Beds and Northants Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

We are a self-help organisation, run by people involved with MS for people with MS.

The organisation was set up by a group of people with M.S. and has continued in this way. The Management Committee consists mainly of people with MS, ensuring that they play a major part in the decisions on the policy of the Centre.

We have at least 40 volunteers working at the Centre weekly and a great number of these have MS themselves so again they play a huge part in the running of the Centre on a day to day basis. More volunteers are always very welcome.

Beds and Northants MS Therapy Centre with their Warnerbus vehicle conversion

We have our own mini-bus adapted to take wheelchairs. We employ a driver, who takes responsibility for transporting people to the Centre and assisting them where necessary.

What is MS?

MS affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord which are connected to cranial nerves (12 pairs) and spinal nerves (31 pairs). These network of nerves signal electrical and chemical messages to each other at great speed, controlling body functions.

Networks that send messages to the CNS in response to stimuli such as heat or pain are known as sensory nerves. Networks that transmit messages in the other direction from the CNS to peripheral organs and tissues are known as motor nerves. In MS, the myelin, the fatty protective sheath that surrounds the nerve fibres, becomes damaged. This process causes the messages going to and from the brain and spinal cord to become distorted or slowed down, resulting in ms symptoms.

It can take some time to diagnose the condition as it takes several symptoms over periods of time before further tests are undertaken and a diagnosis made.

Roughly 1 in 750 are diagnosed with the condition and more women have the condition than men. Some people experience ‘attacks’ which are the sudden onset of symptoms, but which fade after a few days or weeks. Sometimes medication or additional therapy is required to help the process. Others do not experience these attacks but do notice some deterioration over the years, but it is impossible to know what is going to happen in future years.

Symptoms are very varied and differ from person to person, but there are common trends and it is crucial that facilities are available to help when required. Whether this be therapy, information or just support for the person with MS, their carer or other family members, we are here to help.

Beds and Northants MST

About us

Back in 1983 a group of people with Multiple Sclerosis decided they wanted to provide help, support and therapy for their fellow sufferers in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and surrounding areas.

Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy was the new therapy that was being sort by local people with MS and as it was not available within the NHS, Therapy Centres began to open making it possible for all M.S. sufferers to participate. It gradually became obvious that more therapies were needed to help those with MS and their families cope with this debilitating illness, so the Centre developed rapidly and, after 5 years many more therapies were being provided. These included physiotherapy, dietary advice, counselling, yoga and reflexology. The therapists employed at the Centre are all professionals in their own right, but have specific knowledge and experience of M.S. At this stage we had approximately 250 members with 70-80 attending weekly and the cost of running the Centre was £50,000, all of which we had to raise by fund raising efforts locally.

After 10 years we had increased therapies to include speech therapy, chiropody, massage, aromatherapy, shiatsu and a continence nurse. With increased numbers, which created a waiting list for many of the services, and lack of suitable rooms and equipment, we realised that we had to expand to cope with demand. We now had 500 members with approx. 100 members attending weekly, so parking became a major problem.

A building appeal began and with the help of a large number of generous Trusts and local organisations within just 20 months £370,000 had been raised enabling us to build a specially designed Therapy Centre. The local council found us a suitable piece of land and agreed to lease it to us at a peppercorn rent. Building started in February 1996, and with the help of many local firms who provided materials and equipment, we moved into our new centre in the August. To date we have raised in excess of £900,000 for our new building.

We also provide day care for local M.S.sufferers who have particularproblems, employing a full time carer so they can benefit from the therapies available and avoid social exclusion. Services such as loan of equipment, advice and information on benefits, sale of disabled equipment, a resource centre which gives details on holidays, respite care, aids and research are also available.

Beds and Northants MST

Success spurred us on to continue to build and further funds were raised to build a hydrotherapy pool especially designed for M.S. Further extensions have been necessary to provide more therapy and then at a later dated we doubled the size of the physiotherapy room to allow for extra pieces of equipment and provide private physio assessment. We can now provide improved services including group physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.

Counselling can now be held in private, quiet and pleasant surroundings. We have been lucky enough to find an M.S. Specialist Nurse, who now works for us and is able to provide an excellent service assessing the needs of M.S. sufferers, offering practical help and provides a direct link with NHS services. We also employ a Neurological Rehabilitation Consultant one day per month to help with more complicated symptoms.

Beds and Northants MST

Our Fundraising

We do not charge for the core therapies, but request donations towards our running costs suggesting £5 weekly, or when you attend. We do not charge a membership fee.

As we receive no statutory funding we have to raise all the money to run the Centre, so we do ask for help with our fund raising activities and we hope that you will assist were possible. Alternatively if you can raise money on our behalf i.e. coffee mornings, sponsored events or have knowledge of others who raise money for charity we would love to hear from you. We now have over 1,000 members and approximately 350 attending each week. All therapies provided are free to MS sufferers, as many are unable to work and receive benefits so would not be able to afford these vital therapies. We do ask for a donations from those who feel they can afford or encourage them to assist with fund raising to help towards the cost of running the Centre. Apart from the Manager and Professional Therapists, volunteers carry out all other work and many of these have M.S. themselves.

We get tremendous support locally from the Door-to-Door service and Link-a-ride, but some people living further a field found it impossible to get to the Centre. So, with the generosity of Trusts and local organisations we have now been able to purchase a specially adapted mini-bus and employ a driver to provide this much needed transport

Typical fundraising activities are:

Sponsored events - Swimming, ramble, parachute jump, National Snowdon challenge

Collections and flag days - at local town centres, garden centres and supermarkets

Bazaars held at the Therapy Centre in the Summer and ChristmasAntique fairs and Table Top Sales - held at the Centre

Raffles of Easter Eggs and Hampers -during year both internal and external

Charity Ball - held in October each year

We provide a small shop which sells small gifts, cards and disabled aids.

Make a donation:

If you would like to make a donation this can be made through the Just Giving website
To contact us, please phone

01234 325781

or email

Our Registered Charity Number is 802510

Thank you!

Beds and Northants MST