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North Devon Care Charity Back on the Road thanks to new funding

08th July 2021

A North Devon charity that gives disabled people the opportunity to take part in community activities has won much-needed funds to provide socially distanced transport.

Northam Care Trust faced big additional bills due to the Covid-19 pandemic because users had been unable to access its services, either due to a reduction in public transport or the group’s inability to use traditional minibuses.


Salvation has come in the form of a £1,000 grant – a slice of our new Neighbourhood Fund, which aims to get £100,000 to deserving causes across its operating region this year.


Established in 1978, Northam Care Trust offers a range of community projects and people-centred support to individuals with learning and physical disabilities. It also provides support for older people and individuals with dementia, supported living and enabling, domiciliary care and day opportunities.


Coronavirus has had a major impact on how it operates, meaning the implementation of a ‘bubble’ system for staff and tough social distancing rules for its clients. This has been hard on users, with those having cognitive issues unable to understand why the regular service and transport has been changed.


Ingrid Vlam, the charity’s interim senior operations manager, said the funding windfall was especially welcome, since users in rural communities had been left isolated in the pandemic, often only seeing their carers instead of family and their friends in the Trust.


“South West Water’s funding has enabled us meet the increased cost of providing transport for those with learning and physical disabilities in rural communities without breaching the rules,” explained Vlam.


“Our work has been even more valuable in the pandemic and this financial support means we have been able to enhance the lives of the community and continue to provide meaningful activities for those who need it.”


Jo Ecroyd, South West Water customer service director, added, “Being able to provide the much-needed support for such a valuable community resource as Northam Care Trust fills us with pride. We’re thrilled that our Neighbourhood Fund is being used to support so many incredible local initiatives.”


We're giving back to the region it works within and cares about by actively improving the lives of its people and the places they love for generations to come. The pandemic has emphasised the importance of local communities and we're investing in supporting people across Devon and Cornwall to build back and connect communities. The South West Water Neighbourhood Fund is making a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Devon and Cornwall.


We're making this investment to better the lives of local people through funding projects which protect nature and the environment for the benefit of community health and well-being; provide new opportunities for people to learn and develop; bring communities together, virtually or physically – when safe to do so; and/or support the upkeep of local neighbourhood centres and facilities to keep communities strong.

For further information please contact:

To find out more about the Neighbourhood Fund, visit southwestwater.co.uk/community/support/neighbourhood-fund.