Multiple sclerosis charity secures funding boost for exercise classes

An Aberdeen-based charity catering for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis has secured a £3,000 funding boost. Thanks to Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation, the charity can continue to run its exercise classes in Stonehaven, which have proven to be highly beneficial for individuals with multiple sclerosis. The funding from the global asset manager will cover 50% of the costs involved in running these exercise sessions.

MS Society, a UK-wide charity with a branch in Aberdeen, was founded in 1953 with the aim to find a cure for multiple sclerosis – a life-long condition which can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, often resulting in impaired vision, difficulty in arm and leg movement and balance.

According to NHS reports, 127,000 people in the UK are estimated to suffer from multiple sclerosis. Although the condition can develop at any point in time, it is more commonly diagnosed in people who are in their 20s or 30s.

To this day, there is no cure for the illness. People suffering from multiple sclerosis require regular treatment to manage the life-limiting condition. As the search for a cure continues, local groups working under MS Society is supporting people with the condition, their family members and carers. The charity also assists its members with re-integrating with the community to eliminate the possibility of social exclusion.

Ian Gourlay, projects and fundraising volunteer at MS Society Aberdeen, said: “The Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation donation couldn’t have come at a better time. Here at the Aberdeen local group, we recently introduced free exercise classes in the city centre and Westhill. Thanks to the donation, we’ve also been able to open classes in Stonehaven. Service users have indicated enhanced mobility and balance following our sessions.

“The classes include seated weights-based exercise and yoga run by NHS registered physiotherapists. We also organise regular arts and crafts classes and various social activities where members are encouraged to get together and meet new people, as well as to learn more about how they can manage their condition.

“We currently have 130 members registered with our Aberdeen group but the number of people with multiple sclerosis in the UK is on the rise, as people with the condition are living longer lives thanks to more advanced treatment. However, this has important implications for resource allocation for multiple sclerosis by the NHS. We hope with our contribution in keeping our members active, there will be less reliance on the NHS.”

Claire Drummond head of charitable giving for Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “Living with a life-long condition is not easy. It restricts an individual’s freedom to do the very basic things in life. The charity’s twofold project is admirable; not only is MS Society investing in high-end research to find a cure, but it’s also caring for people with the condition. We’re pleased to support the local group in Aberdeenshire where members can keep themselves active and build their strength within a network of professionals who can provide them with optimum care.”

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact. It encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. For more information click here.

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