Save St Michael’s Day Centre

stall to launch st michaels petition
From left - Green Party members Emily McIvor, Olly Davies, Sharon Pavey, Ana Pulteney & Martin Paine

The East Devon Green Party launched a petition to save St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton on Saturday 8th March. Members of the local party were astounded at the response as people flooded to the stall to sign once word got round the High Street that a petition had started to stop the much loved local centre from closing.

Petition organiser and local town councillor Sharon Pavey said “We knew St Michael’s was close to everyone’s hearts but we did not expect this immediate level of support, it’s incredible. It just shows that there is such wonderful community spirit in Honiton and we look after our own.”

Over 300 people signed the petition on Saturday morning with many commenting how disgusted and let down they are by Devon County Council. The day centre provides a much needed service for older residents in Honiton and is a lifeline for their carers who only have a few hours a week to themselves when their loved ones are using the centre.

Several local town councillors have said they’re appalled at the plans to close the centre as have the local doctors surgery and Headway, a support group for people with brain injuries who use the centre.

Sharon Pavey added “I think we all know that cutting services like these is extremely short-sighted and will have a direct impact on the health of elderly people. This leads to increased spending on medical care in the long-run. We hear that levels of dementia are rising and we have a large elderly population, particularly here in East Devon, so where is the common sense in this decision.”

Petitions are available to sign at Honiton Surgery, the TRIP office on New Street, Honiton Sports Shop and Wendy’s Cookshop. There is also an online petition for anyone living in Devon to sign (if they’ve not already signed the paper version) http://freepetition.co.uk/devoncc/LivePetition.aspx

We have been hearing of people having problems accessing the petition via certain web browsers like Firefox. This has been reported to Devon County Council. If you are able to use Chrome or access the petition on a mobile phone, please do that or email me direct & I can post you a paper petition. Contact me.

PLEASE NOTE ONLY DEVON RESIDENTS’ SIGNATURES WILL BE COUNTED ON THIS PETITION (but thank you to everyone else all over the world who has offered support).

NEWSFLASH – As of Monday 17th March we have over 600 signatures on & offline combined but we need many many more – can you help take a petition round your street, your village, your workplace or put the link on Facebook – or help out at a street stall? Get in touch.

Sharon Outside St Michaels

Supporting people with brain injuries here in Honiton

Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey (4th from right) with staff, volunteers and clients of Headway in Honiton
Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey (4th from right) with staff, volunteers and clients of Headway in Honiton
Honiton Town Councillor Sharon Pavey visited the Headway Devon centre on Friday. The charity which has been running in Honiton for almost 18 years runs a group supporting 14 people at the St Michael’s Day Centre every Friday. Here people with brain injuries are able to come together to meet others who have had similar experiences and take part in activities to help them relearn lost skills and develop new ones. Headway also provides vital respite opportunities for carers.

Brain injury has many causes, from head injury to stroke, and brain tumour to meningitis. It can happen completely out of the blue and can leave people facing a range of complex and lifelong disabilities. Every brain injury is different, but many of the people that use Headway in Honiton experience physical, emotional and learning difficulties. Sharon said “I first heard of Headway after a family member had a stroke last year and Headway supported their recovery. I then chatted with Headway fundraiser Holly Keatings on twitter and asked if I could pop by one day for a visit. As a councillor representing Honiton Town Council, I do think it is very important to find out more about charities like Headway that work with local people who really need their support.”

“It was particularly interesting to hear from manager Natalie about the restorative justice programme Headway run for young offenders. The offenders come to Headway to talk to people who are dealing with the long term issues associated with being assaulted and receiving a head injury.”

Holly Keatings added We are very grateful to Sharon for coming along today and helping us to raise awareness about brain injury and the support that is available for people locally. Unfortunately there is very little public understanding about brain injury and the long-term effects that it can have, which means many people with brain injuries struggle with their difficulties for months or even years before getting in touch with Headway Devon. We look forward to reaching even more of the people who need us so if you or someone you care about has had a brain injury just call us on 01392 211822 or email info@headwaydevon.org.uk.
Read more about Headway here www.headwaydevon.org.uk
Join Headway Devon on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/HeadwayDevon
Follow Headway Devon on twitter @HeadwayDevon

Cigarettes Covered Up

10572_tobacco-kiosk-open-displayLoving these screens popping up everywhere to cover up the cigarettes. All supermarkets and large shops in England must now hide tobacco and cigarettes from view, or face a £5,000 fine or prison. Legislation for the ban was passed by Labour, but the Coalition said last year that it would come in this spring. As an ex-smoker and someone who has seen family members suffer due to nicotine addiction, I welcome these changes if it helps to stop so many people getting ill and dying from the results of smoking. As a parent, I don’t want my kids to see people smoking or cigarettes lined up, shelf after shelf after shelf in the supermarket. What we need alongside this is help readily available for people to stop smoking.

Here’s some more info http://smokefree.nhs.uk/resources/news/tobacco-display-supermarkets

Undercover Investigation into Care Homes

As a care worker – this article from the Guardian about an undercover investigation into standards in care homes brought tears to my eyes. It also makes me incredibly angry that our loved ones are at the mercy of people who run care homes, some of whom clearly shouldn’t be allowed this responsibility.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said: “I am saddened that yet again research shows many care homes are failing to provide a good standard of care. While there is evidence of good quality care, it is too patchy. Care homes should be places of safety, warmth, activity and happiness, and this research shows that some are falling short of this ambition.

Here’s the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/apr/19/care-homes-sub-standard-practices

I’m also devastated to hear that our coalition government has scrapped the need for inspections into care homes. The new system which came into effect in October 2010, means that the CQA no longer have to do regular inspections of residential care homes. The new system now relies more on written self-assessments, will mean thousands of homes will avoid inspections if they look good on paper. Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11709811

I am almost finished an NVQ (Level 2) in Health & Social Care and just working on an assignment at the moment about standards. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England & their aim is to make sure better care is provided for everyone.

Learning more about the CQC and being interested in local care standards led me onto the Devon LINK website. Devon LINK is a network of groups and individuals who want to make sure that health and social care services are planned and delivered to meet the needs of the people in Devon that use them. I’ve contacted them to see how I can get involved further in monitoring standards of care in my local area in and around Honiton.


Photo credit from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-564048/5-000-complaints-month-care-home-abuse-fears.html

Recession sees increase in mental health problems

The number of people suffering stress, anxiety and depression because of redundancies, job insecurity and pay cuts owing to the recession is soaring, a study published by academics from Roehampton University and the children’s charity Elizabeth Finn Care reveals.

Worries about the effects of the downturn have produced a sharp rise in people experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions, and the incidence of depression has jumped by between four and five-fold as unemployment, cuts in hours and concern about security of tenure have become common, the report found. Among people who have lost their jobs in the last year, 71% have suffered symptoms of depression, 55% said the same about stress and 52% experienced symptoms of anxiety

Full article: www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/01/recession-surge-mental-health-problems

Honiton Hospital Maternity Changes – what do you think?

The Midweek Herald reported on the 17th February that ‘ the hospital’s role will be downgraded to a birthing unit, with new mums sent home the same day – and is such a change is implemented, it will end Honiton Hospital’s long-standing reputation for providing in-patient post-natal care.’

NHS Devon says a change in management of community maternity services will bring improvements for expectant mothers and their families.

At a meeting on Monday 8th March, Honiton Town Council councillors expressed grave concerns about the downgrading of post-natal care at Honiton Community Hospital.  Former mayor Councillor Sally Casson said “We are in extreme danger of losing first class facilities”. Councillor Alf Boom described the changes to post-natal care as “enormously worrying”.

The Green Party says “Maternity units should be sufficient in number and located so that all women are within reasonable reach of one.” If Honiton is downgraded to a birthing unit, then any mother to be who does not present with a ‘normal’ pregnancy and birth will have to another hospital further away, in Exeter, Tiverton or Taunton.

What do you think – please add your comment below.