Peer Support Programme
Client: Hackney CVS
WSA Community Consultants were the external evaluators for Hackney CVS’s 2018/19 Peer Support Programme. This programme was funded by the Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group and managed by a small steering group including representation from the CCG, Public Health and Hackney CVS.
The Peer Support Programme aimed to support people with long-term health conditions through a provision of 12-week peer-support courses delivered by voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations.
The projects that were funded focused on a range of different long-term conditions that included: mental health, diabetes and heart disease. There were various mechanisms that the funded organisation used to help participants manage their condition including, digital literacy, exercise classes and learning about wellbeing and mindfulness. The organisations usually had a target audience for their participants which included, older people, women in insecure housing and people from the BAME community.
The Peer Support Programme aimed to:
- Test the theory that people can be supported to manage their long-term health conditions and make healthy lifestyle changes through group support, facilitated by non-medical peers who share their cultural background and, where appropriate, deliver sessions in participants’ first language.
- Upskill community organisations knowledge on different health conditions, leaving expertise within the communities on long-term health conditions.
The peer support courses aimed to support people to understand more about their condition, better manage their own health and to motivate people to make long-term lifestyle and behaviour changes to their diet and/or levels of exercise.
“The course was delivered in a supportive manner. I hope to use the things I’ve learnt to help me deal with anxiety where possible. Everybody in the group was very supportive and friendly.” (Participant)
In doing the evaluation we undertook three case studies of funded projects to establish what the common needs and course outcomes and feedback points were. Comparing this data with the previous analysis, allowed WSA to produce an informed report which HCVS can now use to determine the most effective allocation of funds within the boroughs health care need projects. The report produced outlined how and what changes were being made and how the community could get the maximum benefit from these changes. Our work also provided valuable data to the voluntary and community sector providers clearly showing the value and contribution they can make to addressing health inequalities in the borough.