Bipolar UK is delighted to be a strategic partner in this two-year programme.

Side by Side logoWorking with Mind, Depression Alliance and 45 local groups and organisations, the programme focuses on building an evidence base for mental health peer support in England.

The programme is a response to calls from people with experience of mental health problems to ensure that they have access to peer support across England, to look at why it works and to support its future sustainability.

As Julie Walker, Bipolar UK’s programme lead explained, “We’ve started working in our three allocated regions – Blackpool, Coventry and Middlesbrough, and will be developing both group and one-to-one peer support services to meet the needs of the local communities.”

Suzanne Hudson, Bipolar UK’s Chief Executive, said: “Over 30 years ago, a dedicated national bipolar charity began through the power of peer support. Individuals shared experiences and learning remains as important (if not more so) today as it was then.

“This programme presents the opportunity to build on everyone’s understanding of how to deliver effective peer support. Working closely with service users, the evaluation team, service providers, commissioners and other stakeholders, the programme will reach out to thousands of individuals and families so they too can benefit from interacting, sharing  and supporting others.”

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair added: “The Big Lottery Fund has a long history of supporting mental health charities. The project receiving funding today fills a gap in what is already being done by piloting a new, coordinated approach to mental health peer support within England. It focuses on voluntary sector provision of peer support services and has a great potential to influence long-lasting change on a national level of how mental health support is delivered to those who need it the most.”

For more information about Bipolar UK’s services within the programme, contact us on 0333 323 3880