The current global crisis has put significant financial pressure on our organisation. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working hard to minimise impact and risk in the short term. We estimated a £10 million income drop this year and we’ve narrowed the gap between income and expenditure to around £3-5 million, despite difficult circumstances.
But the reality is that even when restrictions are lifted, the effects of COVID 19 will be felt for a long time to come within our organisation, across the charity sector, throughout the MS community and in the external environment. Much longer than we first anticipated.
This means we need to do more. We need to change and adapt so that we’re able to continue supporting our community in the months and years to come. Recognising that the world around us, how we interact with society and each other, how we access health care and social support will change too.
As part of our immediate short-term actions, a third of our organisation have been placed on furlough leave, some of whom you will have known and had contact with. The Scheme has been vital and we are hugely grateful to colleagues who have gone on furlough leave.
We’ve confirmed to our staff team that we’ll be using the Scheme until at least the end of June, and soon you’ll be updated on what this means for you locally. Any further extensions of furlough leave will be communicated when we have made a decision on this.
The Furlough Scheme alone has generated substantial savings. However, it is not enough to address our income gap in the long-term, we still need to do more.
Transforming our organisation
Prior to COVID-19 we began an internal transformation programme, to make us more efficient and improve the way we work. This work is now more important than ever as we face increased financial pressures and an urgent need to focus on reducing costs and improving efficiency. We need to do this now, so we can support you, our volunteers and our community in the best way possible as we come out of the crisis.
This means there are likely to be some changes to our staff team, and we’re currently working hard to develop proposed structures that fit our organisational need for the long-term.
We’ve told staff about this today, but don’t know what these proposals will look like yet. We expect to be in a position to communicate details with staff who might be affected at the end of June or early in July.
We know this is a difficult time. It’s difficult for our colleagues hearing this news today and it’s also difficult for you, our volunteers, given the uncertainty around this. If you have questions, please do get in touch with us. We don’t have all the answers but we do welcome your feedback so we can make sure we are considering your views.
We will update you when we have more details, particularly on proposed changes to our organisation structure and how this might affect your volunteer role.