The West of England Therapy Centre Now Open in North Bristol

Bishopston Matters is pleased to bring you news that near by Bradley Stoke is now home to The West of England MS Centre, a 1.13million pound project! The Centre on Wheatfield Drive will eventually provide support for up to 600 hundred people with multiple sclerosis every year in Bristol and the surrounding areas. 

Originally the brainchild of Jackie Brightwell, The MS Therapy Centre was founded in 1985. Jackie’s husband Ray was diagnosed with MS, and following a successful clinical trial of Oxygen Therapy Jackie set out to raise money for a facility to give Oxygen Therapy to people with MS in the Greater Bristol area.  Following an 18 month appeal, the Centre was born in Nailsea, and the first 8 man oxygen therapy chamber was put to use. 

In 2009, to cope with an increase in the number of users and in order to expand the services and therapies on offer at the Centre, the Moonstone Appeal was launched to raise funds for a new purpose built building.  The new Centre was opened in Bradley Stoke at the end of February 2012. Both planned phases have been built, however a further £100,000 is needed to fit out and equip the second phase.  Manager of the Centre, Doro Pasantes tells us “Good progress is being made in raising these funds but sponsors of rooms and donations are very welcome.” 

It was a great pleasure to be invited to look around the Centre and meet with members and their families, volunteers and staff, all of whom seem equally proud and excited to have finally moved in to their new facility.  It is clear what the new space means to all. The main foyer and entrance area is welcoming, spacious and light, offering a place for members and their families to relax and chat in a sharing and understanding space. Moving on through the Centre, the Oxygen Chamber is in full use.  The pressurised chamber is operated by a mix of staff and one of the many volunteers at the Centre.  It delivers 100% Oxygen under pressure to people through a mask in a simple, non-invasive and painless way and yet helps to relieve many of the symptoms of MS. 

Over the years, the Centre has evolved and whilst Oxygen Therapy is still very much at the forefront, many new therapies have been added and today you can visit the Centre’s large exercise room and three smaller treatment rooms for Counselling, Physiotherapy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Acupuncture. 

The facility is as much for families and their support network as for those with MS, Doro explains.  Counselling is a very important therapy for the Centre. People with MS and their families can talk through some of the issues they may face, including depression and anxiety. It can also help to deal with practical issues and is well regarded by all that use it. 

The Centre relies heavily on the support of volunteers and is very keen to work with the local community.  They would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer their time, ideally on a regular basis, to help out at the Centre.  From meeting and greeting members and their families to administrative tasks and gardening or fundraising, there really is something for everyone, so why not pop along for a chat, or contact the Centre via email to make a difference  info@mstherapybristol.org.uk

The Charity relies on donations to enable it to support people living with MS, and continues to appeal for funds, If you would like to donate to The West of England MS Therapy Centre, please visit the Charity’s website: www.mstherapybristol.org.uk or text “MSTC12 £x” to 70070 or donate by post to The West of England MS Therapy Centre, Bradbury House, Wheatfield Drive, Bradley Stoke, Bristol BS32 9DB. 

Of course, if you know someone diagnosed with MS who might benefit from becoming a member of the Centre then please get in touch with the Centre. I have been invited to take my father that suffers with MS to the Therapy centre in the near future and I look forward to doing this very much.

Don’t forget to join us for the 2012 Community Cake Break on Saturday 5th May, 10am to 2pm at the Horfield Baptist Church to raise funds for the Bristol MS Society.

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