Need for carers in Devon 'beyond urgent' as recruitment drive launched

A campaign to recruit 2,000 new care workers in Devon has been launched as the need for carers becomes 'beyond urgent'.

Devon County Council hopes the new 'Proud to Care' campaign will encourage people to join, or rejoin, the sector.

Analysis by the national social care charity, Skills for Care, shows that the shortage of care workers in England is now greater than it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

In Devon, a county known for having one of the highest levels of older people among its population, the need for more carers is "beyond urgent", according to the County Council.

Councillor James McInnes, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Health Services, said: "The culture needs to change. We can't just go on saying how wonderful people who work in the NHS are.

"One side is thought of very highly, and the other side is just thought of as an afterthought. And it can't go on like it. We're actually looking after more people and there's more care being provided than ever before.

"But the actual demand has gone through the roof. And there just aren't the people there. It's not really the money, it's a question of actual people to do it."

Northam Care Trust helps people with disabilities, those with mental health needs and elderly people. Credit: ITV West Country

Northam Care Trust works with people who have learning and physical disabilities, people with autism, people with mental health needs, older people and people with dementia.

The Trust employs 250 staff members across its services and in recent months, has recruited 28 new permanent carers. But chief executive, Dr Len Lofts, says the number of clients needing care still outweighs the number of staff who can provide it.

Dr Lofts added: "It's about the image of social care. It's about people understanding clearly what a rewarding job it really is. There's a career structure.

"The state pension age for women and men has been pushed back, there are all those people over 55, over 60, with loads of skills, supported families, brought up children, supported partners. They could be retrained."

Georgina Heath is one of 28 new permanent staff members at Northam Care Trust. Credit: ITV West Country

Georgina Heath is a service manager in domiciliary care at Northam Care Trust. She looks after older people and also does frontline work with them. She joined the team during the first lockdown but her career has progressed and she now holds a managerial position.

Georgina really wants to encourage other people to get into the profession: "To be able to go home and feel like you've done something good, and that you've made a difference.

"A lot of my days are just spent laughing with my clients and you know, being able to give them something that they can't give themselves. And knowing that if I wasn't there. They wouldn't have the support that they get."

The 'Proud to Care' campaign runs until early January 2022. Credit: 'Proud to Care' Devon

Councillor James McInnes added: "If you have time and the energy, simply to volunteer to help people in your local community - now is the time."

"If you are interested in exploring career opportunities in social care, contact Devon County Council now and register your interest by visiting leaving your name, contact details and a postcode.

"The council's recruitment team will get back to you. Or visit to find the latest care job vacancies, apprenticeships and training opportunities in the care sector in Devon."