We have introduced a guide to help people set up and run a family support group, which you can find here.
The guide was produced in consultation with parents, partners, drug agency staff, social workers, GPs and local community groups.
For extracts from the guide, see below:
Working out what's needed
The first stage in setting up a successful group is making sure that it's a group that's needed: is there actually a demand for such a group in your local area? Doing some research beforehand can provide you with valuable information about the most suitable sort of group and how best to go about setting it up.
- Identify what problems exist in your area
- Work out what needs are underlying the problems
- Set your overall aims and objectives
- Prioritise your needs
Planning the details
Broadly speaking, there are two types of group:
- Self-help groups led by members of the group themselves
- Support groups led by a facilitator who is not a member of the group
Both types of group have advantages and disadvantages, but if you have worked out the needs, aims and objectives of the group, then you should have a good idea of the sort of group to set up. Remember to be clear about who the group is for and think about how you will be inclusive to a wide demographic, how often the group will meet and for how long etc.
Practicalities and groundwork
Things to consider:
- How you will market your group and develop referral chains with other professionals.
- Your expenses - will you need to fund-raise?
- A practical venue (that encourages people to attend)
- Guidelines to set the tone for the group - and negotiating them with the group themselves
- A system for monitoring and evaluating your group