This month we asked our Manchester support group leader, Laura, to
tell us about the group.
How long has the
Manchester support group being going?
The group had its first meeting in October 2014.
How often do you meet?
We meet every other month, usually on the last Wednesday of the month.
All the dates for 2016 have already been set and are listed on the website.
Why did you decide to
become a support group leader?
I stepped into the position of support group leader because quite
simply there wasn't a group in Manchester and I felt there needed to be. Once I
had come to terms with my own condition, I wanted to facilitate a regular
gathering to help others manage and come to terms with theirs.
Do you always meet in
the same venue?
Yes, after starting out meeting in all sorts of venues, we now have a
lovely quiet space at Cross Street Chapel in the City Centre (just along from
the Arndale on Cross Street). The plan is to have the summer meeting at a wig
salon or other location.
What can people expect
from a Manchester support group meeting?
It's really a place where you can share, feel understood and be
yourself! Sometimes our nearest and dearest don't understand how we are feeling
about our hair loss and it is a relief to meet others who 'get it'! Our group
is fairly intimate (5-10 per meet so far), which allows members to fully
express themselves, get to know and support each other. The group is open
to anyone with any kind of alopecia and it's usually an informal chat over a
cuppa. We do have occasional guests. Last Autumn we had reflexology and Indian
head massage. I'm always open to suggestions as to the preferences and needs of
What is the best thing
about leading the Manchester support group?
Providing people with the space and time to focus on their condition -
whether it's just because they want to tell their story, are struggling to
accept it or would like advice on wigs, headwear, eyebrows and treatments from
other members of the group. The best thing is helping people realise that they
are most definitely not alone with their condition, and seeing their sense of
relief when they meet others and get the support they need.
What would you say to
someone feeling nervous about attending a support group meeting for the first
If you're thinking about coming, just come! Email me today and Iíll
include you in communications about meetings. Every single one of us felt
nervous the first time (including me setting it up). There is no need to bring
a friend as we already are your friends in waiting but if you are feeling
particularly anxious, feel free to bring a friend or family member along with