Marie Foster Centre
Wood Street, Barnet, Herts EN5 4BG
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1973 - current

Young chronic sick, long-stay.  Later, rehabilitation and condition management (neurological)

In the early 1970s, following the death of a young patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) placed in a geriatric ward, a group of volunteers for the Barnet branch of the MS Society, led by Eric Foster, began fund-raising to build a Centre for local people suffering from the condition.

Barnet General Hospital donated a site in Wood Street, adjacent to the Victoria Maternity Hospital, and the Marie Foster Home opened in 1973.  It was named after Marie, the wife of Eric Foster and one of the first residents.

The Home had 28 beds arranged in single or 2-, 4- and 6-bedded rooms.  It provided long-term respite and day care for those with advanced and complex MS or other acute or chronic progressive neurological disorders, who were quadriplegic or wheelchair-bound and who needed help with dressing and eating.  Occupational therapy, physiotherapy and aromatherapy were also available, while activities, outings and holidays were arranged.

In 1998 a plan was mooted to redevelop the site, but the project was dropped.

In 2003 it was hoped that the Centre would move to new facilities at the Finchley Memorial Hospital site by 2005, but again the plan fell through.

The Home had been partly funded by the Barnet Primary Care Trust (later renamed NHS Barnet) but, in September 2008, it was taken over by the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.

The new Marie Foster Centre with 20 beds was relaunched in December 2008 by the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Present status (April 2008)

The original building  is vacant and boarded-up.  However, the Centre is still functioning in a single-storey building beside it.

It is now a neuro-rehabilitation centre and has two therapy gyms, individual treatment rooms, two assessment kitchen areas, a lounge and TV area, a dining area and, outside, a patio and a terrace.

Marie Foster Home
The boarded-up building of the Marie Foster Centre.

Marie Foster Centre
The Centre continues its work in a single-storey building beside the boarded-up one.

Marie Foster Home
The Marie Foster Centre with the former Victoria Maternity Hospital in the distance.
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