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We need more time to prepare for social care reforms; Scheme launched to improve maths skills for Devon adults and NHS urges people to do their bit as COVID-19 patients increase

Councils need more time to prepare for social care reforms

We echoed a call from the County Council’s Network (CCN) this week for the government to delay the introduction of new social care reforms, which are planned for next year.

It’s not because we don’t agree with the reforms – they’re to enable more people to receive financial support for adult social care, which is a good thing – but we and lots of councils are concerned that the impact of introducing them will be very heavy on local councils, financially and in terms of additional activity. This, at a time when councils don’t have enough money and the current social care workforce is already significantly stretched.

The CCN say that introducing them so soon is a ‘perfect storm’. They say that loading extra pressure on an already-teetering social care system to prepare for the introduction of the reforms could worsen services by impacting on the availability and quality of care packages.

They want the government to delay the introduction to give councils more time to prepare, and particularly to recruit the necessary workforce to cope with the additional activity. Otherwise, we’re concerned that it could just make waiting lists for care packages even longer.

Cllr James McInnes, our Cabinet Member for adult social care, said:

“With the shortage of adult social care workers, the national and local challenges in recruiting for those posts, on top of the anticipated increased demand for adult social care arising from these changes, and associated increase in costs to deliver those services, at a time of huge budget pressures….yes, we need more time.”

You can read the full story on the news page of our website.

Gates to be removed on cycle network to improve disabled access

We’re going to remove many of the gates and barriers on Devon’s shared cycle and walking routes, to help ensure that those with disabilities and mobility difficulties can access them more easily.

Most routes on the National Cycle Network include chicane gates and barriers at given points, which can deter some people, including mobility scooter users for example, from using them.

Now, with support from the charity Sustrans, we’ve begun assessing all the gates and barriers and we aim to remove most of them and replace them with a mixture of signs, painted markings, and bollards that will allow enough space for users of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, cargo bikes and trikes, pushchairs and prams.

We’ll look at the older barriers first, many of which need replacing, and we’ll assess to determine if they’re needed and are a benefit. But if they’re just a hindrance, we plan to remove them.

You can read more about this story on the news page of our website.

Scheme launched to improve maths skills for Devon adults

A new support programme is being launched to help adults in Devon to improve their maths skills. Devon Multiply, is funded by the government and managed by us.

The training will be available in a number of ways, but part of the programme is to work with local organisations. We’re therefore inviting innovative proposals to deliver numeracy skills training among adults in Devon, particularly to those who are harder to reach.

Grant funding from £20,000 to £250,000 is available to projects that submit a successful application. Organisations, that are eligible to apply include private businesses, public organisations, voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and local authorities.

The programme will support those needing to take the first steps towards gaining a maths qualification as well as helping people use maths to manage their household budgets. It’ll also help parents wanting to improve their maths in order to help their children. And it will work with employers to cover specific maths skills required in the workplace.

You can read more about the programme on the news page of our website.

NHS urges people to do their bit as COVID-19 patients increase

The NHS in Devon is reporting that the number of patients in hospital that have tested positive for COVID-19 has risen to 250.

This is roughly five times the number when compared to early September. 

People are urged to support the NHS by having the seasonal COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination if eligible, by staying away from hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities if they have symptoms of flu or COVID-19 and by using the most appropriate service for your needs.

Local pharmacies can help with minor ailments and you can call NHS 111 or visit the NHS 111 website for more urgent needs.

Be Kind to Your Mind

There are small things we can all do to help be kind to our mind and look after our mental health, and these can make a big difference to how we feel, helping us to lead happier, healthier lives and cope with life’s challenges.

With World Mental Health Day just the other side of this weekend, on Monday 10 October, we’re encouraging you to talk openly about your mental health and how you look after it, and reminding you to reach out for help if you are struggling.

Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life:

  1. Connect with other people
  2. Be physically active
  3. Learn new skills
  4. Give to others
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Search Every Mind Matters for free, NHS approved advice and simple tips to help you look after your mental wellbeing and see whether you can make them part of your daily routine.

You can read more about this story on the news page of our website.

12 million people in the UK are going through or have reached the menopause

We are supporting World Menopause Month this October, to encourage all those who go through it to never feel ashamed of a natural part of life.

Menopause is when someone’s periods stop due to lower hormone levels. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 years old, but can sometimes occur in younger people, either naturally or due to reasons such as chemotherapy. Perimenopause is the time before the menopause when hormone levels start to decline, and symptoms start, but periods haven’t stopped yet.

Symptoms can include hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia, problems with concentration and memory, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pains and low mood. They can last many years and can have a huge impact on people’s quality of life, including their relationships, social life, family life and work. 

The menopause will affect you at some point in your life, whether it’s impacting on your own health and wellbeing, a family member, a friend or a colleague, so it’s important to be armed with knowledge, not only for yourself but so you are more compassionate to those around you.

Throughout this month, we will be sharing information and resources about the menopause on our social media channels and in these newsletters, to help open up discussion and encourage better understanding. 

Find us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn and Nextdoor.

Job of the week: Residential Support Worker

We’re looking for a residential support worker to join our team at Welland Children’s Home in Barnstaple, where we provide a home from home experience for children and young people with disabilities to enhance and promote their life experiences and independence skills. 

The work can be emotionally and physically demanding but if you have the drive, dedication, resilience, and passion then you will enjoy an exciting and rewarding career making a difference in the lives of children and their families.

For more information, and to apply, please visit the Devon Jobs website.

#TogetherWeCan: Erin’s story

October is Sons and Daughters Month, an annual campaign that raises awareness of, and celebrates, the vital contribution that the children of foster carers make.

Erin explains how becoming a foster carer has been a wonderful way to bring foster siblings into her family alongside her older children and about the ‘absolutely amazing’ support from the Devon team. Watch Erin’s story on YouTube.

“Seeing the changes I’ve been able to make for them is absolutely amazing.” – Erin

Fostering is an extremely rewarding and challenging job. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer and being part of an amazing team who can make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Devon, get in touch by calling 0345 155 1077 or visiting the Fostering Devon website.

Meet more of our team of foster carers, and the professionals who support them, on the Fostering Devon website. #TogetherWeCan be there to support the children who need us most.