Side by Side project update
At Depression Alliance were pleased to be involved in the national evaluation into peer support that is taking place currently across England. Working alongside Mind and Bipolar UK and funded by the Big Lottery, 9 regions have been selected and we are working in 3 of them: Northamptonshire, Plymouth and West London.
The programme aims to improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems across England through access to peer support.
So what has happened so far? We have spent the first few months letting people know what we are doing. Were working closely with the local Minds in the 3 areas and also have reached a lot of people via our Friends in Need website.
We generally set a date and a time, find a local place for coffee that is as convenient as we can make it and take it from there. We have found great venues in all three areas so far:
In Northampton we meet at Elsie’s café. This is a community café were all food is donated and you pay as much as you can afford. Sometimes there is a chap who plays his guitar. Since we've been going there one of our members has started volunteering there. Its turned into a bit of a lunch date! The food is really good though one week everything did have cauliflower in..
Our Venue in Plymouth is at the Grosvenor Hotel down by the Hoe. If you don’t know Plymouth its down near the sea. Our colleague Duncan who works down there found this family run hotel through his contacts and it is a lovely friendly venue to meet at.
Finally in London we meet at the Whole foods Café in High Street Kensington. The beauty of this café is that its so large that you can stay as long as you like, and there is a whole supermarket of wonderful things to eat downstairs if you're hungry.
We have some lovely groups established and now were starting on the evaluation. Were hoping that, as a result of people coming along, and experiencing the benefits of peer support and participating in the evaluation we will be able to prove that it is a beneficial thing.
For more information on what were doing have a look at our blog – pnwlsidebyside.wordpress.com or contact Louise:
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