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Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre £25,000
Logo Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

The MS Therapy Centre has been operating for 34 years and provides a variety of therapies and services for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Our aim is keep our members as mob...

The MS Therapy Centre has been operating for 34 years and provides a variety of therapies and services for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Our aim is keep our members as mobile and as independent as possible within the confines of their condition. Our Vision is for a centre of excellence providing professional specialist therapies and support for people with MS in a self-help environment that inspires and empowers.

There are approximately 3,336 people in Beds and Northants living with MS, of which 795 are registered at with the Centre and 375 attend on a weekly basis. We have two newly diagnosed clients each week. The services we offer help people to self-manage their condition, and include; MS Specialist Nurse, Physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Adapted Gym, Counsellor, Dietician, Orthotics, Bowen Therapy, APS, Reflexology, Shiatsu, and more! Our specially adapted Minibus collects people from their homes who would not otherwise be able to get to the Centre. For some their weekly visit to the Centre is their only link with the outside world.

We do not receive any regular government funding and rely upon the goodwill of the local community and fundraising events.

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity £4,000
Logo Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity

BRCC employs a team of part-time Village and Community Agents across rural parts of Bedfordshire, who act as a bridge between vulnerable and isolated people and the local support networks and services that can...

BRCC employs a team of part-time Village and Community Agents across rural parts of Bedfordshire, who act as a bridge between vulnerable and isolated people and the local support networks and services that can help them. Having started in Bedford Borough and expanded to cover all of the Borough’s rural areas, we have also moved into Central Bedfordshire, with Agents in place in Potton and Biggleswade. The Agents assist in early intervention and prevention, helping people to continue living independently at home with a higher quality of life, and reducing pressure on increasingly stretched statutory services. Agents act as facilitators building local support networks, providing information, advice and guidance and promoting access to services. Agents’ particular strength is the ability to work with people who have not yet asked for help. Awareness of services among more isolated rural people can be low, and statutory and voluntary organisations can struggle to reach many of the clients in need of their services. Also, with a tradition of self-reliance and often living among affluent neighbours, rural people may be unwilling to admit they are struggling. By establishing themselves within the rural communities they serve, Agents can reach people who might otherwise fall ‘under the radar’.

Agents build relationships of trust with their clients, increase their awareness of the services, and help them to navigate the sometimes confusing array of different agencies. They provide time for people and respond to a wide range of issues, sometimes providing advocacy services to enable clients to access services or benefits where they have previously been turned down or where the client gave up through finding the process too complicated. Our team of Agents is currently working directly with nearly 1,000 clients every year. Over half of these are over 75 years old, and nearly half have some form of disability. The issues with which they assist clients are very wide-ranging and include enabling them to claim benefits to which they are entitled; increasing access to health and care services; finding transport solutions; decreasing social isolation; and helping them to continue to live independently at home by accessing low level practical support, home safety and security measures.

Elisabeth Curtis Centre, Riding for the Disabled £15,000
Logo Elisabeth Curtis Centre, Riding for the Disabled

Elisabeth Curtis Centre, Riding for the Disabled

The Elisabeth Curtis Centre provides mental and physical therapy for disabled people of all ages through horse riding. It provides physical exercise while improving balance and coo...

The Elisabeth Curtis Centre provides mental and physical therapy for disabled people of all ages through horse riding. It provides physical exercise while improving balance and coordination. Core muscles are strengthened to improve head and trunk control. It also helps to develop concentration, confidence and self-esteem.

Children and young people benefit from interaction with the horses and volunteers, as the riders are expected to show respect for the horse and acknowledge the help they are getting from our volunteers. These are important social skills.

Mostly what the riders feel is that they are having fun! They soon come to love their big, furry, new best friends. It is also very gratifying for our volunteers to see the progress the riders make and to share their enjoyment.

Midshires Search and Rescue Organisation £6,000
Logo Midshires Search and Rescue Organisation

Midshires Search and Rescue Organisation

Established in 1999, Midshires is a Lowland Search and Rescue Organisation called out by the Police and County Emergency Planning Officers to search for missing and vulnerable peop...

Established in 1999, Midshires is a Lowland Search and Rescue Organisation called out by the Police and County Emergency Planning Officers to search for missing and vulnerable people and to assist in civil emergency situations.

Midshires specialist expertise often requires our members to operate in terrain the police find difficult, such as woodland, quarries, watercourses, nature reserves and farmland. The nature of our work means we often deal with missing persons with mental health issues, including those of suicide risk, dementia and, medical problems.

Typically, our members devote over 4,500 hours per annum to attend incidents, or to undertake the training that underpins the service offered. The team can be mobilised and available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Midshires depends solely on grants, sponsorship and donations from the public to fund running costs, training, and the purchase of specialist search and rescue equipment.

Midshires is a member of Bedford and Luton Emergency Volunteer Executive Committee (BLEVEC), a voluntary group within the Local Resilience Forum (BLLRF) who coordinate the emergency services, local authorities, National Health Service and other agencies required to respond in Bedfordshire to a major emergency situation. In the case of a flood situation, Midshires would work with the emergency services and thus was recently involved in multi-agency exercises to test Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP).

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