Milestone for chronic pain group
AVOLUNTEER support group for people suffering with chronic pain in Southport and Formby has celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The volunteer group, Pain Clinic Plus (PC+), operates from Ainsdale Centre for Health & Wellbeing and is run by people who experience chronic pain to support each other. The celebratory event was held for people who experience pain, and their families, carers and friends.
The group runs in conjunction with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Community Pain Service, which is based at Ainsdale Centre for Health & Wellbeing.
Dr Becky Simm, senior clinical psychologist at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an example of a successful expert patient and health service collaboration in a community setting to sustainably support those living with long-term conditions, particularly important when NHS resources are limited. Our expert patient volunteers inspire others with pain to live well and are good role models.
“The group is a source of tips and support for people, as well as an opportunity to try out activities, experience success, and build confidence despite the pain.
“A lead volunteer with our Pain Clinic Plus group is Kevin Howard, who initially worked with clinicians in our NHS service many years ago when he was struggling with pain.
“He found he was able to find purpose and meaning again in his life, despite his ongoing pain, and now is busy inspiring others through his role.
“The success of PC+ has inspired various spin-off groups, such as our wellbeing choir Good Vibrations, a chair-based exercise group, coffee mornings and we hope, in time, to develop further community initiatives with our expert patients.”
Kevin, 56, is a service user and volunteer for the support group and has been a member since it started in 2008.
He said: “We started off with just two or three people and over the years I’ve watched it develop and become popular.
“It helps pain sufferers cope with their pain by socialising and being distracted for a little while with different activities.
“When I first came to the Community Pain Service, I was encouraged to think about what I could do and what was meaningful to me.
“I built a Dalek around 10 years ago as a way of spending quality time with my son, who was about 10 at the time and an avid Dr Who fan.
“It was also about teaching him practical skills, as I was unable to kick a ball because of the pain I was suffering It was a great bonding exercise which really helped develop a ‘can do’ attitude and a positive outlook on life with my condition.”
Service users on the Pain Clinic Plus
Kevin Howard with his Dalek