In his mid 20s Ian Golightly was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, a cruel and debilitating neurological condition .
Ian, a regular at the Neuro DropIn centre in Lancaster and lifelong Magpies supporter, has gradually had to accept that supporting his favourite team, Newcastle United FC, at their homeground in the north east city, teaching maths to his studentsand enjoying swimming are all part of a life he has had to leave behind.
When his illness began to compromise his safety Ian made the painful decision to move into a care home 30 miles away from Lancaster – but he and the centre keep in touch.
“Neuro DropIn,” said Ian, “takes me away from the stress of not working.”
He benefits from socialising with his supportive friends who can meet him at the centre.
“It was good for Sharon to open the centre, it was just what I needed,” he said.
Ted, a young man with time on his hands, answered the centre’s call for a volunteer driver to collect Ian, bring him to the Neuro Dropin and return him when he has eaten enough cake and thrashed all opponents at Backgammon or Scrabble. Ted says: “Driving Ian gives me a purpose, makes me feel I am giving back. I feel privileged to do this in my spare time and the best bit about it was meeting Ian and his friends.”
Sharon Jackson, centre founder, stressed how much the charity depends on the kindness of others.
“Whether that be in-kind help from charity partners, Hotfoot Design and Quay Creative, who support us with marketing and promo videos, to the people who rock up with donations of auction or raffle prizes, to people who donate via our website or collection buckets, to volunteers like Ted who give of their valuable time,” she said.
“At the moment we are looking for volunteers and gathering support and prizes for our Autumn Ball auction and if you can help we would love to hear from you.”
‘What we do and where we do it...’ by Sharon Jackson, centre founder
If I had a pound for every time someone asked me how come we are based on Lancaster Farms prison estate, I wouldn’t have sleepless nights worrying about funds – and we would have all the money we need to make crucial practical changes to our centre!
A chance conversation back in 2011 about the former officers’ mess lying empty led me to cheekily ask if there were plans to use it and if not, could we? The initial response was yes we could and almost two years after that we got a yes and a licence from the Ministry of Justice. The rest is history.
Now, the Neuro, as it is fondly known, has a membership of 200, is open three days a week, four from September, and continues to offer regular access to support services like specialist Neuro Physio.
Access to physio is limited on the NHS but vital to anyone affected by a neuro condition.
Those who want to benefit from the therapy and actively boost their health and physical wellbeing, supported by our specialist Neuro Physiotherapist Sarah Jennings, can join in classes on Mondays at 10.30am and 11.30am.
Our members, who now contribute £5 towards the cost of each hourly session, tell us:
“I feel empowered… helping myself ..” ,
“It’s hard work but a good laugh too.”
“After the stroke my balance was poor, now I am not as wobbly, thank you.”
“It helps us as a couple.. I have made friends here.”
“This class makes me feel like I CAN do things again.”
If you need us at the DropIn, drop in. Have a chat and see what we can do to help . Or if you want to help us by making a donation or offering a practical support service just get in touch.
How to get in touch:
Address: The Neuro DropIn centre, Stone Row Head, Lancaster Farms Estate, Lancaster, LA1 3QZ
Telephone: 01524 840762
Website: www. neurodropin.org.uk