Everybody needs to talk to people who can truly understand. If you don’t have any people in your surroundings with personal experience of disability a support group is a good way to establish social networks, share personal experiences and get advice and information.
What is a support group? What can I get out of it?
A support group is a group of 7-10 people who meet regularly. The group offers you the opportunity to talk to and learn from others with similar experiences and to gain support and new insights on those issues you are struggling with. The group is led by a facilitator whose role it is to greet newcomers, start and end the session and ensure the group stays on track and discussions are productive.
A support group is for you to enjoy and learn from, a place where you can relax and be your real self. It is also a place to experiment with new ideas and to give/invite feedback from others in similar positions. It is not a place where you are forced to share things or where you will be embarrassed: it is the role of the facilitator to make sure this does not happen.
Confidentiality is essential. This means that you agree not to talk about other people’s stuff outside of the group as you would expect others not to talk about yours.
How do I receive support?
- Talk openly about your feelings and experiences once trust has been established in the group.
- Identify, value, respect and accept your own feelings.
- Own your own feelings by using “I” rather than “you” or “we”.
- Trust others.
- Receive time, attention and care from others.
How do I give support?
- You are not expected to give advice or attempt to solve other people’s problems.
- Instead give time, space and attention by listening to others.
- Encourage others to express their thoughts and feelings, show empathy and understanding, share your own reactions and encourage others to think about alternative ideas or options.
- Communicate non-judgemental acceptance of others.
- Avoiding irrelevant diversions, ensuring you're working towards the group's objectives.
What happens at the first meeting?
The facilitator will meet and greet the members and help everyone to feel relaxed so you can introduce yourselves and agree on the duration, times and frequency of the group as well as the objectives of the group and how to achieve these.
It is entirely normal to feel nervous about joining a support group, especially if you haven’t been in this type of group before. The facilitator is there to make sure everyone gets equal time to share and is listened to and responded to appropriately. In the first session there will be plenty of time to address any nerves but if you would like to have a chat with us before the group starts, give us a ring.
There will be groups in different locations, so contact us and we will try and find a group near to you.
Time, frequency, duration of the group and whether membership is open or closed will be agreed mutually between members during the first session. Generally groups meet bi-weekly or monthly for 2 hours.
Costs are £7-10 per 2 hour meeting. Support groups cost around £120 per session to run, but thanks to our grant funding we can offer this low rate!
As part of the government's 'Putting People First' personalisation of care, if you receive an individual budget or direct payments from Social Services, or a personal health budget from theNHS you can ask your GP/social worker whether you can use your budget for any of our services. Your assessed care needs may include wellbeing (which includes your psychological wellbeing) or you may have to ask for a re-assessment to include your psychological wellbeing. If you need advice on how to do this, please give us a ring.
Join a group?
Please contact us for any further enquiries.
Set up a Spokz People support group?
To set up a group in your area, please contact us. We can provide ongoing support and supervision. Preferably some group experience is required, though it is possible to join a group first to get this experience.