St Francis Xavier’s R C Church Hall (St Martha’s Hall)

We are a self-help group based in Falkirk. Our membership area covers the Falkirk District and surrounding areas. Our regular meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month, from 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm. in St Francis Xavier’s RC Church Hall (St Martha’s Hall) Falkirk.

We provide support, information and friendship to M.E./CFS sufferers, carers and friends.

We have a varied programme of guest speakers and Open-Evenings, which provide a good opportunity to chat with fellow sufferers/carers, plus the occasional social event. In addition we send out a reminder letter/email to all members every month. Membership cost is only £6 a year. Find us on Face book in Groups under Falkirk M.E. Self Help Group.”



The following information about CFS/ME is available at
If you would like to find out more please check the website
What is chronic fatigue syndrome/ME?
©EMIS 2012 as distributed at,
used with permission. 

Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME is a condition where you have long-term disabling tiredness (fatigue). Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME also have one or more other symptoms such as muscular pains, joint pains, disturbed sleep patterns, poor concentration, and headaches. The cause is not known. Treatments that may help in some cases (but not all) include a programme of graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/ME is a condition that causes marked long-term fatigue and other symptoms which are not caused by any other known medical condition.
·    CFS stands for chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic means persistent or long-term.
·    ME stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Myalgic means muscle aches or pains.Encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.However,there is controversy about the nature of this condition. There is no test to diagnose the condition. The diagnosis is made in people who have a certain set of symptoms (which can vary in their type and severity). There is even controversy about what to call this condition.
·    The term CFS is often used by doctors. This is because the main symptom is often fatigue and the condition is chronic (persistent). Also, there is no evidence of inflammation in the brain or spinal cord which is implied by the term encephalomyelitis.
·    The term ME is the preferred term by many people with the condition. Some people with this condition feel that the word fatigue is an everyday word which does not reflect the different and severe type of fatigue that they have. Also, although fatigue to some extent occurs in most cases, it may not be the main or only symptom.
·    Some people believe that there are two separate conditions - CFS and ME. Other people believe that the two conditions are the same - but symptoms can vary.
Until these issues are resolved, many people now use the umbrella term of CFS/ME.
What causes chronic fatigue syndtome/ME?                                                                                                                                    
The cause of CFS/ME is not known. There are various theories - but none has been proved. A popular theory is that a vira infection may trigger the condition. It is well-known that fatigue is a symptom that can persist for a short time after having certain viral infections. For example, infection with the glandular fever virus or the influenza virus can cause fatigue for several weeks after
other symptoms have gone. However, most people recover within a few weeks from the fatigue that follows known viral infections.
Even if a viral infection is a trigger of CFS/ME, it is not clear why symptoms persist when there is no evidence of persisting infection. Also, the symptoms of many people with CFS/ME do not start with a viral infection.
Factors that are thought to contribute to some people developing CFS/ME include Inherited
genetic susceptibility (it is more common in some families).
·    Viral infections such as glandular fever.
·    Exhaustion
and mental stress.
·    Depression.
·    A traumatic event such as bereavement, divorce or redundancy.
Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME is a condition where you have long-term disabling tiredness (fatigue). Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME also have one or more other symptoms such as muscular pains, joint pains, disturbed sleep patterns, poor concentration, and headaches. The cause is not known. Treatments that may help in some cases (but not all) include a programme of graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The following factors are thought to make CFS/ME worse:
·   Recurring viral or bacterial infections.
·   Not being active enough, or even being too active.
·   Stress.
·   Poor diet.
·   Being socially isolated and/or feeling frustrated and depressed.
·   Environmental pollution.
It is hoped that research will clarify the cause of CFS/ME in the future.
Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome/ME?
CFS/ME can affect anyone. It is estimated that CFS/ME affects about 1 in 300 people in the UK, possibly more. It is about three times as common in women as in men. The most common age for it to develop is in the early twenties to mid-forties.
In children the most common age for it to develop is 13-15 years, but it can develop at an earlier age.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome/ME diagnosed?
There is no test that proves that you have CFS/ME. A doctor will usually diagnose CFS/ME based on your symptoms. Some tests are usually done to rule out other causes of your fatigue or other symptoms. For example, blood tests may be done to rule out anaemia, an underactive thyroid gland, and liver and kidney problems. All these tests are normal in people with CFS/ME.
The medical definition of CFS/ME states that symptoms should have lasted for at least four months in adults and three months in children and young adults.
What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME?
The onset of symptoms can be fairly sudden (over a few days or so), or more gradual.
The most common main symptom is persistent fatigue (tiredness). The fatigue is of new onset. That is, it has not been lifelong but started at a point in time and causes you to limit your activities compared with what you were used to. It is often felt to be both physical and mental fatigue, and said to be overwhelming, or to be like no other type of fatigue.
For example:
·        It is very different to everyday tiredness (such as after a day's work).
·        It is not eased much by rest.
·        It is not due to, or like, tiredness following overexertion.
·        It is not due to muscle weakness.
·        It is not loss of motivation or pleasure which occurs in people who are depressed.
The fatigue is often made worse by activity. This is called post-exertional malaise. However, the post-exertional malaise usually does not develop until the day following the activity. It then takes several days to improve.
Other symptoms
In addition to fatigue, one or more of the following symptoms are common (but most people do not have them all). In some people, one of the following symptoms is more dominant than the fatigue and is the main symptom:
·    Mental (cognitive) difficulties such as poor concentration, poor short-term memory, reduced attention span, poor memory for recent events, difficulty to plan or organise your thoughts, difficulty finding the right words to say, sometimes feeling disorientated.
·    Sleeping difficulties. For example, early waking, being unable to sleep, too much sleep, disrupted sleep/wake patterns.
·    Pains - most commonly, muscular pains (myalgia), joint pains and headaches.
·    Recurring sore throat, often with tenderness of the nearby lymph glands.
·    A range of other symptoms has been reported in some cases. For example, dizziness, nausea (feeling sick) and palpitations.
Physical or mental exertion will often make your symptoms worse.
Severity of symptoms
The severity of CFS/ME can roughly be divided into three levels:
Mild cases - you can care for yourself and can do light domestic tasks, but with difficulty. You are still likely to be able to do a job, but may often take days off work. In order to remain in work you are likely to have stopped most leisure and social activities. Weekends or other days off from work are used to rest in order to cope.
Moderate cases - you have reduced mobility and are restricted in most activities of daily living. The level of ability and severity of symptoms often varies from time to time (peaks and troughs). You are likely to have stopped work and require rest periods. Night-time sleep tends to be poor and disturbed.
Severe cases - you are able to carry out only minimal daily tasks such as face washing and cleaning teeth. You are likely to have severe difficulties with some mental processes such as concentrating. You may be wheelchair-dependent for mobility and may be
unable to leave your home except on rare occasions, and usually have severe prolonged after-effects from effort. You may spend most of your time in bed. You are often unable to tolerate any noise, and are generally very sensitive to bright light.
Note: most cases are mild or moderate.
What is the treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME?
There is no known cure for CFS/ME although treatment may help to ease symptoms. You are likely to be referred to a specialist who will be able to offer you support and treatment.
Treatments that may be considered include the followng.
Management of your symptoms
Painkillers may help if muscle or joint pains are troublesome symptoms. Eating little and often may help any nausea. Specific diets have not been shown to be beneficial. Depression can occur in people with CFS/ME (as it is with many other chronic diseases).
Depression can make many symptoms worse. Antidepressants may be prescribed if depression develops.
Management of your quality of life and function
Managing your sleep
It is likely you will be given advice about your sleep. Any changes to your sleep pattern (for example, having too little, or even too much, sleep) may actually make your fatigue worse. This includes sleeping in the daytime, which should ideally be avoided. Any changes to your sleep pattern should be done gradually.
Managing rest
Rest (rather than actual sleep) is very beneficial. You should introduce rest periods into your daily routine. These should ideally be limited to 30 minutes at a time and be a period of relaxation.
Relaxation can help to improve pain, sleep problems and any stress or anxiety you may have. There are various relaxation techniques (such as guided visualisation or breathing techniques) which you may find useful when there are built into your rest periods.
It is very important that you have a well-balanced diet. You should try to avoid any foods and drinks that you are sensitive to. Eating small, regular meals which contain some starchy foods is often beneficial.
Specific treatments
One or more of the following may be recommended as part of your treatment:
Graded exercise therapy
Graded exercise therapy (GET) means a gradual, progressive increase in exercise or physical activity, such as walking or swimming. The level of exercise recommended will depend upon your symptoms and current level of activity. Graded exercise is a
structured treatment during which you are closely monitored. It is
not the same as going to the gym or doing more exercise by yourself. It should be tailored to suit each individual case. Ideally, it should be supervised by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist who is used to treating people with CFS/ME.
Graded exercise can improve symptoms for some people. However, some people report that they do not find it beneficial.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that certain ways of thinking can fuel certain health problems. Behavioural therapy aims to change any behaviours that are harmful or not helpful. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a combination of cognitive and behavioural therapy. The use of CBT does not imply that the cause of an illness is psychological. CBT is one of the most effective treatments for CFS/ME. Although CBT does not aim to cure the condition, it helps to improve symptoms, coping strategies
and day-to-day functioning. For people with CFS/ME the core components of
CBT would normally include: energy/activity management, establishment of a sleep routine, goal setting, and psychological support.
Pacing is sometimes called adaptive pacing therapy (APT). Pacing is a strategy in which people with CFS/ME are encouraged to achieve a balance between rest and activity. This usually involves living within the limitations caused by the illness, but having some limited types of activity alternating with periods of rest. However, although some people find this useful, there is currently no
research to support the use of pacing for the treatment of people with CFS/ME.
Sowhich specific treatment is most effective?
A large research trial was published in 2011 which compared the three treatment options listed above. 641 people with CFS/ME (but who were not bed-bound) took part in the trial. They were split into four groups. One group received standard medical care alone. The other three groups received standard medical care plus APT, or CBT, or GET. After one year the results showed that 76 in 100 people had markedly improved with CBT, and 80 in 100 people had markedly improved with GET. With normal medical care, 65 in 100 people had markedly improved but this was the same for the APT group. The conclusion of this study was that CBT and GET were the most effective treatments. Also, that APT was unlikely to give any extra benefit to normal medical care.
It was also worth noting in this trial that all the treatments had limited effects. Yes, it was found that a good number of people improved (had less severe symptoms) with each treatment. However, only about 3 in 10 people treated with CBT or GET in this trial (the treatments found to be most effective) recovered fully.
General support
Depending on the severity of illness, other support may be needed. For example, carers, nursing support equipment and adaptations to the home to help overcome disability. If you are employed, your doctor will be able to advise you about whether you
should take time off work  and, if you take time off work, when you may be ready to go back to work. It may be that you need to work doing slightly different hours or even with different duties. If you have an occupational health department at work, they are likely to be involved with you also regarding work and going back to work if you take time off.
Complementary treatments
As there is only limited success with conventional treatments, it is understandable that people turn to complementary practitioners. Many people with CFS/ME find various therapies helpful. However, there is not enough research evidence to support the use of complementary therapies for the treatment of CFS/ME.
There is also insufficient evidence to recommend the use of supplements (for example, vitamins).
Managing setbacks (relapses)
It can be common to have setbacks when symptoms become worse for a while. These can have various triggers - for example, poor sleep, infection or stress. Your doctor may discuss with you strategies which may help during a setback. These may include relaxation techniques, talking with your family, and maintaining your activity and exercise levels, if possible. However, it may be necessary for you to reduce or even stop some of your activities and increase the amount of rest you have during a setback.
Following a setback you should usually be able gradually to return to your previous activity level.
What is the outlook (prognosis)?
In most cases, the condition has a fluctuating course. There may be times when symptoms are not too bad and times when symptoms flare up and become worse (a setback). The long-term outlook is variable:
·    Most people with CFS/ME will show some improvement over time, especially with treatment. Some people recover in less than two years, while others remain ill for many years. However, health and functioning rarely return completely to previous levels.
·    Some people will continue to have symptoms or have relapses of their symptoms.
·    In some cases, the condition is severe and/or persists for many years. Those who have been affected for several years seem less likely to recover.
·    The outlook in children and young people is usually better.
Further information and support
ME Association
7 Apollo Office Court, Radclive Road, Gawcott, Bucks MK18 4DF
Tel: 0844 576 5326 Web:
Action for ME
PO Box 2778, Bristol, BS1 9DJ
Tel: 0845 123 2314 Web:
Association of Young People with ME (AYME)
9A Vermont Place, Tongwell, Milton Keynes MK15 8JA
Tel: 08451 232389 Web:
Tymes Trust (The Young ME Sufferers Trust)
PO Box 4347, Stock, Ingatestone, CM4 9TE
Tel: 0845 003 9002 Web:
A national UK service for children and young people with ME, and for their families.
The 25% ME Group
21 Church Street, Troon, Ayrshire KA10 6HT
Tel: 01292 318611 Web:
Support for people who have the severe form of CFS/ME.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions.
EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
© EMIS 2011 Reviewed: 23 Mar 2011 DocID: 4859 Version: 40
ME Research UK — (Energising ME Research) also has some good information on its website.



Falkirk ME Self Help Group have a Facegroup on Facebook.

By clicking on the link above/left you will be navigated to the logon facebook page.

If you are already a member of facebook log on as normal and you will be navigated to our facebook group.

Members of our facebook group will have full access to the group wall etc as per normal.

You can also access your own wall page as well.

If you are not a member of our facebook group, you will be navigated to your own wall area, where you will be able to view info about our facebook group. From there you will be able to ask to join Falkirk ME Self Help Group on Facebook.

 If you are not on Facebook you can sign up to join Facebook on the log on page. 

We now have 70 friends on our Facebook Group, why not take a look and join us!

Please note our Facebook group will soon be changed to a closed group where if not a member you will be able to find us and apply to join us. Once the change is made, only our facebook group members will be able to see posts .

Useful Telephone
Numbers and Addresses
25% me group
21 Church Street, Troon, Ayrshire, KA10 6HT
Tel No - 01292 318611
Advocacy worker     Tel No - 01292312369      Website
Action for M.E.,
Address:Third Floor, Canningford House,
 38 Victoria Street, Bristol,BS1 6BY
Membership: 0845 123 2380 / 0117 9279551
Telephone support: 0845 123 2314Mon - Fri: 11am - 1pm Mon evenings: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Website:
ME Research UK
The Gateway, North Methven, Perth PH1 5PP
Tel No 01738 451234
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The ME Association
7 Apollo Office Court, Radclive Road,
Gawcott, Bucks MK18 4DF
Tel No 01280 818968 (between 9;30am and 4:30pm)
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

M.E. Support
Is a website on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis providing information, advice and support.

Falkirk Citizens Advice Bureau
27-29 Vicar Street, Falkirk, FK1 1LL Tel. no. 01324 611244
Grangemouth & Bo’ness   1 Kerse Road, Grangemouth, FK3 8HW Tel no. 01324 483467 
Denny & Dunipace 24 Duke Street, Denny, Stirlingshire, FK6 6DD  Tel no. 01324 823118 / 825333

Blue Badge Scheme
Disabled person's parking permit (Blue Badge Scheme)        

The Blue Badge Scheme provides parking concessions nationally and across Europe for people with a permanent and substantial disability, whether that person is the driver or a passenger.

The holder of a Blue Badge is permitted to park in areas normally subject to restrictions to assist them to access healthcare, shops and other facilities.

Full details of eligibility criteria are included in the application form.

Further information can be found at the Blue Badge Scotland website.

Transport Scotland launched a pilot scheme on 01 April 2016 that extends the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge scheme to people with a diagnosed mental disorder and/or cognitive impairment. For details, please see Blue Badge Scheme - Pilot - Extension to Eligibility or contact us on 01324 504750.

How to Apply

You can apply online at Blue Badge Scotland.

Alternatively, you can download the appropriate Blue Badge application form. Please see "Which application form do I need to complete?"

You can also get application forms from:

Disablement Income Group Scotland
Tel: 0131 555 2811 ‘
DIG’ provide free welfare benefits information and advice  service to disabled people and
carers throughout Scotland. Initial contact is by telephone. ‘Dig’ is based in Edinburgh.
Falkirk Council Welfare Benefits Helpline:
01324 501404/ Minicom {disability info}: 01324 504304 
The Council's Welfare Benefits Advice Service provides, through the welfare benefits and income maximisation team:
Advice on a wide range of welfare benefits - help to make a claim - benefit checks to ensure you're claiming your
full entitlement - representation if you want to dispute a decision about your benefits - appointments and home visits
Falkirk Council's Debt Advice officers. Call the Helpline on 01324 506735.
Central Shopmobility:
 If you have limited mobility, Shopmobility can provide you with a free loan of a powered or manual wheelchair or a scooter for use in Falkirk and Stirling
Falkirk - 01324 630500 Level 4 Car Park Callendar Square Shopping Centre HighStreet Falkirk FK1 1UJ. Monday to Saturday: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Stirling - 01786 449606 Bus Station 19 Goosecroft Road Stirling FK8 1PF Monday to Saturday: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Dial-a-Journey: Tel: 01786 465355
A subsidised bus service providing affordable and accessible door-to-door transport for people who have mobility difficulties and cannot use conventional public transport. 
Buses run throughout the Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council areas. 
Website also has information on Shopmobility and Taxicard schemes.
Association of Young People with ME (AYME)
Tel: 08451 23 23 89  
for children and young people up to the age of 25.

NHS 24 Tel 0845 24 24 24
It provides self-care advice for people in Scotland and urgent care assistance/clinical advice when GP surgeries are closed.

NHS Inform Tel 0800 22 44 88
Provides a co-ordinated source of quality assured health information for the public in Scotland.

      Therapy Directory
Address: Coliseum, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL
Telephone number: 0844 8030 245
We promote the benefits of complementary therapy and aim to give visitors all the information they need to help them make an informed decision about whether therapy would be right for them. The website has an FAQ's section, a number of useful articles written by our members and the facility to search for a practitioner in your area.
To ensure the professionalism of our website, all listed therapists have provided us with qualifications and insurance cover or proof of membership with a professional body
Information about Stairlift Grants in the UK

Grants that are available to help with the cost of home adaptations for adults and children with disabilities:


If you know of any other local or national useful telephone numbers & addresses that may be helpful for our members, please send them out to me
 You can contact us by using the links on o
ur Committee contact details page.

Please insert your address or postcode into the box at the bottom of the page for GoogleMap directions.

Our group meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month at:-


St Francis Xavier’s R C Church Hall (St Martha’s Hall)

1 Hope St, Falkirk FK1 5AT.


How to get to our meetings!

Travelling by Rail National Rail Enquiry Line: 08457 48 49 50


Falkirk High Station is on the main Glasgow - Edinburgh line with a 15 minute service between 07:30 and 18:30 (every 30 minutes out with these times. There does not appear to be a bus route nearby, the nearest bus route appears to be the number 17. A taxi from the High Station will cost approximately £4.80.


From Falkirk Grahamston Station trains run from Glasgow Edinburgh and Stirling.The hall is only a short walk away depending on the side you come out of the station; there are two routes you may choose. If you come out of the main entrance with the car park to your left you can walk straight ahead onto Meeks Road and head left towards Morrison’s Super market. At the mini roundabout turn left onto Hope Street and the entrance to the Hall is just on the right opposite the petrol station.


Alternatively if you come out the station on the opposite side of the platform out to the road at Garrison Place Car Park, turn right onto Garrison road, (you will see the Asda Car Park opposite) head straight ahead towards Falkirk Library the hall is on the right hand side of the library. This is probably the shortest route to the hall.



To St Francis (St Martha’s hall) Directions from the bus stop at ASDA

Several buses make stops in or near Newmarket Street Falkirk. From The Bus stop at Asda and with Asda and The Royal Bank of Scotland to your left, head straight ahead (west). As you just walk past the end of The Royal Bank of Scotland building, turn right towards hope Street You will see Cuthells & sons across the road. Head along Hope Street towards Falkirk Library and Morrison’s Petrol station the hall is just past the library opposite the Petrol station.
Travelling by Car                                                                                             Approx. 14 miles from Stirling, 25 miles from Edinburgh and 25 miles From Glasgow.

From Stirling/the North & From Glasgow/the West

Travelling south on the M9, leave at J6 Grangemouth and turn right onto the A905, Glensburgh Road. Turn right ontoGlensburgh Rd/A905 0.4 ml. At the roundabout, take the3rdexit ontoFalkirk Rd/A904. Continue to follow A904. Go through 1 roundabout Continue ontoKerse Lane/A803. Continue to follow A803. Turn right ontoVicar St/A803. At the roundabout, take the1stexit ontoGarrison Pl/A803. Turn right ontoHope St .The hall will be on the left St Francis Xavier’s R C Church (St Martha’s Hall) 1 Hope St, Falkirk FK1 5AT.


From Edinburgh/the East

Leave the M9 at junction 5, take the A905 exit to A904/​Falkirk/​Grangemouth

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto A9 Go through 1 roundabout. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A9 Go through 1 roundabout.

At Westfield Roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Grangemouth Rd/​A904 Continue to follow A904 0.9 ml. Continue onto Kerse Lane/​A803 Continue to follow A803.Turn right onto Vicar St/​A803. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Garrison Pl/​A803 Continue to follow A803. The hall will be on the right St Francis Xavier’s R C Church (St Martha’s Hall) 1 Hope St, Falkirk FK1 5AT.


The St Francis/St Martha’s Hall is located in the centre of Falkirk, Just round the corner from the main Falkirk Police Station and next to the Falkirk Library. Asda and Morrison’s Super markets are close by. There are good transport links with Bus stops just round the corner and Grahamston station within walking distance.

Parking parking_sign 

There is good parking within the grounds of the hall and there are disabled parking spaces available.


There is good parking within the grounds of the hall and there are disabled parking spaces available.



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Group Meeting Place Address :-

St Francis Xavier’s R C Church (St Martha’s Hall)
1 Hope St, Falkirk FK1 5AT
Please note we only meet there on the 2nd Thursday of each month. 

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