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2005 New Year Message

Office volunteers needed

If you live in the Stourbridge area and can spare a few hours a week to help with office administration, we would love to hear from you. The office activities are numerous and varied and we would be pleased to discuss these with you. Please contact us if you are interested by using the contact form

Thank you.

The most memorable event of 2004 has to be the resounding success of our International Conference at Imperial College, London. The Trustees would like to extend their thanks, once again, to Pam Stewart, and her band of willing volunteers, for her diligence and perseverance that made the event the success it was. We were treated to a variety of seminars on aspects of research and treatment of fibromyalgia by a wide range of speakers, culminating in a Gala Dinner on the Saturday night adding to the drama and enjoyment of the occasion. The conference also gave us the opportunity to formally thank retired Trustee, Sue Tait, for her vast contribution to FMA UK over the past 6 years. Dr Victor cannily avoided any such embarrassing attentions by waiting until after the conference before announcing his retirement from both the Dudley Hospital and the Board. We wish them both well and are grateful for the time and effort they have invested in FMA UK. 


This year has also been a learning curve. The initial disappointment at the rejection of our Community Fund application has resolved into new proposals for several more streamlined projects aimed at specific areas of our work. Applications have already been submitted to secure funding for a part-time office administrator; to improve the quality and quantity of the information leaflets/booklets we offer; to translate our main information leaflets into the five most common ethnic languages; and to provide training and equipment for our present and newly recruited helpline volunteers. Funding, as with most charities, will remain an ever-present issue to be tackled by periodic funding applications and events. We would like to thank all those who made the special effort to sell raffle tickets this year to ensure the raffle repeated its success. The present work of FMA UK relies on this style of income. 


The New Year will kick off with a joint meeting between the Board of Trustees and Regional Co-ordinators on February 12th to discuss new ideas and plans for the year ahead. One exciting plan is already in motion: we are moving to a new office in February. Our new rooms, still located in Stourbridge, will offer increased working and storage space; allowing for the employment of a new administrator, additional office volunteers and space for Board and committee meetings. This move and additional help is vital to our continuing success, as administration work is constantly on the increase due to our expanding activities and the immense achievements of many local groups in their awareness and publicity campaigns.  


Work will also continue this year on building stronger links with the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations.  Janet McFarlane, Trustee and Regional Co-ordinator for Scotland is now the secretary of this body.  We will also continue our work with The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and the Long-Term Medical Conditions Alliance (LMCA). 


Our new medical booklet has been positively received by the DWP, who are distributing numerous copies among their medical services section.  (The medical booklet can be viewed on this website and ordered by medical professionals only.)


Our GP leaflet is still being distributed to GPs around the country via local Primary Care Trusts and this will continue until all areas have been covered. 


A new exciting link is being established with the organisation EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism).  Kathy Longley has been invited by Dr Ernest Choy, whom she met at the Myopain conference in Munich last July, to be the patient representative at the upcoming committee meeting, in Zurich this February, to discuss the European diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia (all expenses paid by EULAR). This should be an interesting opportunity to interact with European experts and ensure that FMA UK is kept up-to-date on European research and diagnostic ideas. 


As we look forward to a New Year of opportunities we would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support and contributions. 


 Best Wishes from the Board of Trustees 


Gerry Crossley, Janet Horton, Kathy Longley, Janet McFarlane,
Bob Stewart, Jean Turner, Romayne Wright

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