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Peer Support Groups



The Shaftesbury Group which I facilitate meets in two locations – The Royal British Legion Hall, Coppice Street, SP7 8PD on 1st Thursday of the month and The King’s Arms, Bleke Street, Shaftesbury SP7 8JZ on the 3rd Thursday. In the summer we meet outside at Barton Hill on the 3rd Thursday.  We were delighted to start the Gillingham Group with Jane as facilitator in March 2022 at the Royal British Legion Club, School Lane, SP8 4QW and this runs every 2nd and 4th Thursday.   In September 2022 were were excited to launch another group at Stour Connect, Stour View Close in Sturminster Newton,  DT10 1JF.  This runs every second Monday of the month and I facilitate this for the time being.

All the groups are 2 pm – 4 pm but drop in or out of it any time!

Please remember to look at the website News page for details of when and where the Peer Support Group is meeting as things do change.  I am happy to be contacted by email or mobile to check on time and location.

peer support flyer


Click the image above to download the flyer - reverse shows all the details.


Peer support happens when people who have similar experiences of something difficult such as mental health problems come together to support each other.  Crucially, the people involved play an active role in creating a safe environment for each other.  In this space, people can use their shared experiences to give and receive support from each other.  Peers make choices about what parts of their personal experiences they talk about, seek support for, and use to support other people.

To find out more about what peer support is look at the pictures of the Peer Support Charter in the pictures below and download this info sheet.

At the Royal British Legion Hall there will be a theme or activity of some sort and we often have guest ‘speakers’.  Themes have included music and mental health, The Arts, aromatherapy, Christmas, mindfulness, the natural world, relaxation (some comical tips), A-Z of self-care and we have had speakers from the Recovery Education Centre, Wiseability, and a Mindfulness group teacher among others.  The Dorset Pain Management Team are Scheduled to come to our August Meeting.  Support Workers and Social Prescribers often drop in too.

There is always plenty of time for general chat as well and we have a break for refreshments.  Our outside group at Barton Hill  is mainly a social get-together but I hope to include nature and creative actives to make the most of being outside.

The Gillingham Group has just started and Jane has lots of ideas as to how it will develop.  Gardening and board games have already featured!  However, all the groups are open to ideas and suggestions from the members, we want you to feel joint ownership of your group(s).  

Yes, absolutely.  Just turn up or if you prefer text/phone me on 07749062 327 or email.

Yes, that is fine.  They will need to sign the Group agreement about confidentiality etc. as well as you and if coming more than once fill in a registration form too.

Anything!  Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, EUPD, PTSD, OCD as well as ASD and ADHD are just some of the diagnoses our members have had.  You do not have to disclose a diagnosis if you don’t want to.  Quite a few members have mobility problems, chronic illness, chronic pain or epilepsy as well.  

Any age.  Currently our youngest is 19 and the oldest in their 70s.

Yes, it is a ‘drop in’ although sometimes we may be mid-way through something so please come in quietly and take a seat until we have time to say hello and make introductions.  Please help yourself to refreshments.

Don’t worry.  The first session is free.  After that please donate what you can afford.  The hall hire needs to be paid for along with refreshments and other incidentals like printing flyers but we have a reserve fund to draw on.  Donations are made anonymously into a box.

Yes we have a Group Agreements, slightly different for the different Groups.  Please click on the links below.  The two primary ‘rules’ are Confidentiality  and Respect.  You will be provided with a copy at your first or second visit.

Download the rules and guidelines for Shaftesbury here.

Gillingham Group Agreement is being drawn up during the next few meetings, taking into account what the members agree on.

There is  a registration form to complete.  This is quite short and is basically your contact details and who to contact in an emergency.

Download the registration form for Shaftesbury here.

The Gillingham Form is currently being developed

Yes, by all means.  Come along and see if it works for you/the person you care for. 

Yes, absolutely.  Please contact me by text or email for this to be arranged.

Amanda facilitates the Shaftesbury Group and Jane facilitates the Gillingham Group.  Neither of us are qualified counsellors or therapists.

We are peers in that we have both had a diagnosis of a mental health disorder during our lifetime and have had difficulties for many years.  Amanda set up the group in April 2018 upon realising how little support there was available when discharge from the Community Mental Health Team was being discussed.  

Amanda has always had an interest in psychology and mental health and has done many, many courses which you can see on the attached document!

To find our more about Amanda’s background, you can download this document.

Amanda, Jane and all volunteers who are in face-to-face roles are DBS and reference checked.


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