Thank you for your strength and generosity

14 December 2020
A town Christmas scene.

It’s been a year like no other. Thanks to your support, we've had the collective strength to be there for people with arthritis when it was needed the most.

Watch this video for a special message from us at Versus Arthritis to you – our community of people defying arthritis. To view this video in Welsh, visit our YouTube channel/ i wylio’r neges hon yn Gymraeg ymwelwch â’n sianel YouTube.

In a year when we’ve spent so much time apart, we’ve really come together

By keeping connected and making the most of technology, we’ve achieved great things. Here’s some highlights from our communities across the UK:

  • Within days of the first lockdown starting, you helped our digital team build a specialised COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, COVA, to help people with arthritis get relevant health information relating to COVID-19 quickly.
  • Our Northern Ireland volunteers, who are experts in living with their condition, teamed up with universities to run weekly online sessions enabling hundreds of student doctors, physios, occupational therapists and pharmacists to better understand the impact of living with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. This will help improve future services and treatments.
  • We helped shape the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 response to MSK conditions, and worked with them on guidance for those of you who were shielding.
  • In England, our Young People and Families service got creative with their get-togethers. In October, they posted gingerbread pumpkin biscuits to young people to decorate and show at their virtual gathering. 
  • Tens of thousands of people with arthritis have been able to access online exercise support with the launch of the Let’s Move Programme. Take a look at the message from fitness expert Leon, especially for you.

Even from home, you’ve made arthritis impossible to ignore

Our campaigning and influencing work has been shaped by your personal stories and more than 9,000 of you have shared your experiences of living with arthritis. You've told us what matters, including how COVID-19 has impacted on surgery and treatments - and we’ve shared this with politicians and policy-makers UK-wide.

During 2020, you’ve sent more than 23,600 emails to politicians at Westminster, Holyrood, the Senedd and Stormont to speak out and help to raise awareness and improve services. In total, our work has been supported by over 250 politicians from Westminster and the devolved nations.

Read more about how your campaigning has made a difference.

Our vital research hasn’t stopped

We’ve continued to fund research despite the impact of COVID-19, including:

We’re here for you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

  • If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
  • Chat to our Arthritis Virtual Assistant.
  • Join our online community.
  • Stay in touch and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Thank you

From everyone here at Versus Arthritis, we wish you a happy festive season, even in this difficult time. Because, this year more than ever, you deserve it. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you.