Connecting and Growing; What we’ve learnt as a peer support network in Leeds

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Connecting and Growing; What we’ve learnt as a peer support network in Leeds

Women’s Lives Leeds are part of the steering group for the Leeds Peer Support Network, set up in 2015. We aim to build a sustainable peer support network that supports the people of Leeds to access the skills, knowledge and confidence to develop and deliver Peer Support locally.

Over the last 6 months the steering group has been busy promoting the network online and to more diverse peer support facilitators. We’ve grown to over 90 members across Leeds and over 200 Twitter followers. We’ve learnt the value of connecting online during ‘lockdown’ and have seen creative responses to keeping peer support going despite barriers, such as access to technology.

During our first online members’ meeting in August, we asked members for feedback on the meeting and what direction the network should go in.

Read notes from our August 2020 meeting here.

What attendees took from the online meeting:

‘Being reassured that others are facing the same problems/issues delivering Peer Support during the Covid-19 pandemic’

‘Having the chance to go into breakout rooms and discuss different approaches and share experiences’

‘Holding the meeting online made it more accessible and easier to attend’

Four main areas came up, including practical suggestions for how we should run;

Core areas members want to focus on

> Practicalities of delivering new groups, activities and facilitating them

> Developing groups, promoting & keeping people engaged/interested

> Group safety; social media, risk assessments or what to do in the event of a ‘second wave’ and local lockdowns

> Getting funding; showing your activity’s social value; reviewing how effective peer support is; obtaining resources e.g. Tablets/Ipads

Here’s a breakdown of each question answered in table form.

Great ideas sprang from the group;

  • Peer support mapping through a shared google form

Whilst peer support mapping is still underway an open google form has been created, for those who wish to share what peer support activities they are doing here & now.

  • Meetings and staying connected

One request was to make meetings more regular to enable continued discussions. We have set the next two for 20th October and 15th December 2020.

  • Learning & training needs

We are asking members to provide peer support through the network via our closed Facebook group and helping to deliver lunchtime webinars to our members on one of the below themes:

  • Safety using social media
  • Inclusive recruitment
  • Funding and measuring impact
  • Risk assessing activities and c-19

Read our blog post for more information on the above. Contact IsabelleF@leedswomensaid.org.uk to get more involved in LPSN.

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