Category Archives: Norfolk

Respite cuts leave parents of disabled children across Norfolk ‘in tears’

Parents of youngsters with profound disabilities are protesting against changes in the way residential short breaks are allocated, which they say have taken away a “lifeline” and left some of them with 50pc fewer respite hours or, in some cases, no residential respite at all.

Sarah Dewhurst with 14-year-old Alice, who has profound and multiple disabilities. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

In March of this year, council chiefs announced changes affecting up to 1,000 Norfolk youngsters.

These meant that the £1.7m budget for disabled children would need to be used for more children, with each family allocated cash to pay for activities according to a point-scoring system.

But, while the council said these changes would not affect residential short breaks, parents claim they have been left “devastated” by the drastic cuts in the number of hours respite they have been allocated.

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Carers group has successful run helping people in the fight against isolation

Donna-Louise Bishop

Extreme isolation and loneliness, which saw a woman from north Norfolk house-bound for three weeks at a time, was the inspiration behind a successful carers support group in Wells.

Juanita Spencer, of Theatre Road, cared for her husband Jack for more than a decade, after he developed dementia and survived a number of strokes, before he died in January 2011.

During that time, the 78-year-old said she had felt extremely isolated, especially during the first few years.

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Dementia friends in Norwich come together to help raise awareness

Dementia Friends gather at The Forum in Norwich for National Dementia Week.

Picture : ANTONY KELLY

More than 100 people who have trained to better understand dementia gathered on the steps outside The Forum in Norwich to show their commitment to making the city dementia-friendly.

Since January, businesses and organisations around the county have been working hard to ensure they are dementia friendly, training their staff to better understand the illness which is set to rise in prevalence by 35pc in Norfolk over the next eight years.

There are now more than 40 members taking part in the bid – among them EDP and Evening News publisher Archant – all pledging support and specific objectives pledges.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said: “It’s about us all thinking and understanding more about dementia.”

In Norfolk, some 14,000 people have dementia, but experts believe the figure will rise to 19,000 by 2025.

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