The Merlin MS Centre is an independent charity located in mid-Cornwall. The purpose-built Centre provides a range of support and therapies predominantly for people whose lives are affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) but also for those with other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, Stroke, ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
MS is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include loss of mobility, visual impairment, decreased cognitive function, incontinence, and difficulties with speech or swallowing.
People who attend the Centre can access a range of therapies including individual and group physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational and exercise therapy; podiatry; oxygen therapy (breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurised environment); health and well-being therapies, such as holistic massage, reflexology and Bowen. These can help people better manage their symptoms; improve mobility, strength, flexibility, and circulation; improve sleep patterns; help with pain management and reduce stress and anxiety.
The Centre also offers counselling, carer support, advice and information. All clients are registered and are given a health assessment before therapies are undertaken, but they do not need to be referred by a health professional to access the Centre. A free mini-bus service, suitable for wheelchair users, is available for clients if they have no other means to access the Centre.
A day respite service, which can enable individuals to gain new skills; improve social interaction and self-confidence; and reduce depression and isolation, is also provided. Clients have a structured day of activities which includes exercises, workshops, choice of therapies, lunch and rest. Importantly, it enables carers to have a break from their caring role.
The charity receives no Government funding and therefore derives its income, currently nearly £600,000 a year, from fundraising activities in the community; hiring of the Centre’s conference and therapy rooms to external clients, plus income from grant making trusts.