Devon carers enjoy special day out at Torquay United Football Club

Crossroads Care Torbay, in partnership with Spectrum Housing Group and Torquay United Football Club, hosted a hugely successful day out for local unpaid carers on Saturday 13 April.


The special event, which was greatly enjoyed by 26 carers and four support workers aged from 11 to 81, was made possible thanks to a generous £950 donation from Spectrum Housing Group’s Devon+ Community Forum with match funding from Torquay United FC. The carers, from right across Torbay, were made to feel welcome by the club as they enjoyed a fine three-course lunch while being wined and dined in United’s Number 10s restaurant at Plainmoor Stadium. For many of the carers, this was their first break for a considerable time.

“Caring is often a full time job, with those caring often feeling isolated themselves and unsure where to turn next” says Ursula Woolnough from Crossroads Care Torbay, who made the initial request for funding to Spectrum’s Devon+ Community Forum Group.

“Carers are often physically and emotionally under pressure to care for their loved one without any training or experience with illness, however they wouldn’t have it any other way. Carers tend to put the needs of their loved one before themselves, so we wanted to organise this event to reach out to many different types of carers in our community and to encourage hidden carers including male carers to come together, many of whom find it difficult to ask for support. Through extra funding, carers were offered transport and support for those Cared For while they attended this event, allowing them the rare opportunity to take some time for themselves”.

The event began with the group of carers being welcomed with free drinks at the football ground’s executive bar ‘The Gulls Nest’, before retiring to the restaurant for a sumptuous carvery while chatting and enjoying each other’s company.  Reserved grandstand seats for Torquay United’s crucial match with Barnet had been included for all those attending. Sadly a deluge of rain caused the game’s postponement shortly before kick-off was due, but the brief disappointment soon subsided when the carers learned they could use their tickets for the re-arranged game the following week.

Lisa Elford, Resident Involvement Officer for Spectrum Housing Group, attended on the day alongside resident Alex Wright, representing the Devon+ Community Forum. She said:

“The Devon+ Community Forum wanted to support this event financially, as carers do such worthwhile work but very rarely get the opportunity to take time for themselves. This is particularly true of male carers, as there seem to be far more events organised with female carers in mind”.

Carer Scott Taylor was thrilled when he won a football shirt autographed by all of the Torquay United team and kindly donated by club chairman Thea Bristow in the raffle. All member of the group also received commemorative programmes signed by Torquay United FC players, thanks to Torquay United vice-chairman Bill Phillips.

Brothers Barry and Paul Bateman – who played for United’s youth and reserves teams fifty years previously – said this had been the first time the two of them had been able to socialise together for over a year. Paul was amused to spot his former TUFC team mates on a 1963/64 team photo hung near the director’s box!

“It was a good opportunity to meet with other carers” said Danny Milne and Paul Jeffreys, who both attended on the day. “If it wasn’t for the help of organisations like the Devon+ Community Forum this day wouldn’t be possible. Today has been very welcome as it, for a change, appeals to male carers”.


Notes to Editor

Photo captions:
TUFC carers day 01 – Michael Poke (Torquay United goalkeeper), Jess Slade (Crossroads Care), Alex Wright (Spectrum Housing), Lisa Elford (Spectrum Housing) and Bill Philips (Torquay United).
TUFC carers day 02 – Carers Danny Milne, Calum Mounts-Jeffries, Paul Jeffries and Gary Wonnacott enjoy their day at Torquay United Football Club.

For further information, please contact:
Lisa Elford, Resident Involvement Officer, Spectrum Housing Group
T: 0800 783 7837 / E:

Jess Slade, Community Fundraiser, Crossroads Care
T: 01803 323510 / E:

About Crossroads Care

Crossroads Care is a small local charity offering an enabling service in Torbay by providing a free, supportive service to unpaid carers.  The charity’s aim is to get a bit of balance and time in carer’s lives, by reducing any stress or worries they may have.  By recognising that every carer is different with a different set of needs, Crossroads Care can be flexible in its support, tailoring it to the needs of the individual carer.  For more information contact us 01803 323510 or visit

About Spectrum Housing Group

Spectrum Housing Group owns and manages over 18,000 homes throughout the South, South West and Midlands.

The Group’s vision is: “Great neighbourhoods, homes and services and a great place to work”.

Twitter: @spectrumHousing