Blog: Embracing community support

A big group of people standing and kneeling, smiling for the camera
The Doncaster Stammering Association with a group of SLT students

Our Communities & Campaigns Manager Vee shares a few success stories from the stammering groups.   

If you stammer, the thought of joining a support group meeting for the first time might evoke mixed emotions. You might really want to meet other people and share your experiences. But it can be daunting; not knowing what to expect may hold you back and cast doubt on the potential benefits that lie within. However, once you take that first step groups can be transformative spaces that offer unique opportunities for growth, camaraderie and creativity. 

In my role I've dropped in on the stammering groups around the UK and I've seen for myself how they can empower people to conquer their fears in challenging scenarios. There's the captivating tale of the nervous bride-to-be who found confidence through unconventional means; the charity worker who wanted to speak up at a community event; and the woman who faced her social anxiety and didn't look back.

The Wedding Ceremony: A Triumph Over Anxiety

In one unforgettable meeting of the Doncaster Stammering Association (DSA), one of the longest-running stammering groups, one member was anxiously anticipating her upcoming wedding ceremony. Fearful of stammering through her vows in front of loved ones, she confided in the group. Acting as a beacon of understanding and ingenuity, Bob, the group's leader, proposed an extraordinary idea. Together, they decided to stage a mock wedding ceremony, complete with Bob playing the role of the vicar and other group members playing various roles, including that of Best Man.

The path to self-acceptance and growth is travelled more easily with the support of those who understand your journey.

Through this unconventional approach, the bride-to-be could practise her vows and experience the familiar sights and sounds of a wedding ceremony in a safe space. Surrounded by empathetic peers who had faced similar challenges, she gained confidence, found her voice and reduced her anxiety. It instilled her with a newfound sense of self-assurance, proving the immense power of support group meetings in tackling daunting situations head-on. This was not about not stammering. This was about being empowered to stammer openly and with confidence.

Creative Solutions: Support Doesn't Need To Fit In A Box

That was just one example of how support groups can foster creative solutions to help people overcome their stammering anxieties. Here are a few more inspiring scenarios from some of the other groups I've visited.

Mary's Job Interviews

Mary was struggling with interview nerves due to her stammer. She brought it up at her local stammering group and her fellow members suggested staging mock interviews to allow her to practise answering common questions and build confidence in her communication skills. The constructive feedback and encouragement she received prepared her for the real-life interviews, ultimately helping her secure a fulfilling job.

David's Public Speaking 

David, a passionate advocate for a local charity that supports homeless people, was determined to deliver a speech at an upcoming community event. Fearful of his stammer undermining his message, he turned to his support group for assistance. Together, they organised a special speaking session where David could rehearse his speech in a safe and supportive environment. The valuable feedback and encouragement he received bolstered his confidence, enabling him to go to the community event and engage the audience with his heartfelt message.

Sarah's Social Gatherings 

Sarah felt isolated and anxious about socialising due to her stammer when she first joined a stammering group meeting. The group she attended organised regular social events like going for meals in a restaurant or a pint in a pub. They offered a judgement-free space where everyone understood and embraced one another's communication differences. Gradually, Sarah's anxiety diminished as she found comfort and belonging among her newfound friends, empowering her to engage confidently in other social settings too.

Embrace Support, Unleash Your Potential

We ALL need help every once in a while. Why not find that help amongst like-minded people, people who get it because they go through the same thing?

Stammering support groups can be transformative. They offer a space where you can share experiences and learn from one another. Through creative approaches like holding mock ceremonies, role-playing and practising challenging situations, these groups empower people to overcome their fears and embrace their true potential.

If you'd like to join a support group, take a look at our Communities & Groups page and explore the opportunities available. If you're inspired to set up a group yourself in your area, please reach out to me, Vee, at 

Remember, the path to self-acceptance and growth is travelled more easily with the support of those who understand your journey.

(The above image is of, and is courtesy of, the Doncaster Stammering Association)

Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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