Meet the team: #virtualpeersupport
Director of Transformational Change/ PT CEO
CACE - Older People, Active Lives
- Prostate Cancer UK peer support staff
Prostate Cancer UK supports the provision of a range of peer support options for men affected by prostate cancer and their families. This currently includes telephone based one to one peer support and an online community. Currently we are running a small trial offering group based support using a video conferencing platform. We are particularly interested in the potential opportunities that video conferencing may provide in enabling peer support for people who may find it hard to find people with particular shared experiences in their own local communities.
We know from many years of working with independent face to face support groups for people affected by prostate cancer that they are not proportionally accessed by gay and bisexual men, men on active surveillance, younger/working men, black men or transgender women and we know that while many groups welcome partners they may not offer opportunities for partners to share conversations about their experiences in a forum separate from their partners. We also know that there are many people who do not live close enough to a support group to be able to attend. Video conferencing could offer the possibility of group based support in a more accessible format for some people.
We want to explore:
Whether this form of group based support is appealing to people
The potential barriers to accessing it and how we could resolve these
The sustainability of this model of support
The development of helpful guidance around offering and using video based peer support
We have found it hard to identify anyone else in the UK who is facilitating video based group support so we are keen that by trialling this approach we can provide insight and learning for others looking to extend the availability of group support in their own areas.
As an additional strand of investigation we want to explore people’s use of different formats of peer support – do people have a preference for one type over another or do they use a variety and what drives that preference. This will also give us a baseline to help us consider over time if and how increasing familiarity with digital technology might change the way people choose to access peer support
How you can contribute
- We would be interested in collaborating with other peer support providers who either already use video based group support and are willing to share learning or who are interested in trialling this approach with their own client group to form a comparison.
- We are also interested in information from anyone else who has tried a video based approach to group based support and who would be happy to share their approach or experience of it.
- We would be interested to hear if people think that the scope of this is too broad - would it benefit from being narrowed down?