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Who attends Family Support Groups? - NFSN Survey, 2018 - Results in!

Who attends Family Support Groups? - NFSN Survey, 2018


Over the course of the last few months, NFSN have asked their members to participate in a survey to gain a better understanding of the make-up of the groups affiliated to the network. This information is vital as it allows us to better direct our limited resources, and to gain a deeper understanding of who we represent and their needs. While we were unable to get responses from all 61 currently active groups, we believe the sample we received from 39 of these groups is representative of the remaining groups.

These are the most important findings of the survey.



There are around 374 people receiving support from these 39 groups on a regular basis. Of these, 331 (89%) are women and only 43 (11%) are men. 20 of these groups were exclusively filled by women, while there was only 1 exclusively male group.



The majority of people accessing family support through these groups are aged between 46-55 years old, with 57% falling into this bracket. 19% are younger, aged between 36-45, while 22% are aged between 56-65 and 3% are older than 65. There was no-one in these groups aged younger than 36.



The people in these groups appear to be almost exclusively White Irish, at 95%, with the remaining 5% being identified as Travellers. This difference can partially be explained by the inclusion of groups based in services that provide family support to the Travelling community.


Benefits for family members

We tried to quantify the knock-on positive effects that can spread from the person in the family support group out to their own families, and our survey revealed that at least 705 family members of people in these groups have benefited. This works out to each person in a family support group having almost 2 family members each who benefit from their accessing of these services. This number is likely much lower than the reality, as the benefits for others from a person seeking family support for themselves are difficult to quantify and are often only felt over a long period of time.


Length of time in groups

Our survey found that the majority (62%) of family members have attended a family support group for between 1-5 years at the time of the survey, with 11% attending for less than a year, and 27% attending for more than 5 years.



From these results, we can conclude that the average person accessing a family support group affiliated with NFSN is a white Irish woman, aged between 46 and 55, who has attended the group for between the last 1 to 5 years, and who has 2 family members at home benefiting from what they have learned in the group.


It’s important to note that these results are only for our affiliated family support groups, and do not include other affiliated organizations who provide One-To-One support or general family support other than groups. We hope that these findings are still of interest to those of you working in family support. We believe that it illustrates well the need for family support among these groups, and hope that these findings can guide services into the future.


We plan to continue these kinds of surveys in the future to track the changing nature of family support in Ireland. If you have any questions or suggestions for how to improve this survey, please contact Conor at development@fsn.ie.

Contact Us

National Family Support Network
5 Gardiner Row, Dublin 1, Ireland

Phone: +353 (01) 8980148
Fax: +353 (01) 8889628
Email: info@fsn.ie
Web: www.fsn.ie

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