May 30 2017

A support group for people living with dementia in Salisbury has received a new lease of life after securing funding from Wiltshire charity Alzheimer’s Support and a local benefactor.

The 14 members of the Laverstock Memory Support group meet weekly to discuss their experiences of living with dementia.  In the informal, supportive group atmosphere, memories and jokes are shared, frustrations aired and any lapses in concentration or recall cheerily accepted. As one member explained: “we are all in the same boat here. This group is a highlight of the week for me – I wouldn’t miss it.”

A parallel support group for family carers meets in a separate room to share their own experiences and gain mutual support.

The groups, run in their own home by dementia specialist Elizabeth Bartlett and her husband, John, lost funding from Wiltshire Council in recent contract changes. But Alzheimer’s Support, which now runs dementia services across Wiltshire, stepped in to support the group. It was delighted to receive a donation from the Mackie family in memory of the renowned surgeon, Bonar Mackie and his wife, Jennifer, which made this possible.

Richard Mackie said: “Elizabeth was a tremendous support to my family when my father was affected by dementia and we wanted to repay that support. We are so impressed with the work of the Laverstock Memory Group and of Alzheimer’s Support across Wiltshire. So we are delighted to be able to make this donation and make a difference to help other families into the future.”

Alzheimer’s Support CEO, Babs Harris, said: “We know how valuable this group is to both the members living with dementia and their husbands and wives who attend the carers group. Being able to talk openly about what it is like to live with dementia with other people is incredibly helpful to people affected. The relationships and informal support that come out of both groups is amazing to see.”

Elizabeth said: “People who are affected by dementia can often feel very isolated and afraid and, of course, this has an impact on their families.  Fortunately through the Memory Support Group we can provide a safe and reassuring environment for people to face the enormous challenges created by this condition.”

Alzheimer’s Support, an award-winning charity which has supported families in West Wiltshire since 1990, now offers a range of services in South Wiltshire. These include dementia advisers who provide information and support about every aspect of living with dementia, and an expanding Support at Home service. It also runs Music for the Mind singing groups and memory cafes in Tisbury, Amesbury and Harnham. For more information or to get in touch with a dementia adviser contact Alzheimer’s Support on 01225 776481 or   To find out more about the Laverstock Memory Support Group contact Elizabeth on 07812 381463.