A NASS branch can mean many things to many people.
The NASS Team are working together with the branches to help them to continue to be a vital source of information, education and physiotherapy for people with AS throughout the whole of the UK.
In September 2011, NASS created a three year plan of support and development for all of its branches. There is a series of branch development conferences ongoing and the pages in the NASS Branch Area have all been created to support these conferences. These conferences have already taken place in the following locations:
- Edinburgh - 7th July 2012
- Birmingham - 10th November 2012
And in 2013 there will be 3 more
- Bristol - 16th March 2013
- Portsmouth - 27th April 2013
- London - 6th July 2013
It is vital that NASS continues to listen to its volunteers and physiotherapists to provide them with the support they need to carry on the successful work of the branch network.
History of the branch network
Since the beginning, NASS has concentrated on 3 main areas of work campaigning, information and research.
Early on in the history of NASS, the then director, Fergus Rogers worked with local people with AS to set up local branches in locations throughout the UK. Each NASS branch consists of members with AS undertaking group physiotherapy sessions, either in a gym, in a hydrotherapy pool or both, under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist. Today, there are over 80 active NASS branches in England, Scotland and Wales. Some branches have members who have been meeting regularly for over 20 years!
A significant part of the successful development and growth of NASS over the years can be attributed to the many hours of unpaid support of its volunteers at branch level. NASS's network of branches play an important part in educating people affected by AS, as well as healthcare professionals and the public, on the problems related to this condition. The branches provide a vital connection for our members to expert advisers, qualified physiotherapists and to other people with AS who are able to provide understanding and support.
The Role of a NASS branch
This is a varied role and could include all or some of the following:
- Provides opportunities to meet other people with AS and share experiences
- Educates and informs people with AS and their friends/family
- Provides access to healthcare professionals with an understanding of AS
- Provides access to regular affordable physiotherapy
- Raises funds for the branch and the national charity
- Provides guidance on effective and safe exercises
- Encourages people to understand and self-manage their long term condition
- Raises awareness of AS locally, by potentially influencing the local health agenda and commissioning services, educating the general public
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