We waved goodbye to summer last week and were greeted instead by some fairly ominous clouds on our way to Whanganui. Thankfully David, Liz, and a handful of others from the Whanganui Support Group were there to shelter alongside us in the Mitre 10 café. We heard their thoughts on the Cycle Forward programme that had launched the previous day and discussed the group’s plans for 2019. We’ll be looking at how we can encourage clients who have attended our events to become part of their group.

Later that day, we had a great catch up with Palmerston North Arthritis Support Group Inc. They coordinate several weekly exercise classes as well as a monthly social luncheon. Their committee is working to grow the reach of their group in Palmerston North and had suggestions both for our website and the annual appeal in September. We will be shouting an appreciation tea for the student volunteers from UCOL who support the group’s water-based exercise classes.

Elsewhere around the country, efforts are being made to establish new support groups in areas currently without. Support groups can be an important link to the community for those isolated by their diagnosis, and they give Arthritis New Zealand a local presence to spread awareness and information. Meetings can be as informal as you wish – even just going for a coffee once a month in a pleasant café. If you are interested in setting up a group in your town, email isaac.parker@arthritis.org.nz or call 0800 663 463 and ask to speak with Isaac.

In other news – good luck to members of the support group in Whangarei who have fundraised for (and will be participating in) the Lions Club annual golf tournament. Swapping sandwiches and tea for sand wedges and tee… we are sure they will be great ambassadors for us at the event!

And finally, thank you to the youth leaders who volunteered at our children’s camp over the weekend. You set great examples to the children, and your enthusiasm was fantastic. We hope to see you back in 2020 for another memorable weekend.

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