About local patient support groups
The HMSA runs local both online support groups, and local groups across the UK, for its members. These are highly recommended by our members (see Feedback), as well as by hospitals and medical professionals.
Local groups are places where you can openly chat to other members who have similar issues to yourselves. They are a place where you can share hints and tips on managing with your limitations and discuss treatments/therapies. Above all it is a support group – i.e. a group of people with common issues who can support each other.
Each group meeting will have a theme to start the conversation off and everyone will have their chance to contribute should they wish to. The idea is to keep the conversation positive and to help each other manage our condition – a safe place to talk with other people who may understand your situation. The monthly themes include things like mental health, crafts and hobbies, occupational therapy and adaptations, and fatigue management
As we now can hold virtual groups as well as physical support groups (once coronavirus restrictions are lifted), if there is not a local group near a member, they can actually attend an existing group virtually, so do not put off if there is not one in your area, or if you cannot travel to a group in your area. We also now have the option of members attending different groups meetings, if they cannot attend on the date of their local one by contacting the Group Leader using the information in the table below.
While regular attendance of a local group is a membership benefit, non-members can attend one local group session before joining to see what they are like. You can find your nearest group and contact the relevant group leader by using the information in the ‘Find your nearest local group’ tab below.
To contact your Local Group Leader please send them an email, however, if you do not have email, Facebook or Twitter access please call our helpline on 03330 116 388 and one of our Volunteers will arrange for your local Leader to contact you directly.
Current local groups
Most groups hold meetings once a month, but as all our Group leaders are volunteers; this will depend upon their availability.
For more information on a local group, please email the Group Leader listed in the table above, or contact the Local Groups Co-ordinator - email@example.com
Once you are a member, you can choose your local group here.
If there is no local group in your area, it will be because we sadly do not have any members that have volunteered to be a Group Leader in that area.
As we now can hold virtual groups as well as physical support groups (once coronavirus restrictions are lifted), if there is not a local group near a member, they can actually attend an existing group virtually, so please do not put off if there is not one in your area.
We are always on the lookout for new volunteer Group Leaders as we have a lot of areas that would be best served by their own group. The Group Leader role is now much simplified and only really needs to take a few hours a month. If you would like to find out more about the role, just let the Local Groups Co-ordinator know on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our volunteer application form.
Feedback from our members
These are some of the lovely things people are saying about our local group meetings:
· It was really helpful to sit and chat through things which people have found helpful and to see how when we talked about it, we had positives in all our life
· Felt very welcome. Great discussion and sharing
· These zoom meetings have been so good to have, I would struggle to attend physical meetings (non driver) and everyone has been so welcoming and supportive since I’ve joined the meetings.
· Meeting goes quickly and even though I'm new to zoom meetings I'm getting used to how they work. Every person has chance to speak, I learn a lot from other people's experiences and how they deal with things, it's nice to see new people joining as well as catching up with familiar faces. Zoom meetings make it easier for people to join in from a distance as normal group meetings are a bit few and far between. The group leader leads the meeting well and makes sure everyone has a say in things.
· Fantastic meeting as always, such positive energy just like previous face to face and virtual meetings.
· I was worried about going to a support group as many are just moaning about their problems, but HMSA group I attend is not like that at all! Practical solutions and a good laugh.
· I laughed so much I popped a rib out!!!!
· I’ve learnt so much through this lovely group regarding how to manage my condition
Important Information for people attending local group meetings:
Attendees will be asked to register your attendance at the meeting and sign a disclaimer (this also applies to virtual meetings). You will also be asked if you are happy for any images to be used in future HMSA material. You may opt-out of this.
Group Meetings are a benefit of HMSA membership and discussion will therefore be focused on HMS related issues and support for one another. Other subjects may be discussed but only at the discretion of the Group Leader (or their deputy).
Attendees must conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, being polite, respectful and courteous to the leader and other attendees. Any behaviour that is inappropriate or disruptive will not be tolerated and the individual will be reminded of the rules. If repeated reminders are needed or behaviour is threatening or abusive, then the individual may be asked to leave and subsequently may be banned from attending future meetings.