The Sussex Peer Support Network aims to meet quarterly; each meeting to include guest speakers and highlight new research, training and initiatives. The steering group (75% peer led) meets quarterly before these meetings.  They plan the  meetings and deal with any business issues so that the Network meetings remain open and welcoming to all. Subgroups with specialist interests meet in between the general meetings.

We currently have a free venue for network meetings at The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham St, Brighton BN1 4FP.  Should you wish to be named in the minutes, please express this at the start of each meeting.

Next meeting: July 5th, 2017 10:00-12:00: Sanctuary Supported Living, The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA.

March 8th, 2017 10:00-12:00: Sanctuary Supported Living, The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA. Chaired by Recovery Partners.  Presentation by MAIS (Mutual Aid in Sussex)

  • Matt Wilson provided a presentation on MAIS including the history, mission and structure.
  • Mirika Flegg provided an update on the ENRICH study potential peer support training dates as previously discussed by Claire Ockwell.
  • Anna Stratford provided an update on the Place of Calm and other alternatives (Urgent Care Lounge and His Place).
  • SPSN was unsuccessful in securing funding from Brighton and Hove City Council (Communities and Third Sector Prospectus 2017-2020).  It was agreed an application to Awards for All would be submitted.
  • Discussions about membership and if we should have organisation memberships in addition to individual memberships (further discussions needed).
  • Discussions around the employment of peer support workers in larger organisations and challenges dealing with HR departments (such as peer support workers on 0-hour contracts, those employed because of their experience of health challenges being put on performance reviews when they experience that health problem).  Some members will be meeting with the Head of Involvement in one of the NHS Trusts and will discuss the need for practice documents or research into how HR professionals can support Peer Support Workers.
  • A number of events were shared between members.

9th November, 2016-7th Meeting, 10:00-13:00: Sanctuary Supported Living, The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA. Chaired by Disability Rights UK.  Presentation by Capital and Recovery Partners.

  • Updates on peer-led Crisis Cafe’s in Hastings (Recovery Partners) and Brighton (Pavilions).
  • Presentation by Capital on the ENRICH randomised control trial on peer support within mental health.  Two Pilots are running in S.E. and S.W. London. Two peer support sites are planned within Sussex employing two full-time equivalent peer support workers.  Peer Support workers will have access to an 8 day training planned for April/May 2017 (dates TBC).
  • Presentation from Recovery Partners (partnership with Capital) on the Sussex Partnership Peer Support Group.  A West Sussex Pilot took on 5 support workers to assist people discharged from hospital to bridge the gap between the Trust and the GPs.
  • Discussions regarding challenges peer support workers face in being recognised for their work (including clinicians not understanding peer support, limited opportunities for pay and career progression).
  • Discussions surrounding if SPSN members should have individual memberships or if organisations should have them- decision to discuss this with the Trust for Developing Communities.
  • The SPSN has submitted a partnership grant with Recovery Partners to the Council’s Third Sector Commissioning Process.

9th June 2016- Sixth Meeting- The first SPSN AGM: The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA. Chaired by Disability Rights UK.  Presentation by Sussex Beacon.

  • Discussion on the 2014 NHS 5-Year Plan that states health services should “encourage peer-to-peer communities to emerge” (p. 12).
  • Examples of accredited national Peer Support Training (within HIV communities) shared: Project 100 Training (Positive UK and the Open College Network).
  • Case Study on ‘peer navigators’ discussed: Homerton Hospital
  • Discussions on how those with ‘lived experience’ can overcome barriers to working with NHS staff such as monthly network meetings and sharing the results of pilots and reports that show the value of peer support.
  • AGM vote: The following board members were elected by show of hands:
    • Chair- Anna Stratford;
    • Treasurer: Maggie Gordon-Walker
    • Secretary: Mirika Flegg
    • General Board Members:
      • Margot Uden,
      • Clare Ockwell,
      • Bernd Sass,
      • Tammy Milne,
  • SPSN overview of the first year (2015-2016)Sussex Peer Support Networks 2015-2016 Review
  • Topics to discuss for next year:
    • Is peer support and volunteering the same thing? Should peer support workers be paid?
    • Peer support in primary care and social prescribing?
    • Membership of the SPSN- can organisations have memberships or are they just for individuals?

9th March 2016- Fifth Meeting- How do we formalise? The Foyer, Sanctuary Housing, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA. Chaired by Recovery Partners. Presentation by Place of Calm (a partnership between Sussex Oakleaf and Recovery Partners).

  • Draft constitution agreed
  • Agreement to set-up a bank account
  • SPSN Blog to be made public
  • Group agreement on essential competencies and training needs universal to all peer support workers:
    • Self disclosure
    • Boundaries and confidentiality (Margot mentioned a good resource that she will send out – Richmond Fellowship)
    • Equality and Diversity
    • Safeguarding
    • Motivational Interviewing and Brief Solution Focused Therapy
    • Preventing relapse
    • Self Awareness

9th December 2015- Forth Meeting- What do we need?
The Foyer, Pelham Street, BN1 4FA.
Chaired by Sussex Beacon. Presentations from Sanctuary and Pavillions on boundaries and safeworking.

  • Discussions on the Fairness Commission (SPSN to prepare group submission)
  • Steering group to network with the CCGs
  • Development of terms of reference
  • Review of funding
  • Arranging sub-groups

23rd September 2015- Third Meeting- are we in agreement?
• A contents list must be created for dropbox;
• It was agreed not to identify individuals and organisations within the minutes in recognition of issues of stigma and being open about lived experience. However, it was recognised that some people might want to be named as they are happy to share and promote their experience so individuals to be asked for their permission before being named in minutes;
• It was agreed that membership with the network is open to all but the steering group must be 75% peer led. The steering group was elected: Jo Hext, Bernd Sass, Anna Stratford, Maggie Gordon-Walker, Mirika Flegg.
• The network will include Special Interest Groups which focus on specific topics that come out of network meetings (commissioning, peer support supervision etc.)

22nd July 2015- Second Meeting- how will we do this?
Main Actions:
• It was agreed meetings will be structured with the first half as a practical focus, with guest and member presentations aiming to share good practice and support signposting and a focus topical discussion;
• Volunteers agreed to meet in a smaller group to develop aims, objectives and terms of reference based on previous discussions- these will be agreed at next meeting;

13th May 2015- First Meeting – who are we?
Main Actions:
• Create member profile form and encourage their completion;
• Develop Dropbox to house member profiles and shared resources;
• Review of other resources to help guide who the network is (examples, Peer2Peer, Department of Health 21 Criteria for User-led Organisations, Together’s 4 Ps {Purpose, Principle, Presence, Process})

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