What have the PHEW support group been up to in the last 2 years?
The PHEW group was first launched 2 years ago this month and is still going strong. Set up by a group of people all of whom have health conditions/disabilities or are carers, the group has continued to attract more members over the two years and we have had some interesting meetings.
One of the highlights of this year was when a local artist, who has recently joined the group, gave us a demonstration on different art techniques, and gave encouragement as we tried our hand at watercolour painting. The members thoroughly enjoyed this event and hopefully we will have another opportunity to do art in the future.
The artist, herself, has told us that the PHEW group has given her a lot more confidence and friendship which she otherwise lacks in her life. Some of the members have taken he opportunity to visit her at home and see her studio, which is very proud of. She feels the group has given her something else to think about instead of dwelling on the severe illness that makes her life difficult.
One thing that members have found is that they have gained a lot of support and knowledge from other members as to how to manage their condition. There have been times when a member is facing a difficulty and they have confided either to the group as a whole or one or two members who they feel able to talk to. At times like this, the other members have offered a listening ear, empathy and in some instances suggestions of ways they could overcome their difficulties or ideas as to how others have dealt with a similar situation. A member can also recommend other agencies where member may find the answer they require.
Many people feel that having someone to talk to, other than family, but someone who has some kind of understanding of the pain and frustration having a condition can cause brings a certain relief both socially and physically. Some people have reported back that they tried something that was suggested by another member and it has had a positive effect on their lives.
The group tries to vary the meetings with discussion, talks and demonstrations held at the Disability Resource Centre with social activities in restaurants, coffee shops or parks. We have found that being out with other members for a short walk followed by a coffee or a sit on a bench does the world of good not only for the social aspect but also the physical activity and fresh air is good for health.
The numbers at the meetings vary depending on the health of the person as to whether they are well enough on the day to attend the meeting. However we now have 11 members and mostly average about 4 – 8 each meeting. We would like to have more members come and join us and would make everyone very welcome. We have two more meetings that have pre planned subjects and in June we are going for a walk in Houghton Regis Park followed by coffee in the visitor centre. We may at this time discuss and decide our programme for September to December. In August we have a lady coming to talk about, and demonstrate, the alternative therapies of Reiki and Reflexology.
To find out more about PHEW, please call 01582 470900