‘Constantly adapting’ team praised in national awards

Chichester and Bognor Regis Branch president Jennifer Pressdee, right, and MS Active lead Helen Pullen at the 2016 MS Society Awards
Chichester and Bognor Regis Branch president Jennifer Pressdee, right, and MS Active lead Helen Pullen at the 2016 MS Society Awards

The Chichester and Bognor Regis branch of the MS Society has been highly commended at the 2016 MS Society Awards.

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

Macclesfield and District was the winner, with Wirral and the Chichester and Bognor Regis branches both highly commended.

Judges said the Chichester and Bognor Regis 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 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.

“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.”

The awards ceremony, in Bishopsgate, London, was hosted by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills and attended by other household names from the world of TV, radio, music and sport. The MS Society Awards recognise the achievements of people with MS and those who go above and beyond the call of duty in supporting people with the condition.

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