Man joining an MS-UK peer pod from his laptop

Why not join a peer pod, for support and friendship from others with MS?

Vicky, MS-UK’s Peer Support Coordinator, explains why you should join a peer pod

Hi, I’m Vicky and I am the Peer Support Coordinator here at MS-UK. We created our Peer Pods back in early 2021 with the aim of creating a safe, online space where people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) could connect and socialise.

Groups of people with MS meet up virtually via Zoom to chat, support one another, and make friends.

I have been really fortunate to recruit some amazing volunteers during this time, all of whom have helped the service evolve into the wonderful support system that it is today.

We have had some fantastic feedback over the last couple of years and it’s clear to see that the opportunity for connection has made a real difference, helping people to feel less isolated and to feel seen, heard, and supported by others that truly understand.

I’d love for even more people to connect via our Peer Support Service – why not have a read and see how you could benefit?

I appreciate that the prospect of joining something new and unfamiliar can be quite daunting, so if you are feeling nervous, our hosts are very happy to arrange a one-to-one with you before you attend your first session so that you will have a familiar face to welcome you in.

Everyone is so welcoming, you can even come along and just listen with your camera off if you prefer.

But don’t just take my word for it – have a look at what the members of our Men’s Peer Pod have to say!

 Steven Barlow, Men’s Peer Pod attendee

“I was first diagnosed with MS in 2014. I had only minor symptoms until last October, but things have escalated rapidly since then.

“I’m fortunate to have a good core group of friends and family around me. People who I can talk to. But they aren’t the ones going through this illness. They don’t necessarily understand quite what is going on in terms of symptoms, coping with the uncertainty, fear, and the day-to-day impact of living with this condition. My MS nurse sent through some links to resources I may find useful, one of which was the Men’s Peer Pod at MS-UK.

“I was apprehensive about trying it, not knowing what to expect, and not knowing how I’d come across. I think that’s only natural. I’ve always been a bit anxious, but I decided to be a bit brave because I needed to find a way to get things off my chest by talking to someone who knew what I was experiencing.

“So, if anyone is reading this and is feeling unsure about trying a peer pod, my advice is to take the plunge and be brave. Steve the host is a great guy and makes you feel at ease. No one is there to judge, it’s a place to share experiences, advice and get things off your chest. It’s a non-judgmental opportunity to talk to like-minded people going through the same challenges. An hour of your time in a peer pod will give you so much more than an hour of aimless scrolling through the internet. Give it a go!”

 Steve Thomas, Men’s Peer Pod host

“I was diagnosed with MS in October 2014, and I now host the Men’s Peer Pod at MS-UK. Peer pods are great because they give people the opportunity to speak to others living with MS about various subjects and issues that perhaps their own friends and families cannot quite understand. It’s true what they say – a problem shared is a problem halved, and you can learn from the experiences of others and gain fantastic support.

“We cover a range of subjects in the peer pods, including how we are feeling, which treatments we are on, any concerns relating to MS, and things that we’ve found to be beneficial. We also talk about lots of non-MS related subjects including sport, hobbies, family, socialising, films, TV, the news – anything really.

“If you’d like to join in, we’d love to hear from you and learn from you, too. I realise it can feel difficult to join an established group, however, we have all been in the same situation. Take the first step and join the group. Never feel you have nothing to say, your concerns may solve your own or someone else’s problem.”

Find out more about our Peer Support Service.