Northern Ireland

What we do

Versus Arthritis is here to make sure that people with arthritis have all the support and information they need to live well with their condition, as well as to ensure the needs of people with arthritis are a priority with policymakers in Northern Ireland.

Local branches and groups

Our branches and support groups offer friendship, fun, information, and a chance to meet other people who know what it is like to live with arthritis and similar conditions.

Use the search function to find a branch or group near you, contact j.mccormick@versusarthritis.org or telephone 028 9078 2940.

Living Well with Arthritis

Working alongside community groups and health and social care professionals, our trained volunteers encourage you to take a proactive role in managing the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of arthritis.

Our range of services are provided through peer to peer support, over the phone, at drop-ins, in groups or on a one to one basis.

Information Hubs

‘Living Well with Arthritis’ Information Hubs are information stands in health and social care settings, delivered by volunteers (most of whom live with arthritis) and take place at the same time as relevant clinics such as rheumatology or general practice. They aim to raise the profile of the impact of arthritis, provide a listening ear, provide our resources such as condition booklets, directly refer people into our self-management services and supports, and signpost to other vital supports for people living with chronic pain.

We have hubs across Northern Ireland, and we are growing all the time.

For more information on the closest hub to you please use the search function, contact a.lyons@versusarthritis.org or call 028 9078 2940.

Self-management courses and workshops

We know how much strength it takes to live with arthritis, chronic pain and MSK Conditions. Our range of self-management programmes are designed to support you to manage your condition better and improve your confidence. The programmes can give you the tools you need to feel empowered, take back some control and to push back against arthritis.

Our Self-Management Programmes are delivered by our Accredited Peer Trainers who themselves live with a long-term health condition. They know from personal experience the challenges of living with a long-term condition and use many of the skills learnt through our Self-Management programmes to support them to cope better.

Through the programmes you will also have an opportunity to meet with other people who are also living with long-term conditions in a small, supportive group.

Participants will develop their skills and knowledge on:

  • Managing fatigue
  • Coping with anxiety and stress
  • Improving sleep and rest
  • Managing anger and frustration
  • Managing change and goal setting
  • Improving lifestyle including activity and healthy eating

Our courses are FREE to access and we have a range of options available both online or face-to-face in a community setting. Book your place on a free self-management course.

Young People and Families

Our Young People and Families service offers a range of services to support young people and their families. We encourage young people to get together for a variety of fun activity and discussion-based events across Northern Ireland.

Our Activities

Young people tell us that sometimes friendships and activities have been affected by their health and coming along to one of our events gives them the opportunity to rebuild confidence in themselves and trust in others. All events are run with our volunteers who themselves have grown up with arthritis or similar conditions, so we know there is no such thing as being too young to have arthritis.

We know it is daunting to try something new, but our volunteers and the other young people remember their first time away and know exactly how that feels and work hard to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), lupus and other musculoskeletal conditions, can have a devastating effect on children and young people. Many young people with arthritis never meet another young person like them until they come along to an event with us.

Our Young People and Families service complements medical treatment by providing additional social and emotional support.

Residential weekends for young people

We run several residential weekends throughout the year, where young people from the age of 11-18 years have the opportunity to meet others who really understand their condition. Each weekend is different, in the past we have done rock climbing, paddle boarding, canoe rolling, ... We know you are not defined by your condition – our events are about having fun and getting to know others in a similar situation as you.

Workshops for young people

Young people from the age of 12-18 years and if you want sometimes a friend or family member can attend our one-day events. We run these throughout the year on a variety of topics such as adulting with arthritis which looks at how you navigate the world as an adult with an MSK condition. They are run by our team of volunteers and medical experts and cover topics such as alcohol, piercings, coping with university, living away from home, travelling with arthritis and a range of other relevant areas.

Family Events

Children with arthritis and their families can attend our Family Days, a mix of activities and meeting others who are in the same boat as you are a brilliant opportunity for parents and kids to get support.

Parents Seminar

This is a day for parents to hear from a panel of experts from the Paediatric Rheumatology Team and asking questions and learning about their child’s health in a positive and friendly environment, we are hoping to build on this in terms of skills to help with the transition from Paediatric to Adult services.

Connecting with us online

Arthritis Tracker: A mobile app for teens and young adults

Created with young people for young people, Arthritis Tracker lets you rate your symptoms in seconds and see a simple summary of your recent pain, sore joints, medication side effects, energy levels, activity, sleep and emotions. You can use these summaries to help you talk to your healthcare professionals at medical appointments or simply to see how you have been doing recently. Download the app here and find out more here.

For more information on upcoming events use the search function or contact c.wright@versusarthritis.org or call on 028 9078 2940.

Social Media

We have social media pages available for both parents and teenagers, to allow you to connect with others locally who understand. These are a great place to stay updated and ask any questions you may have for people who have been through similar experiences. Connect with us on social media here.

Volunteers

To volunteer for an organisation is to give the invaluable gift of time and at Versus Arthritis our volunteers play a vital role in raising funds and raising awareness about the pain of arthritis. We couldn't operate without them. All of our services are delivered or supported by our amazing volunteers, and there are opportunities to get involved in campaigning, fundraising, take part in events or even organise your own. Volunteering is at the very heart of Versus Arthritis and it is thanks to the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment of volunteers, that we can support millions of people living with arthritis every year.

We have several volunteering opportunities available across Northern Ireland and provide all the necessary training and support that will help you feel part of our organisation and equipped to perform your role. As a volunteer, we will support you to learn new skills, meet new people and help you increase your confidence and self-esteem. Many of our volunteers live with arthritis and related conditions, which means together we can deliver a quality service, and help you to enhance your self-management skills.

Please get in touch to find out more e.boyd@versusarthritis.org or call on 028 9078 2940.

Campaigns

There are nearly half a million people in Northern Ireland with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, yet our concerns are often dismissed as just a bit of pain or part of the ageing process. We need your help to get arthritis taken seriously and make it a government and health service priority.

In Northern Ireland we have successfully campaigned for additional funding and better access to anti TNF drug treatments. We have also successfully campaigned for an increase in the number of consultants within rheumatology and paediatric rheumatology.

There is still more to do, especially on waiting times for joint replacement surgery. Contact j.mccormick@versusarthritis.org or call 028 9078 2940 if you’d like to support our campaigns or have a chat about what we do.

You can find out more about our UK-wide campaigns on our dedicated campaign pages and join our Campaign Network to keep updated.

Contact us

Unit 4 McCune Building
1 Shore Road
Belfast County
Antrim
BT15 3PG
northernireland@versusarthritis.org
028 9078 2940

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