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February 9, 2009
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Multiple Sclerosis charity announces plans for 2009 flagship conference




The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, the charity created to support the 85,000 people across the UK with MS and those affected by it, has chosen NewcastleGateshead as the destination for its third annual conference, MS Life 2009.
 
The flagship convention has previously been held in Manchester and is aimed at those affected by MS, whether personally or professionally. It will run from 12-14 June at The Sage Gateshead, which received the Best Disabled Facilities accolade at this year’s Meetings and Incentive Travel Magazine Awards.
 
“The MS Society will be holding its flagship convention at The Sage Gateshead and we are confident it will be the biggest and best yet,” said Chris Bray, event director for MS Life.

“From a geographical perspective, NewcastleGateshead can be easily accessed from the north, south and west, which immediately expands our prospective attendees from Scotland, Yorkshire, Cumbria and, of course, in the region,” he continued. “In addition, the support we have received from partners such as NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and our preferred PR agency, Golley Slater, has been overwhelming.”
 
Andrew Dixon, NewcastleGateshead Initiative chief executive, described  attracting MS Life to NewcastleGateshead as a “real coup”.

“The fact an event of this scale is taking place here is testament to the growing reputation the twin cities have as a leading conference destination,” he continued. “An event of this nature has some interesting and logistical challenges and we are looking forward to working with the MS Society to create a legacy and ensure that NewcastleGateshead is a welcoming and accessible destination for all of its delegates.”
 
There will be a range of fringe events as part of the convention, including an accessible club night, Wheel & Walk fundraiser, live cookery demonstrations and My Style fashion show.

Commenting on the benefits the free event will bring to the local area, Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism for NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “We estimate that the economic impact of this flagship event will be in the region of £1m, which is of great significance to the tourism economy of NewcastleGateshead.

“An event of this nature also brings a host of other benefits as it demonstrates the great strides NewcastleGateshead has made in creating a destination that is welcoming and accessible for all delegates. For example, we are working with the MS Society and other partners to roll out an accessibility training programme to our hotels and venues, which will leave a lasting legacy for the tourism infrastructure in North East England.”


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