Susannah,outside on a sunny day, looks to camera, holding a mug. She is wearing a red fleece with her arm resting on a fencepost. Behind her on the other side of the fence are some curious cows.

Keeping the community together in North Wales

Susannah lives near Pwllheli in North Wales and helps to run the Gwynedd/Ynys Mon Group.

She first got involved in the group 20 years ago, because of a very good friend with MS, and has been actively involved with the MS Society ever since. She’s taken on a number of roles with the group – from Coordinator to Treasurer – and is also a member of our Cymru Council. Susannah said:

“We’ve got an active group here in North Wales – in normal times some members take part in things almost every day of week. Our local group covers a huge area, which makes certain things difficult. But everyone’s now pulling together to stay connected during the pandemic.

Staying in touch

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been calling two or three people a day, to make sure they don’t feel alone, and to let them know about practical support available locally. Where I can’t reach people, I’ve sent a few postcards, to let them know we’re thinking of them. Several other members of the group are making daily calls too, and that’s what I find the best thing about our group – just how supportive people are.

Technical challenges

Those who are most isolated right now are people who live on their own, and unfortunately some of them don’t have smart phones or laptops. We’re currently applying for funding from organisations offering hardship grants. We want to be able to buy things that keep people connected and help with essential support, a tablet for example, or a personal assistant to do someone’s shopping.

Socialising, singing and staying active on screen

For those who can connect online, our MS choir is meeting virtually every week, and the ladies who run our weekly exercise and pilates classes have done a brilliant job of hosting sessions by video call. We’ve started having meetings on Zoom and everyone seems to have taken to that well. Some of the group have commented that it’s helping them to feel a bit better at the moment. We’ve also gained a couple of new members which is great to see at this time.

A big thank you

We’re hugely grateful to Sara who’s been leading our choir for the last six years, and continues to lift our spirits with the virtual sessions during the pandemic. Sara plays a track from the choir’s repertoire and then everyone sings along individually from the comfort of their homes. I think it’s really uplifting for those involved, because they have that weekly slot and know everyone is there with them.

I cannot thank the people who run our activities enough – the support from Sara and the ladies who run our exercise classes, Steph and Angie, has been phenomenal!”

Local support near you

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