VITAL services supporting and caring for people with dementia have been axed in the Wee County amid funding shortages.

Town Break Dementia Support Services confirmed that they would be cancelling or reducing some of its groups in Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

As reported by the Advertiser last month, Town Break warned this could become a reality as they await a definite answer from funders on their allocation going forward.

The Alva Social Group +, a weekly service that provided a respite for people with dementia and their carers, offering cognitive stimulation therapy, was confirmed to be closing, with the last meeting set to be on Tuesday, January 30.

It is understood up to 12 people with the dementia attended the weekly social group, some alongside their carers, with the cut coming as a serious blow to services in the area.

Town Break relies on funding from the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership, a joint integration collaborative between the neighbouring council areas to better support people in Forth Valley.

The Integrated Joint Board (IJB) merged services provided by NHS Forth Valley and both Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils with each partner taking responsibility for parts of the budget.

It provides adult social care, adult primary health care and unscheduled adult hospital care for the region.

In an open letter shared by the charity on Tuesday, January 11, Town Break shared their regret and disappointment to be cutting some services but added they had been left with no choice.

Helen Duncan, CEO of Town Break, said: “It is with regret that Town Break announces the closure of Alva Social Group +, a decision prompted by the funding situation.

“We have had communication from CSHSCP, however, any future funding has yet to be agreed. Without this, we are unable to plan local services.

“With or without this appropriate funding support, our commitment to providing compassionate and inclusive social support remains unwavering.

“Together, as a united community, we believe we can navigate these challenges and continue to be a beacon of hope for those who require it the most.”

Town Break confirmed that their Alloa Social Group +, which is the Alloa equivalent of the Alva group, will continue to run, but will be reduced from three hours to two.

Other events in the wider Stirlingshire area affected include the Killin Open Day, which has been cancelled, the Bannockburn Peer Support + closing on January 31.

The Callander Social Group + will be transitioning from weekly to monthly, with the final weekly meeting set to be on Thursday, January 25.

Clackmannanshire HSCP confirmed that no funding had as of yet been decided on for Town Break for the next financial year (April 2024 onwards).

They insist that the funding was made available for the charity throughout the current financial year, while the budget process is yet to take place for the next year.

A spokesperson for the CSHSCP said: “We have fully fulfilled our financial contract with Town Break to deliver services for the 2023/24 financial year.

“No changes to this contract have been agreed, and no decision has been made on Town Break’s contract funding for the next financial year (April 2024 onwards).

“This will be considered alongside other community funding proposals as part of the upcoming budget-setting process.

“We are reviewing the arrangements for supporting individuals living with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers as part of a re-design of services in 2024.

“A collaborative approach will be key to this process which will enable a wide range of local partners and providers like Town Break the opportunity to participate.”