New face at Fylde Coast Dementia Hub

Legal help from Vincents for growing support group

Vincents Solicitors’ Donna Matthews, a highly experienced Wills and Power of Attorney specialist, has joined the Fylde Coast Dementia Hub. She will be among a range of professionals providing help and advice at the next meeting of the local support group, which takes place on February 28th at the Over Wyre Medical Centre in Preesall.

Vincents Solicitors has pledged its support for the organisation, which provides a monthly focus for people and families of those living with dementia. The Fylde Coast Dementia Hub is an initiative from the local Dementia Action Alliance group, following discussions with local stakeholders and Dr Penny Foulds who runs the Bay Dementia Hub and Café in Morecambe and Lancaster, to provide a one-stop-shop for families to access local support.

Visiting venues across the Fylde Coast, the Hub brings together specialist dementia nurses, a memory clinic, professional advisers, charities and other community support groups to showcase the help that is available locally.

Donna Matthews has worked primarily with older people and those suffering from dementia for more than 10 years, visiting them at home, in care homes, and in hospital to help with setting up Wills and establishing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).

Donna will be available for visitors to the Hub to find out information about the sort of legal help that people with dementia should be seeking. In volunteering for the Fylde Coast Dementia Hub Donna is particularly hoping to inform and educate people of the benefits of the LPA as part of their future planning.

She said: “LPAs are increasingly being used by people approaching old age to give them the dignity of planning for their own future, whether in respect of their potential health or care needs, to make financial arrangements, or to simply plan for their everyday life.

“It gives people the opportunity to make sure they not only have a say in their own future, but also that their loved ones are protected and don’t face the burden of making difficult decisions without any guidance. It gives everybody greater peace of mind, particularly for someone facing dementia where the future can be so uncertain.”

One of the most common misconceptions with LPAs is that they can’t be made once a person has received a formal dementia diagnosis says to Donna, who hopes to dispel the myth as part of her work with the Hub.

She said: “Earlier is always better when it comes to making plans, but even if you have a dementia diagnosis, it’s not necessarily too late to put an LPA in place. We can undertake a competency test and will ensure the LPA is properly drawn up.

“As a law firm we can also take on the responsibility of that attorney role or, if that point has passed, advise and help with a Court of Protection application to put similar measures into place. Whichever type of support is needed, we have experienced specialists in each of our five high street branches available to help and advise.”

A highly trained Chartered Legal Executive, Donna is currently working towards her STEP accreditation, an internationally-recognised qualification for professionals supporting clients with family inheritance and succession planning issues. Based at Vincents’ Lytham town centre office in Park Street she is part of the Private Client team and works closely with department head Chris Mathews.

Chris said: “Donna is an incredibly diligent and compassionate professional who has a real empathy with our clients and is the ideal person to help support people with dementia with their legal needs. It’s no surprise to me, therefore, that she wants to extend that support by volunteering with the Fylde Coast Dementia Hub, and we are fully supportive of her drive to help more people wherever they may be across the Fylde.”

The Fylde Coast Dementia Hub has a programme of informative events for people living with dementia, their families, friends and carers. For more information go to