For Mick Hill, the Kingfisher Buddies groups are literally a life-saver.
Mick’s wife, Rita, aged 68, was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. “I first took Rita to the Wednesbury group,” he explains. “We both enjoyed it so I decided we’d try the ones in Blackheath and Oldbury too.
“The groups are good for Rita as she comes out of herself more when she’s there. If it’s just the two of us at home, she just sits in a chair all the time and does nothing. Here she’s had a go at pottery and enjoyed the singers. Sandra and Debra ask us what we’d like to do and then arrange it for us.
“I enjoy everything about the groups because I’d be by myself without them. I have to do everything for Rita and she can’t communicate very well. Sometimes she asks me who I am. Without the groups I’d crack up to be honest and I don’t think I’d be here now.
"I’ve made a lot of friends through Kingfisher Buddies and people help me with Rita. After the Portway group each week about eight of us now go out for a meal. It takes me a long time to get Rita up and ready to go to the groups but I’d do anything to get there.”