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The Side by Side programme

In September 2014, the Big Lottery Fund awarded Mind £3.2 million to improve access to peer support across England. With this funding, we ran a two-year programme called Side by Side, in collaboration with nine local Minds, Bipolar UK and our grant-funded projects.

Together, we aimed to:

  • build an evidence base for the effectiveness of one to one, group and online peer support
  • promote the value of peer support to people with experience of mental health problems, service providers and commissioners
  • improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems across England through access to peer support.

Over the last two years, the Side by Side programme has delivered peer support to 17,936 people online and 3,255 in person, and promoted peer support to nearly 74,000 people.

With this funding, we were able to award 37 grants to local peer support projects across nine pilot areas:

  • Coventry
  • Devon
  • Lancashire
  • Leeds
  • London
  • Northampton
  • Southampton
  • Suffolk
  • Teesside

The results

We worked with three expert research partners – St George's University of London, McPin Foundation, and the London School of Economics – to investigate the impact of this peer support on people's mental health, wellbeing and use of services.

Explore the findings

How peer support is turning lives around

In this short video, Roseanne shares how the support of others led her to set up her own peer support group 'Swift-Tees'.

"People benefit from coming to Swift-Tees because it opens up a whole new social section in their lives.

"Through Swift-Tees I have a new life. I open the front door, I go out and I'm me."

- Roseanne

Other ways to get involved

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