On line sessions 'breath of fresh air' for MS group

Picture of the MS logo

Lotto boost for MS group - Credit: Multiple Sclerosis Society

The South Devon group of the MS Society has secured £4,425 from the National Lottery’s COVID19 Fund to provide online exercise classes to people with multiple sclerosis.

The weekly sessions are run by local neuro physiotherapists and help people to stay active, while also enjoying social interaction with others. Classes are seated, so can be done using a wheelchair, mobility scooter or chair, and people with MS and their family and carers can take part.

The local MS Society group has provided face to face exercise classes for people with MS for 17 years, but needed to change approach this year to adhere to social distancing and lockdown. After a trial, the online classes are going to continue – the group hopes – until face to face classes are available once again.

Volunteer Kate Mitchell said: “We know that exercise is really important and in MS, it can help manage some symptoms. The instructors are very experienced at working with people with MS.

"We can really see the sessions are proving to be beneficial for those taking part – not only do they benefit from the exercise, there’s a feel good factor of meeting up with others and it helps to reduce isolation.” 

Richard Turner, 52, was diagnosed with MS when he was 27. He has been attending the exercises classes and says they’ve been a huge help.

He said: “I really missed the face to face classes when they had to stop due to COVID. I find physio helps manage my MS, but the group also provides a social opportunity and helps me feel less isolated. We have a joke and a laugh during the class – it’s not all work - and it’s really nice to see others with MS who understand the condition and what I’m going through. When they started again online it was like a breath of fresh air.”   

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Money received from the National Lottery has paid for the physiotherapists to run the classes, some equipment that is provided to participants and IT support.

The classes are on a Thursday and Friday morning and, while online, they’re free to attend. Spaces are limited and need to be booked in advance. If you’re interested call the neuro physio team on 01626 324510.