Sunderland MP calls for urgent action to save city Alzheimer's centre

MP Julie Elliott, second left, during a visit to the Sunderland centre in 2012.
MP Julie Elliott, second left, during a visit to the Sunderland centre in 2012.

A Sunderland MP is calling for urgent action to help save a 'lifeline' day centre facing the axe.

Julie Elliott said the centre is a cruical service to the thousands of people affected by dementia.

Members of The Alzheimer's Society centre in Hylton Road were left devastated when the closure was announced last month.
Mrs Elliott says years of budget cuts are to blame for the crisis in social care and said it is not fair.

She said: "I am calling for urgent action to save a Sunderland service which offers a crucial lifeline to thousands of people affected by dementia.

"The Alzheimer’s Society has blamed funding shortages for its decision to shut the Princess of Wales centre in Hylton Road at the end of June. This loss would be a terrible blow for our city."

The MP said she has written to the charity, urging them to re-think the closure decision, as well as to the Minister of State for Health and Social Care – asking for urgent intervention on this issue.

She said: "Almost all of us will know of someone living with dementia - and each deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

"A diagnosis can be a very lonely place, especially if help or support isn’t easily available.

"Years of Government cuts to council budgets have resulted in a social care funding crisis, with a growing number of older people having unmet social care needs. This is just not right or fair.

"It is vital that we try to save this crucial service and I will update constituents when I have further information."

Announcing the closure, Danielle Cooper, Area Manager for Alzheimer’s Society, said: "After careful consideration, Alzheimer’s Society has made the difficult decision to close the Day Support Service in Sunderland on 30 June 2019.

"We always try and avoid closures wherever possible. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, given the potential impact on people affected by dementia.

"The funding we receive from the service does not cover the full running costs which we have been subsidising for a number of years.

"Unfortunately, this is not sustainable in the long term for the charity.

"We are grateful to all the staff and volunteers who have worked for the Day Support Service over the years and have done their utmost to support and care for people with dementia."