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Nick Barnes talks through the 5 core principles and how these can be used by various settings to ensure their peer support programmes are effective, evidence-based and meaningful.

Are you thinking of setting up a Peer Support Programme in your setting? Start here....

The 5 Core principles provide a scaffold to co-develop and co-deliver a programme that is effective, evidence based, safe, offers reassurance to all involved and is meaningful to the children and young people in your setting to help them develop, learn and aspire.

  • Work where young people are at; be creative in how you engage young people
  • Involve the right people; think carefully about mentor and mentee recruitment
  • Focus on relationships; build trust to create space for change
  • Encourage young people’s ownership; collaborate, co-design, and co-produce with young people
  • Be safe and boundaried; ensure mentors are adequately trained and supervised

These 5 Core Principles were developed in consultation with children and young people, facilitated by YoungMinds.

Aligning your programme to the 5 Core Principles will help to ensure that your programme is safe, manageable, effective and sustainable. It is therefore essential that you define from the start the objectives of your peer support programme. Peer mentors should not be supporting a CYP with considerable and/or complex needs. The role of a peer support programme is not to be an alternative to specialist support, and the training of peer mentors is not to develop a team of volunteer counsellors or therapists.

Get Started:

5 Core Principles
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Download the 5 Core Principles in Practice worksheet 

Download the 5 Core Principles poster  

Facilitators Toolkit - Chapter 2
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The Facilitator Toolkit provides more information about setting up your own Peer Support programme.

Download and review chapter 2 here.

Training Slides - Workshop 2

Download workshop 2 that was delivered in the Peer Support Pilot two day training Programme: 

Getting Started: Workshop 2 slides.