£25k boost for Merlin Centre


A Cornish charity has received its largest single donation from a grant funder in 2020 with a £25k injection from the National Lottery Community Fund which will help towards its running costs.

The Merlin MS Centre, which is located between St Austell and Truro, appealed for financial support to resume its services following the first Covid-19 lockdown which forced the closure of the centre from March to July.

The Charity provides therapies and support for people living with long-term neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Parkinson’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at its centre and in the community.

During the lockdown the charity furloughed most of its staff but retained a small cohort to run a remote support service through telephone and online communications. However, almost all its income streams including those derived from its centre such as room hire, the onsite café and retail outlet, and from fundraising events in the community were halted due to the pandemic.

Sarah Snell, acting centre manager, said: “ We wanted to bring back our therapy staff to deliver therapies here at the centre, but we needed to find ways to raise the funds to do so. Due to the pandemic we are having to work very differently and invest in products to make us a Covid-safe environment, so we are really grateful for this donation and from other grant funders during this challenging time for society.

“We are also relieved that with the second national lockdown, the centre can remain open as it meets the Government criteria as an exempt facility ‘providing support and therapy ….for people living with long-term illnesses’.”