The many acts of Peer Leadership Following the success of the Personalised Care Peer Leadership Academies over the last six years, we’ve recently launched our new Peer Leadership Development Programme. At the beginning of the project, we could never have known the significance of our decision to adopt a blended learning approach using FutureLearn, a highly successful online learning platform. We wanted to increase our reach and make the programme accessible to as many people as possible so they could learn in the comfort of their own homes. That’s so important today. FutureLearn is fun and interactive and an ideal platform for the new Peer Leadership Development Programme, which features group discussions, videos and real-life stories bringing personalised care to life. The stories really get to the heart of personalised care and the role of Peer Leaders and why the Personalised Care Group has committed to developing 500 Peer Leaders by 2023/24. So, what is the programme about and who is it for? The programme is mainly for disabled people and people with long-term conditions. It’s about giving people with lived experience the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to become an effective Peer Leader. Peer Leader is a term used to describe ‘people with lived experience who are committed to working collaboratively with the system to shape and influence how personalised care is developed and delivered’ The programme has been developed by people with lived experience for people with lived experience drawing on insights from graduates of the Peer Leadership Academy about what they had valued most. They valued the opportunity to develop their: Understanding of personalised care and coproduction and how it works in practice Understanding of how change happens in complex systems Personal confidence, knowledge and skills Relationships with other peers. Many of our Peer Leadership Academy graduates have become fantastic Peer Leaders. Rob Moriarty is an example of someone who has demonstrated many ‘acts of peer leadership’. Rob explains why he thinks the Peer Leadership Development Programme is important and the difference it will make: ‘The Peer Leadership Academy helped me understand who I was as a person. It was an eye opener on many levels starting to understand how all the different parts of the NHS work and made me understand where my story fits into the context of everything else happening. ‘I’ve learned from meeting other people with their own lived experience, and as a group we can get the message out about what personalised care is and it’s benefits when done right. ‘When we’ve worked with people at NHS England, they say our stories are the one thing they always remember, or they’ll make a small change because of something we’ve said. ‘By informing and influencing policy we hope to enable more people to benefit from having better conversations about their healthcare.’ If you’ve been reading this blog thinking ‘that sounds good, but I don’t have a long-term condition or disability’, Step One and Step Two of the programme are free and open to everyone. We hope you can join us. If you are interested in becoming a Peer Leader, or simply want to learn more about the health and care system and personalised care, you can sign up here.