Establishing the first local supporter group and inspirational volunteers

I’m new to Dyslexia Action. I began my role as Community Fundraising Executive just two weeks ago and I’ve been tasked to bring people together on a local level and to form a network of supporter groups all over the UK. This is no mean feat! ‘How’s it been going?’ I hear you cry. Glad you asked...

What’s the word from Dyslexia Action centres?

I’ve been calling Dyslexia Action centres in England, Wales and Scotland to talk about volunteering and it’s really exciting to hear that some centres are already supported by small groups of eager volunteers. I’ve been hearing about successful bag packs and Community Matters applications in Waitrose, collection box drives, and other centres have held open days and manned stalls at Christmas/Summer fairs.

The First Supporter Group

Some centres have mentioned particularly proactive volunteers whose commitment to raising awareness or funds for Dyslexia Action is nothing short of inspirational. In particular, last week I spoke with one volunteer called Emma Seymour, whose 8-year-old son Elliot has dyslexia, and she is more than keen to setup our very first supporter group in Haywards Heath.

This was such an educational conversation for me to have. Emma talked to me about what it was like when she and her partner discovered that Elliot had dyslexia and just how daunting the prospect of explaining dyslexia to a young child can be. As a result, together she and Elliot wrote Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for Families, a fantastic booklet which you can download for free parentchampions.org.uk/wp-c...

Emma outlined what she hoped to offer with a group for supporters – a private space where people could come and share their experience of dyslexia with other empathic attendees. Emma wants to be able to offer support by sharing knowledge and resources. And what a fantastic idea – supporters, all living with or supporting someone with dyslexia, helping and empowering each other through face-to-face conversations that start ‘Hey, did you know that…’.

Teething Problems – finding a venue

I promised Emma that I would do the following things:

•Find a free, local, private space where her group could meet

•Draft a list of contacts that people might need to gain information about their own circumstances

•Start gathering resources that attendees might find immediately useful in their own lives

I thought I’d quickly be able to tick the venue problem off my list… I was wrong. I’ve rung schools, churches, volunteer support organisations, the local council – no-one wants to give me something for nothing! I’ll have to persevere, I’m sure someone wilier than I would find somewhere for free. Perhaps I should did out my old Hustle DVDs and take some notes. Or better still, email me with your ideas! Watch this space…

If you’d like to set up a Dyslexia Action supporter group in your local area or if you just want to share some ideas then email me at cmorgan@dyslexiaaction.org.uk. I’d love to hear from you.

9 Replies

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  • I would love to get involved with something like this incendly I live near haywards heath

  • Hi sdrayton37! Well, I can certainly put you in touch with Emma and she can keep you posted as to the date/venue of the first meeting. Send me your details at cmorgan@dyslexiaaction.org.uk. Are you interested in face-to-face support or fundraising in your community?

  • do you have a support group in leicester for adults, has i would love to attend if you do.

  • Hi there,

    Not that I'm aware of at the moment. As the network of support groups starts to grow, we'll put out loads of information on our website/social media, so keep an eye out for a group near you. Have you ever considered starting a support group yourself?

  • Hi. I am looking for support in the Barnet (NW London) area. Is there a local group? If not, I would be happy to get my hands dirty to set up a group with others. I have a 12 yr old son with D. tendencies. It migh even be good for him to meet other kids with similar issues.

    Pls respond if you are out there and interested.

  • Hi Niki,

    We certainly would be interested. If you want to email me your details and then I can call you to have a chat about it. My email address is cmorgan@dyslexiaaction.org.uk Speak to you soon.

  • Hi Camilla

    I've lost track of who is supposed to be doing what. Is there any movement on a Barnet group? Is there something I could/should be doing?

    Kind regards,

    Nicola

  • Would love to be part of a support group where I live Knowsey / Liverpool.

    Through my job i have been involved with the setting up of groups in the past. At the moment it is hard to find free venues. The problem with new groups is you can't apply for funding to cover the cost of a venue before you have set your self up as a group with a constitution and bank account bit of a catch 22.

    What might be a good idea is contacting a few local councillors to see if there are any staff in the local authority who's role it is to support new groups. They may also be able to direct you in terms if venues.

    Hope that helps

  • Hi Clare,

    I understand your frustrations and I've been trying to find a way around them. I'm currently make a plan as to how Dyslexia Action should proceed in supporting dyslexia support groups. It might be possible for us to offer rooms to groups in our teaching centres, one of which is in Liverpool. I'll post another update when we're ready to go ahead with our plans.

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