Unique Lancaster charity still looking for new home as it celebrates 10 years of helping others

A vital Lancaster charity is marking 10 years - while still searching for a new home to call its own

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 11th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Some of the Neuro Drop In's members get ready to celebrate 10 years of the charity.
Some of the Neuro Drop In's members get ready to celebrate 10 years of the charity.

Neuro Drop In has been looking for a new permanent home since last summer, when it had to leave its base at HMP Lancaster Farms.

And while they have temporary office space at White Cross, it's not ideal and they are still looking for a place where members can meet up.

Neuro Drop In provides unique support for anyone affected by a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, epilepsy, dementia, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease, ME, MG, MSA and acquired brain injury.

Sharon Jackson outside the former Neuro Drop In home at HMP Lancaster Farms.

The charity relies heavily on the generosity and support of the local people, businesses and community groups who give their time and money to help run the centre.

It receives no statutory funding and needs to raise more than £140,000 a year to cover the costs of activities, which include many classes and groups such as crafts, singing for wellbeing, mindfulness, yoga, seated exercise classes, physio, mindfulness and book groups.

But despite having no home, volunteers have been making sure they continue to support their members throughout the pandemic.

Founder Sharon Jackson said: "If we could have somewhere with our own front door, accessible and with parking that would be perfect but we are willing to compromise and would love to talk about collaborating if someone wanted to share a compatible space.

"We are very proud that despite being made homeless last August we have managed to temporarily set up our operations team in White Cross and with the help of our dedicated staff and volunteers have supported families throughout the district during the pandemic.

"Our volunteer team let us know early in the pandemic that they wanted to help us support vulnerable people affected by neurological conditions living in our area who would as a result of Covid-19 impact be shielding in many case, isolated and feeling lonely.

"They did this by organising and managing online choir, chat café, mindfulness and writing group sessions, made time to support the extremely vulnerable with one to one phone contact, shopped for groceries and collected prescriptions and helped ensure that no one was left unsupported.

"Without our amazing volunteers Neuro Drop In would have struggled to reach the families who needed our support and needed to know we were here for them.

"Our members tell us that without Neuro Drop In volunteers, they would have felt more isolated, lonely and anxious. They told us that seeing a friendly face from a distance who was delivering wellbeing packages which included many things such as morning coffee break pack, wellbeing and mindfulness in a bag, or afternoon tea ‘made their day’ and others told us that regular telephone contact helped them feel less lonely and isolated and assisted them overcoming anxiety.

"Neuro Drop In has always prides itself on person to person contact and initially Covid-19 looked set to stop this but with imagination, creativity and commitment we not only continued but developed, learnt a lot and have seen our numbers increase by 37 per cent and since May 2020 have despatched over 2,000 wellbeing packs, made hundreds of calls to those isolating and welcomed over 140 people per month to online events and made avialable numerous bespoke exercise sessions online such as yoga and zumba.

"We are ready to resume face to face services just as soon as we get a base to work from.

If you think we can help you or if you would like to help the team, you can get in touch by calling 01524 840762, or by emailing [email protected]

If you would like to donate to Neuro Drop In's 10th birthday celebration new home fund you can do that here.