AN INDEPENDENT group which provides support to dementia sufferers, their family members and friends has been running for ten years.

Now Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s And Dementia Support (BIADS), which hosts a variety of activities and events and also has staff on hand to offer emotional support, has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley Award.

There are around 200 people currently using the service, with many saying it has been a ‘lifeline’.

One is Pamela Oughton, who along with other members, has nominated BIADS for a Proud of Barnsley Award.

She has been coming to the group, which is based at Joseph Exley House in Dean Street, for the past six years as her

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husband David was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.

“When I say it’s a lifeline, I’m not exaggerating it. Without it I would be six feet under,” said Pamela, who is David’s primary carer.

“We do the dancing, we come for the singers, we come to ‘time for tea’ and to other activities.

“We really enjoy coming and BIADS has days out and holidays which we go on too.

“We try to get all we can out of it really as when David was first diagnosed I thought ‘oh we’ll cope’, but actually you do need more support.”

Pamela, of Wombwell, believes the couple are stronger since attending the group.

She said it has ‘done so much’ for her and David and said BIADS is always there for those who need it.

“Since BIADS set up in 2010 they have increased the numbers of people they support and the number of services they offer,” added Pamela.

“Even when funding has been hard to find they have done their best to keep things going and not let their members down.

“All staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide care and support for people with dementia and their carers.

“They look after everyone on a daily basis by providing activities, drop-ins, gym sessions, circle dancing and so many more regular events.

“The staff and volunteers are truly wonderful people who give so much support and nothing is too much trouble - whether it be listening when I am struggling or letting my husband join in activities which make him feel better about himself.”

Pamela and David have been on a variety of holidays with BIADS staff, volunteers and fellow members. She said this has enabled her and David to relax and they have gained many friendships through the holidays and events.

“When we are all together, we all give each other support and whoever is having a bad day, you pick up on it and help. It’s the same when we go on holiday,” she said.

“It’s so hard to go on holiday as just the two of us, but in the group it’s a lot easier and you can relax a bit more.

“BIADS will be celebrating their ten-year anniversary in June 2020, and we believe they deserve this accolade as all the work carried out by them is for the benefit of Barnsley people who have this terrible disease.

“BIADS started off with little but have grown rapidly since then by putting people affected by dementia at the heart of everything.”