North Norfolk MP and dementia group patron hits out at social care shortfall

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has become patron of a dementia support group in Holt. Photo: Holt and

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has become patron of a dementia support group in Holt. Photo: Holt and District Dementia Support Group - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk MP, who has said the UK could be waiting until 2022 for a social care funding system, has described the needs of the elderly in his constituency as 'particularly acute'.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb became the patron of the Holt and District Dementia Support Group at an event on Friday, February 1, at St Andrew's Church, Holt.

And now the former health minister has said he is frustrated by delays to social care funding.

Lib Dem Mr Lamb said: 'What [this group] are doing in and near Holt, we ought to be ensuring is available everywhere. We're falling short of what's needed.'

He added: 'It should always be a collaboration between volunteers and services, with the health and social care services in partnership - but there's a real gap between services and the level of need.

'We've all got frustrated that the government has delayed the Green Paper on funding social care.

'I think it's unlikely we'll get any actual change this parliament.

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'We could be waiting until 2022, and well into the 2020s before we have a proper system in place.

'North Norfolk has one of the oldest aged populations of any constituency in the country.

'The need is particularly acute - it's really not good enough.'

He praised the work of the Holt and district group, and said: 'I've got immense admiration and respect for the work they do.

'It's so important for the carers of people with dementia who are often quite frail and isolated.

'This offers community, human contact, enjoyment and relief from the pressures of caring.'

Founded in 2014, the group offers dementia friendly socials at The Poppy Cafe, and runs a home visit service of trained and DBS checked volunteers, to give respite to carers of those with dementia.

The group's chairwoman, Claire Roberts, said: 'It's the only service in Norfolk offering respite.

'We also run a vintage cinema every two to three months, with the next film in March, at the community centre.

'It's always an old film, usually a musical, something someone with dementia can follow easily.'

She added: 'We need to find our feet as a charity, and are looking to reach out to villages around Holt. People can be quite trapped in their homes, but can come to us if they need help.

'And we always need to increase our volunteers - our backbone.'

Mr Lamb said he will champion the group in parliament, to the county council, and offer support.

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