Vivo Care Choices has helped the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) adapt to life during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in a number of different ways through its Community Fund.

Based in Winsford, NMC is a Centre of Excellence for people and families affected by a neuromuscular condition.

Before the pandemic, more than 400 people would visit NMC each week for face-to-face sessions, but the way it is now delivering services has changed significantly.

A grant from Vivo’s Community Fund, as well as other funding streams, has helped NMC adapt to a new way of working and cope with the demands it can bring.

Matthew Lanham, Chief Executive of the NeuroMuscular Centre, said: “The way we’ve spent the funding from Vivo has been varied.

“We’ve had to shift our entire ethos and energy to a virtual world. A lot of our time has been spent showing and encouraging people how to take part in video calls.

“With us doing so much online now, it’s important we tell people about that so we’ve set up a Staying in touch newsletter from scratch. We’re on our fourth edition during the lockdown period and it’s gone out as a paper copy so friends and families can enjoy reading it.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve wanted to give people confidence that we would be back.

“We’ve taken the whole centre and reconfigured it as we now have physiotherapy treatment pods. Each of them are isolated and have their own entry and exit. There is plenty of signage so people aren’t traipsing through the whole centre. They’re sealed units and physiotherapists are there to support with all the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

“It’s completely different to how we’ve organised things in the past and funding has been a significant help.

“We’ve also tried to do practical things for carers, offering them the chance to go out for massage or have their nails done. We used to provide that for carers here, but we’re not able to in the current situation. We wanted to offer carers a moment of normalness on behalf of the NMC.”

Alistair Jeffs, Managing Director of Vivo, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the NMC through our Community Fund.

“NMC provides a valuable service for people in our communities and, like all organisations, it has had to adapt during the pandemic.

“We’re glad our grant has made life a little easier for NMC and allowed it to put plans in place to adapt to the changes in circumstances.”

Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) has helped Vivo set up its Community Fund and distribute grants to worthy community initiatives.

The Community Fund is worth £20,000 in total and has been split into two rounds of applications, with around £12,000 handed out so far and a second round of applications planned for September 2020. Full details for the second round of applications in September will be available in the coming months.