18/03/2024 | Press releases

Pop to the pub for Parkinson’s support

Working age people with Parkinson’s disease can now share experiences and get valuable peer support at a group specially designed to meet their needs.

The group was set up by Ellen McGrath-Blake (pictured centre), who noticed a gap in provision after her husband was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in 2019.

Ellen volunteered to launch the group on behalf of the Parkinson’s UK charity as a result – and decided a pub would make the perfect premises for get togethers.

“A Parkinson’s diagnosis at a young age can feel very isolating, especially as most support groups are aimed at those who can attend during the day,” said Ellen, who is an assistant with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust’s Neuro Rehab team at Colchester Hospital.

“However, there are a completely different set of challenges for those of working age. Everyone who comes to the group is experiencing similar things, such as trying to explain physical symptoms to young children or, in a lot of cases, juggling work alongside a neurological disease. Our members tell us they find it helpful to share experiences and support each other, which is really encouraging to hear.

“The group is very flexible and people can come along for as little or as long as they like; partners and children are welcome to come along too! We have members ranging from their 40s upwards and will never turn anyone away who is young at heart.”

A group of people meeting in a pub

One of the group members said: “Admitting you have Parkinson’s disease can be difficult, and so can taking the first steps towards joining a Parkinson’s group. However, now we are a little team sharing this journey together.

“The group is a great place to learn from each other and share both good and bad experiences. Most importantly, our group makes you realise you are not alone, and is also a great benefit to family and friends who can join in.”

The group meets on the second Thursday of every month between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at The King’s Arms pub in Frating, which Ellen said: “always gives the group a warm welcome”.

More information – including contact details – is available on the Parkinson’s UK website.

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