West Sussex dementia charity chosen for Big Give campaign

Donations to West Sussex charity Dementia Support during the first week of December will be doubled as part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020.

Sage House in Tangmere, the charity’s hub, bringing together dementia services under one roof, has been selected by the charitable platform to be part the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign.

From December 1 to 8, the Big Give will match donations made to participating charities and it says this year’s campaign is more important than ever, as many charities have been hit by the devastating impacts of Covid-19.

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Sally Tabbner, chief executive of Dementia Support, said: “The impact of Covid and lockdown meant that we had to quickly adapt our face-to-face services to enable ongoing support to people living with dementia, their carers and families.

Dementia Support volunteers at Sage House at a thank you event last year. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190070-2

“While our services continued, Covid has had a major effect on our ability to raise funds and continues to do so. As with all charities, we have been unable to fundraise through community events, collections and despite our supporters being incredibly loyal, we know that many of them are also struggling.

“This is why the Big Give Christmas Challenge is so important to us and we are asking anyone touched by dementia to support us and make a donation.”

Peter Mules, 60, from Climping, has spoken of his experience caring full-time for his mother-in-law, Jean Dinham, 83, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and what Sage House has meant to them.

During lockdown, Dementia Support continued to provide telephone support to customers. It was able to reopen its Day Breaks service at Sage House in September, with reduced capacity, which became a lifeline for Peter.

Jean comees out of Sage House 'as happy as Larry'

He explained: “When you are caring for someone 24 hours a day, it’s very difficult. Jean needs someone to talk to all the time, so it can become a bit wearing.

“Sage House gives us a break. As a classic example, Jean attended Sage House for the day and came out as happy as Larry, full of beans. She couldn’t actually remember everything she’d done but she knew she’d had a good time.

“It’s a big relief to be able to take Jean somewhere where the people are so caring and engaging and devoted, it’s a really positive experience for everyone.”

Charities like Dementia Support have experienced heightened demand this year throughout the UK lockdown, however, lack of funding and donations means many have struggled to keep up.

Alex Day, director of the Big Give, said: “Christmas has always been a time for giving but this year it is more important than ever. The work that charities do has, in many ways, never been more needed. Yet up and down the country, thousands of charities are running on fumes.

“Those who rely on their support risk being cut adrift. At the Big Give, we recognise the incredible work Dementia Support does and we’re pleased to be able to match donations made to them during the Christmas Challenge campaign.”

For more information and to make a donation, visit theBigGive.org.uk.

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