Two voluntary groups, set-up to give dementia sufferers and their carers a welcome break, are to have their funding removed by the council.
The weekly dementia-friendly walking and library groups run by Volunteer Midlothian have been told they will lose their Community Links Dementia Project funding next month. The groups, with around a dozen members each, hope to carry on, picking up costs themselves, but they will no longer receive referrals after March when the dementia local area co-ordinator part-time post is also removed.
The groups’ founder Sandra Brown is a carer for her husband Jim (76) who has dementia, but she still finds time to lead the groups.
She said: “The Scottish Government has said it wants to reduce isolation and loneliness for people with Alzheimer’s. So this won’t help will it? These people rely on the groups.
“We are going to pay what we need to pay, and the rangers that take our walks say they will carry on with us.
“I can’t understand why the council are doing away with things like this, that are really good for people.
“I don’t think people have any idea what dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s is like. It’s 24/7. We gives people and their carers a release from that.
“We are helping each other deal with it. Without us I think a lot of people would get worse if they couldn’t get out and about. It makes a difference.”
Allister Short, joint director of the Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “The partnership does not take the decision to remove funding lightly. Set against a backdrop of enormous financial challenge, we have a duty to the people of Midlothian to make the limited resource we have work in the most effective way we can. Moving forward, support will continue to be channelled through a variety of programmes, including our strong network of local area co-ordinators, via organisations such as the British Red Cross.
“Be assured that providing the best possible support for people with dementia, and those who care for them, continues to be a top priority for the partnership.”