DEMENTIA sufferers in the Amman Valley are being abandoned by a charity as they close their day centre, say families who use the service.

Ty Perthyn day centre in Ammanford provides care and support to people in the Amman Valley who have been diagnosed with dementia.

The service, which operates three days a week, is run by the Alzheimer’s Society, but they have announced to users of the facility that they will be closing the day centre on April 1.

Eric Davies, whose wife Wynne uses the day centre, says the news has come as a huge blow to her and other dementia sufferers in the area.

He said: “This day centre is a lifeline for them, and for their families. There is nowhere else in Carmarthenshire, or this side of Neath Port Talbot that offers this sort of care.

“The Alzheimer’s Society have only given us five weeks’ notice to make alternative arrangements.

“I have asked for their reasoning behind the closure, and they told me that they could not afford to cover the costs of the Ammanford centre.

“But when I said we could set up a Friends of Ty Perthyn group to cover their shortfall and keep the base open, they said they would not be able to accept funding for a specific centre and it would have to go into the national pot, making it impossible.

“They are completely washing their hands of the centre.”

Mr Davies contacted county councillors about the decision, as the council previously provided funding to open the day centre an extra day each week.

Councillor Kevin Madge said he was disappointed with the charity’s decision to close, and their failure to notify Carmarthenshire County Council sooner.

He said: “There is a real need for these services in this area. I am really concerned that they are pulling out of here.

“This leaves the Amman Valley in a very tricky situation. In recent months myself and a number of other councillors and cabinet members have been working to see if we can get something set up in Garnant to try and fill the void that will be left.

“I really think that something needs to be done to provide continued to support to dementia sufferers in this area.”

Responding to the concerns raised by Mr Davies and Cllr Madge, Cheryl James, area manager for North and West Wales for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru said it was a not an easy decision to make.

Ms James added: “We always try and avoid closures wherever possible. However, after careful consideration, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru has made the difficult decision to close Ty Perthyn Day Support Service in Ammanford on March 31.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, given the potential impact on people affected by dementia.

“Long before making this decision, we considered and tried a number of initiatives to avoid closure. Unfortunately, despite all these efforts and even if it was at capacity the service would not be able to cover its costs.

“It isn’t sustainable for us to continue to plug the gaps in social care funding by subsidising services.

“Unfortunately, local authority funding in Wales has been repeatedly cut over the years, reducing social care funding to the bone.

“As a charity, we have a duty to spend funds in the most effective and responsible way in order to reach as many people with dementia as possible and have the biggest impact.

“We are incredibly grateful to all the staff and volunteers at Ty Perthyn who have done their utmost over the last few years to support and care for people with dementia.

“Our staff have been meeting with those affected individually to discuss their needs and other local options for support, including Alzheimer’s Society Cymru services.

“We know that change can be difficult but we are committed to giving the service users and their carers the best possible support at this unsettling time. Anyone affected directly by the closure can call our local office in West Wales on 01269 597 690.”

The charity added that Carmarthenshire County Council were notified when the decision close was made, and that whilst they appreciate all donations made, they cannot commit to keeping a service operational for the long term based purely off of the kindness of local donations.