Starting support group.. would you go?

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Hey, I found out I had cancer in April, I have since had a radical hysterectomy and awaiting my 3 month check up. 
I am hoping to start a support group in my local area for any body affected by cancer, going through this I feel I will have a good understanding,I want to do it based around crafts each week so a crafts and chat group, relaxed no pressure, cake and cups of tea and coffee and no pressure to share experience. Really chilled out and just the chance for anybody to have an escapism. 
the question is would any of you guys go to it if it was your area, would you find this helpful? I really want to do something positive from my experience xx

  • Hi  and welcome to the group.

    That sounds like a really good thing to set up. Where I live there are no local support groups of any sort, and I think I would have liked to have the opportunity to go to something and meet other people. I personally wouldn’t go to one focused on crafts as I don’t do any form of crafting myself and would probably feel left out, but huge numbers of people do all sorts of crafts so it may well be very popular. 

    Where would you be thinking of hosting your group? There would be a number of factors to consider, like location, venue(and costs of hire) along with having the facilities to make hot drinks and providing of the cakes! And I think you’d need to be very clear about the purpose of the group. Unless of course you were intending to have it in your own home. You say “anybody affected by cancer”, so would that mean you have to have cancer to attend, or have had cancer, or does it include, say, family members who are affected by caring for someone with cancer? Would you charge a small fee for each session or provide everything yourself? I’m sure you’ve thought of all these things, so I’d be keen to hear more about you plan to establish it. 

    I did think about doing something similar some time ago because of the lack of support in my area, but didn’t go ahead as there were so many factors to consider in setting it up. But I wish you the best of luck in getting this off the ground, and hope it is successful for you. 

    Sarah xx

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  • Hi Sarah, 

    Thank you for replying, so the group would be aimed at beginners, relaxed no craft experience needed. I have an art business and my own office in a church, I have another empty office room with space for 12-15 people I’d love to get set up, but I would be hoping to get funding to help cover the costs of the room rental in the other office room.

    I have looked into public liability too, it would be based in the local church and they have agreed to share the details on their Facebook page/website and with other churches to spread the word, (it’s not aimed at any specific religion though that’s just where my office is based) the group I’m thinking I’d call something like Crafts and chats with Claire then in the description I have included that it’s a crafts group for anybody affected by cancer whether it is them or a family member to come along and have a chat or join in with the crafts. The kettle will be on and cake provided, I don’t want to charge anybody so I really would need to get funding from a cancer charity that would support me setting up in my area or the local council they do grants for things like this. 

    Because I have an art business I am self taught in Epoxy resin, polymer clay, glass painting, decoupage. I have done mug making, button art, hair bow making to name a few so feel I can bring something new for people to try each week. I am also in my 2nd year studying psychology so I am wanting to work with people that require any kind of emotional support etc. I was looking into doing some voluntary work and then thought why don’t I just do my own thing. 

    it’s a bit daunting but I know even if one person turns up then from my situation with cancer at least I can hopefully support them, I find that it can be isolating going through cancer diagnosis/treatment because sometimes we don’t want to put on family and friends when you see they are upset, I want people to come along and know everyone in the room has the same thing in common and we get each other. 

    Sorry for the short story hahaha xxx

  • Hi again 

    That sounds amazing! You have such a lot of skills to offer with the various art activities, and having premises identified already is a very good start. I once went to an art studio to do a workshop, with zero experience, and managed to produce what I thought was quite a nice multi media piece and I found it really absorbing and therapeutic to do. Given how you described what you intend to set up, I’d definitely be keen to go to something like that again.

    I definitely agree that going through cancer can be very lonely and isolating, and I feel this very much, so what you have planned sounds really good. Having somewhere to go for a bit of activity and to be able to meet new people and have a chat in a relaxed atmosphere would be lovely.

    I really hope you can get some funding organised to set up, and hope it’s very successful! 

    Sarah xx

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  • Thank you for the feedback on the idea, it’s so nerve wracking thinking of doing this alone! 
    i have just had an email of my local council and it’s looking promising, they are going to help me set up a bank account and get established then put in for the grant application, she said they would cover the cost of room rental and equipment! I said I would love to start it in January and she said that it’s very doable, once established there is other grant pots too! How fantastic is that, Honestly I feel so happy that this could actually happen now. 
    It would mean the world if by me making this effort I can have people all coming together and enjoying themselves, learning new skills together and having something to look forward to. 
    I’d love it for someone like you to be able to come along. 
    hope you are well xx

  • Well, that’s excellent news for you! It’s amazing what you can do if you’re determined, and it’s such a nice idea. I’m sure people would be keen to attend and it will give you something really positive to focus on. I might be an ideal user-I love to chat and eat cake! Joy

    Sarah xx 

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Claire.

    Sorry for the late reply, what a fantastic Idea! I was with my walking group on Sunday and got chatting to a lady who does classes almost every day in the week! She loves it and is encouraging me to try(I might take her up on it) some are arts and crafts but others are geared towards a feel good in yourself theme. They do knitting and crocheting but also learn about how to apply makeup ( for the more mature skin) and giving facials etc which is wonderful so maybe you could add another theme to your excellent idea too. 

    Wishing you all the best for your venture.

    Angela xx

  • Hi Cl4ire123

    This is a bit of a late reply but yes this is the sort of thing I would have attended if it was easy for me to get to and available at a suitable time.  Where I live there is a choice of a couple of excellent charitable hospital cancer support centres which offer a range of services including art therapy.  However, I mainly only went to them on the days I had clinic appointments because I relied on public transport and the journey was somewhat onerous.

    Be sure that you are not taking on too much especially considering you've not far beyond treatment yourself.  Very soon after my treatment (RH + chemo-radio in 2017) I was very keen to get back to 'normal' life and took on some small challenges, including a couple of voluntary roles, to get there.  I realised I had underestimated the impact of my treatment and was unable to carry on with either of the roles because of unforseen long term side effects which developed within 18 months of my  treatment.  It left me feeling a bit guilty about letting people down. 

    Your idea is very lovely and inspiring but going on my experience I would wait a bit longer before taking it further.

    I was diagnosed with stage 2A squamous cell cervical cancer (node negative) in 2017 following symptoms: persistent, watery, yellow vaginal discharge then post-menopuasal bleeding.  My treatment was a radical hysterectomy followed by chemo-radiotherapy.  My long term side effects include lymphoedema and urinary retention which I manage with intermittent self catheterisation.