Sunderland dementia charity finds a new home with thousands donated for new minibus

A Sunderland charity formed only three years ago has had a ribbon cutting ceremony at new premises and is soon to buy a second minibus.

Sunderland Mayor Dorothy Trueman cuts the ribbon at NEDC with, from left, unit secretary Jackie McDermott, founder Sandra Falkner, consort Cllr Harry Trueman and treasurer John Hellens. Picture by Kevin Brady.
Sunderland Mayor Dorothy Trueman cuts the ribbon at NEDC with, from left, unit secretary Jackie McDermott, founder Sandra Falkner, consort Cllr Harry Trueman and treasurer John Hellens. Picture by Kevin Brady.

North East Dementia Care (NEDC) was founded in 2019 by Sandra Falkner who also chairs. She cared for husband Billy, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his 50s and who died in 2015 aged 67.

The organisation cares for dementia sufferers, whom they pick up and drop off, giving their carers a break. It had been based in Pennywell Business Centre but outgrew the building. It now shares the nearby Pennywell Neighbourhood Centre on Portsmouth Road.

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The centre can accommodate up to 20 people each day and averages around 12. The grand opening was officiated by Mayor of Sunderland Dorothy Trueman.

Seven year-old Anya Amer presented a cheque for the £250 she raised by completing the Junior Great North Run. With charity founder Sandra Falkner. Picture by Kevin Brady.

Also present was benefactor Steve Smith, who has donated £18,000 towards a minibus. Transport is the charity’s biggest outlay. Seven year-old Anya Amer presented a cheque for the £250 she raised by completing the Junior Great North Run.

A man whose wife had been looked after by NEDC donated a new wheelchair and £200. Another carer, John Martin, gave £500.

Among the new facilities are a sensory room, a craft room named after Val Anderson who runs the crafts, a games room and a charity shop.

The carers who work there are all professionally qualified, but volunteers are a massive help.

Inside the centre, from left, treasurer John Hellens, Cllr Harry Trueman, Mayor Dorothy Trueman and charity founder Sandra Falkner. Picture by Kevin Brady.

Sandra said: “We had a lovely centre round the corner, but we couldn’t run any carers’ groups there because it was too small. We now have a meeting room where we can offer loads of help for carers.

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“We’ll have a drop-in centre and hopefully a Saturday session so people can go shopping who might otherwise be stuck. When I was a carer, if I got a chance on a Saturday it was brilliant.

“The people who come here have tea and coffee on arrival. There are lots of stimulation exercises, family activities and a lady comes in once a week to do a singing session which they love.”

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Sandra thanks many people including the family of Maureen Ord, Jill and Jackie, Mickey Dillon, Pennywell Neighbourhood Centre, Gary and Bev, Graham Hambleton, Scott and Eden Falkner, Neil Mawson and his plumbers, Anne Ganley, Deborah Watson, Nicole Falkner.

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For more information call 07585 381336.