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Axed Stone charity pledges to fight on

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

By Gail Atkinson

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A STONE charity forced to close its doors today is set to rise from the ashes with a new group.

Volunteers at MS-UK's Staffordshire branch only found out last week they would close.

Chairman Chris Green, from Loggerheads, said she felt as if she had been punched in the stomach when she found out.

The 62-year-old left her job as a primary school teacher to care for her husband Alan, who has the condition.

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She was left reeling by the charity's chief executive Amy Woolf's announcement.

"We were absolutely gutted when she broke the news," she said.

"There was just disbelief that it happened – it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

"We were told we had to be out of the centre in ten days. We requested a month's notice which was granted and in theory we have to be out of here by Friday."

But as part of the bid to remain operational, the group, which was asked to become part of MS-UK in 2008, has now formed STING – Staffordshire Therapeutic Independent Neurological Group.

The branch sources its own funding, including various grants from Staffordshire County Council totalling around £23,000.

But now because the group has lost its charitable status, it can no longer access those funds.

Sting secretary, Liz Gumbley from Stone, said the group was actively looking at ways to keep running.

She added: "We are trying to appeal to local businesses to help us in the short term and we are going out fund-raising.”.

Ms Woolf said the decision to close the Staffordshire Centre of MS-UK was taken as part of the charity's strategy  to provide services with a national focus. Anyone wishing to get involved with Sting is urged to email stings2014@gmail.com or call Chris Green on 07752 044 330.

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