Council cash brings a boost for sufferers - The Worcester Observer

Council cash brings a boost for sufferers

Worcester Editorial 8th Jan, 2020   0

A VITAL lifeline for Worcester dementia sufferers and their families could open its doors after county and district council chiefs rubber-stamped a £540,000 investment to make Worcestershire the first county in the UK to offer access to such services to all its residents

Working with the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies, council bosses pledged the six-figure sum to help local communities set up meeting centres and put the county at the forefront of this new way of supporting all those living with the heart-breaking condition.

The local bases provide support locally to people and families affected by dementia. At the heart of each centre is a social club where people can meet to have fun, talk to others, and get the help and support they need.

Council chiefs have agreed the major cash injection from the county’s 75 per cent Business Rates pilot, which has meant more money from business rates gathered in Worcestershire in the past year has remained in the area.

Meeting Centres were originally developed in the Netherlands. The University team was part of a large European research programme to evaluate this innovation in the UK, Italy and Poland and as part of this the Association for Dementia Studies launched two pilot centres in Droitwich Spa and Leominster.

University chiefs found the bases significantly improve self-esteem, levels of happiness, and a sense of belonging, as well as reducing some of the most distressing symptoms of dementia and provide an invaluable source of support for family carers.

Professor Dawn Brooker, director of the Association for Dementia Studies, said: “This will make Worcestershire the first local authority in the country to support equitable funding for all its citizens with regards to provision for this vital community support.

“We believe Worcestershire could be a real game changer. If we can make this a successful model here then why shouldn’t other local authorities follow suit?”

Coun Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “This announcement is momentous for Worcestershire and our long-term plan for Adult Social Care.

“Enabling vulnerable people to live as independently and safely for as long as possible with the support of their families, friends and communities is something that all of the local authorities of Worcestershire are really passionate about.

Organisations and residents can attend a free information session on February 10 at the University of Worcester Arena.

E-mail [email protected] to book.

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