COVID-19 and the Chilterns MS Centre
In light of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic we have had to close our Centre to keep our members, staff and volunteers, many of whom are in the “vulnerable” category, safe. The symptoms of COVID-19 can be more severe for people with underlying health conditions like multiple sclerosis. This is further compounded by the effects that some of the drugs taken to treat the symptoms of MS can have as they suppress the immune system. We are also following the latest government advice so our staff and volunteers will also be social distancing or are in self-isolation.
What this means for our Charity
The Chilterns MS Centre is still running as a charity and supporting our community. Whilst we are no longer offering face-to-face support, we will continue to work with our members remotely, through phone conversations, video and online support, ensuring that their physical and emotional needs are supported as much as possible. Changing the way we support our community has been, and for the next few weeks will continue to be, a massive undertaking especially given the constraints of home working. However, the new support programmes are already starting up and will be continually developed as we learn how to best operate in this new environment.
What we are doing to support our members and their carers?
Initially our remote support will be through telephone calls to set up a tailored home programme of exercise and support for everyone. We are also signposting to exercise and mindfulness videos on our website and Facebook page, as well as creating additional Facebook groups so we can provide social support in a virtual group setting.
We are working hard to ensure all of our teams can provide services from home and our programme of support will expand as we do so, to include our own exercise videos, virtual social groups outside of Facebook and more.
There is a wide recognition that social distancing and self isolation will place our mental wellbeing under increasing strain. It can impact on us all, whether working from home, caring for others or being cared for. So for the people we are supporting, our attention to their mental wellbeing will become more acute.
The impact on our future
We have all been thrown into a place where the future is less certain than it was a few weeks ago. What is certain is our absolute commitment to ensuring the long term health and vitality of the Chilterns MS Centre. So whilst some of the changes we are having to make are backward steps, these actions are temporary, and we must look forward to getting back to business as usual.
The fundraising team is working hard behind the scenes to implement new and ‘safe’ fundraising activities during this time. We understand that the current crisis has a huge impact on all of us, but the charity sector is already being hit extremely hard. We have, and will continue to see, a substantial loss in income. Our members will need us more than ever when we are able to re-open the Centre so we are working closely with our stakeholders to ensure we can continue to raise the vital funds needed to protect our future.
We have postponed all fundraising events and collections and will be sharing new dates and activities once they are in place. Please keep an eye on our events page to see if you are able to support any of the Centre’s activities.
If you should wish to support the Centre at this difficult time we would be incredibly grateful and you can make a donation online, or contact fundraising about other help or ideas you can offer. We would also love you to sign up to receive Supporter News via our contact preferences form to be kept up to date with our latest news and fundraising activity.
Thank you for your continued support
Thank you for your support of the Chilterns MS Centre, whether you give a regular or one-off donation, donate your time and expertise, organise an event in aid of us, or support us in another way. Our charity is funded by the generosity of our Community, so we couldn’t be here without your help.
We are all very proud to work for the Chilterns MS Centre, and are confident that we can continue to support our members throughout this difficult time, as we have done for the last 35 years. Thank you for all you are doing to help us continue to be there for those that need us.
With best wishes,
Chief Operating Officer