PROTESTERS are set to march through Southend city centre campaigning for “life-saving” dementia care services to be protected.

The protest is being organised by passionate campaigners in the city who have raised major concerns about the loss of “dementia navigators” as part of plans to tackle Southend Council’s £6.3 million budget deficit.

Southend Council is considering stopping funding for 12 “dementia navigators” who work with families to direct them to the services they need.

Protest organiser and Mid and South Essex public governor, Leanne Kelly, 45, said: “Southend want to scrap the dementia community care team, which helps those suffering with dementia when they get discharged.

“When this gets scrapped, it will put thousands of lives at risk, and I feel this really needs to be nipped in the bud.

“My other half had a stroke, and he has early onset dementia. I’ve done all the work with him myself, but with the dementia care teams. I know other carers whose parents are dementia sufferers and they are saying it is not safe to remove these teams.

The protest, set for February 1, will begin outside Southend’s Civic Centre from 5.30pm, before protesters march through the city centre.

Ms Kelly added that she fears a major loss of agency and NHS staff could result in a situation where charity workers are forced to bear the brunt of the strain in the dementia care system.

The move would save £280,000 per year for Southend but without them patients and carers face an uphill struggle to identify available help.

She added: “What charity workers do is amazing, but dementia and Alzheimer’s patients need people with pin numbers, who are trained in specialist care.

“Offloading patients to someone else is not in touch with reality. There is a misunderstanding of the biggest threats and biggest issues with care, which is what I am trying to show.

“Southend Council must change their attitude and represent their own people first, making sure that care is a priority issue that is dealt with and resolved. Thousands are crying out for help.”