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Two months ago, 55 people came together (Lab participants) at a two-day
Q Improvement Lab workshop to explore what it would take to make peer support available to all.

The Q Lab brings people together from across the UK to work on complex challenges facing health and care.

It was a busy and thought-provoking two days thinking about peer support from a variety of perspectives, what the barriers are to scaling peer support and possible ideas that might help overcome them.

Following the workshop and after a couple of weeks of synthesising and testing with workshop attendees, we announced earlier this month that the Lab would be taking forward three briefs into the next phase (called ‘developing and testing ideas’).

Sparking spin-off projects

Last week, my colleague Libby attended an event organised by Think Local Act Personal – a charity working with the Q Lab. Other Lab participants were also at the event. Catching up with them, she discovered that three Lab participants – Debbie Taylor and Phil Walters from Creative Minds and Gary Copitch from People’s Voice Media – initially met at the Lab’s two day workshop and have since agreed to take forward their own peer support research project. The Lab team were delighted to hear this!

The Q Lab is working on an ambitious challenge this year. One of the ways the Lab aims to catalyse change is through supporting new relationships and collaborations among Lab participants, Q members and the wider peer support community. This is because building these relationships and finding ways to share expertise and knowledge across boundaries can lead to long-term change. If we are to address the challenge on peer support it will take more than the tangible benefits we hope to achieve in the three main collaborative briefs.

It is for these reasons that we are encouraging other Q members and Lab participants to work with the Lab if there is a peer support project or idea that you want to get off the ground.

Many ideas have emerged as a result of the Lab process and there may be many more out there in the Q community. We think now is the perfect time to work with us and use the Q Lab to make your project happen.

The Lab team and the growing group of Lab Participants – Q members and non-members who have experience and expertise in peer support – can offer advice, connections and support for your project. In return, we’re asking that you share your learning and experience with the Lab so that we can share your learning with the wider peer support community and therefore help others to improve and scale peer support.

Further details on what this involves is on our webpage but if you have even just a seed of an idea on a peer support project, get in touch.

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