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Change 6: Social connection and peer support

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Making it easier for people to get involved in their community, to form relationships, to share their learning and expertise with each other, and to support each other. This can help to improve people’s wellbeing and at the same time build community capacity. 

There is a clear case for health and social care to explore how they can help to improve social connection and participation. For example:

Making it Real statements

can keep in touch and meet up with people who are important to me, including family, friends and people who share my interests, identity and culture."

We know it can be helpful for people to share experiences so we encourage specialised support, peer support, self-help and self-advocacy groups."

Tips for success

  • Invest infrastructure that supports organisations that recruit volunteers and explore how health and care partners can publicise and promote volunteering opportunities.
  • Ensure that peer groups have access to clinical support or statutory services to give specialist advice or help manage escalation of need where relevant.
  • Invest in the recruitment, training and management of volunteers and recognise that they may need support to continue doing the hard work.
  • Recognise that peer support and community organisations can create a space for conversations that some people might struggle to have in a professional health or social care context.
  • Enable people to volunteer and contribute recognising the value of their skills and experience.
  • Remove barriers to people accessing their community, for example, by helping people to physically leave their homes, building their confidence to participate, helping them to use technology or ensuring local places are dementia/autism friendly.

Supporting materials

Case studies

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