We go into early summer continuing to be busy, but also in a celebratory mood due to the festivities for our President’s 80th birthday; congratulations once again Iris.
Our newly established Home Help Service is continuing to flourish and is now being managed very effectively by Sally. Therefore, if you encounter a situation where you need help or are aware of someone else who would benefit from this kind of support, please do not hesitate to contact Sally in the DC office.
There has been a focus this month on how we, as a community, can help support those suffering with dementia. An information event was hosted at The Guildhall in conjunction with Dementia Friends (an Alzheimer’s Society Initiative) to provide information for businesses and individuals on this issue.
Nick continues to be very busy on behalf of the charity and all its clients and was once again instrumental in supporting the success of Know your Blood Pressure Day on 18th May. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped staff this vital service. Thanks are also due to our wonderful volunteers who helped out with our Amenity Hut in May; they had a surprisingly busy day in rather blustery and cold conditions, dedication indeed!
As usual I thank our very faithful volunteers and supporters who ensure that Dartmouth Caring continues to function.
With very best wishes.
From Nick’s Desk
- The NHS Trust secures ‘block booking’ for two intermediate care beds in Dartmouth through continued partnership with local care home
This is excellent news as it will mean that the vast majority of local people who need an Intermediate Care bed will able to be catered for locally!
There is quite a long missive from my desk this month, as I wanted to bring readers up to date with some of the work we are doing and on some of the community-wide work in which we are involved.
Home Helps – Dartmouth Caring has now launched and is running its new Home Help Service. This has certainly been popular with existing and new clients, offering as it does a means to have additional support to maintain independence in clients’ own homes, something that really matters to us all. I would like to thank Sally Edwards for all her efforts in helping me get this off the ground.
Mental Health Support – One of my most pressing roles at the present time is to secure funding for a mental health support worker, and 3 bids for funding have been sent off this month. We are likely to know the outcome of this over the summer. What is very clear to us, based on the clients we see, and what we hear from Dartmouth Community Chest, the Food Bank and the Town Council, is that there is a severe shortage of support for those in our community who need help with mental ill-health.
In essence, this role will seek to:
- support people in their management of their mental health, 1:1, in groups and assisting clients engage with others
- be influential in establishing a local drop-in and hub, in partnership with others, with support from Devon Partnership Trust
- act as recovery buddies to support people to attend the kind of activities provided by Dartmouth Together
- identify people as potential co-tutors for future support work
- look for outside funding to provide additional opportunities because the NHS cannot fund these things as part of their normal service provision.
Health and Wellbeing Centre – the working group that meets with the NHS every 6 – 8 weeks receives updates from the Trust on the progress, or not, being made. I along with other members of this group are feeling increasingly frustrated with the Trust’s lack of communication despite offers of support and constant pushing.
The latest update, at the time of writing, is that the build will be completed and ready to open for late 2020, early 2021. I am afraid that based on their capacity and responsiveness I lack confidence that this timeline will be met. I am confident that they are committed but it is the transferring of this into effective action that sows doubt. This is a concern shared by most of the local stakeholders.
I can assure you that all the local stakeholders who attend these meetings genuinely challenge, question and push the trust.
In the summer the group will be undertaking research into actual patient experience of the quality of Intermediate Care. All members, the Trust included, accept we need objective and impartial evidence to understand how the system is actually working.
Finally, while often frustrated, it is clear that the Trust want to improve what they have done and their reputation in the town and surrounding villages; how effectively they act will be the proof of their good intentions, and on this the jury is out.
Know Your Blood Pressure Day 2019
The Rotary Club has been leading a campaign to alert people to the dangers of high blood pressure for the last 16 years. Sponsored by the National Stroke Association, ‘Know Your Blood Pressure Day’ provides an opportunity for anyone to drop into their local event and have their blood pressure checked professionally. In Dartmouth for the past 7 years this event has been run in conjunction with Dartmouth Caring.
High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” as in almost every case there are no symptoms, the first some people know of this is when they have a stroke or a cardiac event.The Know Your Blood Pressure campaign helps people to understand the link between high blood pressure and stroke, other risk factors and what they can do to reduce the possibility of a stroke occurring.
This year, ‘The Know Your Blood Pressure Day’ was held at the Community Corner in the Market Square on Saturday, 18th May. The Rotary Club and Dartmouth Caring organised the administration and provided the manpower and professional expertise needed to undertake the blood pressure monitoring. There were members on the street to explain what was happening and to encourage the public to participate. A steady stream of visitors underlined how much this service is valued in the community, and by those visiting the town.
Spotlight on Karen Blake
If you pop into the Dartmouth Caring office on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning, you may very well be greeted by the happy, smiling face of Karen Blake. The smile is not an ‘office persona’, she genuinely loves her role at the charity, she must do, she has been with us for 11 years, and counting. . .
Karen moved to Devon with her husband in the early 90s as a result of the changing job market in their home county of Shropshire. She now has two daughters, one of whom is currently preparing to follow the lure of international travel. However, the two rescue greyhounds who are a big part of Karen’s leisure time will help to compensate for this loss.
Having worked for the MEB in admin prior to the move, Karen was not immediately in the market for a job, however, having made a connection with the then manager, Diane Walton, she was persuaded that she had the perfect skill set to compliment that of the existing staff at Dartmouth Caring.
A little unsure that this was the case, Kate was astonished at the ease with which she took up her role, answering queries, organising transport and overseeing the Lunch Club. Her role has evolved as time has gone by and now working two days a week, Karen has moved away from Transport but has retained the Lunch Club where she is in her 8th year as co-ordinator. She is interested in the changing demographic of the Lunch Club as increasingly clients are not making use of the facility until they reach their late 70s and early 80s. She attributes this shift to the lively and intrepid nature of the ‘younger’ retirees! However, Karen enjoys the challenge of co-ordinating the service, helping the clients and being part of an efficient and dedicated team.
Karen’s other tasks now include general admin and the organization of the (recently re-vamped) Membership Prize Draw. What she loves about her work is the variety it provides; life in the office is never boring! Helping to assist in the efficiency of such a vital service does, Karen feels, bring its own rewards. There is a sense of seeing ‘all of life’ and the inevitable moments of pathos are lightened by the wide variety of interesting people with whom she comes into contact. Not least of these are her co-workers who joke light-heartedly about her love of ‘chocolate and chatter time’; humour for Karen certainly helps to make the world go around.
Great Result Despite the Weather
On Thursday 16th May, it was Dartmouth Caring’s turn to use the facilities at the Amenity Hut to raise funds for the charity, but unfortunately the weather was not on our side! From 10am onwards on a blustery morning a delicious range of homemade cakes and sandwiches were on offer to the public; all of which were generously donated by friends and volunteers. The tea and coffee which were being served were certainly appreciated on such a cold morning and the intriguing Tombola and its prizes continually caught the eye. The visitors arrived in a steady stream until 4 o’clock in the afternoon by which time the charity had raised just under £400.00; a great effort all round!
Prize Draw Results for May 2019
1st Prize of £50.00 was won by: Trevor Bird
2nd Prize of £25.00 was won by: Graeme Davies
3rd Prize of £10.00 was won by: Georgie Pryke-Smith
Congratulations to one and all.
N.B. All these wonderful people have donated their winnings back to Dartmouth Caring – Thank You!!