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Learn how we designed the peer support toolkit, and how it could help you in running a peer support group.

How we designed the women’s peer support toolkit

We designed this toolkit to be a solid foundation for anyone creating a peer support group. The toolkit will help you create a group that's accessible, and can benefit anyone. But it also addresses issues specific to women from different backgrounds.

And if you already run a peer support group, you can use it to improve and evolve your group.

We recognise there's no ‘right way’ to do peer support. Our aim with this toolkit was to create a fluid, intuitive guide, rather than a rigid how-to.

This toolkit was created by peer supporters for peer supporters. It aims to break down preconceived ideas about who can provide mental health support.

It also aims to take the mystery out of peer support, and provide practical tips about how to do it. We want to make sure that as many women as possible know they're not alone.

How to use this toolkit

This toolkit was created for people who identify as women and want to set up a peer support group for women with shared experiences.

It doesn’t matter how small, ‘grassroots’, or informal your group is. You may be just a group of friends at a café. This toolkit is for anyone who wants to do women’s peer support. In any way they can.

This includes Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women from different backgrounds. The toolkit offers different approaches to make sure you deliver peer support that's culturally appropriate and meets the needs of these women.

When using this toolkit, we recommend that you involve your whole group, not just the leaders. Peer support is something we do with group members, not to them.

This toolkit should be a living document - interactive, intuitive, and inclusive. You can dip in and out as you need to, and people can add their own experiences.

About the Women Side by Side Programme

Mind and Agenda, the Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk, worked on Women Side by Side Programme. The programme aimed to increase the availability of high-quality peer support for women.

The programme combined the expertise of the women’s sector to deliver gender-specific support, and Mind’s experience of delivering community-based mental health peer support.

The programme funded £1.3 million for 67 third sector organisations, to deliver peer support for 12 months. These organisations included 5 women’s hubs (4 in England and 1 in Wales). Projects involved in this programme included:

  • Clean Break – a women’s theatre organisation which works in prisons and in communities with women who have experienced the criminal justice system
  • Safer Women – taking a women-centred approach to the mental health and wellbeing of women seeking asylum, refugees and new migrants in Kirklees
  • The Ethiopian Women’s Empowerment Group – working predominately with BAME women to address mental heath problems in women affected by the Grenfell disaster

Learn more about the Women Side by Side Programme.

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