Each month around the country, people gather as part of their local arthritis support group. These groups are a chance to connect, to share information, and of course to support one another. From Northland to Southland, support groups are the face of arthritis – and Arthritis New Zealand – in communities.

Valerie Fay found the Hokitika Arthritis Support Group through our website. She was surprised when she turned up that she knew several people there. In the past 6 months, Valerie has taken over many responsibilities of the group. “I just put my hand up to volunteer. I wasn’t really sure what I was signing up to!”

Each support group is reliant on the dedication of volunteers so that the group can be a focal point for arthritis support in their town.

In some cases, volunteering takes the form of writing newsletters and organising speakers for the group. Other volunteers coordinate raffles and Christmas lunches. For some, simply the act of ringing around group members to remind them of the next meeting is what makes the difference.

Just as no support group is the same, so too no volunteers’ roles are the same. And whilst most of our volunteers have a form of arthritis, some are involved because it is a cause they are passionate about. Old and young, a grandparent, a friend, a child, a partner – we all know someone living with arthritis.

“Being involved with the support group is definitely rewarding. It fulfills a hole in my life.”

If you are interested in getting involved with your local support group, contact Dianne Armstrong (dianne.armstrong@arthritis.org.nz) or go to the Support Groups section on our website.

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