About Us

Whilst we can’t cure MS, we do work our hardest to provide ways to help our service users and to limit the impact the condition has on their lives.

As the name suggests, our complementary therapies complement the use of conventional medicine to help relieve stress and help improve the wellbeing of our service users.


We offer exercises, complementary therapies and classes at our main centre of operations - Benmar House - six days per week.

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We also offer our services at our Outreach provisions across the North East, benefiting even more people with MS

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We offer grants for financial assistance to people affected by MS for aids and adaptions throughout the UK

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Want to get involved in helping raise funds for MSRRF? We have plenty of events coming up for you to take part in

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The Multiple Sclerosis Research Fund - as the charity was first known - was founded in 1964 in Cheshire with the initial goal of raising money to fund research into MS.

Operations were moved to the North East in the 1980's and MS Research and Relief Fund arrived at its current home of Benmar House, Morpeth, in 2002 - offering complementary therapies and classes, Outreach provisions right across the North East and Grants for financial assistance available to people affected by MS throughout the UK.

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Multiple Sclerosis is a condition which affects the Central Nervous System. With MS, the body's immune system attacks nerves around the brain and spinal cord by mistake, causing damage to the myelin in the nerves and making it difficult for messages in the nerve fibres to get through.

MS is most commonly diagnosed in people between 20 - 40 years of age. There is no cure for the condition and no known cause either. MS can be managed through disease modifying drugs and therapies.

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MS Research and Relief Fund offers grants for financial assistance to individuals affected by MS and to groups representing people affected by MS towards the cost of aids and adaptions, equipment and respite. These grants are available to people throughout the United Kingdom and in recent years have been awarded to people from Penzance to John O'Groats and many places in between.

For further details on the nature of the financial assistance we offer, visit our grants page or click below to open an overview.

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The complementary therapies we provide, both with our outreach provisions and at Benmar House, work alongside conventional medical treatment. Whilst they are not a cure for MS, they may help alleviate the effects of some MS symptoms and generally help improve your wellbeing. From sports massage to Reiki to Reflexology, treatments are always free and are available at Benmar House five days a week.


In accordance with regulations set out by NICE, gentle exercise can relieve fatigue and improve mobility. Our instructors will help you find an exercise regime to suit you, including the use of toning beds and chairs, Motomed bikes and Vibrogyms (originally used by cosmonauts, no less!). We also offer a range of exercise classes from seated exercise and Pilates to Yoga and Tai Chi.


MS Research and Relief Fund provides outreach provisions across the North East. This includes various services, including exercise classes and therapies, as well as much needed support when you need it most.

The services offered vary between each Outreach provision – check out our Outreach page to see what’s on in your area


MSRRF can provide advice and information to individuals with MS or their carers through our website and by telephone. Most people with MS have many questions about the condition, what treatments are available and where services can be accessed.

Our team - including a specialist MS Nurse who visits monthly - can provide information and support on these topics and many others. We also conduct MS Awareness Training to increase knowledge about the disease and its complex symptoms.


The charity is always looking for opportunities to fund research into MS and its treatments. In the past, we’ve researched pain management, bladder function and nutrition and are currently research the effects of regular gentle exercise on the physical symptoms of MS. We always pass the results of our research onto you.

MSRRF has also worked closely on Conductive Education (CE), a rehabilitation system for people with MS that combines education, psychology and medical science.


Our plans for the future are simple – we want to help more people with MS. We’re always looking for opportunities to provide more Outreach services in more areas across the North East and we are currently working towards the development of a Physiotherapy and Aquatherapy Centre in Northumberland.

As well as providing a whole new range of therapy options, the leading MS specialists from Newcastle’s RVI also hope to conduct medical research into Aquatherapy and MS. Watch this space.

Meet the Team

Diane Charlton
Charity Manager

Amy Dunn
Assistant Manager

Deborah Davidson
Fitness & Therapy Team Leader

Tania Clark
Service Development

Gillian Blythe

Jon Appleton
Fundraising Officer

Sarah Stephenson
Volunteer Manager

John Reed

MSRRF is governed by its Board of Trustees. Members are appointed for a two year term and undertake the role of Trustee on a voluntary basis. Trustees are recruited from a range of professions and bring with them a blend of experience and expertise in their field, as well as an external perspective.

Trustees play a vital role in the success of MSRRF. They add real value to the Management Team, ensuring that the strategic aims, objectives and direction of the charity are established and met.

Our team of Trustees is made up of:

  • Paul Atkinson – Chairman
  • Margaret Sharp
  • Margery Tate
  • Kevin Carr
  • Barbara Ellis
  • Peter Dawson

The current fundraising team of Dan, Hayley and Jon was formed mid-way through 2017 and covers the full spectrum of fundraising streams. The team aims to grow current streams of income and to develop new events, fundraising campaigns and opportunities to draw in new supporters. As committed and professional fundraisers they work to raise the profile of the charity, increase our visibility – particularly in the areas local to our service provision – and lay the foundations for continued growth and success.

As a small but ambitious team, they work creatively with other staff, volunteers, service users, local community groups, businesses in the North East and media outlets to create and maximise opportunities in line with the charity’s core strategic aims. The team are also investing time and effort to grow digitally and project the brand of MSRRF nationally through the targeted use of social media and digital advertising. Caring, intuitive and fun, the team are always keen to hear from anyone interested in raising funds or awareness of the charity, so if you have any great ideas or would like to discuss one of our current activities, please do get in touch, they’d love to hear from you.

MS Research and Relief Fund are fortunate to have a dedicated team of Fitness Instructors offering individuals with tailored packages, using specialist equipment at Benmar House to support people with MS and their carers.

We offer a number of exercise classes – including Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates – with very experienced instructors with a vast amount of knowledge of their respective discipline and of MS.

Our committed team of therapists work hard to provide Complementary Therapies for our service users. The therapies that they provide are used alongside conventional medical treatment to help Service Users feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically. Both People with MS and their main carer can benefit from these at MSRRF.

Due to the number of staff we work with and their wide range of skills, we are able to offer our Service Users a wide range of Complementary Therapies, including Reiki, Reflexology, Swedish Massage, Sports Massage, Indian Head Massage and Crystal Healing.

We’re always grateful for the support of our patrons, who come from many different fields, from medicine to athletics and sport.

  • Sir David Chapman Bt
  • Nicholas Owen
  • Marjorie Walker
  • John Price Jones
  • Neil Black
  • Dr Martin Duddy
  • Dr Joe Guadagno
  • Anne Wafula Strike MBE

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