A Centre for All

July 27 2018
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The MS Centre in South Gloucestershire is a sanctuary to many offering friendship alongside a range of life -enhancing therapies…

Whether they’re helping patients retain their independence, healing injuries or simply staying positive about the future, the MS Centre at Bradley Stoke offers its visitors a place to feel welcome and supported. 

Originally set up in Nailsea in 1995, the charity moved to its new purpose-built home in Bradley Stoke in 2012. Having outgrown their previous space, the new centre enabled the team to offer a broader range of services.

Its aspiration is to provide a comprehensive range of therapies, services, information and support for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis and other conditions. By doing so the team can help individuals remain fit, active and mobile for as long as possible. 

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the nerves. It's caused when the immune system isn’t working properly. Symptoms can be different for everyone and can affect many different parts of the body. 

Events and community officer, Sarah Vincent explained how the staff at the centre hope to help as many people as possible. “It’s the only centre of its kind in Bristol and we help people from right across the city and as far as Weston-Super-Mare. We ask those wanting to use our services for a contribution and make a recommendation for the cost; some pay full price, some pay more, but others can’t afford the full cost and we treat them as well. Thankfully, the balance means we can help people whatever their financial situation.”

The centre is home to a state of the art physiotherapy gym, oxygen therapy suite and a variety of individual treatment rooms, housing the wide range of treatments and clinics on offer. These also include counselling, massage and chiropody. 

Dr Janet Willis, a centre user from Congresbury, said: “This facility has been very helpful over the years. I go once a week for oxygen therapy, physiotherapy and regularly meet up with other centre users and their carers.” 

There is also a café area, providing a relaxing space to sit with a hot drink and chat with friends. 

“Some people come for their treatment, but then stay for the whole day. It’s a great ways to meet new people, and have a chat about MS or life in general. There’s a monthly group session, Chatterbox, which is open to all of our members, but of course we don’t just restrict this to monthly sessions. We always suggest you stay for a drink and a biscuit before or after a therapy, to get to know other people in the same position. In many ways, this can be just as beneficial as the therapies,” said Sarah.

If getting to the centre is a concern for some, then thankfully Green Community Travel (GCT) can help with that issue. GCT provides Ring & Ride, User Group, Youth Partnership and Voluntary Car Scheme services. 

They travel throughout South Gloucestershire but popular destinations include Badminton, Horton, Coalpit Heath, Codrington, Dodington, Frampton Cotterell, Frenchay, Hambrook, Hawkesbury Upton, Iron Acton, Latteridge, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Sodbury, Westerleigh, Winterbourne and Yate. Transport must be booked at least one day before you travel. Transport is available every day, except on Bank Holidays.

The centre is run without NHS or government funding and is solely reliant on donations and corporate support from businesses. It costs almost £400,000 to keep the facility open for members, who’re offered the services at a discounted rate. 

It’s not just those with MS or neurological conditions who use the centre and realise its benefits. The oxygen chamber can also help with pain management, as well as improving the healing process. Many sports players and athletes also visit to speed up their recovery from injury. 

Marcus Trescothick is the captain of Somerset County Cricket Club, he said: “I first used the oxygen chamber to heal a broken thumb and believe it resulted in a return to action a week or ten days earlier than would have otherwise been the case.”

Although financial donations are essential to keeping the centre open, the support of volunteers is also of huge benefit. Several local businesses have offered staff to lend a hand in a variety of ways including gardening, which saves the charity employing gardeners to carry out the work.

For more information on the MS Centre call 01454 201 686, email info@mstherapybristol.org.uk or visit the website: www.mstherapybristol.org.uk

Green Community Travel can be contacted by phone on 01454 228706, email: admin@greencommunitytravel.co.uk or by website

http://www.greencommunitytravel.co.uk/individuals/individual-transport

Other transport providers are available on the MS Centre’s website.