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Together we’ve created a recipe for local peer support!

We’ve been collaborating with Kate’s Kitchen to cook up a peer support storm! Our Projects Coordinator Hannah Kane tells us more.

Kate’s Kitchen is a staff and volunteer-run drop-in facility. It operates as a café two days per week in Annan in Dumfries and Galloway. In addition to the hot meals, they also offer non-judgemental support in a warm, welcoming environment. It’s a place for anyone who needs a helping hand and a friendly smile.

The hub offers food parcels, one-to-one support, training and life skills. It has a range of hobby-based groups such as a gardening and crafts group. The project also provides support to people from Dumfries and the neighbouring towns and villages of Annandale and Eskdale.

The staff and volunteers from Kate’s Kitchen have formed a Health and Wellbeing group. They recently completed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training. This had allowed them to develop a better understanding of their own recovery and mental wellbeing. As a result, they were keen to explore how they could use their experiences to support others.

Key ingredients

Many of the groups at Kate’s Kitchen had the foundations of peer support. Group members bring their lived experience to the table and they support each other. We find this with a lot of local projects we work with. For many, the key ingredients of a peer approach are already there. They just need some additional elements added to create a truly peer focused recipe for support!

The group at Kate’s Kitchen were keen to expand on their existing skills as well as building their knowledge. They wanted to develop a deeper understanding of peer approaches. This would give them the confidence to help themselves, and others both within the environment of Kate’s Kitchen and beyond.

That’s where we came in!

A menu of learning

After meeting with the group to understand their learning interests, we developed a 4-session light-touch learning plan. We listened to what the group wanted to learn more about and drew from the following free resources:

Our approach to delivery was to facilitate two sessions within two weeks. This allowed us to introduce the group to the basics of peer support and the peer values framework. After this, we met the group once a month, with the group working on practical learning activities in between. Each session built upon the previous one. The group shared with us the activities they had tried out and the approaches they needed to work on. Using this way of working we were able to tailor the learning to exactly what the group needed.

I liked the way what we learnt was easy to put into action.

Participant from Kate’s Kitchen

Too many cooks enhance the broth!

Our aim was to create an environment that builds connection and relationships. The experiential learning approach of the course means that knowledge and expertise continues to develop beyond the sessions. Using tools such as a group agreement and discussing boundaries, the group continue to strengthen their relationships and develop their approach to working together.

Our course allows people to develop the ability to share their experiences in a positive way and to improve wellbeing.

Participant from Kate’s Kitchen

The facilitators now model a peer approach which focuses on listening, building relationships and learning together. The group has a new set of peer group facilitation skills. These skills cerate a space without hierarchy and everyone has the opportunity to facilitate parts of the sessions.

[I will use the learning] in creating a more confident group – with the ability to find solutions.

Participant from Kate’s Kitchen

At the end of the course, we had a celebration event to bring people together. It was also chance to reflect on the hard work of the group. Local press and wider Kate’s Kitchen members were invited and members were presented with certificates of achievement.

Oh and of course we enjoyed a lovely lunch!


Interested in developing peer approaches?

If you run a group(s) or project and are interested in developing peer support approaches please do to have a chat about creating a tailored package.

Free peer support resources can also be found in our Peer Recovery Hub and we are also running a series of Peer Connects opportunities that you might be interested in getting involved with.