TIMES are hard for all charities, but supporters of NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) are a creative bunch and have dug deep to help raise funds for the Winsford organisation.

Staff at the centre have been amazed by the support they have received during lockdown which will help them to continue their work supporting people with muscular dystrophy, their families, and carers during this challenging period.

The centre’s two major events – Live in the Park at Arley Hall and The Spirit of Christmas at Chester Cathedral – would have brought in around £90,000 but have had to be postponed until next year.

“Obviously this is a huge blow for NMC,” said chief executive Matthew Lanham. “We also had many community activities planned, including summer stalls at various fetes which obviously can no longer happen.

“We are, however, being resourceful in how we can raise money during these uncertain times and have been in awe of the creativity and generosity of our amazing community.”

In April, a virtual Easter raffle, raised more than £500, while a lockdown quiz to celebrate the charity’s 30th birthday raised more than £1,000. A competition has also been launched to design a 30th birthday card for the charity, which has been met with an overwhelming response.

“We have some incredible supporters raising funds for us, some of them celebrating their lockdown birthdays with a fundraiser,” said Matthew.

“Charlie Bester, who accesses our physiotherapy services and is also a volunteer, usually celebrates his birthday with a trip to the races but instead raised a fantastic £800 by holding a virtual race night with friends.

“Our head of design and print, Dan Cundall, has been roping family members into raising funds for us. His cousin, Georgie Paling, was due to take on the Hackney half marathon and instead ran the 13.1 miles in her local area and raised over £600

“Fi Anderson, a physiotherapy client and long-term supporter is holding a Disney sing-along with friends and family intending to raise £300 for us. Our amazing craft club is also hard at work making face masks, which are being sold at £4.50 via NMC.”

While the centre is still open, the therapies team can’t currently offer hands-on physiotherapy and exercise treatment, but staff are available Monday to Friday to provide virtual health and treatment advice.

“Exercise is a vital part of treatment at NMC, and our therapies team has been live-streaming weekly exercise tutorials, as well as making available stretches and exercises on our YouTube channel,” explained Matthew.

“There is also a therapies blog for information and advice. We have a dedicated Facebook group for our community and have held lots of events over Zoom including VE Day afternoon tea celebrations, regular coffee and crossword meet-ups and art appreciation sessions for the more creative among us.”

The charity is running an urgent support phone line for anyone needing more critical care, with a fleet of minibuses running seven days a week. It also has a core team of staff in place on weekdays to provide support and advice, or simply a listening ear for anyone who might be feeling lonely or isolated during the pandemic. 

“We are hugely grateful for anyone that can support us at this time, though recognise it is a period of financial uncertainty for many people,” said Matthew.

“If you are interested in finding out more about NMC and the work we do, please visit nmcentre.com for more information or call 01606 860911.”

You can also follow @nmcentre on Facebook and @NMCentre on Twitter.