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Understanding local need

Before your group decides to provide a new service or activity, it is important to understand what is needed.

See Group Handbook B6: Planning and delivering quality services and activities

  1. Why identify local need?
  2. Who can help us understand what’s needed?
  3. Need support?

Why identify local need?

Identifying local need helps ensure that the services and activities your group offers are cost effective and don’t duplicate those that are already provided by others. It will also mean people affected by MS are more likely to make full use of what your group provides.

Understanding the needs of your MS community should be an ongoing priority for your group. This local knowledge will:

  • inform the planning process
  • help your group to decide between options
  • support you to share your results and plan again

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Who can help us understand what’s needed?

  1. Our staff
  2. MS professionals
  3. Our members
  4. Wider MS community

Our staff

Regional/External Relations Officers (R/EROs) work throughout the UK to influence change for people affected by MS. They build relationships with decision makers and professionals to ensure effective treatment and care exists for people affected by MS.

  1. Contact your Regional/External Relations Officer to find out about any local issues they have identified

Your Local Networks Officer (LNO) supports your group to plan and provide safe, effective services and support for people living with MS. Your LNO will know what’s working elsewhere and can help you to decide how best to meet the needs of your local MS community.

  1. Contact your Local Networks Officer (LNO) for support to identify what is needed where you are

MS professionals

Your local MS nurse can be a useful source of information and may work with you to get the views of the local MS community about services and activities they would like to see delivered locally.

  1. Find out more about Key local services we work alongside and signpost to

Our members

As a group that handles money and delivers services and activities, you have access to personal data about our members in the area who have agreed for their details to be shared with you.

You can use this data to give members the opportunity to review current services and activities, and take part in planning for the year ahead. This could be in person at a group meeting, or in the form of a survey you send out by post or email.

  1. Go to Contact and communication for guidance on working with MS Society members in the area

Your wider MS community

People affected by MS may use other local services and activities, such as therapy centres, accessible exercise classes or carers groups. Consulting with these groups will improve your understanding of local need and ensure that you don’t duplicate services and activities that are already available.

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Need support?

Your Local Networks Officer is here to support your group to develop services and activities that meet the needs of your MS community.

  1. Get contact details for your Local Networks Officer

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