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A new group has been set up on Lewis by people with long term health conditions, aimed at helping to improve the quality of life of people with these conditions.

Long Term Conditions Hebrides (LTCH) has been meeting informally for almost two years, offering social support for people with long-term conditions ranging from arthritis and chronic pain to anxiety.

After a pilot phase supported by NHS Western Isles, the group has been awarded £15,445 from the Health and Social Care Alliance to run a new, year-long project called ‘The Bridge’.

This is aimed at helping at least 50 people with long-term conditions to learn self-management and relaxation techniques at weekly drop in sessions.

During the pilot project, Helping Patients Help Themselves, it was shown that nine out of 10 people attending a self-management course reported a decrease in anxiety and depression, while eight out of 10 found their symptoms decreased and their ability to cope with them improved.

Dr Gail Cunningham, the GP at Broadbay medical practice who ran the initial project, will lead the drop-in sessions for the new Bridge Project.  Participants will gain knowledge, learn relaxation and self-management skills and become empowered to better manage long-standing physical or mental health condition.

Cheryl Ward, Chair of LTCH said “We are about long-term conditions that may or may not be diagnosed by health professionals. If they affect your life in any way, we want to help you find ways to help yourself to a brighter, more manageable future.”

Special events are also planned, which will be programmed throughout the year.   Look out for posters and notices circulated on Facebook and via local media including

The picture shows some of the committee of Long-term Conditions Hebrides (LTCH).