Last year the Vitiligo Society embarked upon a series of initiatives to provide accessible and active support to its community members. We recognised what a challenging and perhaps lonely journey vitiligo can be, and how important a space that enables individuals to connect with one another is.
After trailing a peer support meeting on the 23rd August 2021 we listened to feedback from our members and volunteers. Following this we applied for funding to help us launch a live chat service and virtual drop in sessions. We were delighted when The National Lottery Community Fund awarded us £8,480 to launch these services in 2022.
These new services will allow us to provide an immediate point of contact to empathise, understand and signpost our community to reliable information.
We believe that this service will allow us to support people early on in their diagnosis, linking them into a community for long-term support and intervening before the psychological effects of living with the skin condition become too difficult.
The above sessions will be open to anyone who has been impacted by vitiligo in some way. Whether you have been living with this condition, in the middle of getting a diagnosis, or a concerned family member.
Dale Biermann, the trustee leading the VitChat initiative, explains more about the service:
This service was started with the intention of being able to be a ‘go to’ for anyone who wants to talk to someone about what they are going through and be able to get through to them immediately. In a world where digital communications are the primary way to communicate, we saw the need to be able to get immediate responses from the Society in order to feel at ease and get direct access to a wealth of information. This is a service that I wish was available when I was going through the emotions of having vitiligo. Remember, you are not alone out there.
Abbie Hurrell, Charity Director for the Society and lead contact for the Virtual Drop In Sessions added:
The virtual drop in sessions compliment our live chat initiative perfectly. Our Society isn’t large enough to host local face-to-face support meetings, so a drop in session where people from anywhere around the UK can have a chat with others living with vitiligo is the perfect solution. Someone from the Society will always be there to help signpost people to information or answer questions about our work. It’s so important that people have a support network early on their diagnosis so they can get access to reliable information and not feel too isolated by their condition.
You can find out more about both services by visiting: vitiligosociety.org/our-support-services
Please note: the sessions will not be run by trained professionals (doctors/ psychologists), if you have a query that requires support from trained professionals, then email us at: email@example.com.