For 40 years, MindCare Dementia Support Centres have provided invaluable support to hundreds of residents living with dementia and their carers. The Centres, in Beckenham and St Paul’s Cray, have significantly improved the quality of life for local people, through the provision of stimulating activities, social support and respite for family carers.
It is with deep sadness that Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich (BLG) Mind has now concluded a consultation regarding the closure of the MindCare Dementia Support Centres. We strongly believe that there continues to be a need for the services offered, but we are unable to see a financially sustainable and safe way of continuing to provide them.
The centres have been operating at a significant financial loss for several years and, despite our best efforts, we have not been able to correct this loss while also retaining the high quality services for which MindCare is known. BLG Mind are currently receiving no income from the Centres and are continuing to incur costs. Furthermore, as a result of Covid-19 and the associated requirements for social distancing, considered alongside the vulnerability of our client group, the service would not be able to reopen and offer its face-to-face services for many months to come.
As such, the MindCare Dementia Support Centres, which closed due to Covid-19 on 18 March 2020, will sadly not reopen.
BLG Mind have conducted a 30-day consultation on this process, seeking to mitigate the effect of the proposed closure on staff, volunteers and, above all, service users and their families. We are dedicated to continuing to support those living with dementia and their carers in our community, and will be doing so via the continuation and development of our services.
We are the lead provider of the Bromley and Lewisham Dementia Support Hubs and Greenwich MindCare service, which will continue to provide advice and information to people living with dementia and their carers in the three boroughs. Our Dementia Respite at Home service re-opened on 10 August and is now operating in the borough of Bromley. This service is accessible to people eligible for support through Bromley Council, or to self-funders. We are looking to make the service available for residents of Bexley and the southern part of Lewisham.
We are also offering online activity groups, including a dementia choir and chair-based exercise group residents can access from their own homes. Once the risks from the Covid-19 pandemic have been appropriately managed, BLG Mind will explore further ways of providing social activities and peer support to people living with dementia in the local area.
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly and with passion to create the welcoming and supportive atmosphere for which the dementia centres are renowned. It is with a heavy heart that we have concluded our consultation process with the outcome of closing the centres. We thank you for your continued support as we navigate this new phase in the development of our dementia support to ensure anyone affected by dementia in our borough receives the right help.