What makes a good Support Group Leader? And why volunteer for the role?

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What makes a good Support Group Leader? And why volunteer for the role?

What makes a good Support Group Leader? And why volunteer for the role?

Becoming part of a Support Group Leadership Team (Committee) can be both challenging and rewarding.

If, in your Group, the Leadership Team gets stuck with doing all the work… then something is wrong. The role of the Leadership team is to:

  • Foster a supportive environment – regardless of whether that is face-to-face or via telephone, email, or video-chat
  • Set priorities and draft plans in consultation with participants
  • Anticipate the needs and potential issues that may need to be resolved
  • Enable access to and sharing of information with Group participants
  • Facilitate Group meetings
  • Be a positive role model for others
  • Assign roles or request volunteers to do the work required to complete whatever project the Group is planning.
  • Ensure compliance with NSW laws and regulations, plus any other local requirements unique to your community.

Everyone – regardless of their age or stage in their Parkinson’s journey – can make a contribution to their Support Group. It could be a simple as bringing the biscuits or teabags for the next meeting, putting out the chairs, or marking attendance.

Or it could involve using their professional skills from current or former careers to work managing finances, organising transport, using a computer, creating newsletters, generating creative ideas, or simply listening to and encouraging your peers in the Group.

Leadership is also something that is shared. It is not just a matter of having a job title. When you make a fresh suggestion or contribute an idea, you are exhibiting leadership.

Support Groups are unique in that they provide a non-judgemental environment for someone who doesn’t know many – or any – other people who are going through what they are coping with. Support groups help people feel less alone and more understood.

That nurturing environment needs to be fostered and protected. That is why we need effective Leadership Teams (Committees).

It is also really important to ensure that the Leader and others in the Team are able to share the load so that no one is overwhelmed or inundated with work which can make you feel like it’s all too much. Fostering an environment where everyone works equally together is key, and by volunteering to help with your Leadership Team you are supporting not only them, but the group as a whole.