whatCharity.com are delighted to announce Muscular Dystrophy UK as the well-deserved winner of a huge £42,866 grant on behalf of Simplyhealth UK. 

Simplyhealth is an organisation dating back to 1872, designed to give everyone access to affordable healthcare services. With a charitable ethos at their foundations, Simplyhealth  were on the search for beneficiaries who could do good. That’s why they paired with whatCharity in the search for charity partners that aligned with their services and products.  

“We are careful to support charitable work which supports the work Simplyhealth does as a company, in terms of breaking down barriers which prevent access to healthcare professionals.” -Simplyhealth

whatCharity aims to make the collaboration between charities and donors easier, we want to simplify the process of gaining access to grants and give all charities the opportunity to find the funding or resources they need. We ran a campaign to pair Simplyhealth with a charity holding a whatCharity MatchMaking profile, offering candidates the chance to access funding. Simplyhealth made a decision based on a selection of high-calibre applications. You can read more about the grant here

This is a great partnership between Simplyhealth and Muscular Dystrophy UK, whose ethos’ align when it comes to facilitating access to adequate medical treatment. As Muscular Dystrophy UK suggests:

“Simplyhealth enables people to access better healthcare, and this project is all about boosting access where our charity has identified a critical need for intervention.” – Muscular Dystrophy UK

simply health and whatCharity both work to provide fair access to healthcare services
Simplyhealth and whatCharity both work towards fair access to healthcare services

Who is Muscular Dystrophy UK?

Muscular Dystrophy UK is a charity for over 70,000 people living with over 60 muscle-wasting conditions and they seek to improve the lives of those affected. Muscular Dystrophy affects just 1 in 1,000 people in the UK but can be severely disabling and often life-shortening. The work of Muscular Dystrophy UK is invaluable, with a lack of knowledge surrounding muscle-wasting conditions, the charity provides vital information, support, advice and resources to people living with Muscular Dystrophy.

To hear more about the mission of Muscular Dystrophy UK, click the link below for their full MatchMaking profile.

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s full MatchMaking profile can be seen on whatCharity.com

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s new project

The charity has identified that there is a lack of mental health support services; only 8 of the 24 specialist neuromuscular centres provided by the NHS have access to a Neuromuscular Clinical Psychologist and it is a painstaking process commissioning more specialist psychologists. 

With the money donated by Simplyhealth, the charity aims to upskill front-line staff who deliver care to people living with muscle-wasting conditions most often, so that they can provide psychological support to them directly. The charity is forward thinking, acknowledging a more holistic approach to care, which takes seriously the  need for mental health support for people living with life changing conditions. They aim to incorporate simple techniques and exercises drawn from disciplines such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness. Specialist support will be provided to patients through their NHS provided Neuromuscular Care Advisors (NCAs). As a corollary, the scheme will reduce the enormous demand for Neuromuscular Clinical Psychologists as a result of the direct treatment by NCAs.

‘The project will create a legacy of specially trained first-line mental health support workers who will understand how to deal with the unique needs of neuromuscular patients and their families.’ – Muscular Dystrophy UK

The skills gained from their project are also reusable and transferable and can be used in treatment beyond mental health, for example non-psychologists such as neuromuscular physiotherapists can use training to help them with difficult conversations.

The Impact of Funding

Muscular Dystrophy UK are transparent about what they hope to achieve with more funding thanks to Simplyhealth and other funding boards. The team says: 

“We will upskill 70 NCAs.  These NCAs support roughly 500 people each, but see about 200 of these on a regular basis (typically every 6 months or every year). This means that the potential number of people who could benefit over the year following this intervention is about 14,000. We know that over half people living with muscle-wasting conditions experience depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental distress at the point of diagnosis and at other points in their lives with the condition”. – Muscular Dystrophy UK

Muscular Dystrophy UK anticipate that thousands of people will have more immediate access to vital services. Following training NCAs will be better equipped to recognise needs, treat them, or refer patients in severe circumstances. 

The charity aims to monitor their impact in six month intervals, collecting feedback from NCAs and patients alike. The charity’s goal is to begin training staff as soon as possible at their biannual Neuromuscular Care Conference, with the hope that the training evolves into a rolling programme for staff. 

We wish to extend a huge thank you to all the applicants of the Simplyhealth grant, we were amazed at the wonderful work you all do. Please keep your eyes peeled for more opportunities to collaborate with brilliant organisations!