TV Bargain Hunt star Eric Knowles becomes patron of Bucks charity

BARGAIN Hunt's antiquarian Eric Knowles has become a patron of a new Buckinghamshire charity helping family dementia carers.

Dementia Carers Respite, an exclusively Buckinghamshire charity, aims to provide much-needed support to family carers of dementia patients in the area.

Recently registered, the organisation's mission is to preserve and protect the health and well-being of family carers by funding respite through dementia-trained carers from organizations under the Quality Care Commission.

Despite this alarming statistic, dementia does not automatically qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC), leaving many individuals and their families to seek private care at a significant cost.

While those with means can afford care at £35 per hour or £1500 per week, those without are left with limited options and rely mainly on their family and partners for care.
Founder and Chairman Walid Marzouk said: "It is the carers themselves who bear the brunt of the challenges associated with dementia care. Often dealing with their own issues, they tirelessly strive to care for their loved ones.

"However, the impact on their physical and mental well-being can be significant, leading to exhaustion and a mix of guilt and bereavement for the virtual loss of their loved one.
"Dementia Carers Respite recognizes the tremendous strain placed on carers and aims to address this issue by providing them with much-needed respite."
With donations, the charity will be able to fund professional dementia carers throughout Buckinghamshire, offering family carers the opportunity to recharge and enjoy time with friends and family or even some much-needed time alone.

In Buckinghamshire, there are an estimated 9,437 people living with dementia, with around 714 mid-stage patients supported by a family carer who may qualify for the services provided by Dementia Carers Respite.

Although the charity is still in its infancy, it has assembled an experienced board of trustees and a panel of advisors with extensive expertise in dementia and Alzheimer's.
The founder and chairman of Dementia Carers Respite, Walid Marzouk, was inspired to establish the organization after seeing a BBC news story highlighting the plight and suffering of family carers.

He added: "A BBC news item, highlighting the plight and suffering of family carers motivated me to set up Dementia Carers Respite and I hope it will spur everyone on to give and support.

"Eric Knowles & Dementia Carers Respite Trustees are delighted that TV personality Mr Eric Knowles has agreed to become our Patron. He is famous for programs such Bargain Hunt.

He hopes that the charity's establishment will encourage others to give their support.

Andrew Ketteringham, former director of external affairs at Alzheimer's Society and Vice Chair of Alzheimer's Disease International, said: “I am delighted to see the need being recognised in Buckinghamshire and a charity being established to meet that need.