COVID-19: a message from our Chief Executive

Published Date
06/04/2020
CEO Catherine Woodhead at National Conference 2019

You may have read in the news about the financial challenges charities are facing at this time, as COVID-19 continues to have an impact on everyday life.

Sadly, Muscular Dystrophy UK is far from an exception. We have had to cancel or postpone a number of our events that generate a substantial amount of income, and estimate we will lose £2.8m as a result.

Our priority remains as it always has: making every day count for people with muscle-wasting conditions, as well as their families. We know many of you are scared right now, but we – as always – are here to support you.

We want to continue to offer this support, and we will do so for as long as we can. But we’re worried about what the future holds for us. Because without financial help – whether that’s from the Government or through other means – we will struggle to survive.

What are we doing?

We are taking steps already to try to limit the financial impact this will have on us.

We have launched an urgent fundraising appeal, which you can read more about here.

On top of this, we have taken the difficult decision to place some of our employees on the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, also known as “furlough”. By 13 April 60 percent of our employees will be on this scheme. Unfortunately this will affect our ability to undertake the full breadth of our work while we try to survive the effects of this pandemic.

Our other employees have also agreed to take a 20 percent reduction in their salaries.

What are we calling for?

We are calling on the Government to put in place a financial package to support charities like ours, who are needed now more than ever. The announcement on Wednesday 8 April of some financial support for charities is very welcome, but it’s clear that this won’t be able to help all charities or cover all of the income that the sector will lose this year. We will be looking at the detail as it is announced and are taking immediate action ourselves to protect the future of MDUK.

And we would also like to see changes made to the furlough scheme. We have staff who can’t do their formal role right now, but would be well placed to volunteer to support our community while on furlough. However, limits placed on the scheme mean they are unable to do that.

What support are we offering people with muscle-wasting conditions?

We are regularly updating our guidance online around COVID-19. We’re also receiving more calls through our helpline from people who need information or support.

You can still contact us through our helpline on 0800 652 6352. If we can’t take your call, we will respond to any message left. We will help you as best we can with our reduced capacity, and we’re exploring how we can take up offers of support from some of our wonderful volunteers to help keep our support services going. You can also continue to email us at: info@musculardystrophyuk.org

Unfortunately we have been unable to hold our regular muscle group meetings or information days. But we are looking at how we can support you remotely and have already held two Q&A sessions over Facebook.

How can you help?

If you are able to, please consider making a donation to support the additional strain on our services and to help minimise the loss of cancelled events. You can do that here.

And if you would like to share your story to talk about the support Muscular Dystrophy UK has offered you, you can do so here.

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