Chichester and Bognor Regis branch up for national award

Members of Chichester and Bognor Regis branch of the MS Society working on sculpture heads for a display at Pallant House in December
Members of Chichester and Bognor Regis branch of the MS Society working on sculpture heads for a display at Pallant House in December

The Chichester and Bognor Regis branch of the MS Society is a finalist at the 2016 MS Society Awards.

It is one of three Branch of the Year finalists to be recognised at the charity’s awards ceremony in London today.

Judges said the branch stood out as a group that was constantly adapting and improving the services it provided to people with multiple sclerosis.

It runs a successful drop-in centre at The Friends Meeting House, Victoria Drive, Bognor Regis, which provides social opportunity, support and information as well as an MS Active group specifically catering to younger people and those newly diagnosed.

Chairman Evelyn Lister, who is in her early 70s, said the branch’s aim was to give both practical and emotional support to anyone affected by MS.

“We provide support and services to help people manage symptoms, including Pilates and fatigue management classes,” she said.

“We have also partnered with our local Citizen Advice Bureau to provide practical advice about benefits which promotes independent living and quality of life.

“Fundraising is also a major priority for us. We provide grants to people who need assistance in purchasing equipment, home adaptions, and any items which helps them live independently and more comfortably. Our support workers as well as our drop in centre provide emotional to our members.

“Our committee and our members are what make our branch so successful. This all wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our dedicated committee, and their willingness to get involved and help organize all our events and activities.”

Vice-chairman Jennifer Jamieson, 70, said she and other members of the branch were ‘shocked and humbled’ when they discovered they had been named a category finalist.

“We’re absolutely ecstatic as our nomination was totally unexpected. We try to keep things as exciting and interesting as possible and as a result, we have a vibrant community that is inclusive and welcoming.

“We are fortunate to have such a terrific chairman and committee who are full of ideas and keen to really engage our members.”

Today’s awards ceremony, in Bishopsgate, London, will be hosted by Scott Mills, Radio 1 DJ and MS Society ambassador, and attended by other household names from the world of TV, radio, music and sport.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “The MS Society Awards are our way of recognising the amazing achievements of people with MS and those who go above and beyond the call of duty in supporting people with the condition.

“We are proud to have the Chichester and Bognor Regis branch as one of this year’s finalists and we are looking forward to welcoming them to our awards ceremony.”

There are more than 100,000 people living with MS in the UK, and the MS Society is the leading UK charity for people with the condition. People typically start experiencing symptoms in their 20s or 30s, which include sight loss, pain, fatigue, incontinence and disability.

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