Morecambe charity's plea for community support to improve its services

A vital children's charity which has been based in the district for 20 years is appealing for help to improve its services, as honorary chairman Jane Dean explains

Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 4:48 pm
Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre at A Breath for Life in Morecambe. Pictured is unit manager Dave Holehouse with trustee and volunteer George Birkett.

Although A Breath for Life has been on the doorstep for 20 years, most will never have heard of our existence.

Those who seek us out have often been let down by services which were set up to help them. A sad fact.

From our early beginnings we have been there for children suffering from cerebral palsy and neurological disorders, including hyperactivity and autism – the numbers are into the hundreds. We never turn away a child in need.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre at A Breath for Life in Morecambe. Pictured is operator John Howarth.

To help support the treatment of children, in recent years we have opened our doors to adults for life giving oxygen treatment.

We have had stroke patients, varicose ulcers, fractures, arthritic and muscular conditions, the list is endless.

Without oxygen and with a weakened immune system, the body struggles to heal itself.

Oxygen is a primary healer and breathing oxygen under pressure allows the body to repair itself. It is a simple but efficient treatment.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre at A Breath for Life in Morecambe. Pictured is unit manager Dave Holehouse.

We may be on your doorstep, but not for the many families that arrive on our own doorstep. Over the years children have arrived from the USA, Malta, Spain, Sweden, well from anywhere in Europe. Those families would not keep coming back if breathing oxygen under pressure was not showing benefit.

I have been asked many times how we keep going when so many charities are closing their doors each week.

We are small; the same four dedicated trustees have been there since inception and all give their time and expertise completely voluntarily, no expense payments or loopholes of that sort.

We have had the same manager for 15 years and four wonderful part-time chamber operators.

Jane Dean, A Breath for Life.

That is how we keep going, together with the support of donations from patients, local community and occasionally from charitable trusts.

For the first time in 20 years, I am making a public appeal. Many times I hear the comment, ‘charity starts at home’, well home for us is Middleton, Morecambe.

We are not flashy, employing fundraisers, street chuggers or direct mail shots. Our funds are too precious for speculative ventures. What we need is public support from our own doorstep.

Many will have heard the Holistic Centre, located next door to our building, was sold in 2017. The new owners closed the cafe which had an immediate negative effect on our charity.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre at A Breath for Life in Morecambe

Our visitors have nowhere to sit in comfort, have a cup of tea or a bowl of soup. Our visitors sit in the car park until there is room for them inside. Despite our best efforts, it is hardly welcoming for those travelling many miles.

After hours of debate, the trustees decided to purchase the Holistic Centre, demolish the old cabins and build an extension. This is a huge project for one small charity.

We are in the process of purchasing the land which will take the majority of our carefully policed funds. There will be nothing left for the extension.

We are appealing to our community for help in raising funds. We cannot do it alone. We have not the manpower nor do not have youth on our side to spend raising money.

Our accounts can be downloaded from the charity commission web site, we have nothing to hide.

However, I do question those who regularly donate to the many large charities whose funds are spent on a wide number of employers from a chief executive downwards.

The former Holistic Centre in Middleton.

In 2017 Cancer Research UK received £186 million and RSPCA £78 million from legacy funding alone; much more than this arrives from regular donors.

Last year many of the larger charities were exposed for unfair practice and harassment when it came to donated income.

It started with Kids Company, but many large charities including Oxfam, the British Red cross and even the National Trust were exposed for questionable practice.

A Breath for Life will open our doors to scrutiny any time to any one.

Please help us to raise one hundred thousand pounds to build an extension and create a reception/play room, a refreshment area and clinical room.

We can only do this with local help.

What happens at the centre?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment is a way of breathing oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure.

A hyperbaric chamber is needed to allow the pressure around the body to be increased.

By measuring the concentration in the blood plasma and lymph, more oxygen can be delivered 
to the damaged tissues to establish normal oxygen values and allow recovery to take place.

This is a simple, non-invasive and painless treatment which most patients find pleasurable and relaxing.

You will be treated in a comfortable purpose-built chamber.

Once settled in the chamber, oxygen is delivered by either an individual face mask for adults or a clear perspex hood for babies/children.

At the dosage used in this treatment there are no side effects from the oxygen.

However, the change in pressure may cause some ear or sinus discomfort.

HBOT has been used in the NHS for more than 50 years and since 1982 it has also been used in the community.

Conditions that can be treated include cerebral palsy, head injury, autism, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s, varicose ulcers, fractures and radiation treatment, as well as many others.

*For more information about the charity’s work, or to donate to their fundraising appeal, click here