Dementia support groups face closure

The See Haven Club, which meets at the Charter Centre in Bexhill is one of the support groups facing closure.
The See Haven Club, which meets at the Charter Centre in Bexhill is one of the support groups facing closure.

Popular East Sussex dementia support groups are facing closure due to ‘a loss of funding’ from local government.

In letters sent to service users last week, the Alzheimer’s Society announced a plans to close a range of its support services and social groups – including the See Haven Club in Bexhill and the Singing for the Brain group in Battle.

The charity says the move comes as its contract to run the services on behalf of East Sussex County Council, Hastings and Rother CCG and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG is due to come to an end on March 31.

Elisa Vaughan, Alzheimer’s Society operations manager for Sussex, said: “We are proposing – that due to the loss of funding – the affected services will close.

“We remain committed to supporting people affected by dementia in the county including those affected by the closures, but sadly without the adequate funding, we cannot sustain these services.”

East Sussex Better Together – a partnership made up of five groups responsible for running health and social care in the county including East Sussex County Council and the two CCGs – says it has put a replacement dementia support service out to tender.

According to the partnership, the Alzheimer’s Society chose not to bid for the new service, which is to be reorganised.

A spokesman for the East Sussex Better Together partnership said: “The new service will provide broader support than is currently offered and will cater for people who are currently in receipt of the dementia adviser and dementia support services, while the Dementia Guide service currently running in the High Weald, Lewes and Havens area will continue.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be continuing funding for the Singing For The Brain group. Resources currently provided for the See Haven Club will be redirected to provide personalised, specialised support, but there won’t be a building-based day service as at present.

“We do appreciate that these are valued services and the withdrawal of funding for them will be a loss to service users, but the financial constraints we’re operating in mean we have to make difficult decisions. We will ensure support is available to service users to help with the transition.

“These changes are aimed at providing a better service for people with dementia and their carers while making the best use of our limited resources.”