Exmouth chef and Exeter beautician among 1,300 plumbers, vets, soldiers and students who answer call to help Devon’s vulnerable

Plumbers, vets, estate agents and builders are among 1,300 people – including a chef from Exmouth and an Exeter beautician – to answer a call to help the most vulnerable residents in Devon.

Soldiers, students, artists and hairdressers have also filled vital new roles supporting social care providers and the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

An urgent appeal by Devon County Council (DCC) was issued to recruit healthcare assistants at the outset of the crisis.

An army of people from varying backgrounds have signed up to do their bit.

While some applicants admitted that they had long harboured a desire to enter the health sector and coronavirus had prompted them to act, others had little or no experience at all in care.

Each successful recruit receives three-day fast-track training before being deployed to a variety of settings.

These include people’s homes, hospitals and care homes. They will be supporting people with their personal care needs – including eating, drinking and washing.

The role is aimed at reducing the pressure on existing health and care staff.

A chef from Exmouth said: “This is a tough time for everyone. I’m lucky that I’m fit and healthy. I’m ready to step up and help those who need it most.”

Recruits also include scuba diver who felt their experience of ‘delivering emergency oxygen’ could be harnessed and a young mum eager to re-enter the workplace.

“I just want to help at this crazy time”, said a beautician from Exeter. “I always wanted to work for the NHS, but never had enough courage to start and do something about it until now.”

Some applicants have jobs to go back to;  a teacher said ‘it didn’t feel right’ sitting at home, while an estate agent wanted to ‘ease the stress’ of care and health workers.

Another is an asylum seeker  ‘willing to work, volunteer or whatever is needed’ because of what the country had done to safeguard his family.

Councillor Andrew, cabinet member for adult social care and health services, said: “At a time of national crisis and with services under huge strain, I am proud to say that hundreds of people have stood up and said that they want to help.

“Thank you to everyone who has signed up. Healthcare assistants will play a vital role in our care homes, hospitals and in our communities over the coming weeks and months, and I’m in no doubt that they will help save lives.”

Philippa Slinger, lead chief executive for Together for Devon, the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, added: “Joining the health and social care team in Devon gives people the chance to make a real difference to the lives of people who need help, especially at this time.

“We know people in Devon want to do whatever they can to support the current challenges and by getting a job in health and care, people can play a vital role.

“As well as frontline jobs like healthcare assistants, there are so many other roles that help social care and the NHS to function – without these dedicated non-clinical workers, our amazing teams would not be able to achieve what they do for patients, carers and families every day.”

Anyone interested in helping can register their details on the Proud to Care website here.

Shortage fears spark urgent appeal for return of community equipment in Devon

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