How do I set up a local support group?

ContactContact LondonCommunity Manager

This is one of the questions we get asked the most.

We've developed some free parent guides to help you.

You might find these ones helpful (we can't link to them directly at the moment as they are downloadable pdfs but you'll find a list on the link above):

Group Action Pack: Group development and information

Group Action Pack: Legal structures

Group Action Pack: The role of trustees

What worked for you? What was more difficult?

Ask questions and help other parents by sharing your answers, suggestions and ideas below.

Thank you.

Alex (CAF mod) and Adele (Support Groups Manager)


  • Hi everyone,

    It’s always good to hear from people who want to set up a support group, this is why I do the job I do!

    Support groups are a great place to share feelings and experiences with others and to be listened to without being judged.

    There are no hard and fast rules to setting up - but you need to know why – what are your aims and purpose? Once you have established this and stick to your mission then the path is easier to navigate.

    Groups come and go all the time so having time and commitment to invest is a key ingredient from the outset. How you nurture and develop your group is another consideration. You might also want to thnk about who you network with, how you promote yourself and who you will ask for help to get you started. The most common question that we get asked are about lack of people coming through their door and how to increase numbers.

    Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and 3 people make a group! Groups do take time to build. But don’t rest on your laurels and wait for people to come to you. How are you actively reaching out?

    There are a few practicalities worth considering:

    • Is your group needed?? If there is a similar local support group already, would it make sense to join forces? Otherwise, it is great that you are providing a service
    • Where will you hold your support group? Some people use a local hall or simply meet in a coffee shop.
    • What time would be best? You might need to be prepared to change this if it turns out that the time you decide isn’t quite right for most people.
    • How will you advertise your group? Some people use social networks, flyers, posters or even an advert in the local paper. Inviting an expert to speak can be a great way to attract people ensuring they have time to get to know each other afterwards.
    • How will you make sure members feel welcome and able to make that first step?.

    We have 2 packs that will help you with those initial questions.

    Search our resource library for our downloadable Group Action Packs on group development and attracting and keeping members.

    It would be nice to hear from others as to how they got themselves started and how they attract people to their groups, no matter how small a piece of advice – please do share with us!!

  • Hello, I am Ratna and I need some help with coping with my daughter's paranoid schizophrenia. She is 27 and, almost housebound, I feel like I am on the verge of losing it myself. Can anyone help me please
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