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Welcome to Hampshire Friends with M.E.

We are a charity committed to supporting people with the condition ME/CFS, their relatives and carers. We offer on-going support, helpful information and advice to our members. Most of our members live in Hampshire, from the following areas:

  • Southampton
  • Eastleigh and Winchester
  • Fareham and Gosport
  • Portsmouth and Southsea
  • Havant, Hayling Island and Waterlooville
  • New Forest
  • Alton and North-East Hants
  • Basingstoke
  • Isle of Wight

 

What we do

We put members in touch with one another to help reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation and to enable them to accept and manage the condition, working towards better health. Members can do so via our private Facebook Group, via our members-only area of the website, and through events and meet-ups.

Through our website, we also provide valuable resources on understand and managing ME/CFS.

Membership is open to those aged 16 years and above, including those whose ME is suspected but not yet diagnosed.
 

Our core values

We believe that our core values reflect what is needed for people with ME, and we model these values for those that join us and support us. Our core values also underpin how we interact with each other, and our members.

Compassion: We take a compassionate approach to our work. We demonstrate compassion towards members and prospective members, and whether they live with the condition, or care for someone else that has it.
Acceptance: We regard ME as a biomedical condition, and also one that can result in a high level of disability. We enable our members to accept the condition, which ultimately leads to more effective management of it.
Empathy: Our group is mostly run by people who have direct experience of ME. We listen to the many challenges faced by our members, yet more importantly, we understand them. We believe that empathy enables our members to feel deeply valued and supported.
Mutual Support: We believe that a support network is vital for people affected by ME. We believe that both giving and receiving support is therapeutic, and that it can evoke a sense of confidence and hope amongst our members.
Self-help: We encourage our members to look for adaptions and solutions to better improve their quality of life, focusing on what can still be achieved despite the limitations of the illness, adopting a positive approach wherever possible.

 

Our history

A small group of us came together in 2002 to establish social interaction and support for people affected by ME within Hampshire, which at the time was virtually non-existent. We started with support groups in Southampton and Fareham, and became a registered charity in early 2004. Gradually over time, we established local groups in various other areas of the county. In 2007, we started our Facebook Group.

As outlined in the Welcome Page, the group provided a wide range of services in the past. In recent times, particularly since Covid-19, we have found there has been less call for the more traditional services. Attendances at local group meetings also noticeably declined. We therefore took the decision to focus primarily on facilitating mutual support and friendship among our members, though this does include the provision of some meet-ups in specific areas. We are also looking into making Zoom meetings available if there is enough interest.

If demand for other services becomes apparent and, crucially, if we can muster enough volunteers, we would be open to expanding the scope of Hampshire Friends with M.E. again. If you feel you could help us and would like to volunteer, please contact our Membership Secretary (membership@friendswithme.org.uk).