Located at the Mansion in the centre of Totnes, three local organisations (Caring Town, Totnes Caring and Citizens Advice South Hams) are working in partnership to provide a free drop in service that connects local people with the support they need.
Visitors can pop in to the Mansion and chat with the friendly staff from all three organisations to find useful information about local services and activities that support health, care and well-being. Between them, they help with a wide range of issues such as how to get help with claiming benefits, who to turn to when experiencing bullying and harassment, how to get help finding support groups for specific health problems, where to find support following recent bereavement and how to find social activities.
Caring Town recently surveyed our local community and 1,000 people responded. It showed that 47% of people said they have a physical or mental health condition lasting 12 months or more, and of those, 70% said this impacted their ability to carry out their daily life a little or a lot. In another question, given their worries/needs and current level of support, about a third of respondents said they are only just about coping (which means they are vulnerable should more pressures arise), and 7% said they are not coping or in crisis. Clearly there are a lot of needs in our community.
The big success of the drop in service at the Mansion has been that the town centre location has made it easier for our most vulnerable residents to get the vital support they need. There has been particular uptake of the service by local people with mental health support needs, people with caring responsibilities and older people with mobility issues and lack of transport.
Victoria Wolf of Totnes Caring said ‘Totnes Caring is really pleased to have a presence in the centre of town to make it easy for people to talk to us in person about our services to support vulnerable older people and about our volunteering opportunities.’
The service has now been running for two and a half years, and has seen a steady increase in local people seeking information and support. However the competition for local funding is fierce, and this successful partnership is now pleading for funding to continue its vital work in the heart of Totnes.
Fiona Ward of Caring Town said ‘We are asking Totnes residents for their help in continuing our good work. Totnes Town Council is running a survey to ask local residents to rank 5 spending priorities. We ask Totnes residents to take a look and complete the survey online, or do the paper one that will soon be posted through the door. All of the 5 issues presented are important, so competition is hot and every response counts. Question 4 represents this combined service for vulnerable people. Please show if you value these services by completing the survey to let the Town Council knows that you wish these services to continue with the help of their funding.’
Caring Town Connectors and Totnes Caring are available from 10.30am – 2.30pm every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at the Mansion (36 Fore Street, Totnes, TQ9 5RP). The Caring Town Connectors are also at St Johns Community Café in Bridgetown every Wednesday 10am-1pm. Citizens Advice South Hams drop-in sessions are at the Mansion every Wednesday 9.30am-12.30pm.