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National Voices launches new digital tool to grow peer support programmes

National Voices has launched a Peer Support Hub – an online bank of high quality resources for people looking to measure, evaluate, sustain and grow different types of peer support.

  • Online Peer Support
  • Digital health and care

The Hub collates, curates and categorises the best quality information and evidence together in one place, making it easier for people to find useful, high quality peer support resources. By making this information more accessible, the Hub aims to support the development of more effective peer support in the UK.

We know from all the evidence that peer support is effective in helping people to build knowledge, develop skills and maintain the confidence and determination to stay as healthy and in control as they can, when they are impacted by physical or mental health conditions.

The Hub will help inform and guide people and services who deliver or would like to deliver peer support. As well as having high quality academic literature and ‘grey’ literature on the Hub, users can add their own resources through the Hub’s community upload function.

The Peer Support Hub was developed with the Q Improvement Lab and is supported by the Health Foundation. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Commenting on the launch, Tracy Webb, Head of Q Lab said:

With people’s health needs becoming increasingly complex – 1 in 4 adults in England having two or more health conditions – peer support has an important role to play in improving people’s health and wellbeing. The idea of the Peer Support Hub gathered momentum during the Q Improvement Lab’s work on scaling peer support, which identified access to resources and shared learning as a key challenge. The Peer Support Hub will be an invaluable resource to all those wanting to deliver, commission, and champion peer support.

Jane Salazar, Peer Support Officer at Mind, said:

The Peer Support Hub will bring together peer support resources in an online community library. It opens up a new platform to share knowledge and promote peer support from local communities alongside academia.

James Sanderson, NHS England’s Director of Personalised Care, said:

The NHS Long Term Plan will make personalised care ‘business as usual’ for 2.5 million people over the next five years. We have called for peer support to be ‘systematically put in place’ to help people with their self-management whatever their circumstances, and we welcome this new Hub as a resource for the peer support community who want to provide high quality support in their own areas.

Hannah Chalmers, Policy and Public Affairs Lead at National Voices said:

Peer support is a bread and butter activity for huge chunks of the voluntary sector. Charities across the country are already supporting thousands of people in this way. But we know that keeping these programmes afloat is hard and being able to prove to funders it’s working is tricky. The Hub will raise the profile of peer support and I look forward to seeing the voluntary sector and NHS funders working closer together to secure the long term future of peer support in the UK.

Useful background information

  1. National Voices, the Q Improvement Lab, Mind and Positively UK scoped a way to gather quality peer support resources in 2017-18 through a series of surveys and workshops. The Hub is the end project of this scoping.
  2. In 2015 National Voices and Nesta published an evidence paper showing that peer support has the potential to improve experience, psycho-social outcomes, behaviour, health outcomes and service use among people with long-term physical and mental health conditions.
  3. Peer support is one of the key interventions listed in – the delivery plan to chapter one of the NHS Long Term Plan.
  4. Peer support was one of the interventions studied on the ‘Realising the Value’ programme which was delivered by Nesta, the Health Foundation and National Voices (amongst others), and ran from May 2015 to November 2016.
  5. NHS England’s Five Year Forward View refers to peer support as one of the ‘slow burn, high impact’ interventions that should be seen as ‘essential’ to the future of the NHS. If accountable care organisations are developed, provision of peer support will be a standard contractual requirement.