Member Update

We are pleased to announce the appointment our new Executive Manager Karla Gunby who will be taking up the operational leadership and management of MS & Parkinson’s Canterbury from 11th January 2021.

Karla Gunby comes to us with a broad range of skills in community development, funding and finance, facilitation and development of community programmes and projects, and knowledge of the not for profit and disability sectors.   Her leadership, relationship building and collaboration skills along with her experience as a Community Development Advisor will be of substantial benefit to the society.  We look forward to Karla joining us in January and will ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for her to meet our membership.

We are also pleased to announce the permanent appointment of two nurses, Deb Ballantyne and Elspeth McKeon.

The nurses will work with both Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s clients and carers, joining physiotherapist Tara Martin, as part of our clinical team.  The nurses will be running clinics from Sir William Pickering Drive twice weekly, providing on-line telehealth consultations and home visits if required.   Our nurses and physiotherapist will continue to work closely with our Exercise Group Leader Kim Veenings and Social Activities Coordinator Lesley Williams.

Deb Ballantyne has been holding the fort as our temporary nurse for the last few weeks and we are delighted to now have her in a permanent role, commencing 1st December 2020.  Many of you will have met or spoken with Deb already as she has been working hard to assist as many members as possible. Deb’s background is in community nursing and education; her extensive experience will be of huge benefit to members and to our organisation as a whole. Deb can be contacted at or 366 2857 ext. 4.

Elspeth McKeon comes to us with a wealth of experience and will be joining the team from 11th January 2021.
Elspeth is dedicated to working with clients with complex neurological diseases.  She is skilled and experienced as a practice, research and educational nurse, including eight years as a Neuromuscular Case Manager providing care, support and education across a continuum of client conditions. Elspeth’s focus is on wellness and quality of life.

Tara Martin has already begun work with us and will continue to run our physiotherapy clinics from our Sir William Pickering Drive premises. As previously mentioned, our physio hours have increased from 14 per week to 26 hours which has already reduced our waiting list.  

Tara is a very experienced neurological physiotherapist, and we are very fortunate to have her skills and expertise in our team. Please email if you need to make an appointment with Tara or have any questions.

As we move into the New Year, we are looking forward to a very positive 2021.  The restructure has allowed us to re-shape our staffing and services to grow the society and to provide a sound financial future.

In 2021 you will be receiving regular updates from our new Executive Manager on operational and service matters and initiatives along with regular reports from the Committee.

Just to remind you, we will be closing on Friday 18th December and will reopen on Monday 11th January 2021.

Tessa Kain

President MS & Parkinson’s Canterbury