Since April, we've been taking a staggered approach to supporting our groups to restart face-to-face services, social activities, and (most recently) fundraising. We’ve updated our risk-management systems and paperwork to allow this to happen in a COVID-safe way, in line with governmental guidance.
Last year we renewed our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, in recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement. As part of that commitment, we also marked UK Black History Month for the first time in its long and rich history. We know we’ve been slow to join the movement. But now we have, we’re committed to centring the experiences of our Black MS community within it.
Despite one in six people in the UK living with a neurological condition, neurology services are stretched, underfunded and overlooked. These services were neglected long before the pandemic – but now the situation is critical.
Our community have told us of difficulties in accessing MS and neurology services even before the COVID-19 pandemic. And that delays to appointments and waiting times for services have increased even more due to the effects of the pandemic.
During our recent grants updates and workshops on Zoom, lots of you said you found the opportunity to speak to other volunteers really useful. Advice was shared – from information about local resources, to wider ideas like building relationships with health professionals.
With things now feeling more ‘normal’ and the summer holiday season coming to an end, we’re seeing an increase in the number of groups now ready to restart some face-to-face activity. It’s great to know that some of our service users, many of whom have been physically isolated for so long, will be able to resume the social contact which means so much to them.
This also seems a good time for a reminder about the five-step process all groups need to follow before restarting any face-to-face activity: