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Workshops for Self Help and Social Action Groups

Upcoming workshops

COSHG hold workshops from time to time on topics such as:-

Starting a group
Funding issues
Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution
Legal issues
and other issues to do with running successful groups

If you would be interested in running a session on any topic of interest to self help groups, please contact COSHG. If you would like to be on the mailing list for information about workshops, go to membership.

More ideas for possible workshop topics:-

  • Consensus decision making
  • Conference/forum organising
  • Campaign skills
  • Consultations – is it worth being involved?
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Cultural/ disabilities & other issues awareness
  • Banner making
  • Evaluation
  • Finances - being a treasurer
  • Funding - submissions, fund raising
  • GST & other tax issues
  • Gender relations in self help and social action
  • Group maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Issues for similar groups - e.g. Health Groups
  • Legal structures, incorporation
  • Lobbying
  • News sheet production, mail-outs, evaluation
  • Media Skills (press releases)
  • Meetings, facilitation
  • Public Speaking & presentations
  • Publicity
  • Recruitment - how to get people involved
  • Starting a group
  • Submission writing
  • Support groups - active listening, phone skills, referrals, confidentiality
  • Social Action and the Law
  • Students & volunteers in self help groups
  • Umbrella groups - policies and structures
  • Web pages


Some recent COSHG workshops include

Discussion and Networking Sessions

The Collective of Self Help Groups (COSHG) invites you to join us at Discussion and Networking Sessions for Self Help Groups on Thursday 17 September

To coincide with our Annual General Meeting COSHG is holding two low cost discussion and networking sessions for those involved with self help/mutual support/peer support groups.

If you are:

  • a member of a self help group or
  • resource or support a self help group

then please join us on Thursday 17 September for either of the following discussion and networking sessions. The aim of the sessions is to offer an opportunity to get together, exchange ideas, share information and explore some of the issues that are of interest to those involved in self help groups.

Session 1: Exploring issues for those who resource self help groups

Session 2: Exploring issues for members of self help groups


Connecting for Health and Wellbeing

"And that is what I continue to find so enjoyable and scary and exciting about self help groups: that even when we stumble through our troubles, in the circle of others treading the same path, there are others reaching out to remind us, we are not alone and that we are stronger when we work together.”
Spencer Brennan, OSHNET, Canada

Thursday 2nd April 2009 at Northcote Town Hall

Forum Agenda

9.45 A presentation revisited - Spencer Brennan, Ontario Self Help Network (OSHNET) Canada

10.30 Workshops Series 1

1.15 Their stories - Speakers from ARMS (Association of Relinquishing Mothers) and The Injured Nurses Support Group

1.45 Workshop Series 2

3.45 Feedback

4.00 Close   

Workshop Overviews

Thursday Morning

Series 1 - 10.30am to 12.30pm

Engaging People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds in Self Help Groups

Eugenia Georgopoulos from Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health

This session will focus on engaging people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in self help groups. The workshop will explore the relationship between culture and health and the impact that culture has on people’s likelihood to access self help groups. The presentation will include practical examples of communication approaches to engage CALD communities in self help groups.

Self Help Workers: Sharing ideas and resources

Mary-ann Liethof, Community Officer, from Polio Network Victoria

Mary-ann is a community development worker who has worked in the community sector for many years and recognises the benefits of being able to network with other service providers. She currently oversees 17 self-managed support groups across the state and runs biennial forums which bring the Conveners together, providing them with relevant information and facilitating a sharing of experiences and techniques.

This workshop is designed to give participants the opportunity to join in open discussion regarding issues that impact on those who resource and support self help groups in a paid or unpaid capacity. It will be an energising time to exchange ideas and strategies and to establish networks with people who can provide advice and/or support.

Moving Beyond the Stories and Promoting Inner Peace

Lyn Macdonald, Community Worker and Grief Counsellor

Lyn is a community worker and grief counsellor for Brain Injury Matters (BIM) a self advocacy and community education group for people with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

It has been traditional for people with ABI to share their personal stories as both part of their recovery process and also to inspire others on the long journey through post ABI rehabilitation.

While not devaluing personal stories, BIM is currently trialling new ways of inspiring people with ABI to move beyond their repeated personal story telling using non therapeutic all ability group sessions involving art, music and relaxation/meditation to promote inner peace.

This workshop will include group discussion, question and answer time and also a brief meditation.

Thursday Afternoon

Series 2 - 1.45 to 3.45pm

Connecting communities Online: Cheaper and bigger, or narrower and riskier?

Kate Gilbert from The Type 1 Diabetes Network

Kate founded an online community of people with Type 1 diabetes called Reality Check, 10 years ago (a millenia in web years!) and will present a workshop exploring the challenges and risks the group has had to manage over the years as well as the strategies they used to build this into a respected and popular community with thousands of active members. 

Kate will share some tips on where to start with getting a group online, through to some discussion of the finer points of managing delicate dynamics of facilitating discussions in cyberspace and managing risks of discussing health and medical issues online.

The Warrior Women Exhibition and Other Stories

Sue Smith from stART Community Art

“I completed nine cycles of chemo and six weeks radiation treatment. I am in the middle of radiation. The exhibition gives me the courage to go on”

This session will focus on the potential of creative community arts projects to contribute to individual and community well being. The session will feature case studies of collaborative community arts projects undertaken by three locally based self help groups.

Projects Featured are as follows:

  • The Warrior Women breast cancer Project
  • Hidden Lives - stories of institutionalisation
  • Peer Projections - a stART and Self Help Addiction Resource Centre project.

The projects provided the groups involved with the opportunity to not only explore individual stories and issues but also to provide an outcome which can support their work and educate the broader community.

Alternative Sources of Fundraising Income for Community Groups

Andrew Williams from ozED (Australian Ectodermal Dysplasia Support Group Inc.)

Funded by VicHealth



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