Black and minority ethnic disabled and D/deaf people’s experience of peer support groups

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1999 – 2000

Contact Tracey Bignall

What were the aims of the project?

This project investigated how young black and minority ethnic disabled people coped with the transition to adulthood, considering in particular the relationship between independent living and emotional support needs.

The study examined the role of peer support groups in providing informal support and advice for people who may share culture, experiences and concerns.

The aims of the research were to:

  • explore the reasons why and how informal support groups are established
  • investigate what factors help informal support groups to survive and prosper
  • develop practice guidelines.

How were these aims fulfilled?

We worked with four peer support groups in London, Bradford, Swindon and Coventry to:

  • see how informal support groups are organised
  • explore how they address the needs of young black disabled people
  • consider how groups can survive and develop.

The groups included young people with a range of impairments: multiple disabilities, learning difficulties, sensory impairment, and visual impairments.

Using focus groups, sessions enabled the participants to:

  • build their confidence in working with the Race Equality Foundation
  • become empowered to set the agenda and, to some extent, the direction of what was discussed
  • share their views in an non-judgemental environment, particularly since other group members were perceived as being similar to themselves.

What we found

The young people talked about:

  • why and how the groups were set up
  • what the groups did, what worked with the group and why
  • what affected their group
  • how they were actively involved in the running of the groups.

Essentially, peer support groups provided young people with emotional and practical support on race, ethnicity, religion and disability issues.

What we produced