September 14 2017

Men and women who once served in the British Armed Forces and their spouses are to receive free day care in Alzheimer’s Support’s day clubs.

The Wiltshire charity has secured £92,000 from the Ministry of Defence’s Covenant Fund after putting in a joint bid with the Royal British Legion and other charities.  It will use the money to set up a two-year bursary scheme for 40 existing club members and new members who meet the criteria.

Pip Barker, pictured above, who attends Mill Street Club in Trowbridge once a week, is among those to benefit. His wife Maggie said: “This was a complete surprise to us and we are so pleased. I opened the invoice and there were all these zeros on it so I thought there had been a mistake. Then we read the covering letter and realised. It is wonderful! Pip only did National Service all those years ago so this is such a welcome surprise.”

Catherine Brown whose mother Connie Thorne attends the Sidmouth Street club in Devizes said she too was amazed to get an invoice this month with no day care charges on it. She said: “My father was in the RAF for four years after the war. It is nice to get something back now that will help us and others.  

“The club makes all the difference to Mum. She loves going and always knows when it is Tuesday and her club day. The staff are amazing and everything they do is so tailored to the person. It makes a difference to me too as I can go to work knowing she is happy and well cared for.”

As well as the award-winning clubs in Trowbridge and Devizes, Alzheimer’s Support is due to open a new day club and dementia centre in Warminster in 2018. A club day normally costs £35 for people who fund their own care, a sum that is already heavily subsidised by fundraising. Now club members who receive the bursary will only need to pay any transport costs.

Alzheimer’s Support CEO Babs Harris said: “We are delighted to have received this funding. We work tirelessly to achieve the best outcomes for people with dementia and their families in Wiltshire – this scheme is just one example of how we can make a difference.”