MS Awareness Week 2020
This week is MS Awareness Week. Most of the activities that we had planned for this week have been cancelled so we thought we would let you know that we are still very much “open” in a virtual sense. We want to show you what we are still doing to support people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and how you can support us to make sure that we can continue to do these things now and in the future.
MS is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. It can lead to fatigue, a lack of mobility, brain fog and vision impairment. There is no cure but with regular exercise and physiotherapy, many people can manage their symptoms to lead a fulfilling life. The Chilterns MS Centre offers regular treatments, exercise and practical and emotional support that helps people to cope with their condition, reducing the burden on the NHS.
Our services have moved from face-to-face to virtual. This was no easy task as we were not geared up for working remotely and our team have worked incredibly hard to learn new ways of working, embraced new technology and have thought about new ways to reach and support our members.
Now, more than ever, our members need us as their physical and emotional wellbeing will be affected by self-isolation. Not having access to regular physiotherapy means that their symptoms may be more acute. Being in one place all of the time can also affect their mental health, especially for those who are on their own. We recognise this and that’s why our programme of care centres on regular contact and social support.
“The Centre has played a huge roll in this time. The exercise classes, art & all the communication that has taken place in the last few weeks has really helped with the lock down, you always have a helping hand whether it’s a private moment you need or would like to be involved in a class. You have all been a great help just by putting ideas on Facebook or email. Thank you to all who has made this lock down slightly easier by being there either on the phone, email or Facebook.”
Here is a summary of what we have already done:
- Live exercises classes each week for people of different abilities through the week through Zoom
- Regular telephone and video calls to members who need them
- New home exercise videos posted every week to our website
- Activity packs for our Enrich Group – a select group for those who need additional support.
- Our Angell Art Group has moved to Facebook, with weekly challenges and chats
- Our Social Group has moved to Facebook, with quizzes, bingo and lots of ideas of things to do at home.
- Our exercise group has also moved to Facebook, as well as all of our exercise classes and suggested videos being posted on here too.
- Our buddy scheme has expanded – they provide a regular friendly chat and a supportive ear.
- Our newsletter has changed to weekly – providing links to our services and other support services.
And still to come:
- Diet and Nutrition video workshops via Zoom
- Online Fatigue Management course via Zoom and email
- Live Tai Chi class via Zoom
- A virtual Carer’s coffee morning via Zoom
Whilst our support is still going strong, our income-generating activities are not, as most have had to be postponed or cancelled. At least 40% of our income is at risk, and while the government support is welcomed, in reality, it won’t be enough to keep us going through the pandemic.
That’s why we launched our own appeal and will be joining in with the 2.6 challenge – an initiative launched by “Save UK’s Charities’” where you can do anything around 2.6 or 26 to raise sponsorship that you can donate to your favourite charity. You can help by donating to our appeal or getting involved in Challenge 2.6 to raise money for us on Sunday 26 April.