The big mental health and loneliness issues in the Sid Valley revealed

PUBLISHED: 11:54 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 18 October 2018

Emma Donovan, co-ordinator for Sid Valley HELP, and Di Fuller, chair of trustees. Picture: Richard Wright

Emma Donovan, co-ordinator for Sid Valley HELP, and Di Fuller, chair of trustees. Picture: Richard Wright


The big mental health and loneliness issues facing residents in the valley have been highlighted by those working to tackle it on a daily basis.

Sid Valley HELP would welcome anyone who wanted to become a volenteer. Picture: ContributesSid Valley HELP would welcome anyone who wanted to become a volenteer. Picture: Contributes

The Herald has joined forces with Sid Valley HELP (SVH) to launch a campaign to raise £60,000 for a new trailblazing support service.

In recent weeks, the newspaper has been exploring the charity’s work, in a bid to inspire readers to show their support and help SVH secure its future for the next three years.

This week, organisers have revealed the big issues that workers in the sector say they are facing.

More than 20 representatives from 15 different organisations attended a networking event last week and discussed issues around mental health and loneliness and how it affected the people SVH worked to support.

Rita Myers and Jan MacGregor. Picture: ContributedRita Myers and Jan MacGregor. Picture: Contributed

Among the issues identified were:

● Long-term funding being difficult to access,

● The need to increase the number of volunteers especially from young people, working age adults and younger retirees,

● The need for a local counselling service especially for young people and,

Sidmouth Herald and Sid Valley HELP have joined forces. Picture: ArchantSidmouth Herald and Sid Valley HELP have joined forces. Picture: Archant

● The need for a day centre to give carers respite.

Among the ideas pitched on how the tackle these issues were:

● To mix age groups as far as possible - for example bringing college students into elderly day care situations or providing lunch or tea for carers and young carers together.

● To provide training for voluntary groups.

The Sid Valley HELP networking event. Picture: Sid Valley HELPThe Sid Valley HELP networking event. Picture: Sid Valley HELP

● To collaborate more between voluntary groups especially when they face the same issues - such as dementia amongst their clients or for arranging shared activities across groups.

Di Fuller, chairman of SVH, said: “All of these ideas require volunteers to help organise things.

“Sometimes people don’t want to commit to the same day or time each week, but would like to help in some way.

“Could you help us with fundraising? Or organising a social event for lonely people? Or putting up posters or making tea?

“All of these things need to be done to support the volunteers who do the face to face work and befriending.”

Angela Thompson, of Sid Valley Memory Café, added: “Sid Valley HELP are enabling the voluntary groups in the area to meet and discuss what they each offer to the town.

“There is some overlap of our services and we can surely work together to provide combined activities.

“Sid Valley Memory Café would like to restart our walking group and it would be very beneficial if we could join together with other organisations.

“The benefit of companionship, exercise and enjoying the wonderful countryside we have here can only be a winner. Not to mention finishing up with a delicious afternoon tea. To run this safely and successfully we would need volunteers of all ages.”

Visit or call Di Fuller on 7786 816890 for more information.

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