Peer Support Charter

A collaboration between statutory and voluntary sector organisations across Sussex has facilitated the production of the peer-led Principles of Peer Support Charter.

The Charter aims to promote the principles of peer support and the varied settings and diversity of approaches across communities. The production of the Charter came out of the ‘Principled Ways of Working’ conference held on 30th November 2017, organised by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and chaired by NSUN Managing Director Sarah Yiannoullou.

Speakers, participants and facilitators were all people who have used a range of mental health services across the statutory and voluntary sector. Themes were drawn from the day and an implementation group of interested people across Sussex came together to work towards a shared understanding of what peer support is, why it works and when it works. 

The overall aim was to achieve a cross sector approach to establishing principled ways of working in peer support and participation across Sussex. Any organisation is free to use the Charter to inform their own work.

The objectives were to:

  • produce a Peer Support Charter setting out the principles and value of peer support, 
  • increase understanding and raise awareness of peer support,
  • develop a co-ordinated approach with partners around peer support and involvement (informed by the 4Pi National Involvement Standards) across Sussex,
  • increase the ability for people to choose what works for them,
  • strengthen partnership working and learning across the sectors (Statutory and Voluntary Sector) and organisations, particularly user led initiatives .

The group of 13 organisations recognised the importance of protecting and promoting the principles of peer support as we understand them. Peer support should be rooted in and representative of the community, with a focus on interaction, not intervention. 

Principled Ways of Working: Peer Support in Sussex

Alison Faulkner wrote the report “Principled Ways of Working: Peer Support in Sussex” in 2020, resulting from a reflective exercise undertaken by the Principled Ways of Working (PWoW) partners to review their work producing the charter, mapping peer support in Sussex, and to discuss their achievements, the benefits and the challenges of their work on film. Some of the funding for the partnership accessed during 2019/2020 came from National Mind via NSUN, both of whom were interested in making the learning from the partnership more widely available, as the model can be replicated in local areas across the country.

Watch the film that accompanied the report, focussing on the work of the PWoW partners:

Read more about peer support