Reprieve for East Lothian MS respite care centre

Scotland’s only respite centre for those affected by multiple sclerosis has been given a reprieve at the 11th hour.

The centre in East Lothian, due to close next week after a high-profile campaign to keep it open, is to be funded for at least another six months.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society in London has pledged the funding.

Efforts over the last few months to secure independent funding have come together in the last few days.

The centre’s manager has received an offer of backing from several organisations.

It is proposed to offer more beds at the centre and open it up to people with other long-term conditions.

News of the development has been broken to staff and guests who were due to leave on Friday following the decision earlier this year by the MS Society’s London headquarters to withdraw funding.

Campaign victory

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “This is a really encouraging and welcome development.

“Leuchie House is much loved by the people who visit it and we have always been committed to finding an alternative provider to help keep it open.

“It is still early days, but we have had a positive response from the property’s owners to this new bid and look forward to working with all concerned to help secure the future of Leuchie House for people with MS.”

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has welcomed the last minute reprieve.

He said: “Although this is a temporary reprieve, it does at least give Leuchie House a chance, and at the very least another six months when people can benefit from the care Leuchie provides.

“Above all, this is a victory for those who have campaigned tirelessly for Leuchie since the day its closure was announced, and for the staff whose loyalty and service is the greatest strength of Leuchie House.”