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Devon couple fund support service for family carers

A donation left by a couple from Sidmouth will fund vital services for those caring for people with learning disabilities.

The Family Carer Support Service, delivered by national learning disability charity Hft, offers free support to any family carer in England who has a relative with a learning disability or autism.

Norman and Jean Morrison, from Devon had support from Hft to help their son for over 40 years. When the pair passed away, they left a gift in their will to Hft’s charitable services, with the Family Carer Support Service subsequently selected for funding.

The donation is set to pay for the core costs of the service over the next 18 to 24 months – including three staff members who provide guidance and support for family carers, and information about subjects that affect them and their relatives.

Kelly Jones, Family Carer Support Service Manager, said:

We all want the best for our family, but for relatives of people with learning disabilities who rely on statutory funding, there can be obstacles. Through our services, we aim to empower families and take away some of the isolation and loneliness that can come with being a carer.

We supported 350 families last year, and demand for this kind of service is only increasing – we’re now seeing an average of 25 new families coming to us per month. We’re funded solely by fundraised income, and it’s thanks to people like Mr and Mrs Morrison leaving gifts in their wills that we’ll be able to continue helping people to navigate the health and social care system. As parents of someone with a learning disability, Jean and Norman truly understood how challenging it can be to navigate this system. It’s therefore very fitting that their incredible donation will help us to support many more families to more easily work their way through the process.

Hft currently supports more than 2,500 people with learning disabilities across the country. This includes supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own homes, providing employment services to help people develop skills and experience for work, and helping people to pursue hobbies, make new friends and get involved in their local communities.

As well as the Family Carer Support Service, other projects funded by the charity include a friendship and dating service and support with assistive technology.

Image credit: Hft

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