On 16 March, the Government told us all to increase social distancing and avoid non-essential contact. We responded to this by asking our local groups to suspend all services and activities involving face-to-face contact between volunteers/service providers and people affected by MS.
Since then, groups across the UK have made fantastic efforts to continue their support to members and service users during this challenging time, by offering some of their services and activities ‘virtually’, via phone or online. Around 400 services and activities have been able to continue in this way, with new people attending who had previously been unable to make face-to-face sessions.
We want to thank you for your flexibility and commitment in achieving all this at very short notice – especially those who have conquered unfamiliar technology to do so.
However, now that Government guidance is changing, some of you have been asking when groups (and/or individual volunteers) can start to re-introduce face-to-face services and activities. Simply put, our response is - not at the moment.
Although rules are being relaxed, Government guidance is still to maintain social distancing and avoid non-essential contact. We are looking at the changes we will need to introduce to ensure that this can be achieved for face-to-face services and activities, to keep everybody safe. We will be working on this over the coming weeks and months as Government guidance (and how it varies between the nations) becomes clearer.
We will keep you informed and let you know when face-to-face services and activities can resume. Until then, please do not re-start anything (group meetings, socials, exercise classes, etc) involving face-to-face contact.
If you are looking at ways of staying connected with your members and service users online, please see our guidance on using Zoom and social media here, and details of our regular Zoom training sessions here.
Thank you again for all you are doing to support our community. If you have any concerns, please get in touch with your Group Coordinator, LNO or other relevant staff member to discuss.