Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition, which means it affects your body's nervous system. The symptoms can be quite wide-ranging, affecting any part of the body and the condition can be tough to spot and diagnose. Awareness is one of the main things MS charities work hard to promote.
Why Volunteer With An MS Charity?
It's estimated that approximately 2.5 million people around the world have MS, with more than 100,000 of those in the UK. There's no cure for the condition at the moment, but there are plenty of things people can do to control the symptoms. As 5,000 people are diagnosed with MS each year in the UK, that's a lot of families in need of your support.
When you volunteer with an MS charity, you become part of a support network which is essential for helping people cope with their diagnosis, and to move forward in their life. As well as the fulfilment you get from giving something back, you might also find you pick up some great new skills while becoming immersed in a whole new social environment.
How To Help MS Charities
VOLUNTEER WITH A SUPPORT GROUP
Adapting to life with MS can be challenging, which is why support groups are hugely important. They can be a great source of strength, and also provide ongoing assistance. If you'd be able to lead a group then that's great, but you could also help out with the organisational side of things, whether that's booking venues, advertising events or providing refreshments.
HELP RAISE AWARENESS
Symptoms of MS can include things like fatigue, muscle spasms, numbness and vision problems. Most people only experience some of these symptoms, but it's easy to think they might not be related. Raising awareness is crucial for detecting MS as early as possible, and also for helping to fund key research into the condition. Whether you're promoting an MS charity at work, handing out leaflets at events, or using your social media skills, you can tailor your involvement to your own personal schedule.
USE YOUR DIGITAL SKILLS
Large charities such as the MS Society have a huge number of groups up and down the country. Each local group may have their own dedicated area of the main charity website, with someone required to set up and maintain that page. If you have relatively strong computer skills, you'll find it easy to help out with something like this.
VOLUNTEER WITH A HELPLINE
Whether someone's just been diagnosed with MS or is struggling with symptoms, being able to get emotional support and advice can make a big difference. Some people prefer not to talk on the phone, so you may also be able to help monitor confidential email services or social media channels.
BECOME A DRIVER
As MS can greatly affect mobility, groups and charities who help people with the condition often have minibuses for events and social occasions. It's even better if you have a background in vehicle maintenance, as you can bring your mechanical skills to the table too.
Things To Know Before You Volunteer
- If you're taking training courses, such as for a role managing a website or dealing with people with MS directly, charities will usually expect a minimum time commitment from you. This may be as little as three months, so shouldn't act as a deterrent.
- Volunteering at support groups can be challenging emotionally, but you should receive support with how to cope on that front.
Where To Get Started
If you're looking to get involved in some volunteering, why not check out organisations such as the Royal Voluntary Service or Volunteering Matters. People's Postcode Lottery players have raised over £9 Million for these two charities so far, and you can join the movement when you donate your time or sign up to play our lottery.