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Meet the team


  • Sydney Thornbury CEO Art House Wakefield.
  • Arshad Mahmood Development Manager Mental Health Museum
  • Hayley Trowbridge Peoples Voice Media

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

The Challenge we have in terms of supporting the development of creative approaches is the longer term needs of participants. Due to the numbers of people engaging we can only offer activities for a limited period. Many of our participants find a passion and want to carry on and peer led groups are one way to continue the activity that is keeping them well. This brings its own challenges, in terms of developing constitutions, setting up a community bank account and taking on group roles such as treasurer. This work helps people to build their emotional resilience and feelings of wellbeing, and to establish supportive social networks that tackle loneliness and activities that reflect participants interests that offers real choice, both a national challenge  for the NHS. This work connects to our chosen theme in that we are developing community based solutions to promoting wellbeing that are well beyond the boundaries of statutory health services: empowering individuals and communities.

What does your project aim to achieve?

We will aim to develop a total of 10 peer led groups over the duration of the project. We will aim to develop a range of peer led activity groups including community choirs, musical orchestras, arts/craft groups, dance, creative writing, and outdoor activities including exercise and horticulture. These will be linked in and hosted by the Mental Health Museum and the Arthouse in Wakefield who will act as incubators for developing and supporting the groups. The peer-led project development workers will be based at the two incubator sites. They will support the groups to develop and they will coordinate the creative practitioners, volunteers and befrienders that will support the groups to get established. The  groups aim is to restore hope, meaning and purpose to people’s lives that have been undermined by mental health difficulties. We would hope to move people away from using NHS services to being more in control of their own health and wellbeing with the resulting social benefits.

How will the project be delivered?

These groups will be initially supported for the first 12 month with funding to cover the following. Support from Creative practitioners drawn from our creative partners to help get the groups established creatively. The groups will be provided the art materials and equipment this would include artist paints, paper and could also include musical instruments and song books. The groups will also be supported by the Peer Project Development Workers who will help the groups to transition into a peer led model that will be self-supporting and independent, needing only minimum support in the longer term. A network will also be established for mutual support and shared learning.  Volunteers will offer practical support to the get the groups established and befrienders who will support individuals to access other community activities as their confidence grows.  This is about shaping services that value individual and  mobilising existing local assets and activities that work for participants.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

At the network meetings we will be monitoring the different models of peer led projects that are emerging. We will share this information at the meetings and make recommendations regarding any approach’s that are working well and what elements might contribute to longer term sustainability.  We will work with People’s Voice Media to work with our Community Reporters who have been trained from our previous partnership, who will coordinate some a story telling session and a curation session to pick out some of the key messages and learning from this peer led approach. The learning from these stories will be shared with the Q Community and wider system via online dissemination techniques (i.e. blogs, social media etc.) and offline events/meetings throughout the course of the project.

How you can contribute

  • It would be great to share our ideas with other Q members and get their feedback; this was very useful in shaping our application last time. Will have a look at those doing similar things a target them in terms of possible collaboration. Also, opportunities for disseminating our results (i.e. blogs or sites our learning's can feature on etc.) and avenues for feeding out learning into other areas within the Q community would be gratefully received. We will also have some short films that can also be shared about people have felt about the project and some of the lessons learnt.

Plan timeline

13 Jan 2020 Initial briefing about project Identifying partners
20 Jan 2020 First network meeting
10 Feb 2020 First funding round for peer lead projects
17 Feb 2020 Second Network meeting
23 Mar 2020 third Network meeting
20 Apr 2020 Fourth Network meeting
27 Apr 2020 First story collection session
11 May 2020 Second funding round for peer lead projects
25 May 2020 fifth network meeting
22 Jun 2020 six network meeting
20 Jul 2020 seventh network meeting
24 Aug 2020 Eighth network meeting
21 Sep 2020 Ninth network meeting
28 Sep 2020 second story collection session
26 Oct 2020 Tenth network meeting
2 Nov 2020 Curation of stories with participants
23 Nov 2020 Final presentation of project and findings


  1. Hi Graham

    Thanks for your feedback, yes it is quite a challenge for peer led groups to get established and we feel that support from partners and a network would help.

    We have not selected the peer led groups yet, we do have a number of people in our projects that have expressed an interest and are at early stages and if successful we would target these first. We would then promote what we what to do and invite interested parties to come forward. We would also work with our delivery partners to start to identify people as well.

    In terms of evaluation of the support, we have included in the proposal  is working  with People's Voice Media to deliver some support for a community reporting approach. This would build on our current project with Q as we have over 30 community reporters trained to capture people's experiences. People's Voice Media would work with a small number of our reporters to capture the benefits of the project and the network approach.


    Thanks Phil

  2. Guest

    Graham Martin 1 year, 9 months ago

    Sounds like a really good way of providing support to 'bottom-up' ideas that might otherwise flounder given the challenges of setting up and sustaining these kinds of activities. How did you select the 10 peer-led projects? Do you have any thoughts on how you might evaluate the impact of the support provided?

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