Chadwell Heath charity workers hope to start new service after dementia cuts

The Redbridge Alzheimer's Society has been closed down. Former staff are up in arms about it and wan

The Redbridge Alzheimer's Society has been closed down. Former staff are up in arms about it and want to start a new group for carers and people with dementia. From L-R Shelagh Conway, Liz Todd, Lisa Abel, Jean Gibson, Bob Tann, Gill Gough, and Judy Harvey - Credit: Archant

Former charity workers have aired concerns after respite for carers and services for dementia sufferers were cut.

They have spoken out following the closure of the Redbridge branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, which ran sessions at the Living Well Resource Centre, Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath.

The charity chose not to accept a new contract with Redbridge Council after its two-year deal came to a close in March.

“We had a brilliant service in Redbridge, we were a flagship branch – no other service was like it and everyone looked up to it,” said former dementia support worker Shelagh Conway.

“A lot of people have been left in the lurch.”

She said services for younger people with dementia, and sessions for carers while their loved ones were being looked after in the same building, were unique in Redbridge.

“It’s desperately needed – it means they don’t have to look for somewhere else to put their loved ones,” she said.

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The group of former employees are now hoping to set up their own service and called on financial backers to get involved.

“It’s really sad, but we want to set up on our own – something good has to come out of this,” added Shelagh.

Alzheimer’s Society operations manager for north east London David Morris said services were stopped following a review to see if users were “benefiting from services of the highest possible standard”.

He added: “Following this review, we recognised that by incorporating learnings from our work in other boroughs, we could have a greater impact in Redbridge.”

He said the charity was “in discussions with local partners” to explore access to services, and said users were offered one-to-one advice and alternative support before closing.

A Redbridge Council spokesman confirmed the charity had decided not to renew its contract.

He added: “We continue to work collaboratively with other providers of similar services to ensure that residents with dementia and their carers have the support and services that they need.”