I cannot believe the summer is now behind us all, Dartmouth Caring’s staff have had their well-deserved holidays and are now back to work and despite some beautifully warm September weather, the mornings are beginning to have that distinctive autumnal feel.
Here in the office, we continue to experience challenges and triumphs in equal measure, at the current time one of our greatest concerns is the loss of 6 volunteer drivers over the last eighteen months. This has a huge impact on the services we offer, and we are struggling to fulfil all the requests for assistance from our clients. Therefore, we ask that if you or your friends have a spare few hours then you consider joining our pool of volunteer drivers and help us to ensure that the elderly and vulnerable can attend their hospital appointments. Please think about donating some time to this worthwhile service.
On the other hand, one of our recent triumphs is securing the lottery funding to support those in the community who are dealing with mental health issues; you can read more about this exciting development later in the Newsletter.
We do have some spaces available at the Lunch Clubs which take place in the Community Corner on Wednesday and Thursday. Joan, the Dartmouth Caring cook and her wonderful helpers, provide a superb cooked lunch with varied menus which are always enjoyed by those who attend. Clients also appreciate the time to meet with friends and acquaintances, talking together and enjoying the fare. So do consider coming along and taking advantage of this service which has been a cornerstone of Dartmouth Caring’s work during the last 31 years.
Our newly installed Home Help Service is continuing to develop and is progressing well. Please remember, if you or any of your family or friends would like us to help, contact the Dartmouth Caring office and ask Sally for the necessary details.
I wish you all an enjoyable autumn and thank you for your continuous support of the charity.
With very best wishes,
From Nick’s Desk
Dartmouth Caring Board Welcomes Two New Faces
The charity is delighted to welcome 2 new trustees to the Board of Dartmouth Caring; Dr Frances Davidson and Mrs Caroline Martin have now joined and bring with them a wider range of skills and experiences to support the decision-making processes of the charity. We look forward to working with them in coming years.
ATOS Meeting Exposes the Necessity for a Better Service
Recently, Manager Nick Hindmarsh and Deputy Manager Sarah Farnsworth, attended a meeting with 3 national executives of ATOS, the organisation that assesses people for benefit entitlement. The meeting was called by our local MP, Sarah Wollaston and was also attended by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
It was interesting to hear that the problems which our clients have encountered with these assessments were echoed by CAB. The panel of ATOS leaders described how the process should be operating, most of which sounded entirely reasonable. Unfortunately, their description did not match our clients’ experiences of the system. They explained the steps they take to ensure standards are met and gave us direct contact details of someone with whom we can lodge complaints when these standards are not attained. Based on our experiences so far, we will be in frequent and regular contact with the complaints department, indeed one arose 3 days after our meeting!
Some of the flaws in the process are beyond the control of ATOS, with the blame lying squarely with the Department for Work and Pensions, who set the rules. This does not help our clients, who are continually subjected to last minute delays and poor-quality assessments which deny them the support to which they are entitled. However, a more detailed scrutiny of the system suggests that delays and poor-quality assessments are indeed the responsibility of ATOS as well as the DWP, who commission their services.
The meeting was a worthwhile first step and it is clear ATOS want to do a better job; the proof of their commitment to such progress however will lie in the effective nature of their actions in the coming months.
Important Date for Your Diary!
Thursday 3rd October @ 7pm, by popular demand, Dartmouth Caring is staging its second Fashion Show of the year and this time the venue is the Stoke Lodge Hotel, Stoke Fleming. See the poster for further details.
Memory Café Enjoys A Successful Outing
On Tuesday 3rd September, Dartmouth Caring’s Memory Café visited Garden Time, the delightful garden Centre which is situated just outside of the town.
Once there, the group enjoyed coffee in the centre’s café, which also serves delicious cakes and light meals. This was followed by a relaxed wander around the garden centre, checking out the myriad of plants and flowers which they have in stock.
The morning was a great success for all concerned and lots of positive comments were received from the clients who thoroughly enjoyed meeting in different surroundings; this was of course greatly enhanced by the beautiful sunny weather.
This was the first proper outing as a group and after such a successful start Deputy Manager, Sarah Farnsworth, stated that the Memory Café would definitely arrange more trips in the future when they hope to venture further afield.
Support for Mental Health in Our Community
An increasing element of Dartmouth Caring’s work is involved in supporting those with mental health issues. The charity was therefore delighted when it recently received notification from The National Lottery that it has secured almost £10,000 to fund work supporting those in our community with such problems. As the statutory services become increasingly stretched, this is wonderful news for the charity and the community.
The grant received will fund a 12 month trial of a part time mental health support
worker who will use a range of methods to support individuals. This will involve:
? promoting an environment that encourages the client to feel safe and comfortable
? communicating with and supporting the client’s relatives and carers
? signposting the client to appropriate opportunities to connect, keep active, get
involved and enjoy life in the community
? manage their mental health issues 1:1 and deal with crises such as
housing/debt which have occurred due to mental health issues
? access groups and activities within our community, reducing isolation and
? develop new support networks
o support the establishment of a local drop-in/hub for those with mental health issues (in partnership with others, including Devon Partnership, NHS Trust – DPT (the local mental health NHS trust)) to explore the role of volunteering to help build confidence and give something back (e.g. as tutors at the hub, or in our gardening project)
Dee Nutt, commented, “This is an increasing issue across the town and local villages, we are seeing more and more clients with low level mental health issues struggling to hold their lives together. I have no doubt whatsoever that this will rapidly be an overstretched new service but at least it will start to make a difference. Now we have the funding we can get on and set up the service, which we expect to be open to clients from late October.” Nick Hindmarsh explained that, “Clients may self-refer and can be
referred from the community and this complements the counselling service we
The Show Must Go On . . .
Despite torrential rain and gale force winds on the evening of 3rd October, Dartmouth Caring’s Autumn Fashion Show, held at the Stoke Lodge Hotel, Stoke Fleming, was a great success. Once safely protected from the elements in the warmth and comfort of the hotel, the 60 ladies who attended the evening were able to relax with a glass or two of wine and enjoy their first glimpse of the autumn collections as presented by Danielli and the Foxx Exchange.
The models showed great flair as they exhibited the chosen outfits to the audience and they also took the opportunity to mingle with the guests during the interval, displaying the fantastic choices and discussing the clothes and accessories with those who attended. There was a real buzz around the room as people talked and laughed amongst themselves and with the models.
The interval also provided an opportunity to enjoy Stoke Lodge’s delicious cheese boards, accompanied by more wine, and discover who had been successful in the raffle. The wonderful prizes included a 1 night stay at the Porlock Weir Hotel in Somerset, donated by Nigel Way of the Royal Castle Hotel, a £50.00 voucher from Bayards Cove, 2 beautiful scarves courtesy of Danielli, a voucher from the Foxx Exchange, a very nice bottle of wine donated by Stoke Lodge and a delicious hamper from Dartmouth Caring. These very generous gifts raised nearly £300.00 for the charity.
The second half of the show was greeted with great enthusiasm and people expressed their delight at this new venture. The Spring Fashion Show has been an annual feature for some time now and such is its popularity that supporters were keen to experience a similar event which focused on the autumn fashion range. In addition to the fashions on display, everyone had the opportunity to head for the Library in the interval and at the end of the show to browse and purchase among the pop-up shops stocked by Danielli and the Foxx Exchange. Also on display was merchandise supplied by new participant, Anna from Chantilly Lace; whilst Kirsty from Britannia Beauty was on-hand to discuss her latest treatments, nail colours and acrylics. All-in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and very successful evening which raised in the region of £700.00.
Dee Nutt from Dartmouth Caring brought the evening to a close, presenting bouquets to Sarah Hanafee, Tracie Fox and Chris Meyer and expressing huge thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this particular evening such a success and also to those who tirelessly donate both time and resources to support this vital local charity.