About Social Anxiety West (SA West)
The first group session started in January 2002 in Bath and we owe great thanks to the two people who had the initial idea and put in much work to get the group established during its early years. Thanks is also due to the founding members who have also contributed much towards the group to make it what it is today. The group is now based in Bristol and is a popular and valuable resource for people with social anxiety.
What do we do?
The main resource offered by Social Anxiety West is self-help group sessions. These are facilitated sessions that provide a range of social opportunities and environments where group members can make friends, gain support and make progress with increasing their confidence. To compliment the group sessions, we offer information on the steps that are required to increase confidence in social situations. In addition to this, we also arrange a monthly social event that is open to all members. Many other social activities are arranged by the members themselves and these are usually open to all.
Who runs it?
The group is currently run by a committee of group members who have all experienced social anxiety and used the group themselves. The committee is made up of volunteers who give their time for free to help others who have suffered in the same way they have. They work together to research information, develop the group's services, manage finances, update the website, arrange social events, perform administration tasks and most importantly, facilitate sessions.
Who are the members?
The groups are open to all people experiencing a level of social anxiety that is significant enough to impact on their quality of life. A diverse range of people use our services, but all of them have experienced social anxiety to the point where they have felt it necessary to gain some extra help and support. Some of them will have an official diagnoses of Social Anxiety Disorder (also called Social Phobia), whereas others will be self-diagnosed or will just regard themselves as feeling more socially anxious than most. From the outside, our members are fairly indistinguishable from the average person on the street, but their silent loneliness and suffering has brought them together to find relief.
Where does the money come from?
Room hire, the website and other expenses all mean that Social Anxiety West must have a regular income to maintain its services. Traditionally, funding has always come from member donations alone, although in recent years, grants and donations from other sources have also been sought. This helps us expand and create new groups as more people start using our services. Our member's donations are still needed and we are very grateful to all that has been given over the years to help make our organisation a success. We are a not-for-profit organisation and all funds go towards improving and maintaining our services for our members.