Section 4D: Thinking about choice and control in your peer support group

As a group leader, you are starting a group to bring kinship carers together. It’s important that everyone attending has choice and control with how they take part in the group.

Choice and control – what does this mean?

It means that your members should be able to choose how they join in with your group. This means they can decide:

  • when they attend or take part – showing understanding if they need to leave the group for a time and then come back later
  • how often they attend – offering flexibility to be able to miss meetings or leave a session early
  • what they choose to share – some members will get everything they need from listening to others, it’s important to give them the space to do so
  • what role they take in a group for some members, they may not be in a position to take on additional responsibilities or a specific role
  • how long they stay in peer support – a group member could be right at the start of their kinship care journey with things changing daily, or the children they were looking after may no longer be with them. Either way, anyone should still feel able to attend group if they are finding it helpful

Whatever the situation, it’s important that they can choose what is right for them without feeling they’re wrong to do so.

Encouraging feedback in your group

Feedback is a tool to help improve your group. It means someone can share their thoughts or ideas on how to improve or develop the group.

Choice and control in a group

Listen to Rachael from Kinship talk about how important feedback is in group, and that members feel they have a say in how things are run.

Duration: 1 min 25 secs

As a group leader you are not going to get everything right all the time. By encouraging members to share their thoughts, it can create an open and honest group that works for everyone.

Members should feel like an important part of the group and be a part of important decisions. For example, working together to agree guidelines about behaviour, whether the time or venue of the group should change.

"We have an open group. You know, you don’t have to come every week or three strikes and you're out or anything like that. Group is there and it's there for as long as people need to come. And when they don't need to come in, they don't have to."
Sharon, kinship carer and support group leader
Sharon, kinship carer and support group leader