Volunteer Impact Awards

Our Volunteer Impact Awards are one way that we recognise the commitment, achievements, and successes of our volunteers.

The awards shine a spotlight on our volunteers’ amazing contributions and the impact they have on people affected by MS. The awards culminate in a star-studded annual event, that’s live streamed across the UK!

How we choose our winners

Nominations are made by service users, volunteers and staff. These are then assessed quarterly by our panel, made up of experienced volunteers from a variety of roles across the MS Society. For our Volunteer Impact Awards event, the panel selects an overall winner and runners-up from each of our six impact categories. 

Our winners are announced at the annual ceremony by special guests. This year our host for the event was the brilliant comedian and Ambassador, Ivo Graham!

Fellow Ambassador and judging panel member, Trishna Bharadia, tells us what she enjoys most about being involved:

As with every year, it's hearing the stories behind the nominations and learning more about all the wonderful work that volunteers are doing for the MS community. It never fails to put a smile on my face, uplift and inspire me!

Congratulations to all our 2023 finalists and winners!

Watch this year's Award Ceremony on YouTube

The Winners

Supporting and Empowering 

Jo Newall (Lead Support Volunteer, Milton Keynes Group) 

Jo is a grants wizard! Leading on her local group’s pilot for cost-of-living grants. Jo has supported over 60 people to apply for grants since 2019, and is responsible for grants awarded totalling almost £30,000! She’s also incredibly active in fundraising, and planning and organising services and activities for her local group.


Barry and Emma MacDowell from Kinmylies, Scotland 

The newlyweds raised awareness of MS and inspired millions of people when the heart-warming story of their first dance as a married couple went viral. The pair both live with MS and Barry uses an electric wheelchair full-time. He was determined to stand for their first dance, so they embarked on a year of secret physiotherapy before surprising family and friends on their wedding day.

Sharing Skills and Expertise

Siobhan Allister, Fermanagh Group

Siobhan is a Group Coordinator, member of the Northern Ireland MS Council, and takes an active role in lobbying. She joined the Fermanagh group after being diagnosed with MS in 2010 and uses her personal experience to improve the lives of others by signposting them to support and guidance. She’s also taken an active role in developing the emergency grants pilot for her local community.

A passionate fundraiser, Siobhan’s also organised MS walks, cycles, abseils and special events. She’s raised more than £100k to support people living with MS in Northern Ireland. 


Mike Matulewicz (Group Coordinator, Preston Group)

Mike’s been volunteering with us for nearly 40 years!  He’s been a strong advocate for change in the MS community, both locally and nationally. In addition to leading two local groups, Mike was a Trustee for seven years and, for the past two years, he’s been Co-Chair of the Community Networks Advisory Panel – sharing his skills, volunteer experience and knowledge of MS to advise on strategy and planning for local groups. 


Gary Rushworth from Cumbria

Gary started volunteering for the Barrow and Furness group in 2013 as a Health and Safety Volunteer. He moved onto taking on personal challenges, fundraising events and walks in memory of his wife, Moira. He’s walked 1,800 miles across the length and breadth of the UK, and completed it in just 100 days! Gary's raised almost £10,000 for our Octopus research trial.


Bradford and District and Skipton, Craven and Keighley Volunteers

Following the receipt of a joint legacy gift, the groups formed a legacy project, to improve services and support for people with MS. Together, they’ve funded a counselling service and local grants. As well as newly diagnosed events, social activities and developed four gym membership schemes in collaboration with a local GP referral service.


Supporting and Empowering

  • Ann Read (Finance Volunteer, Scunthorpe Group)
  • Tony Cardis (Group Coordinator, York, Ryedale and District Group)


  • Phoebe Day from Winchester
  • Amy Hinds from Dartford
  • Simone Bell from Dudley

Sharing Skills and Expertise

  • Stuart Secker from Surrey


  • Terri Attwood (Group Coordinator, East Cumbria Group)
  • Sabrina Fox (Group Coordinator, Scunthorpe Group)


  • Geraldine Cowe (Fundraising Events Volunteer, Sutton Group)
  • Frank Matthews (Fundraising Volunteer, Hastings and Rother Group)
  • Stuart Dawson from Dorset


  • Nikoma Bell from Dudley
  • Siobhan O’Hanlon from Omagh