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Running your support group

Organising Breathe Easy group meetings

You can decide how often your group meets, but it should be at least once a month.

You might choose not to meet during the winter months or at peak holiday times (August) – this is something that the group as a whole can agree.

Meeting more regularly increases the time and tasks needed to keep the group running. So if members want to meet more regularly it may be that is done on an informal basis in a cafe, pub etc. But you should still have the main monthly meeting too.

Meetings should be held on a day and time that suits the majority of members, and should be held at a venue that is easy to get to by public transport and has parking facilities. The building should be accessible – all on one level or with a lift.

Arranging speakers

Here are some tips for arranging speakers for your group:

  • Try to arrange speakers a few months in advance so members who know is coming and when.
  • Speak to your group - they might have a fireman in the family, a magistrate next door, or they might have some holiday slides to share.
  • Don't feel speakers are doing you a favour. Often it's the other way round, as it's a good chance for them to speak to the community.
  • Don't worry about having the same speaker twice. They might have new updates, or you might have new members.
  • Keep a book of potential speakers - you never know when you might need them.

We've put together some ideas for speakers you might like to invite.

Sometimes even if you get great speakers, there are things you can do to make things go more smoothly. Here are some ideas:

  • Let them know what you'd like them to cover.
  • Tell them about the group - things like the number of people and what topics they'd find most useful.
  • Confirm the booking in writing and send them a map a couple of weeks before.
  • Telephone a few days before to confirm they're coming and ask if they have any requirements.
  • Write a thank you letter including any comments from group members afterwards - they might be more likely to come back.
  • Don't ask speakers for coffee or raffle money.
  • But do offer them a cup of coffee when they arrive!
  • The best time to invite your speaker to arrive is about 30 minutes after the meeting starts so you have time to go through any business and for members to have coffee.
  • Most people will come and speak to your group free of charge so there shouldn’t be a need to pay a fee – in fact it may be an idea to avoid speakers who do want to charge.

If you've got any questions, your group support officer will be happy to help.

We provide you with insurance to cover your group members when attending group meetings. A copy is available from your group support officer.