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Qualitative Feedback Summary
of Our Peer Support pilot Project

Feedback from service beneficiaries:

Shared Understanding, Connection & Community: Both individual and group sessions were valued for the sense of belonging and connection with others who "communicate the same way" and "experience and value the world in a similar way."

 

One beneficiary stated "Even though we are all so different in the group with different perspectives and challenges, it's like we all experience and value the world in a similar way. This group has allowed me to have that connection outside of my family, and I need more than just my family to feel part of the bigger world." highlighting shared experiences and connectedness.

 

Another shared  "Essential step in healing and dealing better with new traumas. I've learnt a lot about myself already. I've also connected with the group in a way that I can't normally with people." highlighting feeling less alone and emotionally supported.

 

The following quotes highlight the reduction in isolation and increased feelings of connection “all other forms of personal connection, I really don't do shallow interactions well so this is a lifeline.” and “this is a lifeline, I need to feel like I'm not alone, that I belong in this world, that I can connect and understand people.”

 

Shared Experiences & Support: Participants appreciated learning from each other's struggles and coping mechanisms, evident in comments like "hearing others’ struggles/coping mechanisms," and "Hearing similar obstacles from others which feels life-affirming. Being able to speak and be heard." highlighting validation and support felt. One beneficiary shared “I enjoyed the people in the group and the fact that they have either been through similar situations, or at least see the world very simlarly to how I see the world.

 

Empathy & Validation: The support group provided a safe space for open communication and being truly understood, as highlighted by "comfortableness of the conversation," and "I appreciate that I am being treated like a human, not just a bother."

 

One beneficiary shared "I appreciate the level of empathy and true understanding. The knowledge and advice shared by Ruth [group facilitator] and other parents during sessions is also incredibly helpful, but the empathy and understanding and shared struggles helps massively." which highlights empathy, knowledge sharing and the facilitator's role.

 

Diverse Perspectives: The range of experiences within the group was seen as valuable, with comments like "It’s nice to see a range of people with different but similar experiences," and "Even though we are all so different in the group with different perspectives and challenges."

 

Overall Sentiment:

Lifeline & Valuable Resource: The feedback overwhelmingly describes the peer support sessions (both individual and group) as a vital source of connection, validation, and support. Phrases like "lifeline," "essential step in healing," "valuable resource," and "valuable support" emphasise this point. Importantly, 100% of respondents would recommend the service to others.

Feedback From Our Peer Support Workers and Volunteers:

 

Meaningful Connections: Peer support workers highlighted the value of providing a safe space for parents to vent and discuss challenges. One peer support worker stated, "I value knowing that I'm giving someone the chance to simply vent or discuss things that I didn't have the opportunity to do when my children were younger." This indicates a strong desire to support others based on personal understanding.

 

Leveraging Lived Experience: Peer support workers emphasised the importance of their own experiences as Autistic parents in connecting with beneficiaries. A quote exemplifies this: "I felt it helpful using my past experiences as a way to relate to and to support people." This highlights the program's strength in matching peer supporters with similar backgrounds.

Supportive Work Environment: Workers expressed appreciation for the program's commitment to ongoing support. One commented, "I've found supervision helpful to be a part of, even if just to hear other people's techniques and experiences." This indicates a desire for professional development and collaboration.

 

The feedback also highlighted the flexibility of supervision options, with a peer supporter stating, "I'm happy for internal supervision and group sessions, at any time in the evening." This demonstrates the program's responsiveness to worker needs.

 

Overall satisfaction was high, with one peer supporter concluding, "Just that I'm glad to be doing this job and working with you!" This positive sentiment is further reinforced by the statistic that "100% of the team felt fully supported in their role."

Overall, the feedback from peer supporters suggests a meaningful and well-supported work environment that allows them to leverage their experiences to create positive outcomes for service beneficiaries.

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