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Two women stand holding a framed certificate with the word Winner on it. The woman to th eleft also holds up a small glass trophy in the shape of a star. Behind them is a large screen reading:  Resilience in the Face of Adversity Award Winner, MS Helpline

Our MS Helpline wins new award

Our MS Helpline wins Resilience in the Face of Adversity Award at this year's Helplines Partnership Conference and Award Ceremony. 

This year’s conference and award ceremony was held at the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham. It was the first to be held since the COVID outbreak in 2020. And, to acknowledge this, the theme of the event was ‘Resilience, Reconnecting and Recognition’. A new award was also introduced for the helpline that best demonstrated ‘resilience in the face of adversity’, won by our MS Helpline.

The Helplines Partnership 

The Helplines Partnership is a national membership body for organisations that provide non-face-to-face support, advice and information. They have over 350 members UK-wide, ranging from large charities to small organisations and some businesses. The annual conference is an opportunity to share information and best practice. And to celebrate the previous year’s successes through their award ceremony. In 2019 the MS Helpline won Helpline of the Year.

Our Helpline nomination

Our nomination highlighted the work we started at the first lockdown. It said:

“On the first day of lockdown, we launched our first MS Nurse service. It responded to the needs of the MS community. Some people had started to experience lack of local NHS support, the impact of COVID and the need for immediate professional support. We recruited two MS nurses to support the growing need for expert advice and support. We launched a ‘keep in touch’ service within eight days of the start of the pandemic. And this provided weekly check-in chats with people facing isolation.”

Praise from the judges

The judges’ feedback recognised our Helpline as “supporting a community of people who risked being even more isolated during the pandemic”. And that we “responded flexibly and imaginatively to increased demand.”

The judges highlighted how quickly the Helpline acted and the new services given to the community. These included:

  • the weekly check-ins which became the ongoing befriending service

  • the MS Nurse support

  • and the benefits of digital engagement.

It also acknowledged the webchat (which will be released soon) and the safeguarding service.

The judges said: “[There’s] a real sense that the Helpline is part of the MS community and meets [its] needs.”

Find out more about our befriending service

Receiving the award

Carmel Barrett, our Helpline Information and Support Manager, received the award on behalf of the MS Helpline. She said:

“During the early days of the lockdown, the Helpline was answering 3,000 calls a month. So we had to step up. We employed two extra nurses who gave vaccination advice. And we introduced the ‘keep in touch’ service for people who couldn’t go out, see GPs, or visit the shops.

“But the Helpline doesn’t work alone. We had a COVID-19 influencing group and daily updates on the website with the latest information and regulations. This achievement is for our entire organisation: our Helpline volunteers, staff, specialists, and our community who’ve helped shape our services over the years.

“We’re still helping people from MS community with the backlog from lockdowns. We’re also facing the worries and concerns of the cost of living crisis. So we’ll continue what we’re doing by responding with ‘resilience in the face of adversity.’”