Union welcomes reprieve for Southend dementia navigators

Union members who staged a protest outside Southend Civic Centre ahead of Thursday’s budget meeting has welcomed the reprieve for dementia workers.

Dementia navigators support those living with dementia and their carers, signposting groups and respite available to help them. Community builders raise awareness of dementia and work to ensure companies and workplaces in Southend have the tools to support people with memory loss.

Four existing dementia navigators were originally set to go under the Tory budget but following a rethink the administration retained two. Opposition groups have now won amendments to the budget to not only keep them all but to add a part time community builder.

Claire Wormald, Unison’s branch secretary for Southend, said: “This has been a battle well fought by the local unions Unison and GMB with those in the Dementia and Cognitive support team, along with carers and those using the current services. “From having the service initially closed down, they gained two navigators’ roles, still battling they then with support of a budget amendment that went to full council gained two new navigator posts and a part-time community builder post.”

Ms Wormald added: “The decision to close this service in the first place did not make sense as we all new it would create more cost and pressure on the adult social care team as a whole and really would not have saved money long-term

“We are pleased the councillors saw sense and voted through this amendment which also puts some more money into the ICT team to deliver the digital project for the council.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter