The weather is turning darker and colder, the latest John Lewis ad is on the TV and fairy lights are taking over the streets. It can only mean one thing – Christmas is on the way and with it, we’ll soon be seeing in a new year. At this time of year, it’s important to reflect on the months that have passed, as well as look forward to the year to come. 2014 has undoubtedly been an extremely busy year for the MS Society, but also an incredibly successful one.
Among the most important developments of the last year has been the work we have put into agreeing our new strategy for 2015-2019, Together to Beat MS. The strategy sets out the way we will work for the next five years, so it’s essential that it’s based on the right principles. That’s why everything in our strategy is driven by the needs, hopes and aspirations of people affected by MS. People from across the MS community have fed into our strategy, from MS professionals, people affected by MS, and, of course, volunteers and branch members - we couldn’t have done it without you. Now we are focused on turning strategy into meaningful action and working towards achieving the seven goals listed within it – in particular focusing on our number one goal of investing in research to develop new, effective treatments, and campaigning to ensure people can access them. You can read more about our goals on our website
Improving access to treatments has already been a big focus for us this year and in April we launched our Treat Me Right campaign to fight for access to the right treatments for people with MS. The campaign was launched at MS Life in Manchester, our biggest and best event yet, at which over 3,000 people gathered to get more information about living with MS as well as hearing from our 172 speakers. And on the research front, we’ve recently collaborated with other MS charities and leading MS researchers across the world to launch the Progressive MS Alliance, which aims to pool resources and join forces to step up the search for effective treatments for the progressive forms of the condition. Twenty two research projects are already underway and we’ve now launched our Brighter Future appeal to raise even more funds to support the ambitious initiative. Visit www.mssociety.org.uk/brighterfuture to find out more or to make a donation.
Alongside these achievements, we can’t forget the excellent work of our branches. From winning grants, to campaigning to save MS Nurses, developing new services and partnerships with Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, running information events, continuing to fundraise for MS research, and of course continuing to provide vital support and friendship to thousands of people living with MS – we can’t achieve a fraction of what we do without the support of our branches and members. Thank you all.
Exciting and ambitious plans are in place for 2015, and while there is undoubtedly a lot of work to be done, I’m confident that the next year will be equally impressive as the one just passed. I look forward to seeing everything 2015 brings, and hope that you’ll continue to be beside us every step of the way.
Thank you again for all you’ve done for the MS community this year. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy 2015.
Chief Executive MS Society
Note to newsletter editors
Please feel free to include Michelle's Christmas message in your branch newsletter - we'd love for you to share it with your members. The resources below have been created to help you do this.