First Tinnitus Self-Help Group Information Day Given the Thumbs Up

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The British Tinnitus Association (BTA), the only UK charity dedicated to supporting those who experience tinnitus, successfully hosted a free one-day event for all UK based tinnitus support groups on Saturday (15 October 2011) at the Deaf Cultural Centre in Birmingham.

Feedback has been really positive.We gave delegates relevant information and tips on how to boost membership and how to maximise the potential of the groups, and we hope that the event will lead to many more groups being opened throughout the country.

The inaugural information day aimed to inform and inspire people who either attend or run existing tinnitus support groups. The day also aimed to encourage others to form a group if one currently does not exist in their area. It was supported by the Big Lottery Fund and was attended by more than 40 people who travelled from as far afield as Northern Ireland, including group members, sensory support workers and audiologists.

The BTA’s work with support groups is part of its ‘Talking Tinnitus’ campaign which aims to encourage people to talk about their tinnitus experience and to seek help from others who are also affected, for mutual benefit. Many find that attending a tinnitus group can be an invaluable source of help and support. They can often be a lifeline to some, especially when members of their family or friends are unable to relate to their experience of tinnitus.

The event included three workshops. Tony Kay, who runs Aintree Tinntius Support Group and is an audiologist at Aintree University Hospital, discussed how to start a group; effective advertising and how to recruit new members. David Stockdale, BTA CEO, informed the attendees how to involve local medical professionals and source group speakers. Members of the Birmingham & District Tinnitus Group also spoke about Governance and how to implement an effective committee.

Other speakers included Helen Goldsby-West, a fundraiser for the BTA; Zoe Hiljemark of Marketing Matters, the BTA’s integrated marketing agency; Chris Fry, a solicitor at Unity Law; Don Ferran, a consultant Otolaryngologist and John Phillips a consultant ENT surgeon. Issues covered included fundraising within a group, maximising local PR opportunities, plus legal and medical issues.

The event also included one-to-one sessions, networking games and lunch was provided.

David Stockdale, CEO of the BTA, said: “Feedback has been really positive. We have given delegates relevant information and tips on how to boost membership and how to maximise the potential of the groups, and we hope that the event will lead to many more groups being opened throughout the country to help more people who experience tinnitus. We’d like to thank the Big Lottery Fund, as without them this day could not have taken place.”

Comments from delegates included: “A really good mix of people and all the speakers were approachable”, “An excellent first event, good speakers and good facilities”, and “A good effort, well worth repeating”.

A full list of existing tinnitus support groups can be found at http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/directory. For more details about the BTA please visit http://www.tinnitus.org.uk or call 0114 250 9933. For information on the Big Lottery Fund please visit http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

About the BTA
The BTA is an independent charity which supports thousands of people who experience tinnitus and advises medical professionals from across the world. The British Tinnitus Association strives to be the primary source of support and information for people with tinnitus in the UK, thereby facilitating an improved quality of life. It aims to encourage prevention through its educational programme and to seek a cure for permanent head noise through a medical research programme.

The experienced team at the BTA understands the impact that tinnitus can have on the lives of those who experience tinnitus and those who live with them, so seeks to provides the most appropriate and expert advice and information free of charge – via a confidential freephone helpline on 0800 018 0527 and online at http://www.tinnitus.org.uk. The BTA can also post printed and audio information and advice. Visit the BTA’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BritishTinnitusAssociation and follow the BTA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/BritishTinnitus

About Tinnitus
Not an illness or disease, tinnitus is a term that describes the sensation of hearing a noise in the absence of an external sound. The noise can have virtually any quality. Ringing, whistling, and buzzing are common, but more complex sounds may also be reported. Troublesome tinnitus can be very distressing for the affected individual, and issues may arise with sleep, concentration and mood. However, in many cases, subtle changes in people’s environment can address these issues, and improve quality of life.

For more information
Contact: Zoe Hiljemark, PR Account Director / Jenny Pearce, Senior PR Account Executive
E-mail: zoe(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk / jenny(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 777111 / +44 (0) 7770 924439
Address: Marketing Matters, Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole, Dorset, UK, BH12 4NZ

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Jenny Pearce
Marketing Matters - UK
01202777111
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