Dear Network MESH member
Many of you will know that I founded Network MESH (ME Self-Help) as a local support group in West London 30 years ago, a few years after I first went down with ME. Although I’ve improved significantly since those dark days – and been able to function well for long periods compared with many members – ME has never left me and I periodically experience relapses in my health, some of them severe. Through all this time the group has been kept going, essentially by me acting as both Chair and Treasurer, with some wonderful and essential help from a few others whose names you will know. Until about 10 years ago, we did have a committee but gradually that faded away as people left – often, I’m glad to say, because they were sufficiently better to move beyond ME – and my efforts to recruit others via notices in the newsletter came to nothing. So I have effectively been keeping the group alive on my own.
After a relatively good summer, I am now feeling much worse and, at the age of 75, I have reluctantly accepted that I can’t go on doing what I have been doing. Producing, with Lisa, what we believe is a well received newsletter puts pressure on me (and her) every quarter. Plus all the general admin involved in running the group. I worry about it. I’ve noticed particularly over the past year that, even when I improve physically, my brain doesn’t recover to the same extent. Concentration is harder and for shorter periods. To give me the maximum chance of recovery from my current downturn I feel I must stop.
We will therefore not be producing a Christmas Outreach (Lisa and I discussed this and she fully understands). We will leave open the possibility of a Spring issue of Outreach if there are members who are prepared to take this on. The systems are already firmly in place so it’s not as if you have to start from scratch. And there will be no more meetings after the AGM at my house at 2.30 on Thursday 7 November (which is effectively a social meeting).
I am certainly not closing the group. We have a database of 155 members, which Martin looks after very efficiently. The structure will remain in place. We are a registered charity which involves a small amount of work annually to maintain it. And we are in a good position financially, with money in the bank. Network MESH will continue to exist on a “care and maintenance” basis until such time that members come forward who who are able and willing to to start it up again. I haven’t the mental capacity to think through the implications of this so there may be thoughts that you have, in which case let me know.
I had hoped to go on a bit longer but, unfortunately, I feel I have no alternative.
This email goes to around 100 people. We will send a copy in the post to members on the postal mailing list (there is some overlap).
Wishing you all better health.