Interview with David Moore, Founding Director of Fibromyalgia Awareness NI (FM.A.NI)
Tell us a bit about yourself and/or your organisation.
I am David Moore, Founding Director of Fibromyalgia Awareness NI or FM.A.NI to make it simpler. I started the charity in 2013 after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia myself in 2012 – trying to educate myself and understand this chronic debilitating illness that had taken over my life.
How well have you/your organisation adapted to the pandemic?
We have had to completely close down our charity premises due to COVID-19, as our main source of income our charity shop had little to no customers due to this. Above our shop we had an office drop-in facility and had just got our therapy room ready to open when we went into lockdown in March 2020.
Now we continue to offer our services online or by phone – providing help, support, counselling and benefit advice to those who get in contact with us.
We have also been handing out care packages to our members making sure they all have the basics they need to stay at home and shelter.
How well have people/organisations in your area collaborated throughout the pandemic?
There have been some organisations who got together offering food bank services. We have tried to focus on the mental health side of things while people are feeling even more isolated during these difficult times.
What key needs are becoming apparent and/or are likely to arise this year?
With people loosing their jobs and being furloughed, we see the need to try get people basic help with energy bills or heating, as they are more at home now than ever and not able to work or have visitors like they did before.
ASK: What do you need, right now, that the members of Community Network NI and/or the wider community may be able to help you with?
As all of us here at the charity are fibro sufferers, and volunteer our time to the organisation, it would be nice to possibly link with mental health organisations who understand those with chronic debilitating conditions like fibro while we go through these difficult times, so we could refer people to them for support as it is just myself at the moment who does this in the charity.