When Bev, now 40, met her husband Martin Burt where they worked together, he had already been diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS aged 25. In 2000 Martin’s condition meant he became wheel-chair bound and for the young couple, who married in the same year, this became very isolating for them.
Now the couple who have two children, Kian, aged 13 and Bethany ,11, are regular faces at the Centre and Bev, as well as being Martin’s main carer, helps fundraise and run a monthly social session with another volunteer.
“Before the centre opened we never really went anywhere, only to Martin’s mum’s house. I think he felt embarrassed to go anywhere and as time went on our friendships dwindled. I was afraid to go out and leave Mart on his own.
We had worked together and I was a child-minder for 12 months, but when I needed to care for Mart, now aged 45, I gave that up. Being a full-time carer has meant I have been able to watch my children grow up, but it is really hard work both mentally and physically. It gets to me the most when Mart is poorly, because I can’t do anything for him.
We heard about the Centre at a fundraising event and started to come as soon as it opened in 2009 and now we come three times a week. Mart has oxygen therapy, physiotherapy, massage and goes to the podiatry clinic.
Before coming here shopping used to be my luxury as it was the only time that I went out, now I hate shopping. The Centre has made a real difference to our lives. We have made lots of new friends and it’s made a really big difference to Mart. He is much happier in himself and enjoys socialising.
With regard to his health and well-being, the oxygen therapy has helped with his fatigue and spasms. The physiotherapy helps with his movement, strength and keeping fit.
We socialise so much more now and have so many friends here at the Centre.