Companionship service to give carers post-pandemic break

A new service is being piloted that hopes to lower the cost of sitting services and provide unpaid carers with a much-needed break.

‘Time For You’ is a pilot run by Devon Carers and funded by Devon County Council to test whether lower cost sitting can be delivered by voluntary sector organisations.

The Farming Community Network is one of 18 voluntary groups delivering ‘Time For You’ across Devon.

Volunteers will provide companionship for carers’ loved ones for an agreed number of sitting hours – but they are not able to provide personal care.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown has forced many to stay indoors and has increased feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The ‘Time for You’ service allows carers to take time out to attend appointments, go shopping, meet with friends or take part in social activities.

The pilot, which will run until 31st March 2021, will be available to those living in Devon.

FCN is looking to recruit volunteers across the County to help meet demand for the service. FCN volunteers will receive training in safeguarding, first aid and dementia and will be DBS checked.

Jo Jones, County Coordinator for The Farming Community Network’s Devon Group, said: “FCN volunteers are here to help those in rural communities in need of support. The role of a carer is 24/7 and they often cannot find the time to attend appointments or see friends due to their caring responsibilities.

“We hope this service will be able to help hard-working carers take a much-needed break to get out the house. Following extended periods of lockdown due to Covid-19, many will appreciate this opportunity to get a change of scenery and see friends and family again.”

Tracey Fey, Project Worker for Time For You with Devon Carers, said: “We are really pleased that FCN will be one of our new ‘Time For You’ providers. It can be difficult for those living in more rural communities to reach out for help so to have FCN and their experienced team of staff and volunteers on board to provide this much needed support for unpaid carers is fantastic.”

FCN’s Helpline

Call 03000 111 999 if you:

  • Feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming, will listen to you and help you think through your options
  • Would like help to draft a contingency plan to ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time.
  • If you or people you rely on become ill or are self-isolating and you need to find help locally- we will endeavour to find support for you in your local area. We will source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to assist you in finding help to feed livestock, collect shopping or collect prescriptions if you are unable to do so. This directory will be revised and updated in the coming weeks and months.

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