Linlithgow woman praises Multiple Sclerosis charity

A woman from Linlithgow has praised a charity support service for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) during the pandemic.

By Kevin Quinn
Friday, 12th March 2021, 1:00 pm
Tracey Smith.

MS Society Scotland’s Wellbeing Hub is designed to enable people living with MS, their families and friends to access physical and emotional group activities.

Tracey Smith (59) is a former dental nurse who was diagnosed with MS in December 2008. She has been accessing MS Society Scotland’s Wellbeing Hub throughout the pandemic.

Tracey said: “I used to run a lot and take part in exercise classes prior to getting MS but I’m not as fit as I was and the Wellbeing Hub has helped, particularly with my balance.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

“That’s one of the things I can have an issue with, particularly on my right side and I get drop foot. I use a walker when I’m outdoors which can convert to a wheelchair.

“I haven’t been able to get out as I keep falling and breaking things so having the chance to join things online has been really valuable.

“Pre-lockdown I was doing Taoist tai chi but, with everything, that’s obviously been put on hold.

“The pandemic and lockdown has made me feel a bit trapped but the Wellbeing Hub has offered me a way to keep connected, active and fill my days.

“So far I’ve joined meditation, seated tai chi, Pilates and I’ve signed up for yoga.

“Meditation really surprised me. I thought I’d give it a go just to see and it was absolutely wonderful. The first session I just completely zoned out and since then I’ve been using some the techniques to deal with stress.

“Overall it has helped with my mobility and my symptoms but more than that it’s been great for my mental wellbeing. Getting a chance to speak to people and see others at sessions is brilliant. I’d encourage anyone to have a look at what’s on offer.”

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Scotland, said: “Tracey’s experiences highlight just how valuable the Wellbeing Hub has been for so many people.

“Access to sessions can make a very real difference to people’s physical and mental health and we’re pleased to be supporting people through what has been a very difficult period.”

The service also provides counselling and physiotherapy as well as a way to stay connected at a time when many people have been isolated.

MS Society Scotland’s Wellbeing Hub has received funding of £68,123 from the Scottish Government’s Neurological Framework Fund and classes, calls and consultations will continue to be available into the summer.

Morna added: “Continued backing from the Scottish Government’s Neurological Framework Funding has enabled us to reach more people as people continue to be affected by the pandemic and differing access to services.

“If you’d like to find out more about what’s on offer and how the Wellbeing Hub can support you, our team would love to hear from you.”

A suite of free online and telephone sessions are available for people living with MS to access including one-to-one counselling and activities like yoga, mindfulness and tai chi. The set of services aims to ensure people’s physical and mental health is maintained as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.

More than 15,000 people live with MS in Scotland – one of the highest rates in the world - and the range of services has already helped hundreds of people nationwide.

The hub aims to improve emotional wellbeing by reducing levels of anxiety, stress, isolation and loneliness as well as physical wellbeing with increased physical activity levels, improved strength, stamina, balance, mobility and reduced fatigue.

To find out more and to talk to someone about how to access the services that make up the ‘wellbeing hub’ email [email protected] or call 0131 335 4050.