The PeerTalk story
Our story began in the Autumn of 2014 when Philippa Normanton finished her six sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy with the local mental health support services. It was then that Philippa and her husband Stephen began to explore what ongoing support was available for people who lived with depression. Their conclusion was that there was very little. Various models of support were identified but the one which had the most appeal was that provided by the Irish charity Aware who manage a national network of volunteer facilitated peer support group meetings.
An invitation to a wedding in Ireland provided an opportunity to visit Dublin and meet with Aware and talk more about what they did and how they did it. Aware have forty support groups throughout Ireland and have been a charity for over thirty years. This visit inspired Stephen and Philippa to seek some seedcorn funding to establish a project modelled on Aware. The generosity of individuals and churches with which Philippa and Stephen had been associated throughout their years of ministry in the Methodist Church provided a sum of a few thousand pounds. Further grants came from the national Methodist Church to fund three years of work with a view to establishing an independent charity that provided volunteer facilitated peer support meetings for people who live with depression and their families in the UK.
PeerTalk became a registered charity in October 2016 and the first PeerTalk support group was established in Bradford in March 2017 soon followed by a group in Preston. Now there are also PeerTalk support groups in Newcastle upon Tyne, Settle, Warrington and a further daytime group in Preston all of which are supported by over 70 trained volunteers.
PeerTalk is very grateful to the Methodist Church and many individuals who continue to support the charity as well as to Aware who have been most gracious with their assistance and encouragement.
Picture shows Philippa and Stephen Normanton