who has council responsibility for carers said: “The county council’s investment in this new service demonstrates our commitment to supporting carers, who will now have access to a wide variety of services from the one source”.

Dr Simon Kerr, a GP from Ottery St Mary, said: “The new service will make it easier for GPs, as they will be able to have a single point to access practical support and short breaks for carers.

“Many carers do not need support from health and social care, but the support the Virtual Devon Carers Centre will be able to offer, at an early stage, will make a big difference”.

Sonia Barton, a carer and trustee of Westbank, said: “I am really pleased that I had a health check last year. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for carers to ensure they look after themselves.

“The new service should ensure that carers are properly supported when they take on a really difficult job that helps society a great deal.”