About the Kinship Peer Support Service

Kinship carers supporting each other. Building powerful supportive kinship communities together.

kinship children supported by kinship carers

What is the national Kinship Peer Support Service?

Funded by the Department for Education, we’re supporting kinship carers across England to set up sustainable peer support groups in their local area or online.

Kinship carers told us they wanted more support, more access to expert advice and information and more opportunities to connect with each other.

What we’re doing is making sure that where there is little, or no peer support at the moment, that we’re actively helping kinship carers to build new communities and relationships.

Kinship carers are more powerful when they come together.

As part of the national peer support service, we have:

  • consulted and worked with kinship carers to understand their experiences and what they want to see
  • set up this dedicated Kinship Compass platform – one place where kinship carers can find what they need. A local support group, access to one-to-one advice and information and free group workshops
  • worked with experts to develop free online workshops to support kinship carers in their caring role
  • created a Peer Support Group Library, a free resource library open to everyone, where kinship carers can find information about how you can set up your own peer support group
  • built an on the ground delivery team supporting kinship carers to set up their own groups with one-to-one support and training
  • created a postcode search tool where kinship carers can find peer support groups that work for them, either in their local area or online
  • piloted an Online Chat service (now on hold), where kinship carers reached out to trained kinship carer volunteers to get emotional support

Update – October 2023

We’re delighted to announce that our funding has been extended by the Department for Education. Our team will be here until at least June 2024.

We’ve successfully set up 130 new peer support groups since January 2022, giving, kinship carers the opportunity to meet together, share their experiences and support one another.

We’ve also been working with some independent groups to learn how we might help them to stay resilient as time goes by. Our aim is to help as many groups as we can to run self-sufficiently.

The next phase of our work is to provide all groups with the resources and support they need to keep running. So, whether you’re a kinship volunteer, you’ve been running your own group for a long time, or you’ve recently attended a coffee morning and want to continue to meet other kinship carers informally, we’re here to help your group thrive. We will be creating a network that any group or group leader can join. You’ll be able to opt into our information bulletins, group leader meetings, training sessions and resources.

Our team will be here to help your group find its feet, direct you to trusted information just for kinship carers, and help you with the challenges of running a group, as and when they come up.

More details will follow over the next few weeks as we work with kinship carers to co-create our next chapter together.

"Before I joined this group, nobody really understood what it was like. You know, your friends, your family, obviously say all the right things. 'Oh, you're very brave. I couldn't do it. It must be really hard for you.' But talking to the group, we learn from each other or we can just listen and we can understand. You know, it's a shoulder to cry on, someone to trust."
Elaine, kinship carer talking about peer support
Elaine kinship carer peer support