Report for Exeter and District Mencap Society AGM 2020

2020 has been a very difficult and traumatic year for families, carers and people with a learning disability. All services were withdrawn in March 2020 and families/carers were left on their own to cope with only a fortnightly phone call. Up to now November 2020 Treetops respite unit is not available to families. It is now a step down unit for patients from the RD&E hospitals. I have been informed that this will probably continue till at least April 2021.The respite unit at Honiton Pine Park has opened on a restricted basis. The day services in Devon remain closed and there is no date for resuming services. This is most unsatisfactory and families/carers have to cope on their own. 

A member of Exeter Mencap was recently an inpatient at the RD&E hospital. This member has a severe hearing loss and only uses sign language. It was evident that staff at the hospital did not have training in sign language. We were asked if we could supply books and leaflets on Makaton and we were pleased to do so.  I expanded this scheme and we supplied books and leaflets to the Epilepsy nurses, the liaison nurses at the hospital to give out to families/carers and people with a learning disability. 

I have continued to support families in their fights with Devon County Council and Devon Partnership NHS Trust and will continue to do so.

I hope that 2021 will be a more settled and secure time. Families/carers are the backbone of people with a learning disability and Exeter Mencap are here for you.

If you need any equipment that might make your caring role easier please contact us and the committee would be happy to look into the request.

Jean Waldron