Council fears thousands of unpaid carers are putting their own health and wellbeing on the back burner
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Mid Devon District Council has teamed up with Devon County Council to support unpaid carers – people who voluntarily provide care to a loved one or friend – to access free leisure services in the district. The two Councils are piloting a new scheme to provide free access for unpaid, adult carers to the three Mid Devon leisure centres, to encourage them to stay active.
Councillor Dennis Knowles, cabinet member for community wellbeing at Mid Devon, said: “We know there are many people in our district who will be facing financial hardship, yet will be doing their upmost to support those they care for. This is our way to support them and ensure they have access to high quality leisure facilities, enabling them to exercise freely and boost their own physical and mental wellbeing.”
The pilot project will run until the end of December at Culm Valley Sports Centre, Exe Valley Leisure Centre and Lords Meadow Leisure Centre. Carers will need to show their Carers Passport at leisure centre receptions, which are available to them for free from Devon Carers.
Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council's cabinet member responsible for adult carers support said: "We are concerned that with the financial impact of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, thousands of unpaid carers are needing to prioritise what they spend their budgets on and as a result, they're putting their own health and wellbeing on the back burner. That's a problem.
“We know that regular exercise and opportunities away from their caring roles are vital to people's physical and mental health and that in turn impacts on their ability to continue their caring role.”
Details about the facilities available at the leisure centres are available on the Mid Devon Leisure website. Unpaid carers can access all activities, but classes and courts are advised to be booked in advance.
For information, advice and support, and to apply for your Carers Passport from Devon Carers please visit the Devon Carers website, email [email protected] or contact the Devon Carers Helpline on 03456 434 435