Gif: girl wearing santa hat ice skating from left to right with sign that says 2018

Making a difference together in 2018

A big thank you to all of you who’ve supported our MS community this year. Together, we’re making a real difference.

We couldn’t do any of it without you – our incredible volunteers, supporters, campaigners, fundraisers and many more!

Together we're focussing on the things that matter most to people living with MS. Help and support today, hope for the future and making sure the voices of our community are heard at every level.

Gif: Two girls holding sign that says Helpline of the Year Award. Girl on left wears a headset and is waving a trophy.

Here for everyone with MS

A huge congratulations to our wonderful MS Helpline team, named Helpline of the Year at the Helpline Partnerships Awards. What an incredible achievement! So far this year they’ve responded to almost 14,900 enquiries.

The services and support we provide through our MS Helpline, our online forum, grants, information and local groups make sure no one has to face MS alone.

Our 270 local groups reach over 13,000 people across the UK. People living with MS told us the friendship and support they get from our groups helps them feel less lonely and isolated. 58% of people we asked said they’d felt isolated. And of those, 76% said being part of a local group reduced this feeling. Similarly 78% of people who’d felt lonely said being part of a local group had helped.

In Scotland, we’ve helped people get active through MS Active. And we’ve supported people in their homes, through our online Living Well with MS sessions.

With our help, Capita in Northern Ireland recruited an MS Champion, who will provide vital support with benefits assessments.

We were awarded Big Lottery funding in South Wales for ‘Active Together’, a two year pilot project to promote fitness and friendship. I really look forward to seeing the difference this service will make.

Our incredibly committed and caring volunteers are at the heart of our services. We have over 5,000 volunteers who give over 700,000 hours of their time to support people living with MS. Thank you for all that you do.

Gif: man in lab coat stands by bench with microscope and equipment on it waving a clipboard with 11 written on it

Hope for a future free from the effects of MS

In November, we announced 11 exciting new research projects we’ll be funding. Our Research Network – a group of people living with MS – shape our research programme, making sure we fund projects driven by the priorities of the MS community.

The MS-STAT2 trial for secondary progressive MS began recruitment this year. We’re co-funding this £6 million UK-wide trial looking at whether simvastatin could slow disability progression in secondary progressive MS.

We’ve come a long way with access to treatments. Our ability to diagnose MS early has significantly improved across the UK. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of licensed drugs available on the NHS for relapsing MS. And we’re supporting more research than ever into progressive MS.

Gif: two people stand on either side of a small house next to a big sign. The person on left is in a mobility scooter and waves a sign that says Over, the person on the right waves a sign that says 36,000 people and the big sign says Spoke out against the PIP 20 m rule.

Raising our voices for MS

We demonstrated the impact of the senseless PIP 20 metre rule outside the Houses of Parliament in PIPville, handing in our 36,000 strong petition.

Together we boldly called for medicinal cannabis to be available for people with MS who could benefit. In November cannabis was legalised for medicinal use but there’s still some way to go to ensure access. With your help, we’ll continue to speak out on this

We also had the very disappointing news that ocrelizumab, the first licensed treatment for primary progressive MS, wouldn’t be available on the NHS. Our community rallied and within weeks 21,000 of you had signed our petition to say this is wrong. This isn’t the end. We’ll be doing everything we can to ensure this drug is available to everyone who could benefit

I look forward to all that we’ll achieve together next year. With Nick Moberly joining us as CEO in the New Year, we’ll build on our progress, driven by the needs and aspirations of the MS community. Together, working towards our ultimate goal to stop MS.

I wish you all a very happy and restful festive season.

Patricia Gordon (Acting CEO)