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About Us

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Who We Are

The Chilterns MS Centre is a local charity based in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, which has been supporting people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than 35 years. By providing the treatment, knowledge and a community of health professionals and peers, we empower people living with MS to thrive.

We currently work with more than 500 members, offering them a chance to recharge, rehabilitate and reconnect with their lives and the world beyond their MS.

The services we offer go above and beyond those the NHS can provide for people with MS. Our modern, purpose-built Centre offers many different therapies, workshops and treatments to make sure that people we support can live rich, independent lives.

Our members each pay £25 per year to support our running costs and they receive our services for free, but there’s still a huge amount to fundraise. We rely on the generous donations of our local community, to help our members to live life to the full.

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    OUR HISTORY

    Chilterns MS Centre Timeline

    2022

    2022

    The Centre launched a pilot programme with a view to opening up its treatments and services to people with neurological conditions other than multiple sclerosis. The pilot begun with Parking’s Disease.

    2021

    2021

    The hydrotherapy pool reopened in May after a 9-month complete refurbishment programme. We are all looking forward to fully re-opening and resuming the wide range of therapy and support for people with MS.  Some of the things that we adopted during the pandemic will be continued, including online appointments and…

    2020

    2020

    The Centre had grown to support 563 members with MS and 51 carer members. The world changed with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Many of our members had to shield due to their health and for the first time ever the Centre closed its doors.  The team rallied round and embraced all…

    2019

    2019

    We won the “Centres’ Centre” award from the Multiple Sclerosis National Therapy Centres (MSNTC).  The Nutrition Team won the QuDos in MS Award for ‘Team of the Year’.

    2016

    2016

    Oakwood Wellbeing Limited (OWL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chilterns MS Centre, was set up to generate income for the Centre, mainly through facilities hire and specialist treatments. It continues to operate on a commercial basis and all profits are gifted free of tax to the Centre.

    2015

    2015

    The charity’s celebrated its 30th anniversary.  It was an opportunity to reflect on humble beginnings, celebrate achievements and look forward to meeting the needs of the growing MS community. Our flagship awareness and fundraising event was born.  Walk the MS Mile saw Chair of Trustees Linda Oatley and Centre member…

    2014

    2014

    The charity’s first hydrotherapy pool welcomed its first MS users. The Centre provided physio, oxygen, hydro, occupational and complementary therapies (including reflexology, acupuncture, reiki, yoga and Pilates), massage, orthotics, speech therapy, mindfulness, podiatry, an MS information service and a Carers’ Support Group.  There were also a number of clinics: lymphoedema,…

    2013

    2013

    The new double oxygen chamber was commissioned meaning more people could benefit from the treatment each week.  The Countess of Wessex came to visit the Centre and presented awards to three long-serving volunteers.

    2012

    2012

    After raising £1.7million, the charity moved into the purpose-built 1,300m2 building on the Princess Mary Gate Estate, Wendover.

    2011

    2011

    The Centre was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services – the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.

    2009

    2009

    Membership of the Centre increased to 400. People with MS benefit from physiotherapy, oxygen and occupational therapies, manual lymphatic drainage, reflexology, wheelchair training and nutritional advice, Pilates, gait analysis, acupuncture, podiatry, orthotics, benefits advice, a carers’ group and access to an MS specialist nurse. Student placements were offered to trainee…

    2005

    2005

    The Centre is extended thanks to a generous donation from Rob Rumbelow.

    2003

    2003

    The Ministry of Defence decided to sell the land on which the Centre is sited. Negotiations began for a purpose-built facility. The Centre was given reassurance that whoever bought the land would be obliged to replace the Centre, like for like.

    1995

    1995

    The number of appointments offered grew to 8,967 in the year.

    1993

    1993

    The Centre is extended to provide more treatment space and is renamed the Chilterns MS Centre.  Physiotherapy increased to four days per week.   Oxygen treatment became available to other conditions including children with cerebral palsy, people with oral cancers and ME.  New treatments included reflexology, manual lymphatic drainage, gait analysis,…

    1990

    1990

    The lease at the Paddocks Hospital came to an end.  With the help of Group Captain Walter Gray, a new site is found in the grounds of the Princess Mary Hospital at RAF Halton for a peppercorn rent of £1000 per year.  The building and oxygen chamber are relocated. Personnel…

    1988

    1988

    The Centre had more than 60 users and provided 3,675 oxygen therapy or physiotherapy appointments per year at a cost of £25,000.

    1985

    1985

    £25,000 had been raised.  The Paddocks Hospital in Princes Risborough kindly agreed that a prefabricated building to house the chamber could be located in the car park.

    1983

    1983

    Leslie realised there was nothing for people with MS near to him and so he held a meeting with a view to opening an MS Centre locally. Thirty people attended, including people who remained Centre members for many years. They all agree that an oxygen chamber would be a great…

    1973

    1973

    Leslie Gardener was diagnosed with MS when he was 50 years old. He heard about oxygen therapy from friend John Ammonds, who was a member of ARMS (Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis).  He started attending MS Centres at Ipswich, Letchworth and Reading.