Support group leader guidelines | Sarcoma UK
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Support group leader guidelines

The support you give others during their sarcoma journey is very important and helpful.

Patients and their families feel less alone when they share their experiences, good or bad. Sharing helps them feel listened to and understood.

Who can run a support group?

Patients, carers, family, friends, and healthcare professionals can all run support groups.

Running a support group can be a big commitment. As it is a voluntary role, it’s important to recognise the time and effort required to keep it going before you set one up.

Where can I hold a support group?

You can hold a support group in various locations, such as hospitals, community centres, cancer charity centres, coffee shops, or online.

It’s important that groups meet somewhere that offers privacy and a safe space.

To make new members feel welcome, choose a meeting place where they can talk, listen, and have a cup of tea or coffee.

If there are good public transport links and a car park nearby, it is one less thing for members to worry about.

Is there a good time or day of the week to hold my support group?

There is no right or wrong time to hold your support group. It’s useful to think about what time of day most of your members can come to meetings.

More people may be able to come at weekends or in the evening after work.

It’s important to be consistent with the timings of meetings. For example: the first Monday of every month, 6.30-8.30pm, or the third Saturday of every other month, 1.30-3pm.

This helps regular members, as well as those who haven’t attended in a while or are new, to easily find the next meeting date.

Consistency can also help when you are booking a meeting place, as it helps venue organisers to know in advance. Meetings can last between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and some may meet once a month or every few months. You can also make sure meetings start and end on time, so people can schedule them around other obligations. You can send reminders about the meetings to regular members about your Clinical Nurse Specialist. They can help promote your group to new patients.

Some groups also arrange social activities outside of the group meetings. This can help members get to know each other better and provide extra support between sessions. It also gives people a chance to enjoy a day out, away from a hospital or more formal setting, and can help them feel less isolated.

How do I fund a support group?

Sarcoma UK offers a grant of £500 a year. You can use this to pay for travel, venue costs, events, outings, or advertising.

To find out more about this grant, or to apply for funding, you can email us.

Local authorities, trusts, and charities can also provide funding.

You can also fundraise in informal ways, like having pub quizzes and raffles, with your family, friends, colleagues, or local hospital teams. The Sarcoma UK fundraising team can give you  more information and advice on accessing other sources of funding. Contact the team.

How should I store confidential information about group members?

To protect group members’ information, store it in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation. This is commonly known a GDPR.

Detailed information about GDPR and how to make sure you’re following it can be found here.

Last reviewed: 30 November 2023 | Next review due: 30 November 2026


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