Fundraising campaign launched to save Gloucestershire's MS centre
A MASSIVE fundraising campaign has been launched to try and safeguard the future of Gloucestershire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre.
The centre's future is in doubt after the current landlord asked the charity to vacate its home of 27 years in Quedgeley.
Staff, volunteers and centre users have started the 'moving MS appeal' in a bid to raise between £300,000 and £400,000 to fund a move to new premises but in the current economic climate they recognise they face an uphill task.
"We already have £40,000 in the bank and we are hoping to secure a grant of £200,000 but we realise it's not going to be easy," said Marion Hirlehey, the centre's manager.
"All we can do is try our best. Ideally, we would like companies to support us but obviously they are a bit strapped for cash at the moment.
"We are all feeling worried and very insecure but we like to think that there is a bit of magic about this place and that something or someone will come along and help us out."
The centre currently has around 370 members, with 80 regulars visiting on a weekly basis from across the county, including from the Five Valleys.
In addition to catering for those with MS, the charity has also helped individuals with severe brain and spinal injuries who have benefited from using the centre's oxygen chamber.
The chamber, which fills one of three rooms in the centre's existing premises, can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain for MS sufferers, as well as help with fatigue and sleeping problems.
Along with the oxygen treatment, the centre also offers physiotherapy and acupuncture, and operates a drop-in service five days a week.
But staff say the size of their current building restricts their ability to deliver certain treatments and therapies.
They say a move to new premises would allow them to deliver a vastly improved service and have come up with a range of fundraising initiatives to make it happen.
Members of the public can buy-a-brick in a symbolic wall or take part in a sponsored swim to raise funds.
"We are also asking people to do sponsored runs, schools to host fundraising days, and companies to choose us as their charity of the year," said Marion.
To purchase a brick in the MS Therapy Centre's wall please send a donation to Gloucestershire MS Therapy Centre, Goodridge Avenue, Gloucester GL2 5EA or go to justgiving.com/glosmsinfo