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Health and Wellbeing Projects/Schemes: useful links

Useful information relating to a variety of health and wellbeing projects/schemes across the South West

Neighbourhood Friends is a pilot social action project led by Westbank Community Health & Care, a charity based in Exminster, Devon. Funded by the Cabinet Office, NHS England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, ours is one of only eight projects across the country to receive government funding in a programme aiming to keep older people out of hospital this coming winter. Our approach is using social action to help older people stay well, manage their conditions or recover from illness or injury, thereby reducing pressure on hospitals.

We are upscaling the Westbank model of community support volunteers, established over 28 years of working in the field – working with existing groups and developing new capacity to fill gaps in provision. The work is being focused in Exeter and Budleigh Salterton and we are targeting this enhanced support at an identified group of patients, aged 75 and over who are deemed to be at high risk of emergency admission or delayed discharge to/from hospital.

People will be referred to the service by their GP or by a member of a hospital discharge team.

We are planning to recruit in excess of 100 volunteers and good neighbours across Exeter and Budleigh. Volunteers will receive training in such things as boundaries, signposting to appropriate services and spotting the early signs and symptoms that need acting upon. The types of things we will be asking volunteers to get involved with include: collecting a pint of milk for somebody who has just been discharged from hospital; helping someone get to a doctor’s appointment; collecting a prescription; feeding a pet while someone is in hospital; enabling someone to access a falls assessment or rehabilitation exercise class; cooking a meal for someone returning from hospital; telephoning an isolated person for a 20 minute chat once a week.

We envisage devising a register of willing neighbours and volunteers who are happy to be called upon when there is a need – thereby creating a new way for people to offer their help to others who live in their community, and providing the older people for whom the service is designed with practical help and support that genuinely comes from the heart.

Pledge your support to help older people in your neighbourhood this coming winter. Become a Neighbourhood Friend. If you live in Exeter or Budleigh Salterton and you would be interested in helping older people in your community to stay out of hospital this winter then we would love to hear from you.


Westbank provides care and promotes health to communities across Devon. Westbank was established in 1986 and works with communities and individuals across Devon. Based in Exminster are the Community Care and Healthy Living Centres and there’s a combined charity shop and meeting place in Starcross.

We are always looking for new volunteers to contribute to our community activities. We offer a wide variety of opportunities and always try to accommodate an individual's skills and interests.

The roles that we are currently most  in need of are:

  • Patient transport drivers (using own car)
  • Drivers for young carers/older people's social trips and outings (using the Westbank minibus - training provided)
  • Befrienders
  • Telephone befrienders
  • Skill-building volunteer supporters

For more information please visit our website: