By Tanya Vice

October was a very busy month for the Helping Self Help project!

Tuesday 4th October saw self- help groups coming together for our Networking Café at Sussex Coast College, Hastings, to share a morning of networking, stall browsing and a free lunch. After an admirable introduction by one of the Action Planning Group members, Louise Smith from Memory or Dementia Support (MoDS), 70 Participants from a varied range of self-help groups and service providers had an opportunity to network, share information and ideas, talk to others running self-help groups and find out about other organisations supporting people with long term health conditions. Printed copies of our 22nd June Helping Self Help Conference Report were available for participants to take away.

We launched our new web- based resource ‘Self Helpers’ – a site created for groups to find help and resources to start, manage or join a group with like-minded people. This can be found at

Our first workshop – Funding: Think Outside The Box! – was held at Together Your Way in Bexhill on Thursday 13th October with 30 participants. Action Planning Group member, Sophie Hirshman of DeafCOG, captivated participantswithherintroduction to the morning’s workshop, including a very useful summary of the project so far and how to get involved. Our guest speakers – Jay Godding from St Michael’s Hospice, Liz Cooknell from Steps East and Ben Smitton from Groundwork/Tesco Bags of Help – all valuably contributed to expanding our think-outside-the-box approach to finding funds!

A reminder that all this is a joint project between Rother Voluntary Action, Hastings Voluntary Action and the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group in conjunction with East Sussex County Council. It’s a unique user- led project! The aim is to assist the development and capacity of local support groups linked to long term health conditions so as to be better supported in the future.

We have a range of Action Planning Group meetings, interesting training workshops (the next planned has a social media / technology theme), and networking events (the next one has a volunteering theme) coming up between now and March 2017.

  • If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the Action Planning Group to help organise events and workshops and develop a further plan of action for the future, contact [email protected]

pic: tanya vice

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