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Wendover charity might not reach 35th birthday

The Chilterns MS Centre is facing an uncertain future because of coronavirus.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:53am 9th April 2020. 5-minute read.

Wendover charity might not reach 35th birthday

A Wendover charity are worried they won't reach their 35th birthday, just a few months away.

The Chilterns MS Centre have seen most of their funding streams dry up because of coronavirus and it could mean a lifeline is lost for many with Multiple-Sclerosis.

They are asking for our help to make sure the centre keeps running.

Why is it so vital?

Chilterns Ms Gym - Venue View Virtual Tours
The Chilterns MS Centre has lots of support for those with the condition

For over 500 people with multiple sclerosis (MS), the Chilterns MS Centre is more than just a place to receive expert clinical treatment.

It is a safe, relaxed place to socialise, to try new things, build confidence and to make friends who truly understand just how tough it is living with MS.

It is their lifeline, to help them maintain their sense of purpose, independence and live a full life.

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Coronavirus having an impact

The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus is the biggest threat to the organisation in its 35-year history.  

Many of their income streams have come to a complete stop due to social distancing, leaving the charity in a funding crisis.

Andy Graham, COO, said:

"With almost all of our events and fundraising activities cancelled or postponed, up to 40% of our income is at risk, and this could get worse if the situation continues into the Autumn.

"Our popular Run Prestwood event normally brings in £16k and whilst we are trying to reschedule there is no guarantee we can hold the event this year. Given the national lockdown many of our supporters have also had to cancel their fundraising activities too.

"We are already feeling the effect of reduced income, and have taken defensive action, but this does mean a reduction in care provision right now. Ultimately, if we cannot bridge the gap we may have to drastically reduce how we operate in the future. This would put hundreds of people affected by MS across Bucks, Beds, and Herts at risk of having no regular free treatment or support, as the NHS cannot provide this on an ongoing basis."

The current situation means they are now offering a virtual service by phone, email and online.    

Whilst the Wendover-based charity is doing what it can to reduce costs, including furloughing half of its staff, they still need a level of income to maintain their services and secure their future.

It costs £1.2million a year to fund the Centre. Less than 7% of this comes from NHS funding, which is also at risk, therefore they rely heavily on fundraising activities to keep the charity running.  Without them, the Centre is in danger of closing.

The charity exists to empower and support people with MS and the people they support need them now more than ever. People like

Julie and David

Julie & Dave Chilterns MS

The Centre has played an important role in their lives since Julie's diagnosis. 

Julie said:

"The Centre has been with us for 21 years, giving us all sorts of support.

"There are people that go there that don't just go for the physio, they go up there to be with people who are living the same life as they are and that gives them their support.  

"I miss it so much at the moment.  

"I don't want to think about a world where the Chilterns MS Centre doesn't feature in our absolutely important support network."  

Can you help?

The charity has an amazing community of support, but is now appealing to everyone to help at a time when self-isolation and social distancing have a detrimental impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people affected by MS.

It urgently needs donations to help cover running costs so the Centre can continue to support people with MS when they need it most through these difficult few months and help the charity reach its 35th birthday in September.

Large or small, every donation will make a real difference to people like Julie and David and hundreds of others like them.  

If you would like to make a donation you can do so via JustGiving.

For more information on how the Centre is supporting its members during the coronavirus outbreak visit www.chilternsmscentre.org.

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