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.
Here's a poster to show how the support groups will be different with the COVID measures in place.
You can see our COVID19 Risk Assessment Policy here
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
Are the support groups still running through the current lockdown and am I allowed to leave the house to attend ? Yes, they are. The current lockdown rules allow support groups to continue. The Government guidance states: "Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support - but they must take place at a premises other than a private home." We run our support groups in COVID-secure settings to make the meeting as safe as possible for everyone who attends.
You are allowed to leave the house and travel for legally permitted reasons. Attending the peer support group is legally permitted, and so the travel is acceptable.
All of our groups take place in COVID-secure premises. Our attendees have been very respectful of the guidelines and the support offered within the group has been awesome. The support group is considered to be an essential activity to sustain peoples' wellbeing during these times and it's okay to attend. We can meet safely and will continue to do so for anyone facing depression, anxiety or other emotional distress all through lockdown.
How will the Support Group look different with the COVID19 measures in place? Your safety is our priority and so there'll be some changes to the way the group looks. We'll ask you to wash or sanitize your hands when you arrive. Sanitizer will be available at all of the venues, and the toilet facilities will be open if you prefer to use soap and water.
We'll ask you to observe a 2 metre distancing at all times. The chairs for the meeting will be set out 2 metres apart. We ask you to wear a face covering throughout the meeting and we'll have them available at the meeting, or you can wear your own. We won't be serving refreshments after the meeting, so you might like bring a bottle of water with you, or a flask of tea!
In order to support the NHS Test and Trace system we'll be asking you to leave your contact details with us after each meeting. We'll keep these in a sealed envelope for 3 weeks, and then we'll destroy them. And finally, if you're feeling unwell, or someone in your household is unwell, we ask you to stay at home.
We appreciate that this is a very different sort of 'normal' and and we want to assure you we can meet safely - these measures give us the confidence to do so.
Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation in observing these changes.
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.