Morpeth Lions Club
Recently, members of Morpeth Lions Club heard more about one of the town’s less well known local charities.
Benmar House is situated close to Collingwood School in Choppington Road and is part of the Multiple Sclerosis Research and Relief Fund (MSRRF).
Dan Nelson, its Fund-raising Manager, explained that approximately 700 people per month use its services, from a database of 1,000 locally registered service users, most of whom come from within a five-mile radius of the town.
At Benmar House they can make use of services, including complementary therapies, such as reiki, Indian head massage and reflexology, also tai chi, pilates, yoga, specialist exercise machines and Vibrogym.
There are regular arts and craft classes, and a specialist MS nurse visits once a month to see service users either individually or collectively.
The fund can award financial support to people affected by MS.
Grants may be awarded towards the purchase of aids, adaptations, holidays or respite care.
There is no charge for using Benmar House facilities, however attendance is dependent on referral by GPs.
Amazingly, there is no central funding for the organisation and MSRRF relies on its own fund-raising activities, as well as legacies and donations.
It has recently installed a lift, which now gives access to the upper floor to those service users in wheelchairs.
A new physiotherapy and aquatherapy pool is due open in North Seaton in the next year.
This facility will particularly help people with MS as their condition means it is not suitable for them to use similar, but heated, hydro pools.
The research and relief fund provide services at eight outreach centres, which Mr Nelson says it hopes to expand, and it will continue to work with other MS-related organisations across Northumberland, Newcastle and County Durham.
If anyone reading this report wishes to find out more about the charity Mr Nelson can be contacted on 01670 505829 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
When thanking the speaker for his excellent presentation, Lion President Chis Offord said: “I think we are all amazed that such a vibrant and well used charity has been operating under our noses.
“We wish you continuing success and hope you will let us know if Morpeth Lions Club can assist in the future.”
MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 100,000 people in the UK and is the most common disabling condition among young adults.
It can affect a person’s mobility, their independence and their confidence, and can also the change the lives of their partners, families and friends.