AFTER identifying a need for a chronic pain support group in Cheshire, eight individuals came together determined to turn their idea into a reality.

Thrive Cheshire was born in March 2020 to give support and information to people suffering with chronic pain, just a few weeks before the coronavirus lockdown.

Operating across the county, but with 80 per cent of its members living in Northwich, the group is now hoping to find a suitable venue to start up meetings in person post-lockdown.

It was set up by Jennie Dues, a disability employment advisor, Becky Stockton, an advanced practitioner in chronic pain and Donna-Marie Lord, a clinical lead for chronic pain.

Also in the launch team is Joyce Peace-Jarvis, Adrian Morgan, Darren Jones and Stephen Wilders – patients of the Pain Management Programme with their own specialities to allow the smooth running of the charity.

Jennie explained: “The team worked hard for eight months and we were eventually ready to launch on March 6, 2020.

“We held a launch event at St Luke’s in Winsford but, before our next meeting Covid-19 restrictions hit which was a huge blow at first.

“So, we moved onto Facebook and set up weekly online chats and relaxation sessions, and set up a member WhatsApp group for people who wanted support and connection outside of the large group.”

Membership has sky-rocketed from 14 to 163.

Many of members have other conditions alongside their chronic pain including autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

The group benefitted from a small grant Weaverham Parish Council.

Thrive Cheshire also applied for the Tackling Inequalities Fund via Active Cheshire, and in February was awarded £5,165 to provide chair based exercise, Tai Chi, mental health awareness, mental health first aid training, activator training and virtual walks

Jennie added: “We took polls to gather interest in the different sessions and quickly realised we had vastly under-estimated the level of interest and the funding would not be enough to enable all those interested to access the sessions.

“The interest was amazing to see but we want everyone to be able to access something.

“We are therefore now exploring additional funding options to make this a reality.”