Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS)

What is ChIPS

  • ChIPS is a vibrant peer support program for young people, led by young people, which offers a wide range of opportunities for members who are:

    • 12 to 25 years of age.
    • Living with a primary diagnosis of a chronic illness. 
    • Able to attend an intake program, either Eight Week Group or a two day Intensive.
    • Ready and able to participate and function well in a group setting.
    • For more detailed referral criteria please contact the ChIPS office on (03) 9345 6616.

    Based at the Royal Children's Hospital (Department of Adolescent Medicine) in Melbourne, ChIPS works to engage young people from metropolitan and rural Victoria. Delivered for over twenty years, the program is currently is 100% philanthropically funded via The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To make a donation to ChIPS please contact The Royal Children's Hospital Foundation on (03) 9345 5037 or rch.foundation@rch.org.au


    For more information check out the ChIPS brochure here

    ChIPS offers:

    Eight Week Group and Intensive intake programs

    Eight Week Groups meet weekly for 1.5 hours and use music,art, games and discussion to explore living with chronic illness. The Intensive Groups use the same mediums and are held over two days in the school holidays, alloP1190034.JPGwing young people who do not live close to RCH to attend. Each group contains approximately six to ten young people and is facilitated by ChIPS staff and seniour ChIPS members.

    Topics are participant directed and can include:

    • Missing out and limitations
    • Judgements
    • Relationships  
    • Hospital visits & medications

     One ChIPS member said this about their experience of Eight Week Group:

    "I thought that the eight week group was a great opportunity to open up to people other than your friends and family. At first I wasn't sure about what I should expose about myself, but then I got more confident and realised that they felt the same way about it. I was able to talk to them about pretty much anything."

    Social activities

    Approximately 3 or 4 times per year, and usually during school holidays, ChIPS members get together for socials. These have included mini golf, MCG tour, Master Chef cook off, movies, circus skills, Science Works, Strike bowling and Games and a Pizza Night.

    Campschips-celebrate.jpg

    Camps are a highlight on the ChIPS calendar!Twice a year our members can enjoy three days full of fun, challenge and laughter, with staff, volunteers and a complete medical team on board!

    Leadership Training

    Once a year CHIPS members explore the concept of leadership, learning more about things such as communication skills, public speaking, group dynamics, team building and other important life skills.

    Peer Leader Program

    Peer Leaders are an integral part of the ChIPS program and are chosen based on their warmth, empathy and respect for their fellow Chippers. Peer Leaders meet regularly throughout the year and are provided with leadership skills training to enable them to assist staff with facilitation at Eight Week Groups, Intensives, camps and socials.

    Reference Committee

    ChIPS_ref_group.JPGA key element of ChIPS is youth participation. The Reference Committee is comprised of a group of around twenty Chippers who want to actively contribute to the program through providing ideas and feedback. Within the Reference Committee there are 5 sub-committees which are charged with organising socials, January camp, publications, fundraising and advocacy. Being part of Reference Committee is a great way to learn new skills and work as part of a team.

    The Reference Committee meets once a month for two hours. Here is what one ChIPS member said about their experience:

    "I am part of the ChIPS Reference Committee so I can give back to ChIPS what ChIPS has given me. Through the Reference Committee I get to help ChIPS function, as well as learning skills in leadership and teamwork. It is an amazing way to work towards a common goal with my friends that are in similar situation as myself."

    Publications

    Being a ChIPS member means you will be able to keep up to date with what is happening in the program through the ChIPS face book page, blog and annual Wrapper magazine.

    Advocacy presentations

    A component of the ChIPS Program is to inform the community about the impact that chronic illness has on young people's lives. The main avenue for raising awareness is through public speaking presentations within the community. These involve ChIPS members sharing their story of having a chronic illness and their experiences within the ChIPS Program, along with an outline of the ChIPS Program structure, history and referral process.

    ChIPS members also promote ChIPS directly to young people with chronic illness by regularly visiting wards at The Royal Children's Hospital.

    If you would like more information on these presentations please contact the ChIPS Program Manager.