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We are affiliated to Mind, the national mental health charity.

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Peer Support

Side by Side is a project that runs mental health peer support groups around Southampton and the New Forest.

For information and updates about current disruptions and changes to our services please click here.

What is ‘Peer Support’?

Peer Support means just that, support from your peers! See our three videos below and find out a little more about peer support groups and how they can help:

Our groups are led by our trained volunteers who have all experienced mental health issues. This means you are able to talk openly and honestly with people who truly understand. Although there is no expectation to talk about your own mental health experiences, everything said within the group is kept strictly confidential.

All our groups are friendly, informal and low cost, and you don’t need any skills or experience to join in.

How do I join?

  • Our Peer Support groups are open to anyone living in the Southampton or New Forest area with a mental health issue. Groups also run at our Portsmouth Wellbeing Centre.
  • You do not need to be under the care of a mental health team to access the support.
  • There is no commitment to come every week.
  • If you would like to come along to a group, just contact us for full details.

Southampton Area

Our groups run across Southampton with a range of different activities including:

  • Arts & Craft
  • Singing
  • Walking
  • Breakfast Club
  • Swimming

See our latest activities calendar here

Side by Side in partnership with the Ropewalk Garden and West Itchen Community Trust also holds a weekly gardening session.

For further information about the gardening group, please contact the Side by Side team on 02380 208 920 or email SidebySide@solentmind.org.uk

Hand In Hand – helping each other in Harefield, Midanbury and Townhill Park

Hand In Hand is a group run by and for people with mental health issues every Wednesday in the Harefield and Townhill Park areas of Southampton.  Open to anyone in the local SO18 area of Southampton, the group is friendly and offers a chance to meet with people with similar experiences, and have fun! It is run Solent Mind and funded by the SO18 Big Local project.

See our information poster for more details and our map for the location of Hand In Hand groups

To get in touch, please call 02380 208 920 or email SidebySide@solentmind.org.uk

Community Peer Navigators

Live in Bitterne, Bitterne Park, Townhill, Harefield, and Thornhill?  Need support with your wellbeing and would like to find out more about services and projects open to you?  Get support from one of our Community Peer Navigators.  They have lived experience of mental health so can empathize and share their story as well as signposting you to community services and activities in your area. For further information please contact communitynavigators@solentmind.org.uk or telephone 02380 208920.

An introduction to our Community Navigation project – from Solent Mind Peer Support

New Forest Area

These groups run across the New Forest, with some based at our Wellbeing Centre

  • Swimming
  • Digital Photography Group
  • WRAP Revisited Group (for those who have completed WRAP)
  • Social Group
  • Art & Creative Journaling

We may also be able to offer one to one Peer Support to people who are not quite ready to attend a group. This is dependent on the availability of volunteer Peer Supporters.

If you would like more information, please contact the Side by Side team on 02380 208 920 or email SidebySide@SolentMind.org.uk.

View our weekly calendar

Portsmouth Area

Our groups run across Portsmouth and some are held at the Portsmouth Wellbeing Centre, 100 Palmerston Rd, Southsea, P05 3PT. We hold a range of activities including:

Dog walking
Allotment Group
Social Inclusion Group
Anxiety and Stress Workshop

If you would like more information on peer-led groups, please contact the Wellbeing Centre on 02392 824 795 or email PSRwellbeingcentre@solentmind.org.uk

Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about the other peer-related services we offer please click here

Peer Support in your organisation

As well as developing peer support opportunities locally ourselves, as part of the Side by Side programme we aim to show other organisations the value of peer support, and how simple it is to develop peer-led opportunities.

What we can offer your organisation:

  • Free support and training to develop mental health peer support.
  • Networking opportunities so you can meet organisations, agencies and individuals with an interest in mental health and peer support and share knowledge.
  • Advice on getting your project going including recruiting volunteers and applying for funding.

For more information about developing peer support in your organisation, please contact the Side by Side team on 02380 208 920 or email SidebySide@SolentMind.org.uk.

Volunteering Opportunities

If you have experienced a mental health issue and would like to volunteer to help support others, please see information about our latest volunteer roles.

Solent Mind is part of the national, Big Lottery-funded, Side by Side programme, developing peer support opportunities for people with mental health issues.

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