Fears are growing that local people will suffer as RAMS Therapy Centre faces potential closer next year.
The Dunmurry based charity was set up in 1985 to treat people with Multiple Sclerosis and has since extended its facilities to sufferers of strokes, neurological conditions, cerebral palsy, arthritis, fibromyalgia, ME and even sports injuries, most recently motorcyclist Michael Pearson.
Centre Manager BJ Beck explained that, since the premesis in Dunmurry Industrial Estate was gutted by flooding in 2012, their funds have become so low they are struggling to keep providing subsidised treatment for their patients.
“We put about £65 towards each patient’s treatment on top of their donation,” he said.
“South of the border, they charge about 150 euros for the treatment and in America it’s around 200 dollars for an hour.
”It means that we need funds and if we don’t get those, I can see us closing in 2015. The losers won’t be us. It’s going to be the local people who we help. They won’t have a wee centre like us to go to.”
Mr. Beck is frustrated at a lack of help from council and Stormont representatives.
“We’ve spoken to councillors and had them down,” he explained. “We spoke to MLA Edwin Poots as well and we’re trying to get money. They keep looking into it and coming back saying they can’t do anything.
“The reason I believe that they should be able to come up with something to help us is because I’ve seen they’ve given out lots of money to other projects. If they can do that for community centres, surely they can help a small place in the Cutts that is helping local people.
“Through their contacts and knowledge, they know the whereabouts of funds for people in need.
“We’re looking them to give us enough money to keep us going for a couple of years and give us something to build on.”
The treatment surrounds Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, which Motorcyclist Pearson has used to recover from a horrific crash in May (see page 56).
“A lot of people don’t know about RAMS but it needs to be put on the map,” he said.
“How much the treatment speeds up recovery is unbelievable.”
“Their closure will affect a lot of people, not even people with sports injuries but people with multiple sclerosis and other injuries.
“It’s going to be really bad news for everybody. They really need to get funding to keep it open.”