A media event was held on Wednesday (6th July) to mark the start of construction work on the new West of England MS Therapy Centre on a site between Wheatfield Drive and Bradley Stoke Way [map].
Former rugby and cricket star turned broadcaster Alastair Hignell was joined by leading members of the charity to celebrate the start of work and also to announce details of extra funding that has been secured for the project.
The charity behind the centre has revealed how a funding boost of £400,000, made up of a recent donation of £150,000 and an interest free loan of £250,000, has allowed work on phases 1 & 2 of the development to be started simultaneously, “causing less disruption and inconvenience to residents in the area.”
The new facility will replace the centre that has been based in Nailsea, North Somerset, for the past 25 years.
Construction of the new centre, which started in early June after a lengthy planning wrangle, is being carried out by contractors Elliott Off-Site UK Limited, and said to be due for completion by December 2011.
The contractors and the charity that runs the centre say they are committed to ensuring disruption to neighbours and the nearby Wheatfield Primary School will be kept to a minimum.
The boost to the Moonstone Appeal, which has been raising money on behalf of the charity for the £1.15 million new centre to built, means there is just another £100,000 needed to complete the fitting out, and the charity is hoping that other businesses and individuals will come forward and generously give to reach that target.
Alastair Hignell, who became patron of the appeal after he developed MS in the late 1990s, said:
“It is great news to see that building work has now started on the new centre in Bradley Stoke, which will be able to provide such important treatments to so many people in this area.”
“I have been supporting the Moonstone Appeal because the treatments I have had at the Nailsea centre meant I could keep on working for many more years than I would have thought possible.”
Bristol businessman Ken Edis, an enthusiastic supporter of the Centre, urged people to help support the charity. He said:
“I think the MS Therapy Centre does such valuable work in maintaining mobility and reducing pain and fatigue caused by the illness and really deserves our support.”
The charity is offering the chance for people to raise funds in a range of ways, from a ‘Buy a Brick’ scheme to sponsorship of certain rooms within the centre.
Mike Gelder, chairman of the Moonstone Appeal, has made an appeal for one final fundraising push to ensure all the costs of the move are met. He said:
“The help of businesses and the general public in the Greater Bristol area is sought to raise these funds as it will provide the much needed physiotherapy and other treatments to the 1,700 people who live with this progressive degenerative illness in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.”
“Many people do not realise that the disabling symptoms generally start when people are aged between 18 and 40 years of age. The therapies provided at the new MS Therapy Centre will keep them working and self supporting for longer, as the NHS provides little physiotherapy treatment after diagnosis.”
“Very few illnesses are as devastating in the prime of life as Multiple Sclerosis and so it is hoped that the help required will be forthcoming.”
More than £1 million of the £1.15 million project has been funded by the generosity of the Bradbury Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Henry Smith Charity, Clothworkers’ Foundation, Clarke Willmott Solicitors, personal donors and Taylor Wimpey, who gave the charity free right of way over its ransom strip on the site.
Mr Gelder added:
“If building work had not started by now, a considerable amount of these grants would have been lost, so there is now a very real need to raise the remaining £100,000 to enable the project to be completed.”
“All donations will be permanently recorded in the new building and there is opportunity for sponsorship of rooms and equipment within the new premises and also to ‘Buy a Brick’.”
Donations should be sent to The West of England MS Therapy Centre, Units 40-42, Southfield Road Trading Estate, Nailsea, BS48 1JE or by electronic payment on the website at www.mstherapybristol.org.uk.
For more details, call the MS Therapy Centre on 01275 852043.
Top Photo: Back (L-R): Ken Edis, a keen supporter of the charity, Janet Epplestone, Fund Raising Manager, Peter Miller, Chairman of Trustees, Mike Gelder, Chairman, The Moonstone Therapy Centre Appeal, Adoracion Pasantes, Centre Manager. Front (L-R): Debbie Sutor, Alastair Hignell.
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