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peer supporters - tips on establishing a group?

(17 Posts)
MummyElk Wed 18-May-11 14:31:13

hi there
I've set up a breastfeeding group locally after my peer supporting training. I'm struggling to get ANYONE to come - despite the children's centre being very supportive. I've done posters (but I don't have deep pockets so I can't afford to stump up the cost of printing/paper forever)

I just wondered if anyone had any tips please? are there NHS people I could contact in the area to get help/funding? i've tried one nhs trainer but got nothing..

I know it's probably a matter of patience and time... but it's a bit demoralising at the moment....

nomoremagnolia Wed 18-May-11 15:16:35

Have you told the local HVs? Ours do a drop in clinic, could you go along and tell them about the group? Is it worth getting in touch with the midwives too? And target places where pg ladies go (antenatal yoga? swimming?) If pg ladies know where to go to before the baby is born that might help. I know I was lapping up the info before baby arrived and after I struggled to remember my own name...
Have you checked what else is on at the same time as your group in the local area? Here everything seems to happen on a Wednesday morning so to go to one group I have to miss two other groups I'd like to go to.
Can I ask about your peer support training? Only I'd like to do the same but don't know where to go for training.

japhrimel Wed 18-May-11 22:03:54

Have you got a local volunteer centre? They would probably be able to help with suggestions of how to get funding.

I'd also contact the local NCT antenatal class teachers and BFCs. I got a list with all the local bfing clinics from my NCT class.

Also, if you've got NCT groups locally, go along - and maybe consider talking to them about combining what you do with a meeting. The NCT groups get well publicised and are good opportunities for new Mums to get out anyway.

MummyBerryJuice Wed 18-May-11 22:53:53

We've just about got our group up and running after a year. Don't mean to discourage you at all but it is a very long process. You need to advertise, and get the respect and support of MWs and health visitors and some how educate mums that you have something more to offer than their HVs and MWs.

I would really suggest that you get help. We have 3 dedicated peer-supporters that do all the work. Chair, secretary and treasurer. We have done a little fundraising (contact your local CAB for help. They often have someone who has some role with voluntary organisations) got a constitution, slowly started building ties with the HCP and very slowly started gaining the trust of mothers.

If you can find some others as dedicated as you it would be ideal. I would also suggest that you get yourself a suoervisor. Who did you train through? All the national organisations will be happy to provide you with a supervisor/mentor (in fact should already have done so) if you trained through them

A word of warning, do not get too embroiled with the NHS. There may be times when your organisation may want to support a mum and find that the support you are giving her rubs some of the hcps up the wrong way (not that you would be doing anything wrong, just that your knowledge of bf will probably vastly outsell theirs and they may feel threatened by the information you are passing on to a mum.)

MummyBerryJuice Wed 18-May-11 22:56:09

nomoremagnolia all the national mother-support organisations run peer support training. NCT, Breastfeeding network and ABM spring to mind. The ABMs mother supporter course is correspondence, while the others I think require attendance at tutorials etc.

UniS Wed 18-May-11 23:10:44

what got our group going was
holding it at same building and same time as baby clinic, childrens centre outreach worker being in baby clinic and doing the meet and greet and bringing people along the corridor. allowed me to be in the group and deal with drinks/ snacks with out having to do meet and greet as well. , we were a group for all parents of non mobile babies with a BF peer supporter ( me) who had prepared a short ( 2-3 mins) presentation and hand out on a BF relevant topic each week to get discussion going in addition to the week on week, hows it going type stuff.

I also dropped into the antenatal drop in ever couple of months, letting attendees know our group was in same place on a different day. Made it easier to bring some people into the group as I was a known face already.

We were not fussy about HOW people were feeding their Baby
mums who have decided to formula feed CAN support their peers who have decided to BF, often the decision to formula feed is regretted and some mums commented that they would give BF a go with number 2 now they knew a bit more.

Supporting mothers who also have toddlers is harder... you may need to get a peer supporter into a toddler group setting. If you already go to a childrens centre toddler group you could offer to be a peer supporter " on call" during the group. I did this for 18months before we got the group going, while my son was attending toddler group, only got a separate group going once he was at preschool.

crikeybadger Thu 19-May-11 21:19:53

That's very interesting what you said about the NHS MummyBerryJuice. I'm just starting to see some of this.

I know someone who is a nct bf counsellor and she set up a support group, only to find out that the NHS are now also setting one up in the same town. (It's only a small place). It just seems a waste of resources, if nothing else to have two groups going at the same time.

I trained as a peer supporter through our local PCT but still feel that the HCPs feel uncomfortable having us around at the group.

I never realised that politics would come in to this so much.

Anyway MummyElk sorry for the diversion and hope your group gets up and running soon.

MummyBerryJuice Thu 19-May-11 22:11:46

Yes, I was initially trained through the but have gone on to get further training. There are definitely politics involved. I wonder whether it is difficult for the hcps to accept that a peer-supporter might have something of value to add when they themselves have done the training?

MummyElk Wed 25-May-11 21:51:44

hi guys
apologies for the delay, it has been a VERY busy week smile
all great suggestions, thank you. i've made some good inroads this week i think with our local HVs, who have offered to put the flyers in the new mums packs. Plus the NHs trainer has done me a STACK of posters and flyers so that's also good..
I'll try and get into the antenatal groups too, good thoughts.
nomore i trained through Barnardo's, but with a LLL and an ABT counsellor. Barnardo's have some funding to target certain areas of the city I think. It's been a great experience, SO interesting! I'd try contacting NCT/LLL - even the local LLL meetings are welcoming, great places to meet people..
mummyberry thank you for your tips - hadn't thought about CAB, great idea. Re: slow process, it's sort of good to hear it could take ages tbh. How do you organise your chair/treasurer situation? do you have meetings or something? I have a couple of people locally who can and are being great supporters. I hadn't really thought about making it quite that structured.

Anyone used Facebook/Twitter as well?

oh - and don't get me started on politics - groan. cannot believe how much there is - and it's SO TIMEWASTING.... can't bear it. I'm a volunteer, with two children and I work part time. I can't bear how much politicking (in all of the organisations involved) goes on whilst simultaneously missing the point?!!! hmm

WoTmania Thu 26-May-11 09:37:29

~Get your local HVs and MWs on side. Our lot (both areas I;'ve lived in) have been really anti sad So I would say try and talk to them and get them recommending you

crikeybadger Thu 26-May-11 11:45:19

Would anyone be interested in a seperate thread to provide 'support' for peer supporters? We could exchange our best tips and ideas and get an idea of how the various groups are run.

TruthSweet Thu 26-May-11 14:10:29

I'd be very keen on that crikey. Though our bfing group has been snaffled by the NHS so we are no longer independent sad. I think it was a compliment.

TheRealMBJ Thu 26-May-11 18:34:54

Hint here, it is great to hear you've been busy smile and getting support from your hv's and mw's.

We run pretty much like any voluntary organisation/charity. We have meetings to discuss stuff, treasurer runs accounts and holds onto funds and pays people, secretary takes minutes, writes letters and general admin, and the chair oversees everything. TBH, we all pretty much get stuck in and do what needs to be done.I know it sounds like a big faff, but it really is in your best interest to get it structured properly. That way everyone knows what their function is and where they stand and it doesn't all land on you. Also, if you we to go on holiday, there would be others to cover for you.

Where are you situated? We might be able to help you set yourself up...

TheRealMBJ Thu 26-May-11 19:09:45

Hi there blush

countrymum2 Thu 26-May-11 22:34:51

Hi! trained as a Volunteer Peer with UNICEF 5 years ago as part of a voluntary group and have just started to get paid to co ordinate the 5 groups in our area. Interestingly, the groups that suceed are the ones where the health visitors and midwives are on a rota to come along and be involved. Groups that are solely Peer led tend to fall by the wayside when mums return to work. The Health Visitors are good at identifying potential new Peers to keep things going. I see both sides in this but I know that to suceed everyone need to know what their role is and needs to commit a lot of time to it. Interestingly I now have over 40 Peers trained and more going through the process. They attend groups, support mums on a 1:1 basis, bring mums to groups and help to promote breastfeeding on stands etc. They dont all do everything but without them Breastfeeding numbers would definitely be diminishing.
So, seek advice, get help and go for it!

MummyElk Wed 22-Jun-11 09:41:38

hi all - blimey it's been a while and sorry.
can't imagine any of you are even watching this but if you are - yes i think a support thread would be really interesting, definitely up for that
Thanks to countrymum and mbj for advice, all worth considering. I'll talk it through with my paid peer... mcj i'm in bristol

thank you again for all your tips and stuff, i can't tell you how much it's helped even to know that i'm not alone in Feeling The Frustration smile

i'm off to lurk and catch up, it's been too long since i last visited MN

crikeybadger Wed 22-Jun-11 09:53:42

hi there mummyelk

I did set up a support thread it's here. smile

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