NEWSFLASH: Melton to lose mental health services at Gloucester House

Gloucester House centre manager Rhonda Fazackerley with Tony Donovan executive director of Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland outside Gloucester House 
PHOTO: Tim Williams

Gloucester House centre manager Rhonda Fazackerley with Tony Donovan executive director of Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland outside Gloucester House PHOTO: Tim Williams

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Dozens of carers in Melton have been left devastated by news that respite care and recreational services in the borough for people with dementia are being axed.

East Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (ELR CCG) has decided not to continue funding mental health day groups at the town’s Gloucester House beyond the end of July.

Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, which also contributes money towards the four-day-a-week sessions, says it cannot afford to keep the services going without the additional annual £35,000 provided by the ELR CCG.

The organisation’s executive director, Tony Donvan, said this morning: “We have 25 people using this service four days a week and we have another nine on the waiting list.

“Carers are absolutely devastated this is happening - I have had calls from people who have been crying over the phone because they won’t be able to bring a loved one here anymore.

“Many of the carers are already at the end of their tether because of having to look after someone 24 hours a day.

“When our groups are closed, there will no longer be anywhere for these people to go except into a care home.”

Gloucester House centre manager Rhonda Fazackerley said those who attended the mental health groups benefited from interacting with other people and playing games with them while the carers got valuable respite from the stress of looking after dementia-sufferers.

“I am just shocked that we are losing these services,” she said. “I just keep thinking about the carers and the people who come here and wondering what they are going to do after July when the groups are no longer meeting.”

One of the carers is Lynn Prenderville, of Melton, who brings her mum, 89-year-old Mary Gamble, to sessions at Gloucester House.

Lynn said: “It will be absolutely dreadful when this service closes. Mum has Alzheimer’s and she’s only been coming here for a few months but it’s made such a difference to her. Since my dad died this has made her socialise and she looks forward to it and interacting with other people of her age.”

A tearful David Wade (70), of Melton, cares for his 88-year-old partner Barbara Farrow, who suffers from dementia.

David said: “This is terrible news. I bring Barbara here twice a week which then gives me the chance to visit my mum in a care home. I won’t be able to do that now. And Barbara will miss mixing with other people - it has really helped her.”

Alzheimer’s sufferer Barbara Wilson (83) is brought to sessions at Gloucester House by her daughter and carer, Sue Link.

“It’s a real lifeline for carers like me so this is devastating news,” said Sue. “My mum is Melton born and bred and has been coming here for 16 months. She can socialise and I know she is somewhere safe for a day. The people who have made these decisions not to fund it should come down and see what it does for people.”

More to follow.