Do you work in Melbourne’s CBD and want to connect with others living with MS?
The free Plus Peer Support program provides a unique opportunity for people affected by multiple sclerosis, their family and carers to connect and support each other.
There are different Peer Support options available to cater for different needs, including 1:1 phone support where the individual is matched with a Peer Support Facilitator (PSF) according to their individual needs, as well as face-to-face groups and telegroups.
The ‘People working in the city area’ group in Victoria is one such face-to-face group, dedicated to supporting Melbourne-based workers with MS.
Group facilitator, Linda Pankhurst, says the group is a great way to connect with others trying to balance their work life and MS, in a casual and friendly setting.
‘We start with casual welcoming discussion, which creates a safe environment to discuss any specific MS issues or queries people will have.
'Depending on the group we may talk about balancing work/life with MS, specific symptoms that may be currently an issue, also discussions on how MS Plus can provide support e.g., Plus Connect, employment, allied health services and NDIS advice. We also make time for general discussions based on lifestyle, such as travel, work, culture and accessibility,’ Linda says.
‘We like to keep it informal and relaxed. We find that talk tends to come more naturally, although some serious topics can be covered off, the meet ups are more about building connections, and sharing stories.’
The group started in 2017, when the Plus employment service and Peer Support Program team collaborated to develop a group that specifically connected and supported working people with MS.
Linda has been facilitating the Melbourne city workers’ group since mid-2022.
‘Now is a vital time to rebuild this valuable group as we emerge from Covid and venture back into the CBD.
‘My aim is create a collaborative atmosphere, so as a leader I see my role as one of making people feel safe to share their stories, and also develop friendships.’
The group is currently welcoming new members and meets the first Tuesday of each month in various locations around Melbourne CBD.
‘Our group has built a good rapport. Members enjoy taking the time to catch up with each other, enjoy a beverage and we often find we’re there for a few hours!’
To join phone Plus Connect 1800 042 138 or visit msplus.org.au/peersupport for more information