As you may be aware, in 2017 we carried out a review of our locally managed holiday homes, shops and day centres. We then developed some proposals and consulted our volunteers, members and holiday home users on these. As part of the consultation process we contacted more than 1,600 people to invite them to feedback and received over 160 responses.
We’ve now reviewed all the feedback and are able to share our final decisions. We’ve already shared these decisions with the groups involved in the review and with those who sent us their feedback.
We’re pleased to say that we’ll be increasing support for our shops network by putting in place additional resources in the form of a national retail manager who’ll provide the expertise to better support our shops and maximise their fundraising potential.
To help support the transition to this new approach we’ll centrally fund this new post until the end of 2019 after which point we would expect this post to be funded by shop profits.
The other key element of the changes is that all shops will be required to have a paid shop manager or staff member, as five of our shops already do. The National Retail Manager will manage local shop managers.
We’re looking forward to working with the volunteers and staff involved in running our shops to make this approach a success.
We’ve made the decision that the MS Society’s local groups will no longer own or manage holiday homes after the end of this year.
Groups have been given the option to close immediately if they would prefer but the majority have already confirmed they will remain open in 2018.
As an organisation we don’t feel we’re best placed to provide this service directly and think we can best support people to access suitable breaks by providing tailored information and financial support - via our helpline and grants fund - which together enable people to choose from the wide range of accessible breaks and holidays available.
However, where possible we’d like to see the holiday homes continue to be available for people affected by MS beyond 2018. If volunteers are interested in continuing to run the holiday homes we’ll work with them to find a way to make this a reality, outside of MS Society structures. We have recently met with one group, North Norfolk, who are exploring options for running their holiday home independently and will be contacting the other groups to discuss this.
We want to offer a genuine and heartfelt thank you to all our volunteers, past and present, who have been involved in running our holiday homes or raising money for them. This decision is in no way a reflection of their dedication and hard work but rather of how best we feel we can support more people affected by MS to access suitable holidays.
Click here for full details on this decision and sources of support for those planning a holiday.
We’re working together with key day centre volunteers to look at options of how best to address the issues raised by the review. This work will continue throughout 2018.
For more information
If you have any other questions or concerns about these decisions, you can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org