Partnership working brings to life new class for people affected by MS

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Pickaquoy Centre is now delivering a Neuro exercise class for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the first of its kind in Orkney.

In partnership with NHS Orkney, the MS Society Orkney Group and the local MS Therapy Centre, the Picky Centre has been working hard to get the class off the ground since the idea was originally discussed in 2016.

The class aims to provide the skills and support needed to help alleviate pain and lessen symptoms caused by MS through strength and balancing exercises alongside tailor made, personalised exercise programmes that individuals can practice at home.

James Linklater, Managing Director of The Pickaquoy Centre, said: “We are delighted to see the Neuro class up and running and we have already seen the positive impact the class has had on both physical fitness and ability levels for those that have attended.

“The creation of this class demonstrates a great example of partnership working. Drawing on the expertise of neuro-physiotherapist Sarah Smith at NHS Orkney and two local charities, our fitness instructor, Matthew Byers, has worked tirelessly to complete the training and see the class get off the ground. We are very proud of his achievement and lucky to have him on board.

“We are keen to continue working closely with NHS Orkney and the wider community. The Centre is a great facility to offer classes of this kind, and we are eager to expand not only the Neuro scheme, but explore additional areas that may help others with difficult conditions impacting on their day to day life.”

The Neuro class forms part of an exercise prescription programme prescribed to those affected with MS by the NHS Orkney neurological physiotherapy team.

Peter MacKellar, Physiotherapy Clinical Lead said: “Providing modified classes such as this amalgamates the skills of the health and leisure services to support people to lead active lifestyles and helps to demedicalise the exercise management of Neurological Long-term Conditions.

“It enables people of all abilities to access group exercise with all its benefits, rather than feeling that they have to work in isolation; challenges the perceived elitism of sports centre attendance and promotes the social acceptance of having a movement disorder.”

George Hannah, chairman of the MS Society Orkney Group, said: “It’s fantastic to see this class up and going. Everyone knows the importance of keeping active, and obviously with a condition such as MS, this is not easy.

“People also tend to forget the social side that such activities can provide. They are not aware of the isolation felt by many people affected by MS which is why it is so important to let folks know that this class is now available.

“There has been a lot of work in getting this class to where it is, and we want to thank everyone involved. Particularly the Orkney Hockey lassies who were instrumental in its inception - their tremendous fundraising efforts have fully funded the class to date. Thank you ladies, it is so greatly appreciated.”

Anyone interested in the class should contact Moira Flett, MS adviser on 01856 888032 or Sarah Smith, neuro physiotherapist on 01856 888231 or get in touch with their local GP.