A SUPPORT group that helps families in Hartlepool living with Multiple Sclerosis will use a generous donation to kickstart a major project for a respite centre.
The New Hartlepool MS Support Group, which already provides therapy and counselling services in town, received an unexpected boost of £2,000 from Hartlepool Round Table.
Instead of going towards their general running costs, the volunteer group has decided to use the cash to start a fund for a respite centre.
Secretary Sylvia Moore said: “Apart from the hospice, where a few of our members go, there is nowhere in the area for people with MS at all.
“People with MS need specialised care because the symptoms are so varied. No one person will have it the same way as another.
“Because we have had such a generous contribution from the Round Table we thought rather than just using it on running costs we would like to use some of it to start a rolling fund.
“It is still very early stages but hopefully we can get it off the ground and perhaps find more sponsors willing to help.
“The aim is to have a respite centre where people could come, even just for a day or spend the night in an emergency.”
The group say a respite centre would provide a safe environment for people with multiple sclerosis and also give their families and carers a well earned break.
Sylvia said the nearest respite centre to Hartlepool was in York which was run by the MS Society but they do not run it anymore.
The nearest MS specialist nurse is based at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and help around 130 people from Hartlepool with the condition.
Hartlepool’s support group was founded four years ago by families battling the cruel disease.
MS is a disease of the immune system which is not caused by a person’s lifestyle and often strikes when the sufferer is in the prime of their life.
It can affect their walking, balance, speech and sight. It can also have knock on effects leading to relationship problems and sufferers becoming isolated.
The Hartlepool support group holds a regular drop-in at the Stranton Centre, Westmoreland Street, on the first Monday of the month.
They are also looking for more able-bodied volunteers to help run it. If you can help, or would like to support the respite centre fund, contact Sylvia Moore on 07835 264538.