‘Lifeline’ Leeds charity looking for a new base after blaze

Firefighters tackling the blaze in Rawdon last year.
Firefighters tackling the blaze in Rawdon last year.
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an OXYGEN therapy centre which is a “lifeline” for people with serious illnesses must move permanently after a devastating factory fire.

Managers at the West Yorkshire MS Therapy Centre in Leeds are desperately seeking new premises.

The charity was based on the site of Airedale International Air Conditioning in Rawdon, which was ravaged in a blaze in September.

Though the centre was not damaged, it must move out because of work to rebuild the factory.

The firm has agreed to pay the charity’s rent in a new base for two years – but premises have not yet been found.

It will have to close at the end of January until it can get up and running again elsewhere.

Manager Joanne Goodwin said: “Our users are all panicking. We have got people going through cancer treatment and they need to come in while they are having treatment.

“It’s a total lifeline for a lot of people and we don’t have the option to close permanently. We have to keep going one way or another.”

The centre’s hyperbaric oxygen chambers allow users to breathe pure oxygen under atmospheric pressure, which some MS sufferers find beneficial.

Hundreds of patients, as well as people with other conditions including stroke, cerebral palsy and autism, use them each year.

Following the fire Airedale staff were moved to a temporary base and plans are underway to demolish and rebuild their facility in Rawdon, which will take at least 18 months.

The therapy centre has to relocate because its building will have no water or electricity because of the construction, and it will not be safe for users to go onto the site.

As well as paying two years rent, Airedale has promised to contribute to the moving costs.

Ms Goodwin is appealing for help finding a new location for the centre, which needs to be on one level and preferably near the city centre.

Airedale HR Director Steve Joyce said: “Over the course of the 25 years that the centre has shared our site, Airedale has provided a great deal of financial assistance, most notably in the form of rent, power and other services, as well as a number of personal fundraising initiatives by Airedale employees. Since the fire, we have worked hard to secure the future for Airedale and to maintain our support for the centre. We welcome any input from the community that will help secure them a new home.”

* Anyone who can help with the search should contact 0113 250 4528, 07961 445559 or log on to mstherapy.org.uk/mstherapy

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