Parkinson’s UK (PUK) is a nationally based charity aimed at finding a cure and ameliorating medications for the condition.

It also provides research into helping those with the condition, their carers and families live better. 1 in 30 people will be affected by Parkinson's in their lifetime.

Around 153,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK. And it's the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

PUK has a network of branches throughout UK. These are independent, self-funding entities that subscribe to PUK’s financial and governance protocols.

The Cirencester and Stroud Branch (our Branch) was set up about 10 years ago. Over the last year or so it has attracted new blood and is reinvigorating itself actively.

Our Branch covers a large geographically dispersed, mainly rural area bounded by Painswick in the north, Didmartin in the south, Fairford in the east and Wooton Under Edge & Sharpness in the west. It includes the towns of Cirencester, Stroud, Tetbury.

Our branch committee implement a multifaceted strategy.

The first is to contribute meaningfully to PUK’s research work. This year we have given nearly £4,000 to the Parkinson's Brain Bank based at Imperial College, London. This is the largest repository of Parkinson’s brain samples in the world and it forms a vital part of both national and international research efforts.

The second is to actively recruit new members and keep old ones. Many People with Parkinson’s (PwP) seem to be reluctant to make their status known and to engage with others who have the same condition. While we understand this we try to encourage engagement. It is after all a condition without guilt or blame. Shame or embarrassment just diminishes the sufferer and their family.

PwP and their families have diverse needs. Parkinson’s and its medications affect sufferers differently. No two people have exactly the same condition or trajectory.

As a Branch we encourage PwP to engage in activity – almost any activity is good - to repeat a trite phrase - use it or lose it. Physical exercise of any kind, mental and social activities are all beneficial. We are engaged in a number of branch-initiated exciting activities some of which are listed below:

Strolll - virtual reality technology to improve movement; organised Nordic walking - well established as beneficial to PwP; virtual drumming sessions - to improve coordination socially; a Parkinson's walking football team at Cirencester Phoenix WFC; PD Warrior exercise classes; social meetups in Cam, Tetbury, Cirencester and soon in Stroud (Pavilion in the Park, Cainscross); subsidised outings to the Barn Theatre; annual day trip on the Cheltenham to Broadway steam train; Severn Canal boat trips (through Willow Trust); within the next two weeks we hope to start a virtual carers group.

We are always looking at how using our limited resources, person power and abilities we can expand our offerings.

The third part of our strategy is improved and appropriate communication. We have recently started a website of our own creation . This is a project that is evolving. As far as we know it has the only complete list of PUK advisory publications on it for instant reading and downloading. We also send out quarterly hard copy newsletters to those who might not be comfortable or able to use the Internet. Internal communication among members is facilitated using a WhatsApp group.

We are members of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce where we integrate with local businesses to spread the word, get valuable support and to maximise on fundraising opportunities.

The fourth part of our strategy is to improve our financial resilience and our financial position. Over the last year we have raised nearly £20 000 through four very exciting efforts.

An evening with screenwriter Paul Mayhew Archer;

a fundraising day at Cirencester Golf Club

a musical evening at Cirencester Baptist Church featuring The Hill & Valley Singers

the sixth annual PPU organised, mainly by, Dave Trinder.

In addition we receive occasional but much valued donations in memoriam and ad hoc donations.

The fifth phase of our strategy is to increase our reach into different groupings. Support and assistance from the NHS is vital to our work – it has to be a functional two way of flow of information. At times this has been lacking but we are beginning to make headway. We exist in the community as such, purposeful collaboration with the media, the business community, educational facilities and the voluntary sector are vital. This is an ongoing project but we feel as if we made some headway when the Branch recently won a prestigious Cirencester Community Award - Team of the Year 2023. Then finally we need to work better with PUK and to establish and develop good practice across the PUK Branch network.

Contact: 07585 532635 or email