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PFCC’s £5,000 grant to help Thurrock families with Lasting Power of Attorney

Peace of mind is being offered to families in Thurrock who cannot afford to pay to give a loved one control over their affairs if they were to lose capacity in future.

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – a legal document allowing you to appoint one or more people to make financial or health decisions on your behalf – can cost £850 to £1,000 to set up through a solicitor.

For many, that is beyond their means which can leave them open to potential fraud or coercion, if they were to lose the capacity to make their own decisions through dementia, stroke or brain injury.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) has contributed £5,000 to Thurrock Centre for Independent Living in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2022-2023 Community Safety Development Fund to help more than 50 vulnerable people to secure their LPA for free.

PFCC Roger Hirst said: “We must protect our vulnerable residents from falling victim to fraud.

“When life is already hard enough, dealing with conditions such as dementia, we should be able to feel secure in the knowledge we will be safe as and when and if we lose capacity to take care of ourselves.

“By eradicating the barrier of cost, this work is ensuring our most vulnerable people can protect themselves, their assets and their loved ones in future.”

Thurrock Centre for Independent Living CEO John Paddick, who has a background in finance, said: “Our vision, as a charity, is to enable disabled and other vulnerable people to have choices and control over their own lives.

“That comes in various forms of advocacy, which includes helping people to navigate systems or complexities they may struggle with due to impairments. We are there to help them to overcome any obstacles in their way.”

The Office of the Public Guardian called on the charity to undergo training to enable its advocates to help those less financially able to set up their LPAs for free.

The charity has so far helped more than 1,000 people, referred to the charity via social services, GPs and other healthcare providers.

The PFCC funding will mean a further 50 people can be supported – saving a spend of about £50,000 on legal fees.

John said: “We help people free of charge to complete the necessary forms. That is a lot of money that has been saved.

“We get a lot of referrals from the memory clinic after a dementia diagnosis. We often see husbands and wives who maybe do not have offspring nearby to help and they are left in an extremely vulnerable position. We are helping these couples to stay independent for longer. That is very rewarding for us.

“Once someone loses capacity, they are extremely vulnerable to fraud and coercion from the outside as they are the only people who can access their money or property. Without a LPA, it means that person’s carer also cannot access funds even if they are married and it is their shared money if they do not have a joint bank account.

“Wherever someone is on this horrible journey, they will at least have dealt with one problem by sorting their LPA. We are doing it for the individual and for their carer. It gives peace of mind as they know that one day they might lose capacity, but that their loved one will be able to look after them and do their best for them as their partner. They will be able to represent them and carry out their wishes.

“There really is a need for this – we have a waiting list as long as your arm. It is critical support.”

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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