Caring Town

Caring Town is a local network of public, voluntary and private organisations and groups that care about our community. We’ve come together to pool our resources, skills and ideas to try to make sure that we all have the health and social care we need, across all stages of our lives


CASE STAGE: Well established and running
LOCATION: Market Town of Totnes (and surrounding district), South Hams, Devon (UK)
GOVERNANCE: Not defined


We know that our local health and social services are under extreme pressure, due mainly to budget cuts. At the same time, we have growing numbers of elderly people often with complex needs. Social isolation is a big problem for many in our community, especially among older people and single parents. There’s not enough well-paid secure jobs in the area, or affordable housing, leading to financial pressure and stress on families in particular. Anxiety and depression are on the rise, especially in young people, and our mental health services cannot meet the demand.

Clearly our local services face an extraordinary set of challenges, with the greatest impact already falling on the most vulnerable. It appears that relying on a government and market approach to deliver what we need is failing us. The good news is that there’s increasing evidence of the contribution that strong, resilient communities can make to support health and well being, and that these approaches lead to better outcomes and significant benefits for individuals, services and communities.

Our area already has a good range of resilience-building activity underway and Caring Town can add to, build on and connect much of this activity through addressing some key health and care issues. We believe there’s a huge opportunity to provide formal and informal support and services in a far better way, with the help of all of us in our local community – with clear roles defined for the statutory, private and voluntary sectors. Collectively, we think have the ideas and likely solutions for many of the issues we face.

Strongly connected to Transition, this emerged from the local TI that convened the network and invited the other players.

Greatest achievements so far – strong working relationships with local public sector health agencies, including county council and clinical commissioning groups (NHS based) and local GP practices. Partnership with Town Council for our town centre signposting service, and bringing in Transition ideas and ideals without specific Transition reference, just as a part of our new ways of working.


DOMAINSHealth, Social Care, Economy, Systemic Change (not focused on particular projects)

BENEFICIARIES: Teenagers (13 – 17), Elders (65+), General


MiT note:  Interesting for further exploratory work (phase 2; “there’s much learning about collaboration and new models of delivery within a proactive systems change project”). Also suitable for pilot (they have the necessary collaborative foundations in place, but it should be noted they work with a specific topic).


Fiona Ward