It’s been almost a year since National Voices first announced the development of an online Peer Support Hub, and we’re excited to update you on what we’ve been up to.
Following the work of the Q Lab project last year, we’ve been working hard to build on all the collective wisdom and experience, to develop a useful tool for people running peer support programmes.
Talking to the Q Community about the benefits of peer support certainly feels like preaching to the converted. We all know peer support not only works, but is an essential part of thousands of people’s lives. But how do we make the case beyond our community? How do we show that peer support deserves a place among other health and self-management tools, and should be made available to everyone who wants it?
You told us that despite the multitude of resources and evidence papers there are for peer support, finding them can be difficult. You told us that when you’re running a peer support programme, you just don’t have the time to be searching through pages of Google results to find what you want. And you told us that once a group is up and running, it’s hard to evaluate it and prove it’s working in a way that makes funders sit up and listen.
You told us you needed a better way to find peer support resources, and we listened.
The Peer Support Hub
This week we are launching the Peer Support Hub – an online bank of high quality resources for people looking to measure, evaluate, sustain and grow different types of peer support.
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. Additionally, users can add their own resources through the Hub’s community upload function. So, if you find a hidden gem of a resource (or you’ve written one yourself!) you can upload it to the Hub for others to find.
So how did we build it?
With the input from a working group of experts, including Lab participants from the Q Lab peer support project, we created a ‘decision matrix’ which we used to assess relevant, high-quality resources from around the world. We read reports, evaluations, toolkits, case studies and more to test both their process of development and how clearly they presented their findings.
First, we looked for transparency in how the resource was developed. Did the author of the resource seek the input of service users, or did they write solely from their own perspective? Have they explained their methodology and their reasoning, or have they been dishonest about the limitations of their evidence?
We then looked at whether the resource was clearly presented. Some of this might seem like common sense, but there are plenty of peer support resources out there that are undated, unreferenced and with no clear aim.
The few resources that got top marks all round earned ‘Hub recommended’ status, making it easy for you to find the best of the best.
We’ll be continuing to add more resources to the Hub over the coming months and we want you to do the same.
Take a look at the resources already available and tell us what’s missing. What are the resources you use most frequently, that you think your colleagues across the country would find useful? You can easily add your own resource by going to the Hub homepage and clicking ‘suggest a resource.’
We hope the Hub will raise the profile of peer support and help people running programmes to easily find high quality evidence and information in one place.