What the theme of Celebrating Community means to us
The theme of Celebrating Community is close to our hearts here in Community Engagement. We believe that celebrating the journey of people joining Overcoming MS (OMS), championing their commitment, their generosity in welcoming new members, and expressing gratitude for all who support OMS – whether that be healthcare professionals, facilitators, charity partnerships and beyond – is the essence of what we do here.
Our first three months at OMS
Here in the Community Engagement team, we have been reflecting on our first three months at OMS. We joined OMS in March, understanding that the task of engaging with a global community was a big one. However, we need not have worried as the OMS community have been welcoming, warm and have generously given us their time to answer our many questions from day one. We have felt really humbled and feel we have settled into our roles well.
We have been keen to talk to as many of our volunteers and Ambassadors as possible to find out what matters to people. Relationships are at the heart of every community, and so our aim is to create, nurture and celebrate those relationships wherever we can. We have increased our Ambassador Check-In sessions to create better relationships between Ambassadors and OMS staff, and we have created a special Friday Shout Out across all our social media twice a month to champion the work of Ambassadors and Circle members. We are also holding focus groups to hear more about the experiences of following the OMS program, and how as a charity we can advocate for positive change. We are working hard to create opportunities to hear your stories and experiences to ensure that we are able to create the information and support that you need.
In sharing stories, we are strengthening our connection to each other and growing our OMS community further. This year we are delighted to have returned to face-to-face events, attending the Delamore Arts month in Devon to support the hard work of our Ambassador Tessa, and celebrate the South-West OMS community.
Getting back to traditional community engagement was really exciting, and it was even the first time that some of the OMS staff had met each other. We are planning another event at the Clacton Air Show to celebrate our Circles in Essex and to extend our reach in the wider community – please do get in touch to find out more. We are always looking for further opportunities to meet the OMS community, and where it isn’t possible in person, we will work on ideas to connect virtually.
Raising awareness about OMS
Many of our Ambassadors are doing incredible work in their communities already, such as talking to neurologists, doing podcasts, organising fundraising activities, and talking to local media. We want to enhance this work by providing further tools and support to enable people to get out and spread the word about OMS.
As a community we are stronger when we work together. We look forward to working with you all.
Liz Waters, Community Engagement Programme Manager
If you know of an event or an opportunity where the work of OMS could be shared and celebrated, we would love to hear about it, email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org.