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Side by Side grant-funded projects

We've funded 37 local peer support projects to improve people's mental health as part of our Side by Side programme. All projects aim to support people experiencing mental health problems and empower them to support others with similar experiences.

Projects will offer support from December 2015, as well as taking part in our research into the effectiveness of peer support for mental health.

Projects will be based across nine pilot areas:

You can find other projects in our peer support directory.

Side by Side

Grant-funded projects


Better Together

The Better Together project will support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to become more positive about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity as a way of improving their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Lead organisation: Coventry and Warwickshire Friend

Location: Coventry and Warwickshire

Contact: [email protected] /

Coventry AIMHS Peer Support Group

Coventry AIMHS (Actively influencing Mental Health Services) Mental Health Peer Support Groups are open to people over 18 with experience of mental health problems. There is a general group and one specifically for lesbian, gay, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) people, giving opportunities to support each other as equals, share experiences and ideas.

Lead organisation: Coventry AIMHS

Location: Koco Community Resource Centre, Arches Industrial Estate, Spon End Coventry

Contact: Andrew Collis - 02476 670 606 / [email protected]

Mum’s Moving Forward

Mum’s Moving Forward is a women only group for Black and minority ethnic (BME) women experiencing post-natal baby blues or depression. The group aims to reduce isolation and raise awareness of mothers’ health before and after giving birth to improve wellbeing.

Lead organisation: Foleshill Women's Training LTD

Location: Community venues across Coventry, including Hillfields Community Hub and Foleshill Women's Training Centre

Contact: Christine McNaught - [email protected]

Our Kitchen

The Our Kitchen project will bring together people from Polish and Asian communities in Leamington Spa to give people with experience of mental health problems the chance to run a café. The project will allow people to share their experiences and cultural identities through cooking, as well as raising awareness of mental health problems in the wider community.

Lead organisation: Springfield Mind

Contact: Jo Min - 01789 298615 / [email protected]


Men Supporting Recovery Plymouth

The Men Supporting Recovery project is aimed at men who have been sexually abused and offers self-help support and education recovery options. Sessions will help men develop lives which are not dominated by the experience of abuse.

Lead organisation: Operation Emotion

Location: Plymouth Mind, 8 Woodside, Greenbank, Plymouth, PL4 8QE

Contact: David Ball - 07539 810 096 or Steve Canning - 07837 321 514 [email protected] /

Mind in Exeter and East Devon

Mind in Exeter and East Devon's men's network is aimed at men who are isolated and at risk of developing mental health problems. The network will reach out to men who, due to their race, culture or preference, prefer to be in a male only environment.

Location: Community venues and Exeter Community Opportunities Centre

Pluss Opportunities

The project will deliver workshops on employability skills, confidence, self-esteem and mutual support across South Devon and Torbay. Workshops will give a peer-supported environment for people with experience of mental health problems. The project aims to empower people wanting to gain, sustain or return to work, and will offer opportunities to share experiences.

Lead organisation: The Pluss Organisation

Location: Torbay and South Devon area

Main contact: Mark Hodges, [email protected]

Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council

Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council is offering fortnightly groups for members of the Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities aged 18 and over (including asylum seekers and refugees, Gypsies and travellers), who have experienced mental health problems. Groups will be gender-specific and run every fortnight.

Lead organisation: Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council

Contact: Julie Paget - [email protected]01752 224 555

Shared Lives

The Shared Lives project is aimed at people who have experienced mental health problems and long-term physical or sexual health problems, or who are transgender. Members of the group will be trained to support other people experiencing these issues through individual, group and online sessions.

Lead organisation: Colebrook South West

Location: Plymouth Involvement Service (PIPS)

Contact: Pam Parr - 01752 205 210 / [email protected]


IMO Charity

Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO) gives regular activity sessions for women from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities as a way to explore mental health problems in a positive and sensitive environment.

Lead organisation: Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO)

Location: Blackburn, Lancashire

Contact: 01254 781 310 / [email protected]

Lancashire Women’s Centres

Lancashire Women’s Centres offer a range of facilitated groups for women experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety. Groups meet in safe, female only centres and offer positive group activities. The groups are particularly accessible and welcoming to women who have additional needs.

Lead organisation: Lancashire Women's Centres

Location: Female only centres are located in Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, Blackpool and Preston.

Contact: 01254 871 771 / [email protected] /

Lancaster Links Project

The Lancaster Links Project is aimed at young adults aged 18-25 who have experienced mental health problems. The project is run by ACE (Achieve Change and Engagement) who are training peer facilitators to run regular support groups that will help improve attendees’ mental health and relationships.

Lead organisation: Achieve Change and Engagement (ACE)

Location: Lancaster

Contact: Sally Temple - 01524 33327 / [email protected]

Pennine Lancashire Community Farm (PLCF)

The Pennine Lancashire Community Farm (PLCF) offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including gardening, forestry and farming, to bring people together in Burnley and Pendle. Groups will have specific activities for people experiencing complex mental health problems, people at risk of developing mental health problems and people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.

Lead organisation: Pennine Lancashire Community Farm

Location: March Street Community Garden site, Burnley, BB12 0BU

Contact: Helen on 01282 421690  / [email protected] or call in Monday to Friday between 10am to 4pm.


The RESOLVE project will train members as community leaders who can establish new peer support groups for people experiencing mental health problems across Blackburn and Darwen, particularly in Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.

Lead organisation: Care Network Blackburn with Darwen

Location: Blackburn with Darwen

Contact: James Hadleigh - [email protected]


Get More Out of Life

The Get More Out of Life project is run by The Conservation Volunteers. Volunteers with experience of mental health problems will be trained to give peer support to others so that together people can overcome issues within their lives. Activities will be informal and based around the environment.

Lead organisation: The Conservation Volunteers

Location: Hollybush Conservation Centre, Kirkstall, Leeds

Contact: Jess Kandola - 01132 742 335 / [email protected]

Leeds Harehills Young Women’s Peer Support Programme

Harehills Young Women’s Peer Support Programme aims to recruit, train and support peer workers who have experience of mental health problems to facilitate groups for young women aged 18-25 from Harehills. The project is a partnership and groups will be offered at Getaway Girls, Archway and Shantona Women’s Centre.

Lead organisation: Getaway Girls

Location: Harehills, Leeds

Contact: Flavia Docherty - 01132 405 894

Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service (LSLCS)

Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service (LSLCS) is setting up a Hearing Voices Group for people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. The group will meet weekly, starting in December 2015. The group will be facilitated by two BME people, at least one of whom will have experience of hearing voices, to offer a space for people to share their experiences and support each other.

Lead organisation: Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service

Location: Touchstone Support Centre in Leeds

Contact: Maria Greenwall - [email protected]

Men in Sheds

Men in Sheds supports men in Chapeltown to learn woodworking skills in a friendly and relaxing environment. The project gives support to people experiencing mental health problems. Groups are run by Groundworks and BHI (Black Health Initiative) Leeds.

Lead organisation: Groundwork Leeds

Contact: Will Gore - 0113 238 0601

PAFRAS: Stronger Together

The Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS) project will benefit asylum seekers waiting to access mental health therapy services, particularly people who are living in poverty and isolated. The project will host two groups: one to support women and their children in a safe space and another to support male survivors of trauma and torture. The groups will offer practical tools and coping mechanisms to help deal with the asylum system and resulting high levels of anxiety and stress.

Lead organisation: PAFRAS

Location: Leeds

Contact: Dora Rebelo - [email protected]

Peer Support for Leeds Women

Peer Support for Leeds Women will support vulnerable women with mental health problems resulting from trauma, such as sexual or domestic abuse, violence, neglect, sexual exploitation, rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), honour-based violence or trafficking. Peer Support Facilitators with relevant lived experience will be trained by Leeds Mind to run support groups in Leeds.

Lead organisation: Women's Counselling and Therapy Service

Location: Leeds Mind

Contact: Tessa Denham - 01132 455 725 / [email protected]

THRU (Talk, Help, Relate, Understand)

The THRU project will give 18-26 year olds the opportunity to develop skills to manage their mental health. Two experienced facilitators with experience of mental health problems will lead the group to focus on empowering group members and meeting their specific needs.

Lead organisation: The Market Place

Location: The Market Place in Leeds city centre

Contact: [email protected]


The Touchstone project will empower people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities to support each other, with the help of a trained Peer Support Champion. The trained Peer Support Champion will use their own experience of mental health problems to bring people together based on their shared interests and strengths.

Lead organisation: Touchstone

Location: Leeds

Contact: Nafisa Miraf - 01132 192 724 / [email protected]

Yorkshire MESMAC

This project will support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds who are marginalised within their communities due to their sexuality and/or gender identity issues. The project will help them to gain necessary skills and confidence to co-facilitate self-help workshops and therapeutic groups in order to improve their mental health and reduce isolation.

Lead organisation: Yorkshire MESMAC

Location: Central and outlying districts of Leeds

Contact: Christine Blessing - 07771 931 327 / [email protected]



Midaye will offer emotional wellbeing sessions for women from Somali communities. Women will be given the opportunity to discuss issues such female genital mutilation (FGM), coming from a war-torn background, extensive bereavement, and cultural isolation. The group will mirror traditional ways that women in the Horn of Africa give support to each other and will be led by members’ priorities. Groups will be facilitated by women with personal experience of the issues raised.

Lead organisation: Midaye Somali Development Network

Location: Office 6, 7 Thorpe Close, London, W10 5XL

Contact: Mrs Filsan Ali Office - 020 8969 7456 / 07915 486 311 / [email protected]

Nice to Meet You

The Nice To Meet You project is aimed at migrants and refugees in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster who are isolated and/or experiencing mental health problems. Trained mentors will meet participants to share experiences and give support to help create local connections and improve wellbeing.

Lead organisation: Migrants Organise

Location: 2 Thorpe Close London W10 5XL, and various locations in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster.

Contact: 020 8964 4815 / [email protected]

Roads to Recovery

The Roads to Recovery project will recruit, prepare, train and support people from migrant and refugee communities with experience of mental health problems (including PTSD) to become accredited wellbeing coaches for people who may be struggling with their emotional and psychological wellbeing, find it difficult to access the support they need, and/or feel disconnected, isolated and excluded from the local community.

Lead organisation: Wandsworth and Westminster Mind

Location: Migrants Resource Centre, 24 Churton St, London, SW1V 2LP and in the local community.

Contact: Eva Papadopoulou - 020 7259 8100 / [email protected]

The Thames Reach Brent Peer Support Service (BPSS)

BPSS gives one-to-one peer advice to Thames Reach service users who have experienced homelessness and mental health issues within the NW10 postcode. Initially, support will be given by peer advisors to help with employability, gaining independence and leading a more fulfilling life.

Lead organisation: Thames Reach

Contact: Rob van Wissen - 020 3031 3540


African Yams

African Yams is a new monthly group for people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, particularly those with African heritage, who have experience of mental health problems. Groups will focus on preparing and sharing a community meal, as well as sessions focusing on mental health, art, poetry, music and more.

Lead organisation: African Health Policy Network

Location: Quakers House, Northants, postcode NN1

Contact: Mabule Tema - [email protected] / Deryck Browne - [email protected] or 02085 555 778



The Ecohealth project aims to offer a safe, friendly place for 18-25 year olds who have experience of mental health problems to get together. People can take part in a range of land-based and recreational activities to help boost confidence, make friends, improve health and wellbeing, and further employment prospects.

Lead organisation: UK Youth

Location: New Forest, Hampshire

Contact: David Watts - [email protected]

No Limits

The No Limits project will offer a safe space for 18-25 year olds in Southampton. The group will meet weekly to help young people feel better able to manage their mental health. Together, participants will work through activities to better understand their own mental health and that of others, develop listening skills and advocate for young people’s mental health needs. Groups will be supported by peer support workers and volunteers who also have their own experience of mental health problems.

Lead organisation: No Limits South

Location: No Limits Drop In Centre in the city centre.

Contact: Maria Kitching - [email protected]

Positive Minds

Positive Minds is a course for university students that offers skills to help keep low mood at bay. If you’re interested in how you can make your university experience a positive one, this course is for you! Over six sessions, we’ll discuss managing stress, sleep, relaxation and more.

Lead organisation: Student Minds

Location: Southampton University

Contact: [email protected] / [email protected]



The Sustain project aims to offer support for people in Suffolk with mental health problems. Each group will be attended by a peer Buddy who will have their own experience of mental health problems and will be trained to help keep groups going. The project will also own and run an online resource of information and support for peer support groups.

Lead organisation: Peer Support Network Community Interest Company

Location: Suffolk

Main contact: Steve Roche, [email protected]

The 12th Man

The 12th Man project aims to help men find it easier to talk to each other about their mental health. In football, the fans are the 12th man, the extra support that makes all the difference. The 12th man represents help when it’s needed the most. The group will receive mental health first aid training and be supported to run events across Suffolk that will support other men to be open and supportive about mental health.

Lead organisation: The Outsiders Community Consultants

Contact: Oz Osborne - 07771 608 327 / [email protected]


National Survivor Network (NSUN) host for North East Together (NET)

This project aims to establish two peer support groups in the Redcar and Cleveland area of Teesside to bring together people with experience of mental health problems. The project will also establish a local User Involvement Group to enable people involved in the project to use their experiences to help others.

Lead organisation: NSUN

Contact: Mish Lorraine, email: [email protected]

Safe in Tees

Safe in Tees is aimed at over 18s who are either serving a Community Order or Prison Licence and are supervised by Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) in the Teesside area. The project will be led by the people involved to raise awareness of mental health problems, and share tools to help participants manage their mental health.

Lead organisation: Safe in Tees

Location: Teesside (Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Redcar and Cleveland; Stockton-on-Tees)

Contact: Lorraine Nevison - 01642 664 440 / [email protected]

Silent Voices

The Silent Voices project will support people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities (primarily refugees and asylum seekers) who have experience of mental health problems. One-to-one, gender specific and mixed sessions will be available, as well as training to become a peer support champion, sharing information and activities such as gardening, cooking and walking.

Lead organisation: BECON

Location: Parkfield Community Centre, Stockton on Tees, TS18 3SU

Contact: Philippa Burnett - [email protected]01642 657 090

The Halo Project

The Halo Project aims to create a network of women aged 18-65 from Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, who will be trained to become ambassadors for mental health. They will use their experience to empower BME women to access the services they need to improve their health and wellbeing. The project will also influence services to offer services that meet the needs to BME women who have experienced forced marriages, honour based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Lead organisation: The Halo Project

Location: Broadcasting House, Middlesbrough

Contact: Yasmin Khan - [email protected]

Find out about other peer support projects across England and Wales.

Other ways to get involved

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