South Wales Freemasons donate £55,000 to Multiple Sclerosis Cymru

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People living with multiple sclerosis given specialist support thanks to grant from South Wales Freemasons.

A project which will support around 1,300 people living with and affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) in Wales has received a huge boost with a grant of £55,000 from South Wales Freemasons.

The My MS; My Rights, My Choices project, financed by the Big Lottery Fund, is starting this month and will champion the lives of people living with MS in Wales.

The grant from the Freemasons will fund a crucial part of the project, a series of self-management and advice workshops and courses for people with MS, which also have specific sessions for families and carers. These are aimed at providing awareness of rights and choices around health and social care, welfare benefits and employment support.

There are 4,900 people with MS in Wales, and more than 100,000 across the UK. The symptoms typically appear when people are in their 20s and 30s, when MS attacks the nervous system and can lead to pain, fatigue, sight loss, incontinence and various forms of disability.

South Wales Freemasons are providing the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) which receives funding from Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales.

The grant is being given in memory of Jessica Maynard, a long-serving member of staff at the MCF, who was a person with the condition.

MS Society Cymru Director Lynne Hughes said:

“We are very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant, which will enable us to make major improvements to the lives of Welsh people with MS, with specific sessions tailored for their families and carers.

These will help the more than half of people in Wales with MS who are unable to manage their condition. They are unable to advocate on their own behalf because of a lack of information, advice and support.”

Roger Richmond from South Wales Freemasons met several people with Multiple Sclerosis to learn more about how their lives are affected and can be assisted with support from grants such as these, said:

“We are very pleased to be able to help the MS Society which is doing fantastic work improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis across the country.”