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Peer support is a recognised and efficient intervention to enable people to better self-manage health and wellbeing. It is often referred to as “social networking” and many of our patients and population will be familiar to it as users of Facebook, Twitter and range of other social media platforms. Studies have shown that participants report improved knowledge, skills and confidence, reduced sense of isolation, a greater ability to find solutions that work for them and improved health outcomes.

Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other through sharing their lived experience with others. Peer support can be formal and informal, face to face or virtual and include trained or untrained peer mentors.

Much of the evidence has shown that peer support is highly effective regardless of the form in which it is delivered, however optimal benefits can be achieved through a combination of virtual and face to face interactions with peers.  The benefit of supporting the development of local peer support networks is the increased likelihood that participants will have the opportunity to form real life connections and networks that are self-sustaining and go way beyond the ‘condition’ but evolve into friendships and provide a true sense of community.

Our model for Prevention, Wellbeing and Self-care aims to signpost people to peer support opportunities where they may be of benefit. We cannot, of course endorse the content of these groups and communities, but can play an important role in making people aware of their existence.

What is expected of staff / workforce?

For many, online social networking will simply be part of their every-day lives, so the concept will be very familiar to them. They may not, however, have considered it as a means connecting to people to seek their support when it comes to their health. We would like our workforce to make people aware of the benefits of peer support (online, and in person in their local communities) and support them in deciding if it is something they think would be of benefit to them.We cannot recommend or promote any particular platform or group, but we can make them aware of their existence.

We are working in partnership with HealthUnlocked, a peer-to-peer support network for patients, caregivers and health advocates. HealthUnlocked is the largest social network for health in the world, providing a platform for over 500 patient advocacy organisations. When appropriate we would like our workforce to:

  • make patients with long term conditions aware of the HealthUnlocked platform;
  • use the directories of services available within this site to search for local community groups that might be of benefit to the patient.

What is expected of our patients / population?

As a patient (or member of the population setting goals for a healthy lifestyle) we want to support you to acheive your goals for health and wellbeing using the tools that best suit your needs. On this site we are making you aware of some of the online and community resources we think you may find useful. Spotted something yourself that you think others might find useful? Please let us know​.

Supporting the development of peer support
We are keen to support the development of local peer support groups (physical groups and online groups). If you are aware of a local interest group, or local group of individuals with a shared health condition or wellbeing related interest you may be interested in the following sources of help & advice:

Torbay Community Development Trust

Teignbridge Community & Voluntary Services

Torbay and South Devon Community Grants Fund
Community led funding process supporting small-scale investment in local health related schemes. For more information on our Community Grants Fund please contact​

Torbay Soup

Torbay Soup is based on Detroit Soup, a community micro-finance project.

For a donation of £5 you can come and enjoy a bowl of soup and listen to people from your community give a quick presentation on a proposal they would like to raise money for.  When you have heard all the presentations, you get to vote on what you think will benefit your community most. This is very much a local community event with entertainment where we encourage people to meet new people and chat.

At each event we invite the winner of the previous Soup to tell people how they used the funding and how they got on with their idea.

For more information contact  Torbay Community Development Trust​


Please note that all communications made available as part of any online discussion forum and any opinions, advice, statements or other information contained in any messages posted or transmitted are the responsibility of the author of that message and not of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, or any of its partner organisations unless unless specifically identified as the author of the message.