MS Society national grants paused
Before the COVID-19 crisis, we awarded grants both through our national grants programme and through many of our local groups. At the start of lockdown our national grants programme was paused for practical reasons. Like most charities, coronavirus has had a huge negative impact on our income, and we’ve had to make the difficult decision to stop some of our activities. This includes our national grants programme, which will be paused for two to three years.
Awarding grants locally
Many groups receive, assess and award grant applications at a local level, and can continue to do so.
Some groups used to ask the national Grants Team to receive and assess applications on their behalf, with the group then funding successful applications. Sadly, due to financial pressures, we no longer have the capacity to support groups in this way.
We are, however, committed to working closely with groups to develop local grant-giving best practice, training, guidance and support. Our national Grants Coordinator will lead this work to ensure we can benefit from the experience and knowledge of our volunteers and the previous national team. We want to develop a process and support materials that enables groups to deliver a local grants programme, if they have the resources and want to do so.
This work will be developed during 2021 but, in the meantime, we are updating our guidance for groups who want to give grants. The updated guidance will be available on this page in the New Year, along with amended forms and applicant guidance notes to reflect the changes.
Health & Wellbeing grants support people with MS. They can help pay for mobility aids and home adaptations (where statutory funding is unavailable), equipment, respite and other things an applicant feels will make a positive and lasting impact on their life.
Before the national grants programme was paused, we'd already had to make a quick decision to reduce the grants budget for 2020 because of reduced income. This led to some difficult decisions about how to use limited funds to create maximum impact for those most in need, and changes to Health & Wellbeing grants.
The key changes agreed for the national grants programme and recommended for local groups from January 2020 were:
Reducing applicants’ savings limit from £16,000 to £6,000.
Reducing list of items we could consider by removing items that our Grants Panel felt had lower impact or more potential to have other funding options.
We stopped considering grants for: standard holidays, Motability advance payments, car adaptations, driveways, gardens, driving lessons, domestic repairs or complementary therapies.
- Reducing the maximum award for each type of item.
We aimed to keep national and local grant giving aligned, but did not want to impose changes on those groups who award grants, without consultation. Due to the timescales involved we were unable to consult at that stage. It was therefore decided that groups could either keep awarding grants under the previous categories and maximum grant amounts, or choose to adopt the new rules above, depending on their own budgets.
We know that COVID-19 has meant reduced income for many groups, so we suggest you follow the new rules that were introduced for the national grants programme. However, groups with higher funds can still choose to follow the previous rules for the time being. We’ll work with volunteers next year to develop a grant-giving programme that meets the needs of the MS community and is practical for groups to deliver. We’re also keen to explore possible solutions to the issue that grants aren’t available to people in all areas.
- Download a Health and Wellbeing Grant application form
- Read our application form guidance notes
- See our grant categories and maximum grant amounts
Groups can also choose to award grants to carers under the separate Carers grants.
Our Carers Grant Fund considers applications from carers of all ages for a broad range of items and activities. This fund values the important role played by families and carers in the lives of people with MS.
Please get in touch with the Volunteer Support Team:
[email protected] or call 0300 500 8084 - option #3. Working hours: 9-7 Monday to Friday (closed on bank holidays and over the festive period).