PeerTalk Support Groups
We are pleased that the following PeerTalk support groups are now up and running, face-to-face: Batley, Bensham (Gateshead), Bradford, Bordon, Guildford, Preston (Central Methodist), Preston (Intact), Skipton, Warrington and Whitley Bay.
There are two listed support groups which haven't restarted yet: Settle and Preston UCLan (18 - 30s group). We hope to have these up and running as soon as we are able to.
We plan to restart the peer support group in Settle in October. There'll be an Awareness Event taking place in Settle on Thurs 19th August, 11am - 12 noon at St John's Methodist Church, Church Street, Settle, BD24 9JH where you can find out more about PeerTalk and the role of volunteer facilitators, along with an appreciation of the issues that surround the causes of emotional distress. This is an open meeting and all are welcome. Following this we will invite applications for the volunteer facilitator role ahead of a Training Day in September to prepare for the relaunch of the support group in October.
PeerTalk Support Group Meetings are modelled on those of the Irish Charity Aware. Watch Aware’s video, below, to see what a meeting is like, or click here to download it and watch offline.
You can read about how the groups work below. If you'd like to know a little more about the groups before coming along, call 07719 562 617 and we'll be happy to chat.
Questions about PeerTalk Support Groups
How will the support groups change after 19th July , when COVID restrictions are relaxed ? Our support groups will continue to meet face-to-face with some changes reflecting the national changes to the restrictions around COVID.
Firstly, wearing a face covering will be voluntary and attendees can choose whether or not to wear one during the meeting.
Secondly, whilst social distancing is no longer mandatory, you'll find that the chairs in the meeting will be generously spaced apart, but not necessarily strictly at 2 metres apart.
Thirdly, we will be continuing with the Test and Trace measures as COVID infections are still ongoing.
Finally, we shall be re-starting offering refreshments after the meeting - when we can stay behind to chat informally over a cup of tea or coffee.
Whilst many welcome the lifting of the restrictions, others will be understandably anxious and cautious about them. We ask everyone to be mindful of this, and respectful of each other as we move sensitively into this next phase. We've been proud to sustain a safe environment at all of our support groups to date - and will continue to do so, mindful that COVID is far from over.
How long is the Support Group meeting?
The group usually lasts for an hour to an hour and a half.
Is there an age restriction?
Yes, PeerTalk Support Groups are for people aged 18 and above.
Do I need to register for a Support Group?
No, you do not have to register in advance or make an appointment to attend a support group. Just turn up on the night. You will be most welcome.
How many people will be there?
On average there will usually be between five and ten people at each group, with a mixture of men and women.
Do I have to say anything when I get there?
Usually people are asked to introduce themselves to the group on a first name basis. After that, you don’t have to speak if you don‘t want to, you can sit back and listen. However, you can share if you wish.
Can someone come with me for support?
It can be helpful when a family member or friend brings you to your local support group, if attending for the first time. However, it is preferable for them to leave once the group begins. The group facilitators will be able to advise you as to what time the group finishes so that your friend or family member can return to meet you. Support meetings are usually 90 minutes long.
What if I want to meet with the other peers in the group outside of the meeting?
That's fine, if you're all okay with that. After the meeting finishes, everyone stays behind for a cup of tea or coffee and we chat about anything and everything (but not about what was shared in the meeting space - as we respect the confidentiality of what was shared). Sometimes peers will exchange mobile phone numbers and text each other in between meetings, or meet up. Peers can choose to extend their support of each other outside the group meetings if they wish.
What boundaries exist for facilitators?
An important part of the facilitators’ role is to maintain boundaries within the group so that all present feel safe enough to engage in the peer support. PeerTalk does not support any action or behaviour that blurs these boundaries. Therefore it is PeerTalk policy that our facilitators: do not agree to meet with peers outside of the peer support groups; facilitators do not accept personal gifts from peers; facilitators do not offer personal sponsorship of peers in fundraising events; facilitators do not offer peers a lift to or from the meeting, etc. We are committed to the personal wellbeing of all who attend the peer support group meetings and to upholding our values at all times.
Are the meetings confidential?
Yes, within normal limits. There are some exceptions to the confidentiality that we keep and these exceptions are outlined at the start of every meeting. These are in place to keep everyone who attends the meeting safe.
What happens if a meeting is cancelled - how will I know?
It's very rare that a meeting is cancelled, but it might happen if there's particularly bad weather, or if one of our facilitators is unable to come along and we can't replace them at short notice. In these cases, we'll do our best to share this on our website, on this page, next to the group's details. We'll also put it out on our Facebook page and on Twitter and Instagram. We'll also do our best to put up a notice on the door of the building where you meet. If you would like to check if the meeting is on, you can always call or text the PeerTalk phone on 07719 562 617.
Is there a leaflet with information about how the groups works etc?
Yes, we offer people who come along to the meeting for the first time a leaflet containing information about how it all works. You can download it here.