25 years ago, the MS Trust was founded on Christmas card sales and they still play a crucial role today in enabling us to support everyone affected by MS.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly (tra la la la la, la la la la). The countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun, but did you know that the MS Trust has a rather special connection to Christmas?
In 1993, MS Trust co-founders, Chris Jones and Jill Holt, thought that the profits from Christmas card sales could be put to good use producing positive, practical and reliable information for people living with MS. Both Chris and Jill were determined to make life better for everyone affected by MS. So, armed with little more than a couple of cardboard boxes, a photocopier and a whole lot of passion, they set up a small charitable trust. . . The MS Trust.
From those very small beginnings, the charity has continued to grow and thrive, and a quarter of a century later, we still have the same passionate determination to ensure nobody with MS has to deal with it alone.
Christmas cards still play a crucial role today in enabling us to carry out our vital work. Our cards are sold in over 300 Cards for Good Causes shops across the country, and every year Christmas card sales raise nearly £160,000 towards our work supporting everyone affected by MS, as well as lots of awareness.
Many MS Trust supporters volunteer in the Cards for Good Causes shops, enjoying the opportunity to meet new people, spread a little festive cheer and make a difference for people with MS.
Spending some time volunteering in the shop, it's part of my build up to Christmas. It's the thing that makes me feel that Christmas is coming. Like many people with MS, I don't go out shopping that often because I can find it really disorientating. Particularly when it's busy at Christmas: it's just too much. So to have the experience of being in the card shop, that's my Christmas experience of shopping. It's just lovely.
MS Trust supporter Sue Green, whose sister-in-law had MS, runs a Christmas card shop in Ealing and has raised over £25,000 for the MS Trust in the last 25 years. “The Ealing Charity Christmas Card Shop was set up in 1985 by myself and a friend, to sell charity Christmas Cards locally, our aim was to be able to give 100% of the money we took back to the charities. Due to the generosity firstly of the local YMCA and latterly of a local church, plus the 70 or so volunteers who get involved each year we have managed to achieve this.
The shop is open six days a week in the run up to Christmas and stocks cards from about 30 charities. We have been selling cards for the MS Trust for the last 25 years, usually raising between £1,500 and £2,000 for the charity each year.
Claire Gambrell, fundraising officer at the MS Trust, helps to pick the card designs each year, and believes the 2018 selection offers a little something for everyone. “From festive dogs and cute robins to moonlit deer and snow-covered London streets, this year’s selection of Christmas cards is, I think, one of our best yet!”
So what are you waiting for? Our cards are selling fast, so stock up on your favourites or at your local Cards for Good Causes shop, and raise awareness of MS and the MS Trust with every single card you send. Ho, ho, ho!