Exeter and District Mencap Society is extremely concerned that at the Devon County Council (DCC) full Council meeting held on Thursday 16th February 2023 the council approved the DCC budget for 2023/24 which included plans to reduce the level of day and respite care for learning disabled people in Devon.

The proposed plan is to close one of the respite units in Devon, either New Treetops in Exeter or Pine Park House in Honiton. Between them the units have a total 12 beds, so even if they build two additional bedrooms in the unit remaining open they will end up with just eight beds, a reduction overall of four.  
DCC also plan to reduce the day care centre at the Nichols Centre Exeter to 3 days a week down from 5 and replace the 2 days with alternative arrangements. When approached, the private sector in Devon stated they have no vacancies for day care.

DCC stated in their Budget documents: “The successful delivery of the budget will require a reduction both in the numbers of people receiving care and amount of care they receive.”
Families with relatives with a learning disability rely on the day and respite centres offered by New Treetops, Pine Park House and the Nichols Centre.

If there is a reduction in this level of support then many families will decide they cannot manage any more and will request residential placements for their loved ones which will add a considerable amount to DCC’s spending. Families whose relatives live at home cost far less than if they were in residential care. There is also a severe lack of residential beds in Devon and many adults are sent “out of county” miles away from their families. This is happening now.

There is a waiting list for respite care in Devon, and Exeter and District Mencap Society members cannot understand the logic of such a proposal. 

These proposed changes have not been discussed by DCC Cabinet or by the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee, neither have they been part of a consultation or co-production with users of the services, their parents or carers. Staff jobs at the two respite centres may be “at risk” too.

The changes, if they go ahead, will have a major detrimental impact on the lives of those affected - the learning disabled who are the most vulnerable in our society.
Yours Sincerely

Bob Gaiger and Jean Waldron, Trustees Exeter and District Mencap Society.

Geoff Bird MBE.

It is with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Geoff Bird at the age of 105.
Geoff has been a great ambassador for people with a learning disability and their families for many years:
* He served on the Hospital Management Committee for the Royal Western Counties Hospital Group
* He was on the Community Health Council
* Geoff was one of the founder members of Exeter Mencap Society
* Geoff and his wife Mollie raised the money to build a swimming pool for Ellen Tinkham School.
* Realising there were no day care facilities for people with more severe disabilities, Geoff & Mollie went on to raise the money to build Treetops to meet this need.
* When this was completed, they raised yet more money to add on a 6- bedded respite unit to give families and carers a break.
Geoff was made President of Exeter & District Mencap and went on to attend all the AGMs despite his great age.
Geoff will be sadly missed by all who knew him, a truly remarkable gentleman.  Our thoughts are with Janet and Christopher.
Our President Geoff Bird celebrated his 103rd birthday in March 2020
and he is now writing his memoirs.
Click above to view his 100th birthday celebrations.

Click above to read a report from Jean Waldron.

In March 2019 EDMS purchased a buggy for a little girl. Click above to read more.

April 13th/14th 2019; Car Park Collection at Barnfield Crescent, Exeter on 
the 13th and 14th of April for Exeter and District Mencap Society.
I am running the London Marathon in April on behalf of Mencap UK for whom I have a fundraising target of £2000. I'm pleased to say that I have now reached that target which means that I can now donate to the local branch of Mencap the money I raise between now and April 28th. I will be continuing to raise sponsorship and we also have a charity car park collection at Barnfield Crescent, Exeter on the 13th and 14th of April. Best regards, Rich Hill

August 28th 2016: sadly Norman Fanner passed away aged 79
He was Chair of Exeter and District Mencap for a number of years

March 2012: Sam Pritchard wins apprentice award
Sam Pritchard has won Exeter College's 2012 award for Apprentice of the Year in Health and Social Care. Click the link for more details.

February 9th 2012: Eric gets police visit
... as a lifelong fan! Click the link for more details.

December 27th 2015 Pete Bishop and their supporters at the Poachers Inn at Ide who held an excellent quiz night and we would like to thank you for a most generous donation.