MCS-Aware Privacy Statement
MCS-Aware takes your privacy seriously. We are committed to protecting your personal information. This policy sets out how MCS-Aware uses the information that you provide us with in order to help further our work in supporting those with Environmental Illness. If you do not agree to the terms in this Policy, we kindly ask you to leave the site.
About us: MCS-Aware is the UK’s leading Environmental Illness Charity, established in 2011 after initially starting as a support group in 2005.
We keep our promises, and that includes treating your personal details with care. We will not sell your data to any third parties, but we may sometimes contact you with offers that may be of interest to you or to appeal for donations. We ensure that your data are held to strict standards for data use and security.
Who we are
By MCS-Aware (the data controller) we mean the charity, MCS-Aware. MCS-Aware is a registered charity no 1152139 operating as a non-profit company limited by guarantee, no: 07772408. If you have any data-protection questions please email or write to us at the address available on our website.
Your information – what we collect and how we use it
MCS-Aware collects information from subscribers, donors and the public in a number of different ways. For example, we ask for contact and other information such as name, date of birth and contact information when members of the public engage with one of our campaigns. We use this information to help us to provide and improve our services as a charity and to keep a record of our communications with you.
If you are a financial supporter or subscriber of MCS-Aware, we will ask for information that enables us to administer your subscription or donation. This will normally include information such as your name, contact details such as address, email or telephone number and your payment details and Gift Aid status.
If you have given us your consent by signing up to our newsletter, support group, or by requesting publications, we will contact you to provide you with information you requested. In addition, we may share updates on our work, products and services that you may be interested in, and how you can support us (such as fundraising). This may be by post, email, telephone or text message, depending on your preferences. We will also continue to ask about your marketing preferences, to ensure that you are still happy to be contacted by us and by which means. There is no obligation to continue to receive communications or publications; at the bottom of every contact we make there is information on how to unsubscribe or opt-out.
What the law says about protection of personal information
The Law on Data Protection is derived from various pieces of legislation (and can be found in a number of places). These include the Data Protection Act and the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (the ‘GDPR’) which will become enforceable in May 2018. The GDPR states that personal data (information relating to a person that can be individually identified) can only be processed if there are legal grounds to do so. Activities like collecting, storing and using personal information would fall into the GDPR’s definition of processing. The GDPR provides six legal grounds (reasons) on which personal information can be processed (used) in a way that is lawful. For the processing to be permitted by law (lawful), at least one of the legal grounds must apply. The four legal grounds that are most relevant to MCS-Aware’s use of your personal information are:
- Legitimate Interest
- Legal Obligation
How the law applies to MCS-Aware’s use of personal information
MCS-Aware will only process (use) your personal information if we have:
- asked you and have a record of your express and recent consent for us to do so;
- a ‘Legitimate Interest’ to do so in order to support our charitable purposes. Our use will be fair and balanced and never unduly have an impact on your rights;
- a contract with you that we can only fulfil by using your personal information, e.g. to send you an item that you have requested;
- a legal obligation to use or disclose information about you, e.g. we are required by law to keep records of gifts that are given to us with Gift Aid for 4 years
In extreme situations, such as an accident or medical emergency, we may share your personal details with the emergency services if it is essential for the preservation of life (yours or another person’s) for us to do so. Such use of your personal information is in keeping with the ‘vital interests’ section of the data protection legislation. After any such emergency, we will always try to inform you about how we had to use your information in that extreme situation. We will not unduly prioritise our interests as a charity over your interests as an individual. We will always balance our interests with your rights. We will only use personal information in a way and for a purpose that you would reasonably expect in accordance with this Policy. MCS-Aware will not rent, swap or sell your personal information to other organisations for them to use in their own marketing activities.
MCS-Aware will always ask for your consent before we communicate with you for certain purposes. For example, we will only email or phone you about our fundraising activities if we have an accurate record of your recent and freely given consent to do so.
You can withdraw your consent at any time by emailing .
There are times when it is not practical to obtain and record consent. At those times, we will only process personal information if that processing would meet another legal ground e.g. Legitimate Interests, in which case we would only process in accordance with the law’s strict rules on legitimate interest processing.
Voluntary information via the Forum or Social Media
We may ask you for information related to your health in order to enhance your use of the Site. This is sensitive personal information and, as such, we need you to specifically agree that we may keep it and continue to use it for the purposes of enabling us to send you newsletters which we think may be of interest to you. Please note that any information you choose to provide on the Forum or via social media (including any sensitive information relating to your health) is accessible by other users as well as by us. By volunteering this information you must expect that other people will see it and that it may be the subject of discussion.Although our Forum includes rules to prevent spamming and the collection and storage of personal data about other users, we cannot guarantee that users will not break these rules and accept no liability in the event that other users do break the Forum Rules.
MCS-Aware information and materials
All information given on this site is to the best of our ability. Whilst MCS-Aware is happy to supply any assistance and guidance regarding Environmental Illness to MCS-Aware subscribers and members of the public, it must be appreciated that such guidance is based only on information supplied to MCS-Aware and MCS-Aware will NOT be liable for injury, loss or damage arising from such guidance supplied.
You may print any factsheet on this site for your own personal information but you may NOT sell it, reproduce it on the Internet, distribute it, alter it, or reprint it in any publication without permission from the MCS-Aware. Material cannot be adapted for use in any other publication, used for profit or used in any way that will bring the charity into disrepute.
Except for as expressly permitted by law the Materials may not be modified or altered, decompiled, reverse-engineered, disassembled, adapted or translated in any way. Except for as expressly provided herein, you may not use, download, upload, copy, print, display, perform, reproduce, publish, licence, post, transmit or distribute any information from this Website in whole or in part without the prior written permission of MCS-Aware.
You may not remove any copyright or other proprietary notices contained in the Materials. The Materials are licenced to you only. You may not rent, lease, sub-licence, sell, assign, charge, pledge, transfer or otherwise dispose of the Materials, on a temporary or permanent basis, without the prior written consent of MCS-Aware.
MCS-Aware reserves the right to revoke your authorisation to view, download and print the Materials available on the Site at any time, and any such use shall be discontinued immediately upon written notice from us. Any licence provided herein to use the Materials shall automatically be terminated by any breach by you of this Licence or of the Terms and Conditions.
MCS-Aware's trademarks, symbols, artwork or other visual or audio elements may not be reproduced in whole or in part separately from the textual content associated with them in the Materials. If you download third party software from the Site or elsewhere in order to use the Materials as authorised above, then you must comply with the terms of any licence applicable in respect of such software. The trademarks and logos used and displayed on this Site are unregistered trademarks of MCS-Aware and may not be used in any advertising or other publicity materials in relation to the distribution of any information or materials obtained from this Site without the prior consent of the Trademark owner.
For copyright enquiries please email or write to us.
What is Legitimate Interest
This legal ground for processing means that organisations can process your personal information if they; 1. have a genuine and legitimate reason for doing so and 2. that use does not harm any of your rights and interests as an individual.
MCS-Aware’s Legitimate Interest
We do not unduly prioritise our legitimate business interests as a charity over your interests as an individual. We always respect your rights. Which is why we carry out a balancing exercise of the rights of the charity with the rights of our supporters. We believe that the best way to look after the interests of our supporters is to consider their unique interests and expectations. As a result, we have established the following categories of MCS-Aware supporter. This provides us with an additional method for assessing that we use your personal information in a way that matches your relationship with us; your interests; and your expectations about your rights.
The four groups for our data protection supporter needs assessments are, supporters that have:
- signed up to our newsletter
- signed up to our support group
- provided financial donations
- demonstrated an interest in our cause by contacting us for more information, e.g. to find out more about one of our products, services or campaigns.
What we have a Legitimate Interest to do
We believe that MCS-Aware supporters are connected to our mission and want to know how they can continue to help us to achieve our charitable aims. Unless you tell us not to, we assume that you are content for us to process (keep and use) your personal information for the following lengths of time, according to which category of interaction you have with MCS-Aware. As of May 2018, we promise not to keep your personal information for longer than we specify below. This is not the length of time that we will continue to contact you – this could be a shorter period of time (see below for an explanation on our personalised approach to communications).
- Subscribers to MCS-Aware publications
These are subscribers who have actively signed up to receive our publications and in some case made a financial commitment to receive a subscription, for example the MCS-Aware magazine. Given that a service has been sought we will continue to supply the service until such time as the subscription runs out; or we receive email or postal notification that an individual wishes to unsubscribe. If you don’t think this is quite right for you, you can tell us to change your communication preferences and our use of your information. You can do this at any time emailing or by writing to us.
· Financial Supporters of MCS-Aware
These are supporters that help or have helped us with financial gifts. A supporter’s pattern of giving can often change over time. We have found that our financial supporter’s cycle of giving is on average four years. That means the supporter may, for this period of time, stop providing financial support e.g. stop regular-giving. This can be for a wide number of reasons, including because they choose to support us in a different way. Irrespective of their financial circumstances, these supporters still hold the same principles and values; and continue to be connected to MCS-Aware and our mission. This is evidenced by the fact that many of this group of supporters restart regular-giving, and other financial support, within four years from their last donation. We believe that supporters of our mission never stop believing in the importance of improving the lives of those with Environmental Illness, but we do stop using the personal information of these supporters after four years from the time of the last donation.
- Those who have demonstrated an interest in MCS-Aware via an enquiry
This category applies to those who have demonstrated an interest in our cause by contacting us for more information, e.g. to find out more about one of our products, services or campaigns. We assume that someone that has reached out to us to find out more about MCS-Aware and what we do, would like us to provide that information; perhaps a little more information; and even some support in fulfilling their initial query or request. To support this, we keep your personal information for a period of two years.
Supporters demonstrate their support in a number of ways and so could be in more than one, or even all, of the above categories. We will review and refresh these categories and the timescales on a rolling basis to ensure that as times and needs change we continue to do the very best by our supporters. It is always your choice. If you don’t think this is quite right for you, you can tell us to change your communication preferences and our use of your information. You can do this at any time emailing or by writing to us.
Legitimate Interest to send you direct mail
Unless you tell us not to, we will rely on our Legitimate Interest ground (explained above) for sending you direct mail. From time to time, we would like to post you exciting updates about our work, products, services and how you can support us, including fundraising activities and research. Unless you have requested that we do not send you some, or all of this, our direct mailings do include marketing and fundraising requests which further the aims and objectives of MCS-Aware.
We will always endeavour to only send you what you are interested in and only as often as is appropriate. If we do not appear to be sending communications that are of interest, we will review this and will endeavour to reduce and then stop these types of communications in a much shorter time than the above defined period of Legitimate Interest. E.g. if you donated two years ago and do not seem to have been interested since then we are likely to reduce these communications, even though we have a legitimate interest to process for four years. The average length of time required for us to be able to properly assess and reflect on your pattern of response is about two years. But you’re in control so if you do not want to receive this type of communication any more, you can update your preferences at any time by emailing or by writing to us.
Legitimate Interest to process your information
We aim to be clear about what information we collect, to enable you to make meaningful choices about how it is used. When it is necessary we will contact you for administrative purposes, e.g., regarding a payment. We will also hold the minimum personal information required to support our ability to respect your preferences for communication with us. To help you to understand when and why MCS-Aware would use Legitimate Interest to process your personal information we provide the following examples:
- to send postal communications (as explained above).
- to enhance, modify, personalise and improve our services and communications for the benefit of our supporters.
- to improve security of our websites and systems.
- to prevent fraud when transacting on our website.
- to process your donations.
- to fulfil online transactions; process and deliver your order(s). To take payment and arrange delivery, we need to collect personal information, including your payment details, your full name, delivery address and contact details.
- to analyse your personal information to ensure that our communications are relevant to you.
The above list of examples are on the basis that the processing will not be done if it harms your rights and interests as an individual, or if you tell us that you’d like us to stop. You can do this at any time by emailing or by writing to us.
In order to communicate with you more effectively, better understand your preferences and ability to support our work, we may analyse your data. We like to find out about your personal motivation for supporting MCS-Aware and your experiences as a supporter. This helps us to give you the information about products and services most relevant to you. In some instances, we may carry out research and/or analysis of the personal information that you have provided to us and add publicly available information (such as public records or social media) to help us tailor our communications to you. We do this to create a fuller picture of our supporters, to improve our service and to manage our contact with you in an appropriate and cost-effective way. This information could include things like your interests, preferences and the level of any potential donations.
Changes to your data
From time to time we may contact you to ensure that the information you have provided us with remains accurate and up to date. Should you wish to change your preferences you can do this by writing to us or by emailing
Like all organisations, we comply with requests for the disclosure of personal information where this is required or permitted by law. This could include requests from law enforcement or tax agencies. In these circumstances, the request must be submitted in writing and in accordance with the relevant legal requirements. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Information Commissioners office https://ico.org.uk/
Cookies and Web Privacy
The collection of information
Every time you log on to our website your IP (Internet Protocol) address registers on our servers. Your IP address reveals no information other than the number assigned to you. We do not use this technology to obtain any personal data against your knowledge or free will (i.e., automatically recording e-mail addresses of visitors). Nor do we use it for any purpose other than to help us monitor traffic on our website, or (in case of criminal activity or misuse of our information) to cooperate with law enforcement.
We use a number of different cookies on our site. If you do not know what cookies are, or how to control or delete them, then we recommend you visit http://www.aboutcookies.org for detailed guidance.
The list below describes the cookies we use on this site and what we use them for. Currently we operate an ‘implied consent' policy which means that we assume you are happy with this usage. If you are not happy with this, then you should either not use this site, or you should delete the cookies having visited the site, or you should browse the site using your browser's anonymous usage setting (called "Incognito" in Chrome, "InPrivate" for Internet Explorer, "Private Browsing" in Firefox and Safari etc.)
First Party Cookies
Third Party Cookies
These are cookies set on your machine by external websites whose services are used on this site. Cookies of this type are the sharing buttons across the site allow visitors to share content onto social networks. Cookies are currently set by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. In order to implement these buttons, and connect them to the relevant social networks and external sites, there are scripts from domains outside of our website. You should be aware that these sites are likely to be collecting information about what you are doing all around the internet, including on this website. You should check the respective policies of each of these sites to see how exactly they use your information and to find out how to opt out, or delete, such information.
Some emails that we send you contain no tracking at all, e.g. service emails with invoices attached. Other emails we send we can track at a general level so as, for example, to show whether the user has opened and clicked on the email. We do not use this information at a personal level, rather we use it to understand open and click rates on our emails to try and improve them. If you want to be sure that none of your email activity is tracked then you should opt out of our emails which you can do via the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email we send.
Financial transactions made online to MCS-Aware using this site are secure. No one can access your credit card details via the internet.
· How our website works
When you have completed your donation or subscription, your web browser will be connected directly to our secure server. You can see that the connection is secure by looking at the padlock or key icon in the bottom left hand corner of your browser. Your browser may also alert you to the fact that you are connecting to a secure server, and if so, it will also tell you when you are closing the secure connection once you have donated. This is for your information only.
Our secure server communicates with your browser using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols, so that all your personal information, including credit card number and your name and address, is encrypted. This process takes the words and figures you enter, and converts them into bits of code that are then securely transmitted over the internet.
Our website provides links to other sites. We are not responsible for their data protection policies. You should check their privacy policies if you are concerned.
All photography on this site is reproduced with kind permission of the photographers concerned.
This Privacy Statement was last updated in May 2018. From time to time, we will make changes to the information on this page. The amended information will apply from the date it is posted on the site and will govern the way in which we collect and use personal information from then on.