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MP backs West Dorset MS service
SO KIND: South West Dorset MS Society branch support officer Pam Skilton thanks CAB caseworker Dan Wallis for his work with the new home advisory service run by the two charities
A SERVICE offering valuable advice and support for people with Multiple Sclerosis has received the backing of West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin.
The South West Dorset branch of the MS Society has been working in partnership with the Dorchester and District Citizens Advices Bureau (CAB) to provide the free and confidential service for people with the neurological disorder and the service is set to continue this year.
Dedicated CAB caseworker Dan Wallis is available to visit clients in the Dorchester, Weymouth, Portland and Bridport areas to give them advice on issues such as claiming benefits, debt, employment and housing.
Since it began in January 2011 the service has helped clients with MS to access over £300,000 per year in extra benefits.
Branch chairman of the MS Society South West Dorset branch Graham Watts said: “This initiative is one of our success stories in our aim to improve the quality of life of all people affected by MS, including their carers and families.”
The service also works closely with the MS specialist service based at Poole Hospital’s neurological centre.
MS specialist nurse Caroline Ward said: “This service has helped my patients by relieving them of the stress and worry of filling in forms and understanding their entitlements.
“Many of them have told me of the difference it has made to their lives.”
The MS Society has now renewed the contract with the CAB so it will continue into 2013.
Caseworker Mr Wallis said: “This is great news and I’m looking forward to helping more people who are unfortunate enough to be affected by MS.
“One particular worry is that in 2013 the Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by a new benefit called the Personal Independence Payment.
“The new benefit has different rules and processes and I foresee that I’ll have plenty of work sorting out people’s concerns.”
After hearing the news, Mr Letwin said: “I am really delighted to hear the CAB renewed its contract to provide a caseworker for those who are affected by MS.
“I have been an enthusiastic supporter of this wonderful collaboration between the MS Society and the CAB since it started – and it is good to think that there are dozens and dozens of people in South West Dorset who have benefited.”
For more information about the service contact Mr Wallis on 01305 751514 or email admin@dorchester. cabnet.org.uk