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Guest blog: Meet Chloe...

Posted on: August 29 2017

img_1236.jpgToday's guest blog is from Chloe Baxter, who spent last week with MS-UK for work experience in the marketing department...

Hi everyone, my name is Chloe and last week I joined the MS-UK team to do a bit of work experience. I study Business and Globalisation at De Montfort University in Leicester, so naturally it would have made sense to take on a marketing role for the week.

Since leaving school, throughout my A levels and my first year of university, I’ve never had a job that requires me to get up any time before 12. And I was pretty lucky to have a timetable at uni with not too many early mornings. So the first struggle occurred before I even managed to lift my head off the pillow. Fortunately, as the week progressed, I would learn that this is the only struggle I would face.

The role was much more enjoyable than I would have imagined; after being somewhat put off marketing in my first year of uni. This was not down to the content nor my lecturers, but more so my terrible work group that left the majority of the work down to a couple of us. The week kicked off with terminology that I have been learning about since GCSE Business, for example, the trusty SWOT analysis. It was cool to see all of the things I’ve been learning about for so long in the real world of work (and to be reassured that indeed all of this stuff is actually used, it wasn’t all for nothing!).

For sure, I most enjoyed the creative side like designing social media posts and different documents for an upcoming campaign. Alongside writing many a blog, I felt like I was really improving upon my writing skills. Not only that, I felt like I had to write super professionally because it’s for a legitimate business (not that I don’t do that for university), which made me challenge myself and also check over things twice as well.

For the most part, I was introduced to new software that I had never heard of before. That made it interesting, and if I were to come across them for the rest of my uni career or indeed for any career in the future, I would know the general gist of it at least. Like they say – you can’t buy experience, and I’m grateful to the MS-UK team for that! Shout out to everyone I worked with – it was a super sweet week.

All of the designs you see on our social media channels this week have been designed by Chloe – follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to check them out.

A big thank you to Chloe!

Improving accessibility to the helpline

Posted on: August 23 2017

interp-1.pngOur helpline not only attracts people from the UK, but we also chat with many people from overseas via our live webchat facility. This is great, as it allows those in different time zones to contact us if they need to talk.

Another service that complements this nicely is our telephone interpretation service.

This service is not just available for those contacting us from overseas, but for those based within the UK, whose English is limited.

Whilst using the interpretation service, in order to communicate with clients we use a values led, non-for-profit business. This covers over 100 languages, all interpreters are fully qualified and based in the UK.

All interpreters are experienced in working with sensitive issues and all have Disclosure and Barring Service clearance. This gives another layer of protection to our clients.

So, how does our telephone interpretation service work?

The service is straight forward and simple. Once contact has been made with the MS-UK Helpline, all we need to know is your

  • Name
  • Contact number
  • Specified language

We will then make contact with an interpreter who will get back to you as soon as possible. You will then be connected to a three way conversation between yourself, the interpreter and a member of our helpline who will give you the support you need.

Laura Amiss-Smith
Helpline Supervisor

Jingle all the way for MS-UK!

Posted on: August 21 2017

christmas-hats-2.jpgHo, ho, hello! In just four months time you could be donning a big red suit and taking part with 4,000 other Santas in the annual Santa Run at Victoria Park. Happening on 03 December, you can take on a 5k or 10k walk, run or jog and the whole family can get involved!

Anyone over the age of eight can take part, and your four pawed friends can come along too. There’s even a free children’s fun race at the beginning of the day for mini Santa’s. Raising money for MS-UK couldn’t be simpler with this fun-filled race, and our sponsorship target is just £100, although of course you can raise a lot more! There is a £25 registration fee for adults, and the course and event is also wheelchair accessible.

The Santa Run organisers will be holding a fancy dress competition, so if you are feeling creative you can become your favourite festive friend.

After you have collected your medal, come and join the MS-UK team for some seasonal snacks with all the trimmings!

Can you see yoursELF in the picture?

Email me today, or give me a call on 01206 226500!

Best wishes,


Jenny Poulter, Events Fundraiser

Guest blog: Niamh Sarah ask Josephs Court clients what matters

Posted on: August 18 2017

niamh-and-sarah-ots-at-jc-2017.jpgIn this guest blog, Niamh and Sarah talk about what they are doing at Josephs Court, our wellness centre based in Essex…

Hi we are Niamh and Sarah, we are undertaking a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at the University of Essex. We are half way through completing our final role emerging 8 week placement at MS-UK (Josephs Court) until the beginning of September. As this is a role emerging placement, there is currently no Occupational Therapist within this setting. Therefore, it is our ambition as OT students to promote our profession amongst the MS-UK community.

Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2017)

We are thoroughly enjoying building a rapport with clients, family, carers and staff. It has reinforced for us the importance of viewing clients and individuals we meet holistically and delivering client centred care.

Both of these concepts are reflected in the core underpinnings and ethos of the OT profession. We are excited to continue to work within this inspiring team. Our aim is to design interventions that may improve the quality of life of the clients that we meet, identify clients potential and where possible collaboratively work to overcome barriers through engaging in activities of daily living and occupations.

Our role as OT students within this setting has consisted of us using transferable skills such as communication, professionalism and listening in conjunction with core OT skills and implementing these at MS-UK.

We have been tasked to identify and develop an occupational focused service development that targets clients’ needs and enables clients to improve their health and well-being.  Using our skills we have ascertained that falls is a barrier to engagement in activities of daily living.

After conducting some research within Josephs Court regarding incidences and prevalence of falls, we have ascertained that falls is a barrier for engagement in daily occupations and may be impacting people’s psychological health. As a result, we will facilitate a falls prevention information session. This will take place in Josephs Court.  Where possible we shall signpost clients and carers to alternative services, support and equipment to enhance client’s pathways of care. We will continue to make suggestions on self-management techniques.

We are encouraged to adopt the positive mind-set that is so evident from both clients and staff within this community.

‘Occupational Therapy practitioners ask, ‘what matters to you?’ not, ‘what’s the matter with you’.’ (Ginny Stoffel, AOTA President)

Fundraiser of the month: Mel's story!

Posted on: August 15 2017

image002.jpgOur fundraiser of the month for August is Mel Foyle. She got in touch with us in April to tell us about a fundraising day that she was planning with raffles, games for the kids and food and drink. The event took place on the 01 July and was a great success!

My name is Mel Foyle and I have recently done a fundraising event for MS-UK.

A little bit about myself, I am 27 and I have a little girl called Millie who is 3 :)

I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2015, but symptoms first started in 2011. At the start of the year, I made a resolution that I would raise some money and awareness for MS-UK. I wanted to do this because I've seen my friends' mum and her friend raise so much money for them and I wanted to do my bit as well. I also know how much this charity does and I wanted to do a UK based one, I never know when I will need their help.

I wanted to do my own fundraiser and I chose a family fun day! It took me a few months of organising, with help of family and friends of course - especially my 2 best friends and my mum.

The day started at 4.30pm at Thatcham Football Club. We charged people to get in and inside had stalls for cakes and sweets, a bar, a tombola and some games. We also had a DJ, and decorated the hall with balloons in purple, green, orange and white.

Outside we had a bouncy castle, an ice cream van, some more games and a big penalty shootout. I also held a raffle later on, with nearly 60 prizes ranging from evenings in London to meals out, family days, haircuts and beauty products. These sold very well! The plan was to also have a burger van, but after it was half an hour late we soon realised it wasn't going to turn up! I had to try and stay calm, and luckily my best friend and brother in law took it on themselves and went and got loads of food and a BBQ, so none of the worry was on me. My dad and father in law cooked away and managed to have it all under control, I'm lucky to have them all!


Overall we had around 100 plus people there and the weather was hot and sunny. It had been rubbish weather all week so I was happy when the sun decided to come out! Other than the burger van fiasco, the day went so smoothly! I feel really proud of myself that I managed to pull off such a good event and I will be doing it again for sure, just not for a while haha. But I will continue to try and raise money and awareness wherever I possibly can.

My final total, from the event and my JustGiving page, was a massive £1,790, which was way more than I ever expected! I couldn't have done it without my wonderful partner Chris, he has supported me through absolutely everything. Big thanks to Nick at MS-UK for all his support, help and advice from start to finish!


Bank holiday - garden party time!

Posted on: August 14 2017

garden-party.jpgWant something to do on the bank holiday weekend? Hold a garden party for MS-UK! So the August 28 bank holiday is coming up and we had a little brainstorm about how you, our lovely supporters, could use the break to have a little get together in your own back garden in aid of MS-UK! Below we’ve put together a checklist of what you’ll need to host a garden party for MS-UK to help you organise your very own!

  • A garden - Very handy for a garden party! If you don’t have your own then you could see if a friend would be willing to host or if you could hold it in a public park?
  • A theme – You could theme your garden party and have guests dress up. For example ‘British summer time’, where you could serve strawberries and cream and wear straw bowler hats. Don’t forget the Pimms!
  • Invitations – Invite as many people as you like. A garden party is all about seeing old friends and introducing new ones
  • Fundraising goodies – Some MS-UK tops, a collection tin, a few stickers and balloons all make for great decorations at your garden party and help people know what they are raising funds for
  • Seating and tables – You could use some garden furniture or bring some indoor chairs outside. You could even lay out picnic blankets!
  • Food – Always a winner at a garden party. You could have sandwiches, cakes and some fruit. If you wanted to go big you could also think BBQ!
  • Drink – Tea and coffee are a classic garden party drink. Wine never goes unnoticed too…
  • Entertainment – You could see if a friend would be willing to play some music for you, or if you wanted to go old school you could play a game of croquet!
  • Donations – Asking for a donation for the garden party is the best way to raise funds but you could also ask for donations if you have some entertainment. Get some MS-UK collection tins to collect the funds!
  • Sending thanks – sending out a thank you to everyone that attended is a great way to thank everyone for their contribution to MS-UK

We hope this will help if you want to plan a garden party! Let us know if you’re putting something together and we can send out the fundraising goodies and collection tins that you need to make it a fundraising success! You can get in touch with me at or call on 01206 226500! Good luck...and I have my fingers crossed the weather holds! Nick Nick Adams Fundraising Assistant

Foot drop? Find out more about a free trial of the Bioness FES

Posted on: August 11 2017

footdrop1.jpgHello, Do you experience foot drop? FES Hire are a new company who are offering the Bioness FES, which is a walking device. The Bioness FES consists of

  • A battery-powered control box, about the size of a pack of cards, worn on a lanyard or carried
  • A sensor worn in the shoe (heel switch) which detects pressure changes as the foot starts to move
  • A band wrapped around the leg, with battery-powered electrodes touching the skin

FES Hire are a new company providing this device on a hire lease purchase basis.

They would like you to invite you to attend a free trial event at Moulton, Northampton on 20 September 2017 where you would get a free fitting and calibration from a neuro physio. Please visit for further information and to register for the event.

Best wishes,
Diana Diana Baxter,
Head of Services

Guest Blog: The day after, the day after, the night before...

Posted on: August 09 2017

jo-small.jpgIn her second guest blog for us Jo discusses MS fatigue and how it can creep up on you unexpectedly...

For those of us with MS, planning becomes second nature. As we only have a limited amount of energy available we know there is only so much we can do before symptoms flare up or we run out of batteries. So if there is a particularly big event approaching I
try to plan a rest day either side to compensate. Simple.

However, I have now discovered a new phenomenon which I like to call ‘the day after, the day after, the night before’. It appears that often the day after a big event or a busy day I actually don’t feel too bad. (Just to clarify a ‘big event’ or ‘busy day’ could be a football match or night out, but equally could be ‘did some housework’ or ‘went to the shops’!) However the day after that? I often feel dreadful! I’m exhausted, the pain is back or my legs are wobbly and I struggle to function.

A recent example of this, was I went to see a band I had always wanted to see. It was ambitious I admit. I rested the day before and on the day itself, got a lift to and from the concert and had an amazing time (it made a change to have my ears ringing for another reason rather than the usual tinnitus!) And the next day? I didn’t feel too bad. Tired from the late night and the extra standing and walking, but pretty OK. ‘Got away with that’ I thought. I was pleasantly surprised and as it turns out lulled into a completely false sense of security, because the day after? I felt awful! Pain, nausea, crippling fatigue…all the usual suspects.

So why is this happening? I have absolutely no idea, but it’s really annoying and makes that whole planning thing a whole lot harder! I now have to try and allow two days rest after a particularly busy day, which isn’t always practical. And if I have a run of a few days with commitments and appointments it means I have to cut everything else right back to have any chance of doing them. It means no washing will be done, meals will be chosen by their ease of preparation (hello egg and chips) and socialising will be cut right back, because these mundane daily activities use valuable energy that isn’t going spare.

And that’s OK. If that’s what it takes to ensure I have the best chance of doing the things I have to and want to do, then so be it. Sadly my hangover days are long behind me (hard enough to stay on my feet and find my words sober!) so the traditional day after the night before is not a problem…but the day after, the day after, the night before? That’s a whole different kind of challenge that hair of the dog or a fry up just won’t fix!


You can download our Choices leaflets on fatigue, and MS symptoms from the MS-UK website.

Last chance to take our helpline survey...

Posted on: August 08 2017

win-icon.pngHi everyone,

Tomorrow is the last chance to take our survey all about the MS-UK Helpline, and let us know your opinions if you have used the helpline at all in 2017.

We would like to know why you chose the MS-UK Helpline, whether or not you found the information and support from our team useful and your opinions about our opening hours and accessibility.

This survey is for people who have used the MS-UK Helpline this year (2017). By completing this survey, you are helping us to improve the MS-UK Helpline in the future, so your feedback is invaluable!

As a thank you for sharing your thoughts, one lucky person will be selected at random to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher!

The closing date for this survey is tomorrow (09 August 2017), so don’t delay!

Take the survey now online

Thank you – and good luck!

Best wishes,


Diana Baxter, Head of Services


Colchester M&S choose MS-UK as charity of the year!

Posted on: August 07 2017

MS-UK were over the moon to receive a phone call back in March from Marks & Spencer Colchester saying that we had been selected as their charity of the year for 2017/18. Each year the store raises approximately £4,000 for good causes!


Staff nominate local good causes and a vote is cast to decide which charity the store is set to support. Staff picked MS-UK to show support for one of their store managers who is living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and coupled with the fact that MS-UK is local to Colchester – it was a clear winner!

Patrick Ablett and Zowie Guymer came to visit MS-UK to see first hand the services we provide to anyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

Patrick said, ‘I wish I had known about MS-UK when I had first been diagnosed, I had so many questions going through my mind. Seeing the centre for the first time gave me some light at the end of the tunnel, what a great team.’

MS-UK is a small national charity who supports anyone affected by MS. Locally Josephs Court, our wellness centre, offers specialised equipment which enables people living with MS to benefit from a tailored exercise programme which focuses on individual’s specific needs. The centre is much more than a gym, it provides a supportive environment for people living with MS who are facing similar challenges as well as being a great social hub too.

MS-UK also provides a helpline and publishes a magazine called New Pathways, both of which are available to anyone affected by MS. We support people emotionally and provide our clients with the information they need to make choices that are right for them so they can live life to the full.

Marks & Spencer Colchester will be raising money for MS-UK by having collection tins at the till points throughout the year as well as hosting a range of events and they have already raised over £500!

This Saturday there was a sponsored cycle in store, and a team of Marks & Spencer staff cycled their hearts out to raise awareness for the charity and raised over £560!

Staff and volunteers from MS-UK also joined in by offering shoppers a bag packing service in return for a small donation.

Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager at MS-UK says ‘We are delighted to be working with Marks & Spencer Colchester. It’s fantastic to raise awareness of our brilliant charity locally as well as raising vital funds. MS-UK does not receive any government or pharmaceutical funding and we rely solely on our supporters to deliver our vital services to anyone affected by MS.’