Sunderland dementia charity needs cash to help more sufferers

Ernie Thompson
Ernie Thompson
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A charity on Wearside which helps dementia sufferers and their families says it could reach out to many more people if new funding streams were found.

Action on Dementia Sunderland currently helps between 85 and 100 people by providing practical support and respite up to twice a week.

Care staff visit sufferers at home or at Sunderland Royal Hospital and use activities such as photo cards to engage with patients.

They also offer information and support to the people who care for them, while allowing them to take a break.

Chairman Ernie Thompson said: “We have skilled care staff with many years of experience between them in dealing with dementia who provide support and information, and we have been told by families and hospital staff that our services are much valued by them.

“We could easily increase the number of people we help, but the current funding situation could make it more problematic for small charities like ours that offer specialist services to obtain the resources needed to keep those services going.”

The details of the charity’s work in the past 12 months are highlighted in reports that will be presented at the annual general meeting on Tuesday, September 27.

The home and hospital visiting service and friendship group are in high demand, but the pressure of finding funding means numbers have to be restricted.

Mr Thompson added: “To increase the frequency of visits and the number of groups we need additional funding, but a current shortfall in funds means we are putting other plans into place to try to ensure our work continues and allows us to help to meet demand.

“There are changes in the way funding is being allocated, which we believe could put small charities like Action on Dementia Sunderland at a disadvantage.

“We believe that we offer such a unique service that there is no duplication, and we have very skilled and committed staff who I am immensely proud of, because they always go the extra mile to help our service users.”

Action on Dementia Sunderland is also seeing an increase in the number of people who attend its Memory Cafes which are held around the city.

These allow people with dementia with their family and carers to support each other and meet socially.

Mr Thompson said that in the past few months the charity’s city cafe and lunch club, which meets at The Chesters pub, off Chester Road in Sunderland, has seen almost a dozen new regular visitors.

He also stressed that every penny raised by the charity is spent within the boundaries of Sunderland supporting people with dementia and their carers.

He said: “We don’t have offices and overheads are kept to a minimum to ensure that the majority of the funds that are raised are used on direct service provision and support.”

The charity’s AGM takes place at The Place in Athenaeum Street, Sunniside, from 2pm and free coffee and cakes are provided.

To help with catering, it would be appreciated if those planning to attend could visit and fill in a form to confirm attendance or call 07740 111182.