I am continuing to call for urgent action over the planned closure of the Princess of Wales Centre and have been promised a meeting with a Government Minister to discuss the issue.
This day centre support service offers a crucial lifeline to thousands of people affected by dementia. It would be a terrible blow to Sunderland if it were to shut.
** See the latest update via the Sunderland Echo below. Story dated March 5, 2019.
A Government minister has promised to meet with Sunderland MPs and council leaders to discuss the future of a city dementia daycare unit.
The Alzheimer’s Society has announced it will be shutting its Princess of Wales Centre in Hylton Road in the summer. The charity has blamed the move on funding shortages.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott has campaigned to keep the centre open.
She raised the matter in the House of Commons yesterday and asked Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government Rishi Sunak what could be done to safeguard the centre’s future.
The Minister said: “This Government have recognised the pressures facing adult social services and have provided councils with access to an additional £10billion of dedicated funding for adult social care for the three years up to 2019-20.”
Julie Elliott told him: “The Princess of Wales Centre dementia day-care facility, which is based in the neighbouring constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Washington and Sunderland West but serves the whole of Sunderland, recently announced that it will close in June, partly due to the cut in local government funding.
And she asked: “What will the Minister do to help to support my constituents and those of my neighbour before the extra funding becomes available? “Will he meet me and my colleagues to discuss the matter?”
He replied: “I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady and her colleagues or, indeed, her local council. “Obviously, as she just heard me say, the Budget announced an extra £1billion for social care, which her local authority will be able to use on its own priorities, perhaps including the example that she raised.”
Princess of Wales Centre users have been devastated by news of the closure and have unveiled plans to set up their own service.
A meeting was held at the weekend to discuss proposals for the new North East Dementia Care. Sandra Falkner, who became involved with the centre while caring for her late husband Billy, believes the charity is determined to press ahead with the closure.
“We have had loads of support so far and we believe we can do this. The thousands of people in the city who have dementia or will get it need somewhere to go.”
See here: https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/health/minister-promises-to-meet-with-mps-and-council-bosses-over-future-of-sunderland-alzheimer-s-centre-1-9629938