A TREATMENT centre that gives hope to people with degenerative diseases has welcomed a cash boost of £500.

The HOPE MS centre in Neyland provides oxygen and physio therapies to people with multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease (MND), and those who have experienced a stroke.

Open four days a week, the centre helps around 30 people a day, but with annual running costs of around £100,000 a year it relies heavily on charitable donations.

On Friday (February 28), Trevor Byrant and John Watson, of Neyland Masonic Lodge, presented a cheque for £500 to HOPE chairman Ken Brombley.

The money will be used to build a new kitchen unit at the centre, providing more essential storage for equipment.

Also there to thank the Lodge for its donation were centre users Shirley and Bob Chappell.

Seventy-four-year-old Shirley was diagnosed with MS aged 29, and over the years the disease has made it difficult for her to do many household tasks, and often leaves her exhausted. She also had to give up driving in her 50s.

Mother-of-three Shirley has been receiving treatment at the centre since it opened in 1990, and she said the “boost” she gets from oxygen therapy makes a big difference to how she feels, physically and emotionally.

Shirley also praised the social activities offered at the centre, including painting sessions, which she still loves doing.

Mr Brombley said oxygen therapy – which works by patients spending an hour in a pressurised ‘diving tank’ – helps boost blood flow through the muscles, and increases energy levels. But, he added, the effects only last for around 24 hours, so regular sessions are needed to help keep people motivated and mobile.

“We can’t cure people but by having therapy we can hold it at the level it’s got to,” said Mr Brombley.

Local county councillor Simon Hancock seconded Mr Brombley’s sentiments, describing the centre as a “desperately important local resource”.