We have developed a Peer Support Programme in partnership with Self Management UK. The five week peer support courses are run for groups of people with sight impairments, facilitated by sight impaired volunteers. The programme is designed to enable participants to learn skills in self-management of a long term health condition, this is the first time a programme has been developed specifically for people with sight impairments. The course covers topics including communication skills, emotions and relaxation techniques through group discussions and exercises and allows participants to share ideas and experiences and learn from each other.
Feedback from the course attendees has been very positive. One attendee described it as ‘a cathartic experience’ and all those involved valued meeting peers to share experiences and build lasting friendships. Participants have reported achieving their goals, such as greater independent travel, by using action plans to break their targets down into manageable ambitions. Attendees had also found out more about services and equipment available to them, by learning what their peers had found beneficial.
Feedback from the first peer support group:
- ‘The facilitators have been brilliant and helped me a lot’.
- ‘This class has taught me a lot about my self and brought out certain emotions I didn’t know I had’.
- ‘It has given me the ability to aspire to the courage of my peers’.
Achievements have included:
- Made me think more about planning and not putting things off.
- Started going out more socially.
- Gaining confidence and sharing more with others.
- Meeting peers, companionship and being part of a group.
- Confidence to speak in a group.
- Confidence to negotiate with surgeon about cataract surgery.