AN ESSENTIAL service which helps Worcestershire sufferers of a debilitating illness could close within weeks if volunteers are not found to keep it going.
And the future of the Worcestershire ME Support Group will be determined at the organisation’s AGM which is due to be held at the Malvern Cube between 2pm and 4pm next Friday (September 23).
The service, which has been running for more than 25 years, supports sufferers, their carers, friends and family and and helps raise greater public awareness of the ME and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which it is estimated affects about 250,000 people in the UK.
More than 200 people diagnosed or living with ME and CFS were in contact with the support group each year but now only 25 to 30 people are regularly in touch.
People with some knowledge of ME/CFS are needed to run the groups in each of the areas.
Someone is also needed to put together the newsletter every two months and a person is required for a ‘public affairs’ role to contact the press and other media organisations.
But the most immediate role which needs to be filled is the post of secretary, ahead of the AGM.
If there is not enough interest expressed by next Friday (September 23) or at the meeting, preparations will have to begin to close down the essential service.
ME and CFS causes sufferers to have persistent exhaustion which can have a major effect on their mobility.
The group’s valuable monthly sessions for sufferers are run on a monthly basis at several venues across the county, including Droitwich Methodist Church, Amphlett House, Worcester Road.
Ian Logan, chairman of Worcestershire ME Support Group, told the Standard:
“The possible closure of the group has been discussed in the past and committee members now feel this is imminent – that is, unless people come forward to take on positions of responsibility so the group can continue.
“The whole reason for the group’s being is to give our knowledge and experience to people who are new to or have the symptoms of ME.
“I was so frightened when I got diagnosed with ME but the best thing which happened to me was attending a support group meeting as it put me on the right track.
“We are a crucial service and people are pleased to speak to us as we provide them with a route to go down.
“Membership is at an all-time low and we can only continue if we have set roles. “
Ideally the group would want a person in each area of Worcestershire to run the groups locally so it can reach more people.
Anyone wishing to support the group can do so by calling Ian on 01886 888419, email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the AGM.