Bite Size Support Groups

The OPA has launched a new initiative – our aim is to help individuals create bite-size support groups that move away from the larger hospital groups for the benefit of those who do not have the time, energy, resource to attend the much larger groups set up around the country.

Our latest Bite Size Support Groups

Area Contact Name                Email Address
Birmingham Terri Morrissey    tjmorr@blueyonder.co.uk
Cheltenham Derek Smith derek.smith@btinternet.com
Harrow Elaine Bailey elainebbailey@yahoo.co.uk
Kent Ted & Annie Turner ted30annie@hotmail.com
London John Campolini johncampolini@gmail.com
Manchester Peter Heatley pejojahe@gmail.com
New Forest Vanessa Gibbs vanessagibbs@mac.com
Newcastle, Northumberland Lyn Puga Lynn.Puga@centre-west.com
Norfolk & Norwich Deb Nicholls deborahnch@aol.com
North Essex Moya White whitemkm@hotmail.com
North Hertfordshire Ann Robertshaw annroberts@hotmail.com
North Wales Sue Burson goferbungalow@msn.com
Northampton Annette Straker nett51_uk@hotmail.com
Northern Ireland Denis Hession denis.hession26@gmail.com
Peterborough

Carol & Terry

Woodruffe

woodyc@tiscali.co.uk
Powys Bill Steed william.steed@btinternet.com
Shrewsbury Gerry Willsmore gerry.w68@gmail.com
Southport Robert Newton robertnewton890@btinternet.com
Southwark & Lambeth David Spitall davidspittal@gmail.com
Stoke

Francesca Savage -

Upper GI

francesca.savage@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk
Surrey Michael Prendagest prendergastmichael@hotmail.com
West Sussex Jim Shepherd jim.shepherd1@btinternet.com
Wirral - Liverpool Jo King krobjokids@aol.com

More about Bite Size Support Groups

Support groups bring together people who are facing similar issues, whether that’s illness, relationship problems or major life changes. Members of support groups often share experiences and advice. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same boat.

Many patients, their carers and their family members that have had to deal with oesophageal/gastric cancer or related conditions prefer to move on after their surgery. This is a good opportunity for a few people to get together and form a Bite-Size group to help one another. A Bite-Size group may only involve a few persons but the benefits can be very positive. These groups although small in number can take place in a person’s home, a coffee shop, a church hall, local pub, social club. Smaller groups offer more intimate surroundings and people can feel more at ease.

The OPA would like to encourage people to form much needed groups in the following geographical areas: Plymouth, Barnstaple, Totnes, Devon, Paignton, Bradford, Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield, Runcorn, Manchester, Sunderland, Newcastle, Wales and Scotland. Feel free to suggest a group in your area if this has not been listed.

Benefits of support groups

Regardless of format, in a support group, you’ll find people with problems similar to yours. Members of a support group typically share their personal experiences and offer one another emotional comfort and moral support. They may also offer practical advice and tip s to help you cope with your situation.

Benefits of participating in support groups may include:

  • Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
  • Improving your coping skills and sense of adjustment
  • Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
  • Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect with your situation
  • Getting practical advice or information about treatment options

Getting the most out of a support group

When you join a new support group, you may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you don’t know. So at first, you may benefit from simply listening. Over time, though, contributing your own ideas and experiences can help you get more out of a support group. From experience the OPA was founded on the ethos that help is provided from patients and carers for patients and carers based on their personal journey with oesophageal and gastric cancer and other related conditions. This has helped them to gain confidence and move on and live a meaningful and purposeful life.

If you would like to start a bite-size group, we can help with basic expenses, cost of room, tea, coffee and biscuits. We provide free literature, restaurant cards, leaflets, and access to our helpline. In addition, support can be arranged to help setup, organise, offer advice for your first meeting and continued support afterwards. For further information please call 0121 704 9860 for a chat or email enquiries@opa.org.uk.

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