A support centre opened by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for people living with a chronic condition is to be sold to cover a six-figure pension shortfall.
The Aberdeen Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society hopes to sell the Stuart Resource Centre Long Walk Road, Mastrick, to cover a pensions shortfall of nearly a quarter of a million pounds.
In a letter sent to it’s members, the group said they planned to further develop support within communities instead of retaining the premises which will be sold to cover the finance gap of £223,000.
The letter said: “…we feel that there is no viable alternative. However, we strongly feel that maintaining services for people with MS is our main priority.”
Morna Simpkins, MS Society Scotland Director, said: “The MS Society and the Aberdeen Branch are committed to ensuring that services for people with MS in Grampian are not lost.
“It is due to this commitment that the Committee, after consultation with its members, have decided to sell the Stuart Resource Centre.
“While current services will continue to be delivered from the centre until the sale is completed, a dedicated team of local staff are working with the branch to plan the transfer of services from the centre to other community settings.
“Not only will this allow us to deliver services closer to people’s homes across Aberdeen but it also offers the opportunity for members to tell us what further services they would wish to see.
“We will continue to support the local branch throughout this process and welcome input from our members and the wider MS Community in Aberdeen as we seek to improve our service offer.”
The MS Society was one of 79 charities involved in the Grampian Regional Council pension fund.
Now called the North-east of Scotland Pension Fund, which has joint liability for a final salary scheme, current finances show that by 2017 the Aberdeen Branch would be forced to consider closure of the centre due to a fall in fundraising income.
The Stuart Resource Centre was opened in 2001 by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, whose mother Anne Volant Rowling died after ten years suffering from the condition.