Cost of living payments – further information released

Eight million people receiving benefits and on low incomes will receive their £900 cost-of-living payments in three instalments, the government has said.

The first payment of £301 will be made in the spring, with a second of £300 in the autumn and a final £299 instalment in the spring of 2024.

Exact dates are yet to be finalised, but ministers said the money would help households with high energy bills.

A £400 discount for all energy billpayers looks set to end by April.

Charities have called on the government to do more to protect vulnerable households from soaring costs, claiming that support had not improved for those already struggling.

The government also confirmed that a £150 cost-of-living payment would automatically go to those with disabilities during the summer, and a further £300 payment would be paid to pensioners during the winter of 2023-24.

Read full details on the BBC website

Advice for vulnerable customers regarding planned power cuts

While a planned power cut event is unlikely this winter, we would like to make you aware of the Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) advice for vulnerable customers.

Is anyone protected from emergency power cuts?

Some sites are protected from emergency planned power cuts such as major hospitals and air traffic control.

Residential customers, including those on the Priority Services Register, would be part of a planned power cut rota.

What to do if you believe you are a vulnerable customer 

If you depend on medical equipment that requires power, and don’t already have a power cut plan, you should speak to your healthcare provider now.

You can also check your eligibility and apply to join the local network operators’ Priority Services Register, a free service that makes sure extra help is available to people in vulnerable situations. To find out who your local network operator is and how to contact them, simply enter your postcode on

Power cuts can happen all-year-round so it’s important that you are prepared, make a plan and know what to do.

For more information, please visit the Energy Networks Association website 

Introduction to Creative Writing – MS Society Webinar: 17 January 2023

There are lots of reasons people enjoy creative writing; it can give you a safe space to express yourself and there is evidence that it can help people both physically and emotionally, by reducing stress and anxiety. Why not come along and see for yourself just what is involved in creative writing, try something new, you never know it may be your new thing for 2023! No experience is necessary. The session will be lead by novelist Carolyn Lewis.

Date: Tuesday 17 January 2023

Time: 6.30pm to 8pm

This session is organised by the national MS charity, the MS Society. You can find out more about them by visiting their website at

Book now by clicking here

Christmas Lunch

23 attended the Christmas Lunch on Wednesday (14th), and thoroughly enjoyed a lovely meal at the Applecart (Premier Inn) on Milton Interchange.  

Opening Hours for Christmas

Opening Hours for Christmas are as follows:

Open as usual until Friday 23rd.  

26th , 27th closed

Wednesday 28th open for massage 9-5

Thursday 29th open for osteopathy 9-12 and Oxygen at 10am

Friday 30th open for massage 9-5 and Oxygen at 10am.

Open as usual from Monday 2nd January

Sue will be on annual leave during this time and there will not be anyone covering reception.  DO NOT CANCEL APPOINTMENTS BY EMAIL, LEAVE A MESSAGE ON THE ANSWERPHONE.

Wishing all our members a great christmas and a happy new year.

MS Community Survey

A survey is currently being conducted by three professors including Gavin Giovanni
at Plymouth University.
We would be really grateful if you would complete this 3-minute survey gathering
opinions of the MS community.
The survey relates to opportunities for MS development.
The purpose of this survey, which is being distributed widely, is to establish whether
there is consensus within the community on a range of topics across the MS
To access the survey please use this link:

MS-UK Online

Level one (11-11:30am) will focus on exercises in seated, for those with trunk
(core) weakness and limited upper limb movement
Level two (11:45am – 12:15pm) for those who can transfer independently but
may require assistance or the use of a walking aid
Level three (12:30 – 1pm) for those who mobilise independently with minimal
Level one (11:15am – 12pm) exercises from a seated position
Level two (12:15pm – 1pm) exercises from both a seated and standing position,
using the chair for stability
Level one (11:30am – 12pm) – Seated
Level two – (12:15pm – 12.45pm) – Supported standing
MS-UK Online offers a range of activities for people affected by MS to be more
active and stay connected. We provide weekly exercise, chair yoga and Pilates
classes, with different levels offering a variety of accessibility. In addition, we host
monthly information sessions and workshops, regular courses on mindfulness and
poetry, plus our peer support service.
Each activity has a suggested donation amount of £5, but people can attend
from as little of £1. Our peer support service is free to attend.
Exercise classes (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Chair yoga (Wednesdays)
Plates (Fridays)
Each month we host information sessions and workshops on MS topics such as
fatigue management, spasticity, neuroplasticity, cognition, working rights and MS
and pregnancy. To see what these sessions offer, please find the links to the
recordings of our neuroplasticity information session by Dr Gretchen Hawley here
and our workshop on cognition presented by Dr Dawn Landon here.

Our courses include the four and eight-week mindfulness courses ( and our eight-week poetry writing course (
The peer support service includes our peer pods, which are informal and a safe
space for people with MS to come together to share experiences and simply chat.
Please visit our page to see the list of the pods we host here and be sure to watch
the video from Amanda, who describes what the pods are all about.
If you would like to get involved or like to know more about our online activities,
please contact or call 01206 226500. Please visit our Eventbrite
page where our latest activities are listed and you can follow-us to get alerts when
new sessions are added.

Bladder and bowel – Management strategies and exercise – MS-UK online webinar, Mon 19 Dec

This final information session of 2022 with Dr Gretchen Hawley will focus on bladder and bowel and the physiotherapy approaches that can be used in the management of issues associated, including exercises for stretching and strengthening the pelvic floor.

The session will be discussing the terms of incontinence, urgency, frequency and retention and how these are all related to the issues of bladder and bowel problems.

Along with discussing the physiotherapy interventions she will also discuss the ‘non-physiotherapy’ management guidelines to provide a holistic overview to the other options available.

Date: Monday 19 December

Time: 2pm to 3pm

Click here to book your space

This session is organised by national MS charity, MS-UK. You can find out more about them by visiting their website at

How to cope with Christmas stress and MS

Christmas is often pictured as a time of joy and happiness. But it also brings a lot of stress and is usually very busy. When you have MS, it can affect your daily life and symptoms.

Helena, from the MS Trust Information and Engagement team, explores some ideas on how to reduce Christmas stress.

Read the MS Trust article here

The MS Society have also featured various blogs about managing Christmas alongside MS

Read the MS Society blogs here

If you have any further suggestions please let us know and we will share them.