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Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Important guidance for volunteers

With the developing status of the coronavirus outbreak we are committed to making sure you are updated with the latest information. We’ve developed the following guidance for MS Society volunteers, however it is important to note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice may change. Please check this page regularly for the latest information.

We understand that many of you may be concerned. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers, staff and those living with or affected by MS; and this will be at the heart of all decisions we make. You can find general advice and information for people affected by MS on our website.

Suspending face-to-face activities in our local groups

Following the Government announcement on March 16 stating that we should increase social distancing and avoid non-essential contact, we are now strongly advising that all of our local groups should suspend all face-to-face services and activities in their local communities.

We’re aware that many local groups have already taken the decision to stop face-to-face services and events. And that many people with MS have taken the individual decision to stop attending these activities. We believe that this additional step is consistent with government advice and is the best way to protect the safety of our volunteers, members of the MS community and others involved in running local services.

This includes services such as socials, group meetings, exercise classes, and any activity which involves face-to-face contact between volunteers and/or people affected by MS.

Continuing support

We know that our services play a vital role in their supporting the MS community, and that suspending them will reduce our ability to support people affected by MS. Our priority is now on exploring how we can continue to support the MS community through other means.

Where possible we encourage groups to continue delivering MS Support over the phone, as it is likely that the community will need this service more than ever. We’re also working hard to explore how we can scale up support over the phone through our national services and will be sharing information about this soon.

Many local communities have established groups to provide support to those isolated at home – please try to find out about what groups are doing in your area so that you can provide information to people affected by MS in your community.

You can also use online tools like Zoom to facilitate video conference meetings – which could be used as a tool for volunteers to talk with one another, or to connect with others in the local community. We’ll post further tools and resources to help with this here soon.

We’ll keep the situation under review and will let volunteers know once we believe it is appropriate to resume face-to-face services.

Keeping you informed

We will continue to review the situation and keep you updated on our response. Thank you for all that 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.

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