People in Gloucester City and the Forest of Dean who live with a long-term health condition can now join a local, free self-management programme where they can learn useful techniques that will help them control their condition and feel better about life.

The Live Better to Feel Better programme offers people living with a long-term condition the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation, explore some of the common symptoms they face and gain the confidence and skills they need to understand and manage their condition.

The programme comprises five sessions, led by skilled staff and trained volunteer facilitators, all of whom have long term conditions themselves.

Dr Hein Le Roux, Clinical Lead for Healthy individuals at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explains the benefits:

“The facilitators really understand the challenges and feelings that living with a long-term condition brings; they can talk about techniques that might help, and describe how these can be built into people’s lives.

These could be something as simple – yet powerful – as controlled breathing techniques, approaches to getting a good night’s sleep or managing a low mood through relaxation.”

Selina, who facilitates a group in Gloucester, explains how participants can also be signposted to support groups or other community resources, such as condition specific courses.

“Together, we explore how someone’s condition is affecting their life, and help them build techniques that will help them manage their condition as part of their daily routine.

We encourage people to make achievable next-step goals during each of the sessions and also to make a self-management plan for the future, as this can really help them to take control of their situation more confidently.”

Alison Reddock, Community Manager, Countywide Specialist Services at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust which is providing the programme, said:

“We are really pleased to offer this programme; it changes the way we have traditionally provided services by encouraging people to take control of their health condition themselves.

Participants will gain a greater understanding about techniques and strategies to enable them to manage their condition in order to live better and feel better.”

The five-session Live Better to Feel Better programme will be available at a number of venues across Gloucester City and the Forest of Dean from April 2018 and across the county from September 2018.