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Guest blog: The step by step guide to mastering a charity street collection!

Posted on: January 17 2019

aled and ennli street collect.jpgIn this guest blog, Aled and Enlli give us their pro tips for organising a street collection. Both of these amazing people are fundraising for MS-UK as they take on the Virgin Money London Marathon this year - thank you guys! So, read on for their top tips...

What is a street collection?

A street collection is a charity collection on a high street or shopping area. Collections are usually made using buckets. Learn how to stage your own street collection with this handy guide from seasoned pros Aled and Enlli!

Step one - Plan your application

In order to be able to organise a street collection you must first make an application to your local council.

You should look to make an application a month before the date you are hoping to do the collection.

Popular areas and dates (such as Christmas) may require an application to be completed further in advance.

Step two - Complete your application

The application form should be available on the council's website.

The application form for most councils will be in PDF or word document format which you will need to save before filling in. Make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe. The forms are usually straightforward, requiring information about yourself and the charity.

Most councils also require a letter of authenticity (LOA) to be submitted alongside the application. This proves to the council that you are raising money for charity. You can get a LOA from your charity of choice. If you are planning a street collection for MS-UK, you can get in touch with the MS-UK Fundraising Team using our online form.

Step three - Prepare yourself for the day ahead

Be early - You may not be the only street collector on the day. By arriving early you can make sure you can stand in the prime location and catch the early shoppers who can also be the most generous. 

Grab a great spot - It is very important to make sure you stand in a good location. Ideally you want to be placed in a busy place near popular shops.

Take a break -  Street collecting can be very tiring both physically and mentally. Take breaks and make sure you drink enough water.

Step four - Get creative!

aled and ennli street collect 2.jpgTry fancy dress -  Dressing up really helps. It can often draw people's attention and often brings a smile to young children. I (Aled) often wear my giraffe onesie or something festive. Before Christmas we organised a street collection in St Albans and we certainly drew attention to ourselves dressed up as elves!

Be active -  There is nothing worse than a disinterested collector! We never standing still when collecting. It keeps us warm and people always seem more likely to donate to those who look like they want to be there.

Grab some stickers! -  Having stickers with you can be very useful. Children really enjoy getting something in return. At our Christmas collection we gave out festive stickers to children and their parents often reached for a few extra pennies!

Handy extra information!

  • People may ask what your charity does. If you're raising money for MS-UK, make sure you are aware of the amazing work they do!

  • Tell your chosen charity before you start collecting. You should always email the charity before making an application for a street collection as a charity can only make one application in an area per year. 

  • Set up a Facebook page. If you are successful with an application, post about it on the Facebook page so others who live nearby can join in.

  • Don't shake the bucket! You are not allowed to shake your bucket when conducting a street collection.

  • Organising a street collection in central London tends to be very difficult. They need to be organised a long time in advance and usually by the charity itself.

  •  If you would like to collect outside a supermarket or shopping centre you may require extra permission from the manager in additional to the council license.

Good luck!

From Aled and Enlli

Fancy hosting a street collection for MS-UK? Get in touch with our fundraising team today!

Contact us button 2019.png

 

Guest blog: The things people say...

Posted on: January 16 2019

In this guest blog we hear from David, Chief Executive from Sportability, a British charity supporting people affected by paralysis to take part in sport...

'I’ve had a wonderful two months since joining Sportability. I feel that my life is beginning to start again with my MS no longer being a brick in my pocket!'

That quote came out quite naturally in a casual conversation with Mandy, at one of our sporting events. As a former journalist it resonated with me because of its utter simplicity and total authenticity. I was a professional writer and yet I could never have created, or even imagined, such a complete and vibrant description that in just a couple of word encapsulates what Mandy obviously felt as the restraining, the weighing down, effect of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Inspired by this we have recently been gathering simple profiles from various people who enjoy our events and activities. These are unscripted self-written comments, devoid of PR frippery and spin, but chock full of sincerity and an earthy originality. The results are truly revealing.

Photo of David with Trish, the Sporability patron
This is David with Trish Deykin, the patron of Sportability.

How about this as a powerful message from Roger, a 65 year old living in the Midlands. 'With MS there are two ways you can go, either switch off and wait for a cure or you can find a different way of living your life.  Like a river finding a new course.  Before my MS I was working 80 hours a week and doing very little else.  Since my diagnosis, I have travelled more, had more fantastic experiences, a lot of them with Sportability, certainly more than I ever would have had without my illness.'

Or the frank, honest, open-ness of Jen from East Anglia. 'Prior to suffering with MS, I had always been an outgoing, confident, professional individual. However, I became a very different person as my symptoms took hold, robbing me of all of this, as well as my identity. I found myself experiencing the very unfamiliar feeling of vulnerability, having a total lack of confidence and self-worth. My world became a very small place.'

But she goes on to reveal something of an MS metamorphosis. 'Then I was introduced to Sportability and wow, I haven't looked back! This enabled me to experience a variety of activities, such as gliding, quad-biking and sailing. It's a wonderful feeling to be in an environment where you feel safe, where you are accepted as you are and where people focus on what you can do, and not what you can't. I come away from a Sportability day with a big smile and feeling emotionally energized. My confidence has grown as I realise that there is an abundance of things out there that I can in fact do!'

They are only words, but how meaningful and heartfelt they are. And what insights and, dare I say it, inspiration, they evoke. It is the things that people say, like this, that make us do the things we do.

David Heard, Chief Executive of Sportability

Photo: David Heard and Trish Deykin. At the recent 2018 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards Trish received The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration. She is the current Triathlon European Champion, and has been for last two years. She is also a former World Champion.

Sportability logo imageDiscover Sportability

You can find out more about Sportability on their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter

Guest Blog: Race to the King...it started with a text

Posted on: January 11 2019

In this guest blog, Carly Soffe tells us about her gruelling grapple with the Race to the King ultra-marathon!Photo of Carly and Alister at the Race to the King challenge

I came out of a meeting in mid-January and had a text message from my good friend and Tysabri buddy’s husband, Alister... ‘Are you up for this?’ he said, sending a link to the Race to the King event, a 53 mile trail ultra-marathon.

I’d been running for about 8 months and had a few 10k and a half marathon runs under my belt, including the Brighton Marathon. I thought about it, albeit briefly, and replied ‘You know what? Yes! This sounds fun, happy to do it in a day too’. There was an option to do it over two days, but that was far too sensible…

And then I kind of forgot about it. I ramped up my training for Brighton and managed it in 4hr 30m. It was tougher than I’d hoped but I didn’t stick to my race plan and went too fast too soon. Alister assured me that a marathon was far harder than anything else I’d do… I was doubtful.

I signed up for a walking event, which the organiser agreed I could run if I was fully self-sufficient. So I ran 45km of trails on my 32nd birthday. Running offroad was a real eye opener. It took far longer than I expected but was really enjoyable and, as the only runner in a walking event, I won!

Alister was following a 12-week training program, but I was struggling. With a full time job, three dogs, multiple sclerosis (MS) and awful time management skills, I wasn’t getting the miles in. Seven weeks before the ultra, Alister and I hadn’t even run together – how were we going to manage 53 miles in each other’s company? I was starting to worry. As if he read my mind, Alister invited me to join him on a 13.1 training run around town. It went well but there was work to do. Not long after that, I managed to start using the program. It meant some early mornings and late nights, but soon I was racking up 25-40 miles per week, and Alister and I were running every Sunday together, exploring the South Downs between Chichester and Eastbourne. 

At this point we discussed fundraising. We should raise some money, but who for? I volunteered that I would like to raise money for MS-UK, and Alister could join me or choose another charity if he wanted to. I explained that the MS-UK website and chat rooms had been beneficial for me post diagnosis, and I’d like to support them. He was keen to join me, and the race begun!

Both of us are fortunate to have very supportive families, friendship groups and colleagues, and our JustGiving pages started seeing a lot of visitors. Whilst my close colleagues are aware that I have MS, it’s not common knowledge, and as I’m field based, I often don’t see people for months. Whilst my email was nonspecific, my JustGiving page was honest and held nothing back, which felt liberating. The email went to the entire business, and I let out a deep breath. Within minutes my inbox was full of kind, generous and supportive messages, some from people I knew reasonably well, and others who I’d only met once. It felt amazing.

Alister and I went on to raise around £1,700 each and proudly wore our MS-UK running vests as we took on the ultra-marathon on 23 June 2018. We set off from Slindon at 8.15am and ran (yes, we were still running) across the finish line in Winchester at just gone 10.30pm. It was an amazing experience and I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. Our time was a little slower than hoped, but we had a headtorch malfunction, and both agreed we need to coordinate our toilet stops better in future. And yes, there is a ‘future’, Alister and I have only managed a few Parkruns together since but will be tackling at least one ultra-marathon in 2019 and aspire to complete a 100 mile ultra at some point.

Feeling inspired?

Discover ways to fundraise with MS-UK today!

Happy holidays from MS-UK...

Posted on: December 21 2018

Hello,Photo of Amy Woolf, CEO at MS-UK

I just wanted to wish you, on behalf of myself and the whole team here at MS-UK, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This year we have been proud to commemorate our 25th anniversary of supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.

We have seen our newest service, MS-UK Counselling, grow rapidly as more and more people seek confidential counselling that is grounded in a knowledge of living life with MS.

Our helpline has answered thousands of enquiries and our Choices leaflets have been downloaded over 70,000 times from our website. We now have over 20 different titles, encompassing a wide range of topics, from diet and nutrition through to complementary therapies.

Our magazine, New Pathways, landed on doormats every other month, connecting thousands of people with the wider MS community. And our wellness centre, Josephs Court, has extended its range of complementary therapies and social activities to better support people affected by MS in our local community.

Next year, we will be launching our new strategy. Until then, thank you for your support in 2018. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Best wishes,

Amy

Amy Woolf, CEO

Guest blog: Rocco's Mini Mudder!

Posted on: December 19 2018

In this guest blog, Rocco Guy Freedman, aged 8 years old, tells us all about his Mini Mudder challenge in aid of MS-UK...Photo of Rocco during the course

Photo of Rocco after the courseI absolutely loved the mini mudder, it was great. I loved doing this for the charity MS-UK, because my Grandpa has MS, and it was FUN! On the day I was very nervous. I saw the adults doing it. We went to the course and I got ready.

3…2…1…GO!

I was running as fast as I could. The first challenge was to get through the rope. We had to squeeze! We had the tunnels they were very slippery. Next we had the monkey swing, it was like the monkey bars, but our hands slipped. That was the hardest! Then we had to run really fast up a thing like a hill. We had the running and jumping in the MUD! I swam in it. That was the most fun challenge.

SUDDENLY I saw there was another challenge! I was so tired. We had to climb under the rope. We had to do the leopard crawl.  

I DID TEN LAPS OF THE COURSE!

I felt good for raising lots of money and I enjoyed telling people about MS-UK.

About Rocco's challenge

Mini Mudder is a 1 mile obstacle course mud run designed specifically for adventure-seeking kids. The course gives kids the chance to work as a team, get muddy, and experience the thrill of adventure. Rocco did this amazing challenge and raised over £100 in aid of MS-UK - every penny helps us to support even more people affected by mutliple sclerosis, so thank you Rocco!

Fundraisers of the month - Dan and Alex

Posted on: December 17 2018

This month, our fantastic fundraisers are Dan and Alex, who both did a skydive in aid of MS-UK recently. Here's their story of taking on 13,000 feet with their parents in mind...Photo of Dan and Alez

With both of us having parents who are sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS), we both believed it would be important to try and raise money to help them as best we can. At first, we looked at participating in a triathlon, but on second thought believed we should do something more extravagant, and so turned to the idea of a skydive. We knew this would put us both outside our comfort zones and looked forward to the challenge. We collected donations for around three months prior to the jump, both setting a target of £500, with an overall goal of £1,000.

As you can imagine, at first both of us made a lot of money but after a while the donations began to dry up. Therefore, we took to advertising our JustGiving page on social media, sending it to friends and family. We also asked around our schools for donations, which contributed significantly. Our jump took place on 03 November at Hinton Skydiving Centre in Brackley.

Family and friends came along to support which was a big confidence boost due to a high level of nerves. We had our briefing, met our tandem jumpers, and set off on the fifteen-minute journey up to 13,000 ft. The journey up was the worst part because it came into perspective just how high we were jumping from. On the way up, we took in the view of Silverstone racetrack and had one final briefing before the long fall back to ground. Alex jumped first, and Dan went second.

Photo of skydiveBoth of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience and both genuinely believed it was the best of our lives. The feeling of falling is very hard to explain, but it's an amazing sensation like no other that fills you with high levels of adrenaline and excitement. We would thoroughly recommend a skydive to anyone thinking about doing one, the experience is so unique, and you will not regret it.

Photo of skyive

Overall, we are delighted to say to that both met out targets and ended with a total of £1,497. Once again, we would like to thank MS-UK for their unconditional support and we hope our money goes to a good cause.
Dan Wood and Alex Greene
Aged 17
Northampton

Visit Dan's JustGiving page

Visit Alex's JustGiving page

Feeling inspired?

Visit our web page to find out more about skydiving in aid of MS-UK today! You can also email Lucy or give us a call on 01206 226500.

Guest blog: Laura's reasons for running a marathon...

Posted on: December 14 2018

In this guest blog, Laura Stokes tells us all about why she's set herself the mighty challenge of running the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK in 2019...Photo of Laura, MS-UK fundraiser

My name is Laura and I am delighted to have been given a spot in the London Marathon in aid of MS-UK. I decided to run for MS-UK to raise awareness and funds for all those that are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), including myself. 

Since being diagnosed earlier this year, it has really motivated me to challenge myself and I thought that the London Marathon was the perfect way to do this. I must admit, the thought of raising a minimum of £2,000 was very daunting at first however with the help of my family and friends, I was able to come up with some great ideas in order to raise as much money for the charity as possible. 

Even though I still have plenty of time before the marathon, I am the type of person who cannot relax until I am meeting targets or seeing results so I wanted to begin my fundraising as soon as possible so that I had less pressure on myself close to the run and so that I had enough time to enjoy every minute of raising money and also training.

Photo of cakes from Laura's fundraiserI have recently hosted a coffee morning at my house which initially I thought would hopefully raise about £300. I got together with my family and friends who all pulled together to create a raffle, lucky dip, a treasure hunt and not forgetting the most important part...making cakes!

I managed to create some leaflets which I posted through neighbors doors and spread the word to as many people as possible. 

When the day came, I was astonished with the amount of people who attended to support me and help me raise donations. It was a very enjoyable and successful day which left me feeling very humbled by everyones generosity.

I managed to raise an amazing £1,200 with donations still flooding in even after the event!

It has left me feeling very excited to come up with even more fundraising ideas and I am so pleased that I have been able to raise that amount of money just a few months after I was given my sport with the MS-UK team.

Inspired by Laura's story? 

You can find out more about fundraising in aid of MS-UK by getting in touch with our team today using our online form!

 

Our Christmas opening hours...

Posted on: December 14 2018

Hello,hours promo.png

Holidays are coming, so here's an update about our opening hours over the next few weeks...

Our office

The MS-UK office will be closed from 5pm on Friday 21 December until 9am on Wednesday 02 January 2019.

Josephs Court

Josephs Court, our Wellness Centre, will be open during these times:

  • Saturday 22 December 2018, 9am - 3pm
  • Thursday 27 December 2018, 10am - 2pm

Josephs Court will then reopen at 9am on Wednesday 02 January 2019.

From all of us at MS-UK, we wish you a very merry Christmas if you are celebrating and a happy New Year!

Guest blog: Sharon's glamorous fundraising event!

Posted on: December 13 2018

In this guest blog, Sharon Everett tells us all about an event she is hosting in aid of MS-UK in February - and it sounds very glamorous!Photo of Sharon with the Glamour Girls

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 19 years ago and would love to have been able to stay as I was then. But as is the nature of the beast it progresses and my walking has deteriorated. But I don’t let that stop me as I have 2 work from home businesses with Forever Living Products and Tessellate CBD oil which keeps me busy. Also 2 sons in the late teens, early 20’s!

I have great friends that I love to socialise with and a great network of MS friends that are my MS family. We socialise quite a bit with breakfasts, afternoon teas, dinners out – life is for living and although I’m not as mobile as I used to be I still like to get out with my friends.

Poster for the Glamour Girls eventMy husband and I like to holiday and for the last two years we have been back to the same accessible villa in Hisaronu, Turkey. We have seen The Glamour Girls perform twice now whilst we’ve been there. After seeing them this year we chatted about asking them if they’d do something for us in the UK. They spend their winter months back here in the UK touring but didn’t have much availability left. We then needed to find a suitable venue, which was harder than we thought. But when we went to view Colchester United’s large function room we agreed it would be perfect, big but perfect. So then we got to work.

I love having something I can get my teeth into. This is by far and away the biggest fundraiser I have ever organised. The maximum this room holds is 300 and I would love to be able to fill it, we’re almost half way so far! The more people in there buying raffle tickets the more money we make for charity and this is what excites me more. I’ve designed the tickets and posters using photos the glamour girls sent me and have been busy leaving posters with lots of businesses in our local town to display on their staff noticeboards. Some of my friends have also done the same. I’ve advertised it lots on Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor and even contacted the local paper. I’ve also written to lots of businesses to see if they could donate a raffle prize for us. So there’s lots to do and I won’t rest until the night..!  Actually I probably won’t rest then!

It’ll be a great night, a feast for the eyes. With great costumes and songs, just a fun evening of entertainment for guys and girls.

To find out more about the event happening in Colchester, call Sharon on 0778 2240034!

Want to organise your own fundraising event in aid of MS-UK?

We're here to help! Just email Lucy or call us on 01206 226500. 

Guest blog: 5 tips for supporting a friend with a chronic illness

Posted on: December 12 2018

In her latest guest blog, Joanna Livermore shares her top 5 tips for supporting a friend with a chronic illness...Photo of Joanna Livermore

Adjusting to being diagnosed with an invisible illness can be really tough. I have bad days, but with the help of amazing family and friends it’s a whole lot easier. If you know someone with an invisible illness, you can help. The problem is, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to say or do. So here are my top tips!

1. Ask

If someone confides in you that they have a condition, they’re giving you a licence to talk about it. Thank them for being open and then ask them how it affects them. It means a lot when someone asks questions to understand the condition more, rather than just trying to avoid the subject. Find out from them what they need from you to help them day to day. Chances are they don’t want to be treated any differently, but there might be something that you can do to make their day easier.

2. Check in!

I go totally off grid when I’m struggling to cope with my condition. I become withdrawn and you won’t hear from me for days. At some point, someone will notice that this is a bit out of character for me and check in. I’ll admit that I’ve not been ok and they’ll tell me that they are always there for me if I need to have a moan or sound off. Thing is, when you’re in that space, it doesn’t always occur to you to do that. Make sure you drop your friend a regular text to let them know you’re thinking of them.

3. Cut some slack

It’s typical that someone with a chronic condition suffers with some degree of fatigue. That means that even the best laid plans can go wrong if they’re just too tired to function. Be forgiving if they’ve cancelled that night out for the third time in a row.

4. Don’t assume

Every day with a chronic condition is different. Some days you can take on the world and on others you can’t get out of bed. Avoid making assumptions about what your friend or family member can do. Don’t stop letting them make their own choices and keep on inviting them to social occasions. Sometimes they will accept and other times they might politely decline. But they will always be grateful that you have let them make their own choices.

5. You don’t have to find a solution

With all the best intention in the world, we want to solve people’s problems. But if the top doctors can’t find a cure for the condition, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to provide a solution yourself. If they want you to give a solution, they’ll ask for your opinion.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is make sure that person feels loved and cared for. They need to still feel like a person, and sometimes the best way of doing that is by doing absolutely nothing differently. Nobody with a chronic condition will manage day to day in the same way. The only way to find out, is to ask.

Want more information about living with MS?

If you would like more information about living with multiple sclerosis (MS) you can download our Choices leaflets for free.

Guest blog: 12 days of Christmas charity campaign

Posted on: December 11 2018

In this guest blog, GFM ClearComms let us know all about their Christmas fundraising efforts in aid of a range of charities as they launch their '12 days of Christmas' campaign!GFM ClearComms Xmas photo of team

GFM ClearComms is getting into the festive spirit this year by launching a ‘12 Days Till Christmas’ charity campaign, whereby every day from 13 December up until Christmas Day we will be holding a charitable event in aid of a different UK based charity. 

To kick start this campaign the company has decided that rather than sending out Christmas cards, as they always have done in the past, this year they will be sending out ecards and then donating the money saved from not sending out actual cards to the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. 

Bringing the campaign to an astounding conclusion on Christmas day, Justin Stone, Contact Centre Manager at GFM ClearComms, will be walking a staggering 55 miles from Colchester to London to fundraise for mental health charity Mind. The other charities that were chosen by members of staff to receive donations include MS-UK!

“We are proud to provide a variety of UK charities with our contact centre, marketing and fulfilment services; however, our interest in the charities we support goes beyond just working with them and we have and will continue to hold events like this to help these great causes. Everyone at the company is really excited for this campaign to start and looking forward to 12 days of fun activities and festive fundraising leading up to Christmas,” says Rachael Willis, CFO at GFM. 

To find out exactly what the company will be doing each day of our ’12 Days Till Christmas’ charity campaign check out our website and social media channels where we will be revealing the full details of each event daily in an advent calendar style fashion!

New Pathways magazine 25th anniversary special out now!

Posted on: December 03 2018

Issue 112 front cover.jpgThe 25th anniversary issue of New Pathways magazine is out today. As you hopefully know by now, 2018 is MS-UK’s 25th year as a charity supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

For those of you that are more recent subscribers to New Pathways, you may not know that this magazine started out as a leaflet called Pathways written by Judy Graham for MS-UK (which at the time was MSRC). The Pathways leaflet sought to provide people with the information they needed to live well with MS, at a time when there was very little information available, and what was there, was very limited in what it would cover.

Today, life is quite different with an abundance of information available via the internet, but this just creates noise that people need to navigate their way through to get to the really useful information they need. It really is all too easy to get lost in all the research and news, and end up more confused than when you started. But what Pathways set out to do and New Pathways has continued, is to cut through the noise by speaking to people living well with MS now, collect their stories, share them with you, and create a more sophisticated understanding of life with MS. An understanding that balances the facts of life with MS against the experiences of those living with the condition.

We see each person as an individual and treat them with the respect that they deserve; that each one of us is capable of making informed decisions for ourselves about how we wish to live our lives. That we all have the ability to absorb information and people’s experiences, and decide if something is right for us. To recognise that achieving the benchmark of ‘clinically-evidenced’ is not always going to be possible or even relevant for a good number of reasons. There is a huge difference between unproven and disproven. We have always understood that difference and will continue to use this to guide us for as long as we are here and needed.

To commemorate our 25 years, inside this issue you will find an Anniversary Special including a guest feature from Judy Graham, a feature by Tom Cutts who was diagnosed last year at the age of 25 and is coming to terms with his diagnosis, and a number of nods to times gone by.

You’ll also spot references to our history and the theme of 25 throughout this issue, such as 25 ways to raise money for MS-UK and get your pin badge on page 26.

Finally, we bring you all the usual content you have come to expect from us, including three accessible holiday stories - Julie Kicks on Andalusia on page 32, Tracy Brown in Bali on page 14 and our very own Ian Cook holidaying in Benidorm on page 38.

Enjoy reading!

Amy

The 25th anniversary issue has been guest edited by MS-UK CEO Amy Woolf.

Subscribe to New Pathways today!

Essex businesses raise over £16,000 working 9 to 5 for MS-UK!

Posted on: November 29 2018

Team Photo cheering .JPGCongratulations to all the businesses across Essex who celebrated their fundraising success at our 925 Challenge awards night on 22 November! Thanks to their hard work and dedication, they managed to raise an astounding £16,700 for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS)!

Back in September, MS-UK officially launched our first ever 925 Challenge. Nine teams of local companies were handed countdown clocks and tasked with raising £925 before the timer ticked down to the end of 9 weeks, 2 days, and 5 hours.

The challengers - comprised of teams from NatWest, Charles Derby Financial Services, Team Pivotal, Ellisons Solicitors, OPM Response, Whitehall Electrical, White Hart, Push Energy and Direct Solutions - fought to be the first to reach the fundraising target by bringing the workplace together and getting creative.

As each team grappled to get the upper hand, the fundraising events became more and more innovative. We saw a 'dawn to dusk' golf day, a Swimathon, video game characters tackling an obstacle course, a car wash, a race night, and so much more!

The ideas were so good that once the clocks stopped we struggled to pick our final award winners!

After some tough deliberation we came to our decisions. The awards for ‘most money raised’ and the ‘team spirit award’ were scooped by the White Hart pub in West Bergholt who raised an incredible £6,000 by involving the community in their fundraising efforts.

Other awards went to Ellisons Solicitors for their quirky ‘Wacky Hat Wednesday’ event, OPM Response for their outstandingly fun fundraising films, and Direct Solutions for their innovative ‘Display for MS-UK’ initiative. As well as great team work, MS-UK recognised some individuals who went above and beyond during the challenge including 6 year old Shara Stevens who individually raised £300 and swam over a mile during local business networking group Team Pivotal’s Swimathon.

Collectively teams in our first corporate challenge raised a wonderful £16,700, which smashed our target of £10,000. We are delighted with the energy and enthusiasm all teams have shown for the challenge bringing colleagues, clients and customers together to raise both awareness and much needed funds for MS-UK.

Managing fatigue

Posted on: November 28 2018

In this blog, our MS-UK Helpline take a look at fatigue...

Fatigue cover.png

Our Choices leaflets are available online

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and it can often feel overwhelming during the cold and dark winter months. However, with the help of the MS community, we’ve gathered together a few tips and techniques that may help you through!  

Firstly, though it may seem counter-intuitive, moderate exercise has been shown to improve resistance to fatigue. Now, we are by no means suggesting that you run a marathon, but a small amount of regular walking, swimming, or yoga, among many other options, could make a positive difference in the longer term. For more information on exercise, please see our Choices leaflet.

Looking after your mental wellbeing is also important. Activities like meditation, mindfulness and relaxation, as well as just being aware of the need to factor in time for rest, are tips that the MS community have shared with us in relation to managing symptoms. This self-aware approach is particularly useful when it comes to fatigue because taking the time to plan activities and daily patterns, as well as breaking down tasks into manageable chunks, can really make things less daunting on a day-to-day basis.

It may seem like a bit of cliché, but we can hardly talk about the usefulness of exercise without also talking about healthy eating. It is well known that eating a balanced diet helps people to maintain good health and feel their best, while poor diet can lead to fatigue. This is no less true when it comes to MS. Supplements, including B12, Co-enzyme Q10, Vitamin D and Omega 3, can also contribute to reducing fatigue, though we suggest speaking to your GP or neurologist before taking anything new. For more information, please see our Choices leaflets on Diet and nutrition and Vitamin D.

Other therapies that some people with MS have found to be helpful include acupuncture, oxygen therapy, and Action Potential Simulation (APS) therapy. Oxygen therapy is widely used across the UK in the many MS therapy centres and those who regularly attend sessions have found that it can greatly improve fatigue levels. To find your nearest therapy centre, use our website.

You can read and download all of our Choices leaflets on our website

Fundraisers of the month - Karen and Maxine

Posted on: November 27 2018

Back in October Karen Shergold and Mazine Nunn took on the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of MS-UK. Here they tell us why fundraising for multiple sclerosis is so important to them…Photo of Karen and Maxine

‘Our sister and cousin, Nicola, 48 year old mother of three, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2017. 

‘Obviously such a diagnosis came as a shock to us all. From the beginning the support she has received from MS-UK has been tremendous. It gave her a forum to discuss her fears and engage with people who also have MS. In turn, it continues to give her strength and courage and is empowering her to live her life to the fullest.

‘Through Nicola we heard about the MS-UK sponsored places at the Royal Parks Half Marathon and as runners, it was an obvious way for us to give back, do an activity that we love, make a difference...all in all, a win-win situation.  

‘Out the outset, as busy people, we wanted to keep our fundraising efforts simple to achieve our target of £800.

‘We canvassed family for their suggestions on how best to raise the money and the consensus was very much in favour of fundraising activities rather than just donations. This enabled us to bring our family and friends together and the desire to have some fun along the way!

‘We agreed our two events would be a garden tea party and a quiz to make the most of the lovely summer we had this year. Both activities exceeded our expectations – you can see we raised an amazing amount on our fundraising page!

‘The key challenge for us was to ensure that our guests at both events went away feeling they had an enjoyable experience and the £10 fee was good value. Feedback from both events exceeded our expectations, with suggestions we should set up our own afternoon tea business and turn the quiz into an annual event.

‘We smashed our target and raised approximately £1,200, which enabled us to spend the latter two months focusing on training for the race.  

‘Both of us came away from this experience feeling a sense of pride in achieving some personal physical targets (we both set a new personal best) and in our own small way we have made a difference.

‘So what’s next? We are delighted to be volunteer stewards for the upcoming Colchester Half Marathon and looking to engage as many family members. Maybe we will see you there!

Karen and Maxine

Karen and Maxine’s top fundraising tips...

  • Start early – although we had 6 months, we planned our events 2 – 3 months in advance of the race to ensure that we had enough time in case we needed to raise additional funds
  • Do your research – our two activities were based on feedback on what people said they would enjoy, which meant that half the battle was won 
  • Good planning and organisation – a sense of humour and excellent delegation skills  
  • Spread the load – we were able to delegate key parts of these activities to willing family members
  • Keeping it simple – as we said above – focus on fewer but better quality activities
  • Don’t underestimate the need to continue to canvass support
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