Supporting MSers when and where they need us

Shift.ms impact review 2021

A word from our CEO

Over the last 12 months, our focus has been dominated by supporting MSers through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a time of great uncertainty for everyone, but especially for people living with long-term conditions like MS.

I’m incredibly proud of how the Shift.ms team, volunteers and community have come together to support each other through these difficult times. We are delighted to share some of our key achievements over the past year in this impact report.

Everything that we’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the committed support of our corporate and trust and foundation partners, individual supporters and fundraisers, who have continued to passionately and generously support our mission. I’d also like to extend my sincere gratitude to our staff team, volunteers and trustees, who continue to amaze me with their passion and commitment to our mission. 

Together, we will continue to work to ensure that the Shift.ms community is here for every MSer who needs our support – no matter what.

Thank you so much.

George Pepper
CEO

Reacting to the pandemic 

Shift.ms has seen unprecedented demand for our services over the past year as more people reached out to others for support, or sought to make sense of complex and fast-evolving health information together in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We supported MSers by:

  • Lowering the barrier to accessing 1-2-1 connections
  • Providing co-designed health information
  • Collaborating with leading healthcare specialists and community members to provide mental health support
  • Researching into the evolving needs of our community

Impact on MSers

71% of MSers made a meaningful connection

Co-vid Companion aimed to reduce isolation and loneliness by connecting MSers via video call during the pandemic.

76% of MSers feel there are many people with MS they can trust completely

The Buddy Network, which matches a newly diagnosed MSer with an experienced MS Buddy, has helped newly diagnosed MSers adjust to their diagnosis, get informed about the condition and reduce isolation.

“I was diagnosed just before the beginning of lockdown. I was alone, scared and unprepared. Knowing I could talk to my buddy was what kept me going. A match was found for me very quickly. That was really great. Timing is everything.“
80% of MSers plan to practice the skills they learnt via PPE for the Mind, our MSer-led health education programme

PPE for the Mind is an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy programme co-designed by community members and consultant neuropsychologist Jo Johnson which aimed to help MSers build their mental resilience during the pandemic.

1,500 MSers shared their perceived risks and concerns regarding COVID-19

The MS & COVID-19 study aimed to identify how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting MSer care from both the MSer and MS healthcare professional (HCP) perspective. This research has since been reported in a white paper to influence policy and support HCPs to better support their patients in their key challenges including lack of MS-specific guidance from government/public health organisations and lack of MS-specific unified guidance from HCPs. 

Alongside responding to the evolving needs of MSers during the pandemic, over the past year we:

  • Grew our community to over 41,000 members increasing our reach to newly diagnosed MSers;
  • Worked in partnership with the community, who contributed 2,915 hours last year as Buddies, bloggers, on social media takeovers and as film participants. 100% agreed that volunteering had helped them feel connected to others and 91% agreed that volunteering had helped them to feel more empowered.
  • Continued to create content in collaboration with MSers, with our film Sidecar being watched over 250,000 times. Sidecar tells the story of Kush, who's tackling the fear of onset of advanced MS and the impact this may have on his quality of life.

Over 16,000 conversations were had on our forum

Our global community of over 40,000 MSers asked questions, shared advice and together helped make life with MS a bit more manageable. Alongside this, over 14,000 direct messages were sent between members looking for and providing one to one support.

‘For all the medical professionals have read up about it, they will never really get it! That’s not a criticism, just an observation. People here really do get it!’
‘Shift.ms makes me feel comfortable and confident enough to actually talk about MS and allows me to connect and read about people and their relationship with MS. thank you for giving us a voice!’
‘So thankful for the chance to talk with others about it and learn from other people how to cope with it.’
‘This group is truly amazing! You don’t feel alone in all of this and it is a lot to take in.’

Plans for the future

Shift.ms, like many organisations, has used the past 20 months to listen to our community and consider how we can best serve their evolving needs. This has led to a focus on two key programmatic areas during the next three years:

Digital peer support:

Whatever challenge you’re facing – we’re here. The community is with you wherever you are.

MSer-led health education:

The Shift.ms service prepares you to make informed decisions, by enabling MSers to educate and share experiences with others.

Focusing on these two programmes will allow Shift.ms to offer MSers a cohesive digital experience that leads to MSers being more connected, motivated, and proactive.

Some key goals within these two programmes over next year include:

Funding Partners

Corporate partners

Biogen, Janssen, Novartis, Merck, Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb and Sanofi Genzyme. 

Trust and Foundation partners

The National Lottery Community Fund, The Wellcome Trust, The London Community Response Fund and The CAF Resilience Fund.

Individual donors and fundraisers

Mark Webb, Dominic Shadbolt, Lucy Riall, Isabel Riall, Poppy Riall, Peter Langly-Smith, Alice Topson, Emma Kathleen Clark, Jo Hughes, Peter Lawson, Sarah Moore, Christine Camp, Treasa Anderson, Michael Carpenter, Virginia Williams, Anna Konukh, Steven Hicks, Kirstin McFaul, Thomas Halterman, Helen Chandler, Eleanor Stacey, Tracey Hooper, Paul Patras, Gavin Giovannoni, Fiona Beets, Melissa Williams, Spencer Duru, Graham Bretherick, Richard Jeckel, Edna Williamson, Melanie Mann, Jacqui Martin, Janine Lambert, Henny Moore, Sally Roberts, Sophie Malkin, Wendy Cater, Andrew Denney, Jonathan Sim, Neil Webb

Thank you

Thank you for your support over what has been a strange and turbulent 12 months. 

Shift.ms is dedicated to impacting the lives of MSers when they need us most and we hope you will consider continuing your support.