Jigsaw II is a peer-led research project looking at community-led groups and organisations involved in peer support, that are led by and for people from marginalised communities. This is the second Jigsaw report following on from our Jigsaw report in 2013, extending our initial reach with a focus on black people and people of colour (BPoC), LGBTQIA+ communities, and young people (18-25).
The Jigsaw II report highlights the value of community-led groups, their ingenuity and ability to come together to respond to need, provide safe spaces and a sense of belonging. However, the report also reflects the structural inequalities these groups and organisations face such as a lack of recognition, trust and resource from mainstream providers, funders, and commissioning bodies.
"Often the majority of the service users are Black but staff are completely white - seeing the dynamic of who gets trusted with money and who creates interventions for certain communities and who doesn’t. Seeing these mainstream, white-led organisations getting the funding - we should be trusted with that funding too, we should be trusted to create spaces of change in our communities too."
Hi I’m Kate. It was both inspiring and sobering to hear the experiences of people involved with peer support community groups. The creativity, dynamism and resilience shown despite challenging circumstances and marginalisation was humbling but shone a spotlight on the very specific needs of these groups to avoid burnout and what needs to change to allow them to flourish. So much of peer support is about challenge- challenging ourselves to be better; by learning from others and supporting others to learn from us. So often these groups lack the resources and capacity to challenge the discrimination they face – I’m hoping this research can shift the dialogue towards how we can create fairer funding structures, encourage more co-production, including in funding, that values people’s lived experience and skills and use this as a way to better support these groups.
Hi, I’m Nichole. I have a total commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and as a mixed-race woman I have been passionate about social justice and actively promoting anti-discriminatory practice and equal opportunities. I am also a strong advocate of raising awareness of mental health issues and challenging the stigma and discrimination that people are faced with, especially in the workplace.
Hi everyone. It has been an invaluable experience to speak to so many people that create communities and share mutual support. Many of the people I spoke to expressed how they have been let down by other services and have built systems of support because and despite the challenges they’re facing. Sharing some experiences with the interviewees felt like an exciting way to think deeper about which systems work for us and which don’t. It was important to imagine a future that values peer support, whilst rethinking current systems that create or exacerbate mental health issues, as well as systems of care.
Hello, I’m Madeleine. It was a privilege to listen to so many inspiring and brilliant individuals. The groups and organisations that I heard about were reflective of and responsive to the communities they served, and undertook vital work. However, the majority of those I spoke to were part of groups forged in opposition to discrimination, or created in the face of an unmet need. It can be a challenge to both praise and uplift the work of these organisations, whilst also heavily criticizing the situation which led to their genesis, but I feel this research does that. The ingenuity of so many groups, working on a shoestring, should never be viewed with complacency- groups can exist like this (though importantly many don’t), but they shouldn’t have too. Peer and community support is incredible, but we also need broader structural change. Collectively we need to look at both valuing and funding community led groups, in order to honour the expertise within them, whilst simultaneously changing the hostile environment that necessitates their existence.
Hi, I’m Sonia. As someone who was involved in the Jigsaw I it was a privilege to be involved in the second project and to see how things have changed as well as how much they have stayed the same. I found the words of those who were generous enough to provide us with information about their experiences inspiring but also jarring at times. Inspiring in terms of how much they made out of the few resources they had at their disposal and jarring because of the extent of the challenges they face. I hope that by the time that Jigsaw III or its equivalent is produced that there is a real material change in the nature of peer support in communities marginalised by the very society they live in.
We'll be continuing our conversations and thinking about how to take forward the recommendations. If you would like to know more, and be part of these conversations, please get in touch - [email protected]