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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Your provider representatives

Devon-wide representatives

Jacqui Blackmore, Caraston Hall

Chair of Provider Reference Group and mental health representative

I am honoured to be the Mental Health Provider Rep and Co-Chair for the Devon PEN.

I have worked in health and social care for over 30 years in various clinical and management roles spanning the NHS, voluntary and private sector in Devon.

I have built a broad range of professional relationships with both mental health providers and commissioners over the years and seen many changes in the way social care is provided.

I think I have a good strategic overview of the mental health market and the links between health and social care services and the pressures within.

I am keen to see better investment in mental health in Devon that provides safe and effective care from hospital to community.

If there are issues you wish to be raised at the Devon PEN or you have concerns generally, please email me at

Lorna Turner, Court House Care

Business expertise

I am a co-owner of two businesses; The Fruit Tree for Business and Court House Care Services. I have over 20 years of experience in business development initially in the private sector, before moving on more recently to working primarily with social enterprises, ethical businesses and the voluntary sector.

The Fruit Tree for Business is a partnership with Debbie Stewart. We provide business advice, training and consultancy services primarily for social businesses, social enterprises, and charities that are trading within Devon, Somerset and Cornwall. We have both set up and run various businesses in the past 15 years. This hands-on real experience is of tremendous value to our clients.

My other business is a residential care home. I am a co-director of Court House Care Services (Devon) Ltd with my partner, Marcus Lyward. His background is in the Care Sector and along with my business skills, plus a great manager and some fabulous staff, we have a growing social business.

I want to represent social enterprises and provide feedback from the PEN group to them. Social enterprises are an important and growing part of the health and social care sector and the emerging social enterprises struggle to understand how to engage with the wider sector and the County Council.

Contact me at or by calling 077731 47758.

Rachel Gilpin, Estuary League of Friends

Voluntary sector




Debbie Avery, Westbank

Voluntary sector

I have been employed at Westbank Community Health and Care since 2008 and since that time the organisation has grown from employing 42 staff to 224 today.

Westbank is a charity organisation which has been operating for 34 years and offers a range of diverse services within the local community, across Devon and also nationally.

Prior to working at Westbank, I achieved 18 years experience working within social care in east Devon; the last five years of which I worked as a contracts manager. This role involved contract monitoring of local providers, working closely with social care staff and working alongside health colleagues.

With this combined experience, I have a very good insight into both the health and social care agenda and the voluntary aspect of service delivery.

Please email

Exeter/Eastern representatives

Ruth Wells, Headway Devon

Community unregulated, East Devon

I am the Chief Executive Officer of Headway Devon. We work to ensure better outcomes for people who have an acquired brain injury.

We run social care services in the community, centres for a range of rehabilitative activities in a sociable environment, support for carers and a lovely building which we hire out.

I have a background in leadership in mental health and arts in health and I’ve been working in Devon since 2012 when I moved here from the Midlands. I’m secretly a brummie!

I wanted to be a PEN representative for the unregulated sector, Exeter and east for a number of reasons. I believe that although there is always more networking to do, I am known to many of you.

I am passionate about providers having a voice and I believe in grassroots leadership; PEN representation ensures this.

I am comfortable in roles of critical friend and from a selfish perspective I really enjoy getting to know people and organisations and this gives me a prime opportunity to spend time with more of you.

Do contact me at any time by emailing or by phoning 01392 211822.

I’m more than happy to meet to discuss concerns. I’m also keen to support our busy sector by emailing you when pertinent topics arise at PEN so do drop me a line and let me know what you want to hear about.

I’ll do my very best to support you all to make the most of your influencing and consultative opportunities. Please get in touch.

Caroline Aird, Age UK Exeter

Community unregulated, East Devon

I am the Services Manager for Age UK Exeter and am so pleased to join Ruth as a PEN representative for the unregulated sector, Exeter and east.

Here at Age UK Exeter, we are a local charity serving local people with a variety of services for those over the age of 50 and their carers.

We are independent, responsible for our own funding and are governed by a locally elected board of Trustees.

Our Mission is to improve later life for everyone in Exeter by providing life-enhancing services and vital support.

We have over 120 staff and a fantastic band of 325 volunteers. Many of our services are provided free of charge and we also provide services for which clients pay privately or are funded by the local authority such as enabling and day care.

I trained locally as an occupational therapist and have worked for both the NHS and social services.

I worked for the then North & East Devon Health Authority in locality commissioning and mental health contracting.

I look forward to meeting colleagues in Exeter and making new connections across the sector.

Please email me at so we can keep in touch.

George Coxon, Classic Care Homes

Residential care, East Devon

I am trained in mental health nursing in the north east leaving to relocate to the south west immediately upon qualifying.

I worked in numerous clinical roles as a CPN in the Exeter area then trainer, manager, psychotherapist and health authority mental health advisor in Bristol.

I then worked as an NHS senior commissioner in Devon for all areas of health care including stroke, cardiac surgery, ambulance services and specialist commissioning.

My final two roles in the NHS were as senior manager for end of life care then senior project lead at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton responsible for income realisation.

I became a care home owner in 2005 with the first of 2 non-nursing care homes. I retain my nurse registration and have part-time jobs as specialist advisor to Nursing in Practice and also national chair of the MHNA (Mental Health Nurse Association).

Being a PEN representative is useful to influence plans, policy and processes regarding joint working between commissioners and providers. Through this group we are able to reflect the issues, positives and pressures affecting providers.

This group also keeps me informed of news and changes that are afoot and gives me an opportunity to share these onward and outward.

Email or call 07825 702184.

Barnaby Griffith, Vision

Residential care, East Devon

Therese Timberlake, United Response

Community regulated, East Devon

I am a qualified nurse and have worked within health and social care for 40 years within the NHS, a private organisation and medium and national charities.

My current role as Senior Area Manager, United Response entails overseeing a range of operational projects, including residential and supported living accommodation, wellbeing projects, supported employment and acting in the capacity of Principal for ROC College.

I am passionate about empowering people with disabilities to have more choice and control over their lives, with a particular interest in exploring effective communication approaches and techniques.

I particularly enjoy hearing from other providers to share ideas to develop, and improve service delivery.

Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss any prevalent issues or concerns, or if you wish me to share any updates from PEN meetings.


Southern representatives

Richard Buswell, Asher Care and Kahanah Care

Residential care, South Devon

Before we bought a residential home I spent many years in finance management, including working for Devon County Council.

Along with my colleague Alistair, we represent other residential sector providers in the south area. Asher Care is a home for 25 persons, and we focus on adult residential, elderly and those with mental health challenges.

The business relationship with Devon County Council can be challenging but we believe in communicating and negotiating with them, to improve understanding and fairness, and to influence the direction of travel in local care provision.

We are keen to involve other providers and understand and represent their concerns to the County Council.

Role shared between Richard Buswell and Alistair Whitmore-Pryer.

Please contact

Alistair Whitmore-Pryer, Asher Care and Kahanah Care

Residential care, South Devon

I have been running care homes for 35 years, and have currently invested in Asher Care, Newton Abbot (25 elderly/mental health), and own Kahanah Care, Miramar, Exmouth (14 mental health), and Dene Court Exeter, (28 elderly).

Richard and I share responsibility for representing providers of residential care in the south area, and we do this through the PEN (Provider Engagement Network) joint meetings with the County Council.

While those meetings can be candid and challenging, they are important to challenge and inform.

Role shared between Richard Buswell and Alistair Whitmore-Pryer.

Please contact

Gary Kent, New Key

Community unregulated, South Devon

My name is Gary Kent I am one of three directors for New Key which is a domiciliary care support agency for people with learning disabilities, this includes South Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Bristol.

As part of New Key we also have an unregulated service for day opportunities at Seale Hayne offering outcome-based support for people to develop their skills and which includes a partnership with South Devon College for a specialist learning provision and internship programme.

I also work as a consultant with county councils around ISFs.

I have worked with Dorset, Bristol, Somerset, Essex, Surrey and South Gloucester and I am currently working on a project to set up a pilot scheme in Essex, this includes learning disabilities, elderly and physical disabilities.

I am also a Fellow of the Centre of Welfare Reform, this enables me to network in the new ways of thinking around the country.

I have strong links with Skills for Care, I was part of their National Board and I helped to develop a unit in autism and assistive technology for the current diploma levels 2 and 3.

I am also now working with health around transforming care and bringing an understanding of ISFs and how they will benefit peoples’ lives.

I am a great believer in personalisation, hence my work on ISFs and my work with the Centre of Welfare Reform.

I believe I can bring to the role my experiences as being a provider for over 39 years in the south west and have helped to develop many services and many new ways of working.

I share and work well with other providers and helped many other providers develop and set up personalised support in different areas, this includes Northampton, Dorset and Guildford. The Guildford service was an unregulated service for people in transition.

I am always contactable by email at or phone on 07831 119904.


Community unregulated, South Devon

This position is currently vacant.

John Powell, Unicare

Community regulated, South Devon

Northern representatives


Residential care, North Devon

This position is currently vacant.


Carol Barkwell, Madewell

Community unregulated, North Devon

I am a nurse who has run a supported living care business for 30 years – both regulated care and unregulated.

I have been involved with social services at the PEN for 20 years.

I believe in sharing thoughts and strengths and helping the sector grow for the good of those we support.

Ask me a question and I will answer you the best I can. I will share policy, procedures and time with you.

I now help run the unregulated community opportunity that is Madewell.

Please email

Dr Len Lofts, Northam Care Trust

Community unregulated, North Devon

Len is the CEO of The Northam Care Trust in north Devon working in supporting people with learning and physical disabilities, older people and people with dementia. This includes residential, day opportunities and new community projects.

Len was the former director of Mencap in London and worked in the UK, Europe and South America in social care, health, education and housing developments for over 40 years in different sectors.

Len’s continuing personal career-long commitment is to improving services for people with learning disabilities and those with mental health problems.



Community regulated, North Devon

This position is currently vacant.

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