Dementia service put under threat

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DEMENTIA sufferers and their carers fear a service that gives them stimulation and a chance to socialise will close after its funding was stopped.

People who use the Alzheimer’s Society’s weekly ‘singing for the brain’ sessions fear dwindling numbers will close the service after the charity asked users and their carers to pay £6 each for entrance.

If attendance at the sessions, held at five locations around the county, including the Corn Market Hall, Kettering, drops much below their 130-person total capacity, the charity said it will have to stop them as its county council funding ended in March.

Gwynneth Lawman, of Barton Seagrave, who takes her 70-year-old husband John to the Kettering group, said: “The men and women who go would lose the stimulation.

“They love going. They love singing. And it’s the social side as well. There are people from Elm Bank Care Home who go. If they are already paying to stay there how can they afford this?

“The point is if people won’t pay, it will close down.”

The county council’s 18-month contract to fund the sessions, which use song to awaken dementia sufferers’ memories, ran out in March.

The charity wanted to keep offering the sessions so asked users to pay £6 each. But its choice to ask £6 of everyone who attends, including their carers, has angered relatives.

Ian Howarth, area manager for the charity, said: “I completely understand how they feel, but I would encourage them to bring friends.”

Kettering service users will discuss the change at the Cransley Hospice coffee shop in Horsemarket at midday tomorrow.