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A look back at 2020 for FMA UK

The year gone by is one which we have never seen the likes of before. It presented a huge challenge for the charity, as well as our community which we represent and society in general.  
Lockdown measures meant our staff members working from home – something which we have been doing throughout the year. It has had its challenges, but by using Microsoft Teams, we have been able to get most things done from home. We have still managed to get resources out to people during this, but as you can appreciate, it has taken longer than usual to get stuff out due to remote working.  
In 2020, we saw many of our fundraiser’s events cancelled or postponed which has impacted our income, however, we saw new inventive ways of raising money, with people taking part in virtual events. Some of these include a virtual Hadrian’s wall challenge, gaming streams, sponsored head shaves, and many more. To everyone who has helped with fundraising and to those who’ve deferred their events, we say a massive thank you and appreciate all of your efforts.  
Throughout the year, we managed to get our Employment Booklet completed and up on our website. This was a booklet which was well sought after, and we had many requests and questions about employment which the booklet is designed to try and answer. It contains a booklet for both employees and employers on fibromyalgia and making workplaces more accommodating for the condition. We will aim to have physical copies of it available when we are able to return to the office, but for the time being, it can be viewed online at our publications page.  
Our national helpline and our welfare benefits helpline continued to take calls throughout the year, giving out advice to many people on a whole range of matters and this service is one which is still available for people going forward.  
Our chair Des Quinn adds “I would like to personally thank the staff and volunteers for the way they have dealt with uncertainty and changing conditions and requirements.  Especially in the early stages of the year we had to deal with lots of work around planned events and communicating to fundraisers about the changing status of events like the Great North Run that like many events was eventually cancelled. 
Like other charities we have found these times difficult not only due to loss of income, but the challenges of working in new ways and everyone misses the ability to interact in our office and have that much missed normal social contact. We look forward to some form of normality and consistency returning and the charity being able to start with some of our expansion plans from the beginning of 2020.  
I would also like to thank those in our community as they have stood by us and supported our efforts. Our services have continued but not as normal. We continue to try and adjust to this new situation and do the best we can. We would like to wish everyone all the best for 2021.”  

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