Meet our Volunteers

Jackie Dudley - Support Group Volunteer

Dec 10, 2015

One of the biggest issues facing patients with a stoma upon leaving hospital is isolation. Despite the fears of many new patients, it is almost impossible to know whether someone has a stoma unless they tell you themselves or show you their stoma bag.

As a result, it is easy for many ostomates to feel alone even though it is estimated almost 1 in 500 people in the UK live with a stoma. The Colostomy Association provides a number of support services to help people feel less isolated such as our Facebook Group, 24-hour helpline and our quarterly magazine, Tidings. However, face to face contact can make a huge difference in the lives of many patients.

Dotted across the country are various support groups for people living with a stoma – over 130 are currently listed in Tidings magazine. These groups act as a safe and supportive social environment for ostomates to talk about the issues facing them or just to meet other people with the same condition.

For the past 10 years, CA Volunteer, Jackie Dudley, has been running the East Berkshire Ostomy Club (EBOC) which meets every week in Martins Heron, Bracknell. 

Running a successful and useful weekly support group requires a lot of work. Jackie’s role at EBOC involves advertising the group in the local area, producing a monthly newsletter, contacting organisations and manufacturers to speak at the group, setting up and tidying the space, welcoming new members, making sure there is tea, coffee and refreshments and much, much more.

The extraordinary amount of work that goes on behind the scenes at a support group helps ensure that all patients or carers in attendance are able to receive a huge amount of support, information and advice at group meetings.

Each support group across the UK is completely unique. Some are very casual meetings between ostomates while others have committee members who oversee the group. In recent months, Jackie’s group has been encouraging different members to run each meeting which provides unique and interesting perspectives each month.

According to Jackie, the most challenging aspect of running a support group is getting it up and running: finding new members and getting stoma care departments to advertise the group.

However, the effort and work is incredibly rewarding. As her group has developed, Jackie has enjoyed “watching how the members have blossomed and formed friendships. Listening to members open up about their problems and finding the answers to their questions is wonderful.”

The number of stoma support groups across the country continues to grow as more people seek out advice and information from other ostomates. Visit our website or check the back pages of your latest issue of Tidings magazine to find the nearest group to you.

 

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