To read this content please select one of the options below:

A year of peer support in Nottingham: lessons learned

Julie Repper (Based at the School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Emma Watson (Based at Nottingham NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 15 June 2012




In April 2010, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust won Regional Innovation Funding to recruit, train and employ six peer support workers in community mental health teams. At the time, practical examples of the employment of peer support workers were lacking in England. The aim of this paper is to communicate the key lessons learned in this first year of peer support in the hope that these will provide a foundation for other services to build upon.


The project was evaluated using a simple evaluation model reflecting service structure, processes and outcomes, collected through qualitative methods: documentary analysis, semi‐structured interviews and a focus group.


The peer support employment process has been broken down into its fundamental components (selection, recruitment, training, supervision relationships, recovery approach and discharge of clients) and within each of these sections a brief narrative is provided to explain some of the challenges faced. Each section ends with recommendations based on the lessons learned as a result of the pilot study.

Research limitations/implications

A second paper will examine the nature of peer support: what the peers did with clients and what difference this made.


At present many mental health services are planning to employ peer support workers and this paper provides some early guidance for implementing this process in the NHS.



Repper, J. and Watson, E. (2012), "A year of peer support in Nottingham: lessons learned", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 70-78.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles