Inclusion Barnet research on Peer Support receives national recognition

We are so proud to announce that our research report #peersupportinpractice, which was launched on Thursday 8th Febuary has received great feedback nationally! We have received interest from organisations nationally; some of which include Mind, Home Group and Disability Rights UK and ImROC. We have also had interest and feedback from high-profile academics and activitsts in the field such as Dr Peter Beresford, Liz Sayce and Dr Sarah Carr.

Dr Julie Repper, Director of ImROC (Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change) says: “This report captures so much that is unique and important about peer support and contains some very useful recommendations. I want to make it essential reading for all of our peers and their teams”.

The research was funded by the highly competitive DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, the world’s first major research programme led by disabled people. The central research committee is chaired by Professor Tom Shakespeare. Our research sheds new light on what is valuable about peer support and how it can be implemented as an effective form of practice. It shows that embedding a ‘counter culture’ of practice such as peer support within traditional statutory organisations requires skill and strategic planning, as well as an understanding of how to translate the values of peer support into everyday practice interactions. It lays out the blue-prints for implementing effective peer support for organisations that are new to peer support or are struggling to get it right.

The report is based on a qualitative study, using interviews with 36 peer support workers and their colleagues from all over the country and from different sectors. It includes a thoughtful exploration of what peer support is and the benefits of using lived experience in service delivery. It also includes clear recommendations for the implementation of peer support within organisations: including strategic planning, recruitment and supervision.

Aman Ahluwalia, who researched and wrote the report said: “We are most proud of achieving our initial aim of capturing the meaningful aspects of peer support in a way that readers can grasp. Part of what makes peer support difficult to deliver is that the emotional benefits and skill that goes into creating those benefits are hard to capture. People often use phrases such as ‘building trusting relationships’ to describe elements of successful peer support, which become meaningless without a description of the skills and organisational labour and systems which go into creating such relationships. Especially when peer support, as its heart, is about culture change. Our research is all about using an evidence based approach to reveal how the peer approach must be built into the very systems of organisational practice if it is to be successful. Our research explores these elements of peer support with clarity.”