May 7, 2003
A New state-of-the-art centre dedicated to looking after people with the debilitating condition, multiple sclerosis, could be built in Bradley Stoke. A feasibility study is currently under way into opening a new centre in north Bristol in addition to an existing centre in North Somerset.
The MS Therapy Centre in Nailsea has put together the proposals, which would be an independent facility run by the charity.
Land on Bradley Stoke Way was given to the charity more than three years ago by South Gloucestershire Council on a 99-year lease and outline planning permission has already been approved.
However, the feasibility study will determine what needs to be included on the site and if it is sustainable.
The main concern for people at the MS Therapy Centre is money.
Two years ago they launched an appeal to raise the £1.3 million estimated for building the site but have not yet achieved their target.
The buildings would include treatments such as a hydrotherapy pool, special physiotherapy units, a facility for high dosage oxygen and a range of other therapies.
Bob Cheshire, chairman at the centre, which has about 400 people on its books, said:
"We have needed to move from our present site for a long time as the number of people referred to us with MS keeps on growing.
"As a result the space we have here is too small and because of the location - we are boxed in by other buildings on all sides - we can't expand."
The plans for the centre include treating some other chronic conditions, such as arthritis and cerebral palsy, which they already do at the Nailsea centre on a small scale.
It is hoped the feasibility study, to be carried out in the near future, will find there is enough demand for such use that it would help pay some of the costs of the running of the new centre. Plans have been drawn up by a team of architects and meetings have been held with the nearby school and local residents about access and impact on the neighbourhood.
Jeremy Evans, spokesman for the centre, said: "This is a great opportunity for people who suffer with MS and for other people in the community who are looking for help dealing with some difficult conditions."
The team hope the service they provide will complement the planned MS Nerve Centre being built at Frenchay Hospital. The Nerve Centre will also be used as a research facility.
If anyone would like to donate to the appeal, call on 01275 858806.
MULTIPLE sclerosis is often seen as a condition that affects older people.
To be diagnosed at 15, therefore, wa s bewildering and deeply worrying for Sarah Wareham when she was told she had the incurable illness for life.
The 20-year-old admin assistant from Downend has been through an immense amount in the five years since then but she is adamant that without the help of the people at the MS Therapy Centre she would not be as sound in herself as she is now.
Sarah said: "I have been going there since my diagnosis and they have never let me down.
"At first I had no idea about MS and my family and I were really shocked by what the doctors had said because I was so young and it is a serious condition.
"But going to the MS Therapy Centre was like meeting a new family in a way. Within a short time everyone knows your name and is really supportive.
"I use the oxygen there and have been using it since the beginning, which really helps me.
"But they do have problems. The location is difficult and there are so many people using the facility that I think the staff and patients must get frustra ted."
Sarah has relapsing and remitting MS and has not suffered badly from the condition so far. But there is a time in the future when all that will change.
Sarah said: "That''s when I will need them most and I know that they will look after me.
"There are no words that can explain what a relief and reassurance that
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