We appreciate that your group may be struggling to know how to support your members and the MS community locally while face-to-face services have had to be put on hold.
If your group offers MS Support, we are keen to work with you to ensure that you can continue this to support local people affected by MS. Especially if you are experiencing a higher than normal number of enquiries during this difficult period.
Peer Support telephone sessions
If you’re looking for ways to support others through these challenging times, then why not join one of our Peer Support telephone sessions.
These sessions are designed to connect Group Coordinators and Support Volunteers from across the MS Society, for emotional support if things are getting on top of you. They are an opportunity to find out what other groups are up to and to share experiences and ideas, or just to chat with other volunteers if you feel you’re on your own.
If you have signed up to be a Support Volunteer, but have yet to do your training, or you would like to become a Support Volunteer, come along.It’s easy and free to join a session, and there are currently six dates to choose from, between 8 and 17 April. You can sign up here.
Barbara Sujecka, our Support and Wellbeing Facilitator, can also offer a confidential chat if you need to talk something through on an individual basis. Send her an email with your name, number and a good time for you take a call.
General support to the MS community
We know that some of you are actively ringing your members to see how they are doing. While we don’t expect you to do this, people will certainly be feeling isolated and concerned at this time and appreciate a call. Please do be mindful of data protection and sharing personal details with others.
Signposting can really help people in your community get the information they need:
- The MS Society website is updated regularly as things change around COVID-19 and is the best resource we have for people affected by MS to receive up to date information and answers to their questions.
- The Government website also gives regular updates to the general public and specific advice about people with underlying health conditions.
- The Government website also provides information specifically around finances. Citizen's Advice can also help with this, and Turn2us has an online tool to search for grant funders.
- You may also want to find out about the organisations that are offering food and medicine deliveries locally, including COVID-19 Mutual Aid.
Only Support Volunteers will have been trained to give a listening ear, so other volunteers should not be offering emotional support. If you don’t have a Support Volunteer, please signpost people to our MS Helpline.
Face-to-face support can still be given remotely via online options such as WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger. If you need any support with these, please do get in touch with the Volunteering Team. They are running sessions on using Zoom over the coming weeks, and you can sign up for one here.
We would not be able to reach and support as many people as we do without you, so a big ‘thank you’ for your continued support to your local community.
If you would like any further information about MS Support and/or general advice about what you could offer through this period, just let us know.