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North Essex Support Group Celebrate 6 Years

North Essex Support Group leaders Sheree and Christianne share a little about their experience as support group leaders as they celebrate the group's 6th birthday.

Congratulations on reaching 6 years! Please tell us a bit about you and your journey as a support group leader?

Christianne: Sheree and I met purely by chance on a cold wet night in Colchester, October 2016. It was over a cup of tea at a Soroptomist volunteer organisation event. Emma Cox, Chief Executive of Endometriosis UK, was guest speaker and mentioned there was no support group in Essex and that they were looking for volunteers. Within a few months Sheree and I were on a train to London for our leader training. We talked all the way there and back about our lives and endo experiences, which in both cases had been lengthy and at times traumatic and heart-breaking. We found we had so much in common, but also a lot to learn from each other. By the following April we had set up a Facebook page, arranged a venue, and held our first group meeting.

How does it feel to have reached 6 years as a group?

Sheree: I can’t believe it’s been 6 years – it’s flown by. But I’m just so proud that the group has grown and developed over the years to create a friendly and safe place where anyone, whether on Facebook or attending a meeting, can feel comfortable sharing experiences and support one another. We kept the group going online during Covid but we are now back to our face to face meetings. We still have regular attendees who joined our very first group meeting and they are just as much the backbone of the group as we are.

Do you have any highlights from your time as a volunteer?

Sheree: The fundraising events are always a highlight. We’ve done several over the years, but our Quiz Nights have been great fun and fantastic fundraisers. More importantly they’ve helped raise awareness, because as well as the usual pub quiz rounds, we include a round of questions about Endometriosis. Even close friends and family who know lots about Endo, learn something, but are also pretty shocked with some of the facts and figures. It’s such a good way to help those around us understand how our group and Endometriosis UK are making a difference. Oh and the raffles are a highlight too. Our group loves a raffle and everyone, including local businesses, are always so generous.
Christianne: For me a highlight has been the support from our brilliant guest speakers who have given up their Saturday mornings for us. This includes some of the Obstetrician & Gynaecologist team at Colchester General and last month we were joined by a health nurse specialising in menopause and fertility. In the past we have also had womens health physiotherapists and we’ve even done some Clubbercise and Yoga sessions.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about attending an Endometriosis UK support group for the first time?

Christianne: Join us, I promise you won’t regret it. I appreciate that walking into a room full of strangers to talk about something as personal as Endometriosis and all its physical and emotional challenges can be daunting. But our support group is informal, friendly, respectful and has a diverse range of members. You can just listen if you don’t feel comfortable talking and we can also promise lots of laughter and we always provide excellent biscuits!

What’s in store for the North Essex Support Group for the next few months?

Sheree: All our 2023 meetings dates are in the diary, so keep an eye out for more guest speakers and this year’s fundraising quiz night will be on 28th October.

Find out more about the North Essex Support Group or find your local group here.

Christianne and Sheree at the North Essex Support Group