Support groups provide encouragement and understanding for people dealing with similar issues. Support groups may consist of cancer patients, stroke victims and people with mental health problems, attention deficits or addictions. Whatever issue you're struggling with, the group activities can enhance the healing experience.
Invite a guest speaker who's an expert in your support group's focus. Ask members if they're willing to share the cost of the speaker visit, or find a speaker willing to donate time. Allow for time for members to chat with the speaker, then break into small groups for discussion.
Have an art-therapy session. Art therapists work with people recovering from grief, illness, emotional problems and injuries. Hire an art therapist willing to do a brief, inexpensive presentation, or check around for student interns looking for experience in art therapy. Or a group member may be willing to research the topic and facilitate a low-key art session with the group.
Have positive-action sessions. Support groups provide a safe forum for expressing the deeper issues around a life challenge. Have a portion of the meeting devoted to expressing positive actions or healthy choices members have made. Ask members to write down what they've done, and read them aloud to the group.
Create a list of discussion topics for the month. The facilitator or a group member can take ideas from the group and make a list. Group members will vote on which topics are most important. If a member feels his topic was important but not included, meet separately with him to address his need, either by providing additional support or finding an another resource.
Have an annual potluck gathering to celebrate connections and progress made. Consider holding it in an outdoor space or someone's home, separate from the usual meeting area to make the distinction between support and celebration.
Plan a retreat, which will build strong bonds between group members. Retreat facilities are available in nearly all price ranges. Some are affiliated with religious organisations but many are not. Religious retreat centres often rent their space to groups not connected to the church or synagogue. Consider starting a scholarship fund for members unable to pay retreat expenses.
Do community outreach. Create a flyer or a poster to leave at community centres and other public places like libraries and government offices. Have members speak at gatherings focused on your area of support need.