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Ten Steps to Starting A Support Group

As featured in our December 23 newsletter you can read Peter's 10 steps to starting a group. 

The 10 Steps

  1. Research and Planning: Is there a need for a Group? You could reach out to local healthcare providers, online communities, and social media to gauge interest.
  2. What is the purpose of the Group? Is it for sharing experiences, providing educational resources, offering emotional support, or a combination of these?
  3. What is the format? Online, in person meetings or both?
  4. Logistics - If you're hosting in-person meetings, choose a suitable venue that's comfortable and easily accessible for members, whether by public transport or car. Decide on the frequency and duration of your meetings. This could be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Set up communication channels, such as email, social media groups, or online forums, to keep members informed about upcoming meetings and events. Remember to open a bank account.
  5. Promotion: Spread the word about your support group through social media, local newspapers, community centres, GPs, and relevant online forums. Collaborate with local healthcare providers who treat fibromyalgia. They might refer patients to your group.
  6. Meeting Structure: Plan the structure of your support group meetings. Begin with introductions and icebreakers to help members feel comfortable. Allocate time for sharing personal experiences, discussing coping strategies, and addressing common challenges. Consider inviting guest speakers, such as healthcare professionals or therapists, to provide expert insights.
  7. Guidelines: During meetings, ensure that the environment is inclusive, non-judgmental, and focused on mutual support. Establish ground rules to maintain respectful communication and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to share.
  8. Support Resources: Provide resources such as pamphlets, websites, and books about fibromyalgia that members can access. Include information about mental health support, as fibromyalgia can often lead to psychological challenges.
  9. Flexibility: Be open to evolving the format and structure of the group based on member feedback and changing needs.
  10. Collaborate and Grow: Collaborate with other local organisations, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups to enhance the reach and impact of your support group. As your group grows, consider organising awareness events.


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