There has been an outcry after the closure of a "desperately needed" centre for multiple sclerosis sufferers, leaving former attendees with nowhere to go.

The Marjorie Collins Centre in Grove Road, Chadwell Heath shut earlier this year, prompting tearful and angry responses from people who relied on its services.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition which affects the brain and spinal cord that more than 105,800 people in England have, according to Public Health England.

Gavin Atkins, executive director at the MS Society, the charity which ran the centre, said it was "really sorry" it had to shut due to a lack of funding.

Christine Hathorn, 58, who used its services for ten years, said she feels really anxious after the closure.

"I've been laying in bed and I can't be bothered to get up most of the time with nowhere to go," she said.

The 58-year-old, who was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago, only had good memories of the centre.

"I'm going to get tearful about it," she said. "In the summer we used to have barbecues in the garden, play bingo and have a laugh."

But since the centre shut, Christine said she feels weaker from not getting up enough due to a lack of exercise.

Romford Recorder: Christine Hathorn used the centre for 10 yearsChristine Hathorn used the centre for 10 years (Image: Christine Hathorn)

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The centre was formerly managed by Lorna Lawrence, who told this paper last September it was facing a challenging time but admitted it must stay open because people "desperately need[ed]" it.

But Mr Atkins confirmed the facility, relied upon by 30 people with MS, had to shut due to lack of funding.

“We very sadly had to make the difficult decision to close our Marjorie Collins Centre," he said.

"We’re really sorry this news will have been a disappointment to them [centre users]."

Caroline McCarthy, a former volunteer support worker with the MS Society and Gresham Drive, Chadwell Heath resident for 31 years, disagreed and claimed funding was available.

"They do have the funds, but they don't want to deal with the upkeep of a community centre like ours," Caroline, 65, claimed.

Romford Recorder: Caroline McCarthy said she quit the MS Society on February 13 in protest at the charity's decisionCaroline McCarthy said she quit the MS Society on February 13 in protest at the charity's decision (Image: Caroline McCarthy)

"I have no idea why they can't save the centre," Caroline, who has had MS for 38 years, added. "I felt so strongly about it and so upset I resigned."

Caroline quit last month in protest and bemoaned the impact on MS-sufferers such as herself.

Skeenah Qureshi, a Newbury Park resident who previously used the Marjorie Collins Centre for a year, said she has felt trapped since it shut.

"I've got nothing to do, I'm trapped, I feel more depressed now because I've got nothing to look forward to and I want to speak to people," Skeenah said.

Romford Recorder: Skeenah Qureshi used the centre every Tuesday and Thursday until it shutSkeenah Qureshi used the centre every Tuesday and Thursday until it shut (Image: Skeenah Qureshi)

The 53-year-old added that she used to visit the centre twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which gave her something to look forward to.

But since the closure her mental health has declined, she said.

"I'm getting worse every day," she said. "We're more mentally affected because when you go out, even if it was a rainy day, at least you got out and it was a change, just to see nice faces, happy faces.

"It does make a difference," she added.

Mr Atkins said the MS Society decided in 2017 to stop running its five day centres.

An independent organisation set up by day centre volunteers had been unable to demonstrate it was financially secure enough to run the centre long term, leading to its closure, Mr Atkins added.

When asked what options people with MS in the area had left, Mr Atkins said: “In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working with local healthcare teams to identify other ways people with MS and their carers can access support.

"In the meantime, people can contact our national MS Helpline if they’d like support or information on 0808 800 8000 or”