The MS Teesside growing together

November 2018, 21 people

A lively bunch from MS Teesside visited us this autumn, led by group coordinator Keith. The group was a mix of individuals and families, from the age of 5 years and upwards.

Keith explained that this was their 5th visit here. So – why here? “The location is great; the accessibility to the town, the range of activities and the pool is a big plus. The games room is great too in the evening for relaxing and chatting – great for bonding and peer support.”

Asking what the group’s aims were Keith responded: “People wanted to step outside their comfort zone a little bit, but while enjoying the camaraderie and peer support of others as a group. Some of the group may not have had, or will not get the opportunity to take part in the activities anywhere else so it’s all about opportunities for many of them.”

The group has had an action-packed week, taking part in ghyll scrambling, abseiling, horse-riding, archery, cycling, canoeing, high-ropes, rock and rope in the gym and bushcraft. “We were dropped off in Keswick too which gave us chance to have a look around the shops – we were picked up a few hours later.” Keith continued, “People really enjoyed the ghyll scrambling and the abseiling. The bushcraft, which I initially felt may be boring, was brilliant! We drove up in one of your minibuses to the top of the hill, we took some chairs up and boiled up some water in the Kelly Kettle and had a drink – and it worked! It was way beyond our expectations – it was a beautiful day with lovely views down towards Keswick and Derwentwater but it really worked!”

Keith explained how positive the week had been, with the two oldest members taking part in activities together. Two different family parents had brought their young daughters with them, and it was nice to see them care for their parents, and join in with the group activities. “One young girl has been coming with her Dad for a number of years now and it is lovely to see her want to do things with her Dad and get stuck in with stuff.” Keith added, “We have had a couple of new members who have come along this year and they would like to bring their partners next year.”

Keith commented about the ‘slickness of our operation’. “It’s the getting us out there, getting us set up for the activity and then getting us ‘amongst it’, as it were – that’s why we come here.”

Keith’s plans for 2019 are for him to organize more MS groups to visit the Centre together in one go; “This would give peer support to everyone in the different groups and would be fantastic. We are looking to get up to 60 people together here but it is work in progress at the moment!”

MS Teesside left as joyfully as they arrived, but we will hopefully see them ‘en masse’ sometime in 2019


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