About Us

Our Story

The Blackdown Support Group was initiated in April 1991. It began as a collaboration between the Blackdown Practice and volunteers from the community. This partnership has been key to our longevity and is as active today as it was back then.

Our Founders’ vision was to set up a voluntary group which could provide social and practical support to the communities of the Blackdown Hills and in doing so, relieve pressure on the local social and health care services, as well as improving the health and happiness of local people. We have continued their work ever since.

Blackdown Support Group is now a registered Charity with its own Constitution and Board of Trustees.  Our small staff team and dedicated band of volunteers work together to provide help across the 140 sq. miles of the Blackdowns.

The Blackdown Hills

The rurality of the Blackdown Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, hides the deprivation and isolation for residents who are elderly, unwell or alone, particularly when access to transport is so limited. Because of the extent and geographical spread of the area, the dispersed population, a high proportion of whom are over the age of 70, time and resources spent travelling between clients by health and social care professionals is extremely stretched.

Our Clients

The people who use our services today are often elderly, they may be isolated for various reasons, or experiencing long term health, social or financial difficulties.

Our volunteers run social groups such as lunch clubs and coffee mornings; they telephone or visit people in their homes to keep them company. They help with form filling or other small practical tasks that may be difficult. They provide support for the bereaved and those in caring roles. They take people without other means of transport to medical appointments, to the shops and the hairdressers, the dentist and the vets. All of this helps to reduce loneliness and isolation and improves health and well-being.

Covering

Our area of cover is broadly the catchment area of the Blackdown Practice, but anyone resident in the Blackdown Hills can request our assistance, whether or not they are a registered patient of the Practice. Parishes covered include Clayhidon, Hemyock, Culmstock, Uffculme, Kentisbeare, Sheldon, Dunkeswell, Luppit, Upottery, Yarcombe, Churchstanton, Otterford, Buckland St Mary, Combe St Nicholas, Wellington Without, West Buckland, Pitminster, Corfe and Neroche.

The BSG Ethos

Our Vision

That people living in the Blackdown Hills area are connected to their communities and have a strong sense of wellbeing. We want them to be aware of and able to access the services they need to support their health and independence.

Mission

To maintain and enhance flexible, sustainable and trusted local voluntary services which support and improve the wellbeing, independence and security of our population and communities, and adapt to meet their evolving needs.

We work to achieve our mission by enabling independence and access to services, offering social opportunities and offering support to those in need.

History

Meet Our Team

Elizabeth McNabb

Manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead

Ros Channon

Services Co-ordinator and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Sandra Groves

Bookings Clerk

The Trustees

Martin Saxton

Chair

Kentisbeare

Gillian Girling

Vice-Chair & Lead Trustee - Risk Management

Sheldon

Bill Morris

Trustee

Churchinford

Sarah Folland

Deputy Lead Trustee - Safeguarding

Hemyock

Doreen Perrott

Trustee

Hemyock

Heather Stallard

Trustee

Hemyock

Nicki Dowson

Lead Trustee - Safeguarding

Churchinford

David Major

Lead Trustee - Health & Safety

Culmstock

Lucy Ball

Trustee

Hemyock

George Roffe-Silvester

Trustee

Buckland St Mary

Client Testimonials

Thank you for always being there for us, always so helpful, always so cheerful. God bless you all.

I started coming to the Blackdown Support Group social events when my husband died. I found them very helpful. I would like to thank the Volunteers for all their efforts over the years and I hope it continues.

You do such amazing work in our community and I really appreciate it.

Blackdown Support Group have been very helpful in arranging transport to the hospital for us both. We needed to use the wheelchair accessible vehicle and this was easy to arrange. We also enjoy the coffee mornings as they help us meet up with friends and get us out socially.

I enjoy the lunch club very much, I meet people that I would never have met otherwise and I couldn’t wish for anything better.

We are all grateful for the help that is available when needed from the Blackdown Support Group.

Blackdown Support Group Clients