WA Peer-to-Peer Networks

The Peer-to-Peer Networks WA project is for people living with disability and/or mental health concerns along with their family members and carers in order to link to peer support initiatives that can; build personal connections, assist with access to, and sharing of information, as well as learning from their peers.

People tell us (and research backs it up) that disabled people and their family members and carers are often more comfortable sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences with their peers through informal and natural conversations, rather than engaging formally with service providers. It is the conversations with our peers that provide us with new and creative ideas within a safe place where we can share information and knowledge about the NDIS as it rolls out across WA.

We are in a time of great change in the way that supports, and services are delivered in WA as we move towards full NDIS scheme roll out and this project provides a platform for people and/or families to connect and share information and learn tips and tricks about how to navigate the NDIS.

Joining a Peer Support Network is a great way to build connections with people living with disability, and sometimes family members of people living with disability.

Joining a network will give you access to a support group of people you can talk to about things that are important to you, and who you can share information with and learn from.

You can also work together with your network to advocate for things that are important to you.

Networks are free to join.

They come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all model.

You can join a network that’s close to where you live, one with people who live with similar disability, one with people who share a specific interest or identity, or a network that only meets on the internet.

Some Peer Support Networks are managed by funded Disability Support Organisations.

For Peer Support Networks connecting on line; it is important to be cyber safety aware. https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/

Stay Smart Online provides simple, easy to understand advice on how to protect yourself online, as well as up-to-date information on the latest online threats and how to respond.

NETWORKFACILITATOREMAILMOBILEFACEBOOK
ArmadaleJane Eikelboom0426 221 291https://www.facebook.com/groups/175767919642049/
Bayswater / BassendeanShelley Watson0410 471 266https://www.facebook.com/groups/274807712917479/
CockburnMaria Ferreira 0435 104 983
Fremantle/MelvilleKristie Hardbottle 0404 088 306
North Metro (Joondalup)Helen Owen0413 123 615https://www.facebook.com/groups/189431914749585/
Perth HillsMike Serjeant
Margo McAdam


0403 832 591
0448 298 011
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1580132262264323/
Stepping Stones
South Perth
Jane Browne Eacott0414 703 512
ThriveDawn Burns 0415 731 063https://www.facebook.com/groups/487931187964650/
South Metro (CaLD)Ann Shilkar 0410 693 765
Byford Parent Peer-to-Peer NetworkMinky Turton0428 137 044.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/297221987846005/
What Peer Networks Talk About
  • NDIS General information
  • NDIS Planning
  • Implementing your NDIS plan
  • Having a Voice
  • Families/Siblings
  • Planning
  • Life
  • Informal Supports
Image description: Peer network planning session
Image description: Peer network planning session
Image description: Peer network planning session
How We Can Help

The intent of the Peer-to-Peer Support Networks WA Project is to provide an opportunity for a person and/or family to connect and share information with others; building their capacity to self-direct their own supports. The project will deliver peer-led support initiatives that provide peer support and up-to-date information about the NDIS in WA including:

  • Building and supporting local peer support networks
  • Individual peer-to-peer consultations
  • 1:1 peer support to understand, navigate and prepare you for transfer or transition to the NDIS in WA
  • Peer support events and information sessions
  • State-wide Peer-to-Peer Networks WA Planning Cafe’s
  • Peer-to-Peer Networks WA telephone hotline
  • Peer-to-Peer Networks WA website
  • Peer-to-Peer Networks WA Facebook page
  • Peer-to-Peer Networks WA co-designing activities of the project with people with a disability and their families/carers

The Starting Point

Peer Connect WA Conference.

Our first conversation opportunity came in June 2018 at the inaugural Peer Connect Conference. Over 120 people attended the conference and peers were asked a series of questions about what they would like to see happening in the area of peer support in WA.

Image description: Valued Lives conference
Peer Connect Conference Feedback

We asked participants for feedback and general comments about the conference. This is what they said:

Survey responses part 1
Survey responses part 2
Survey responses part 3
Survey responses part 4
Survey responses part 5

The Co-Design Process

The Peer-to-Peer Networks WA project has been co-designed with people with disabilities and their family members and carers. Since June 2018 we have run workshops, consultations, sat around the table for many peer-to-peer “coffees and chats,” in order to gather your ideas about how the project can be of most benefit to peer networks across WA; we want to continue the conversations throughout the project and you can provide us with your ideas, feedback and questions by contacting us here or using the feedback form on our contact page, or subscribe here to our mailing list for the latest NDIS updates and information.

Part of the consultation and co-design process has been to develop the Peer-to-Peer Networks WA Operating Framework. The current framework has served our peer networks well over the last five years that we have been operating but is in need of a refresh, this work is well underway and will be available soon.

  • Support networks currently operating in local communities.
  • Create new opportunities to develop and assist new peer support networks to get off the ground where there is local community interest.
  • Providing individual peer-to-peer consultations to support people to navigate NDIS in WA.
  • Delivering Peer-led and facilitated workshops and Planning Cafes about topics of interest about the NDIS state-wide.

You can contact us at to link up with a local Peer Support Network in your area or we can assist you to start up your own network.

Image description: Peer network workshop
Principles of Peer Support

– Flexibility; peer support is responsive to participants’ needs and preferences

– User-led; peer networks are led by people with disability and their families, based around their lived experience

– Focus on capacity building and investment in peer support through the provision of training and mentoring to peer leaders which increases their knowledge and confidence

– Typically linked to a community organisation that can assist with providing information and resources to peer leaders and participants, who generally support their work in the community.

How to Join a Peer Network

This section has information about Western Australian and National Peer Support Networks you can join, how to join an Online Network and information on Peer Support Networks and the Mental Health Sector.

WA Peer-to-Peer Networks

Down Syndrome WA

Down Syndrome WA runs a number of Peer Support Networks in metro and regional WA for new parents of children living with Down Syndrome, playgroup parents, adults living with Down Syndrome and families. They also run an Australia-wide Facebook group for people living with Down Syndrome and their families. Find out more.

Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA)

Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA) run a Peer Support Network called Recover Connections for people experiencing mental health issues. The group meets in-person on a weekly basis. Contact Anna on 026 200 550 or email To find out more about CoMHWA’s peer groups click here.

The Youth Disability Advocacy Network (YDAN)

The Youth Disability Advocacy Network (YDAN) is a peer support network for young people living with disability in WA. Anyone can join YDAN via their Facebook group.

Amputees WA

Amputees WA is a peer support group for amputees and people with a limb difference. You can connect with Amputees WA on their Facebook page.

Developmental Disability WA (DDWA)

Developmental Disability WA (DDWA) has a range of peer support groups for people living with various types of disability. There are groups for individuals, siblings, parents and supporters of people living with disability. Click here to find out more.

Thrive Peer Network

The Thrive Peer Network are a group of parents who come together in the Gosnells and Armadale area in south east metro Perth . This month they held a workshop where people came together to share their experience and learn about preparing for the planning conversation in the WANDIS. Veronica Burkin and Bronia Holyoak from Valued Lives facilitated the workshop. Connect with Thrive Peer Network on their Facebook page.

Speak Easy Association of WA

The Speak Easy Association of WA is a Self Help and Support Group for people who stutter in WA. The Speak Easy Association of WA has three Support Groups that meet regularly in Victoria Park, Fremantle and East Perth. For more information or to join contact details are .

Cockburn Peer 2 Peer Group

The Cockburn Peer 2 Peer Group meets once a month for people who are transferring / transitioning to NDIS in the Cockburn area.  

Perth Hills Peer 2 Peer Group

Perth Hills Peer 2 Peer Facebook Group provides an online platform to compliment the monthly meetings that are held for people who are in the NDIA Perth Hills area.

People With disability WA (PWdWA)

People With disability WA (PWdWA) is run by and for people with disabilities and aims to empower the voices of all people with disabilities in Western Australia. PWdWA is running several advocacy workshops to help people speak out, know about rights and is a chance to share your views about the WA NDIS.

Recovery Connections

Recovery Connections is a peer support group run by and for people with a lived experience of mental health issues and/or emotional distress. The Midland group in WA meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month. Please contact Anna for more details on 0426 200 550.

Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service (KMHDS)

The Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service (KMHDS) Women’s Group Derby operates in the West Kimberley on a fortnightly basis on Tuesdays from 10am to 11.30am. ConnectGroups assisted in funding the Women’s Group and provides ongoing support. The women have been enjoying the various sessions, meeting other women, learning new skills and just having a chat over cups of tea.

If you are interested in joining the group or would like further information please contact Gaye Yu or Sarah Hill at the KMHDS Derby on (08) 9193 3605 or email

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Support Group

The Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Support Group is a peer support network for foster carers based in Bunbury, Western Australia. The group has a range of speakers presenting at its monthly meetings to talk about topics such as understanding sensory issues and the use of essential oils for children living with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). They also provide information about eligibility and planning for the NDIS. For more information, or to join this group, please contact peer facilitator Gay Pritchard on (08) 9725 4464 or email

Duchenne Connect is a DSO

Duchenne Connect is a DSO initiative supported by DDWA in Western Australia. Klair Bailey, with support from Piper Marsh from Muscular Dystrophy WA, hosts the group. Klair is currently developing a planning resource for people living with Muscular Dystrophy who are entering the NDIS. For more information email Klair at .

TransFolk of WA

TransFolk of WA is a peer support organisation for transgender people and their loved ones. The group has both online safe spaces and in-person support groups and social meetups for trans men, trans women, non-binary individuals, parents, and partners. To join, you can contact TransFolk at their Facebook page or email their administrator at:

National Peer Networks

Limbs4Life

Limbs4Life has trained Peer Support volunteers who are available to offer support to new amputees. If you would like to request Peer Support for a new amputee, and/or know of an amputee who is interested in becoming a Peer support Volunteer, please contact them on or phone 1300782231. More information is available at www.limbs4life.org.au.

AT CHAT

AT CHAT are a team of assistive technology users conversing on all things AT: sharing AT stories, what’s out there, how to get it, how to use it.
Our goal is to help people’s capacity with assistive technology through peer support, knowledge sharing and peer mentoring.

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/atchatwithus

AT ‘Chatterbox’ closed Facebook group:
https://m.facebook.com/groups/241407313033708

At Chat is a collaboration with the Independent Living Centre of WA. For more information contact reception: 1300 885 886 or 08 9381 0600

Online Networks

Online peer support is when people in similar situations and with similar experiences share knowledge and help each other, all online. These forums provide a community where people can get together, ask questions, share what’s going on and also ‘vent’ or just connect.

Online peer support is attractive because it’s anonymous and convenient; it is there whenever a person is available. It can provide a sense of belonging, a sense of openness without judgement and it is also cost effective, free for the user, and instantaneous.
Here we look at how a peer network might set up an online forum or inform its members about an online group and some of the issues to be aware of.

There has been a growth in online peer networks within the disability sector as people view them as an accessible and non-threatening alternative to conventional support groups. There can be open and closed groups and usually they require an administrator or moderator to help ensure that the network is being utilised appropriately and people are being respectful of each other.

Facebook Groups

A Facebook group is a page created for an organization or business to promote activities. Users can join the group and post their thoughts on a wall and interact through discussion threads.

Facebook pages can be public (open), closed or secret. This website blog defines them as:

A public group is fully visible to everyone and anyone can join.  All member’s posts are fully visible to other Facebook users.  It does not offer privacy and security, however it is the easiest group for users to join and grows quickly.

Closed group posts are only visible to its members. The group appears in Facebook searches and the description and members are visible to anyone on Facebook.  Posts shared are visible only to group members and membership requests must be approved by a group member or administrator.

A secret group is the same as a closed group with the added level of stealth: the group does not show up in Facebook searches.  You have to be invited to join this type of group.

The best Facebook groups have a high level of engagement and regular interaction going on. The group members are very active in either starting discussions or taking part in them. The key is to start a Facebook group with a common interest.

If setting up a group, you’ll have to establish clear rules for your members and make sure that they are being followed. For a good group to thrive, the leader needs to be as active as, if not more than, its members.

As the leader, you’ll also need to engage your members, answer questions, monitor possible disputes.

Cyber Safety

While Facebook groups can provide an excellent avenue for peer support, it is important to note that it can also be a place where people may express extreme and offensive views and/or anger and you may encounter cyber-bullying.

It is therefore important that everyone knows how to be safe and recognise behaviour that is counterproductive to the group’s intentions.

This website provides examples of what cyber-bullying looks like and what tactics are used. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/cyber-safety/

The Australian Federal Police have also developed a website http://www.thinkuknow.org.au/which, while aimed at children and young people, also looks at cyber safety.

It can be beneficial to a conventional peer network (who meet face-to-face) if some of their members join an online group as this can bring in new and different information that can be used in all peer network meetings.

Established Facebook Groups

Below are a number of online peer networks regarding the NDIS. Most of these are Facebook groups.

The official NDIS facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NDISAus/

NDIS Grassroots Discussion: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=ndis%20grassroots%20discussion

NDIS Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/120451141819700/

NDIS Chinese Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/NDIS.Chinese/

NDIS Matters: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1135707456551460/

I LOVE NDIS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376325766041728/

NDIS find-a-housemate: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NDIS.find.a.housemate/

NDIS Self-Managing Participants and Their Families: https://www.facebook.com/groups/896104837175411/

Autism NDIS Support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AutismNDISsupport/

NDIS and Me: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NDISandMe/

NDIS People with physical disabilities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/128412471169083/

NDIS for Aboriginal Families: https://www.facebook.com/groups/181267539155508/

NDIS CoS & Plan Managers Unite: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442386536130373/

The Carers Couch – NDIS Discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/791031951037133/

Mental Health and the NDIS – Australia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1648487538786168/

NDIS (not Damn Interested In Seniors) = My Aged Scare: https://www.facebook.com/groups/991072487639442/about/

Assistance Dogs and the NDIS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/161017424430403/

Blogs and Articles About Running Facebook Groups

Everything you need to know about Facebook Groups: https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-groups-business/

Pros and cons of running a facebook group:
https://www.ptdistinction.com/blog/running-your-own-facebook-group-the-pros-and-cons

http://www.vanessa-cabrera.com/pros-cons-facebook-page-vs-facebook-group-business/

https://adaptivateblog.com/2009/09/08/open-group-closed-group/

Peer Support Networks and the Mental Health Sector

GROW

Australia’s Leading mutual help program for people with a mental illness.

Joining a Grow Group gives you the opportunity to meet once a week for around two hours to share and find solutions to life’s many challenges with people going through similar experiences.  The meetings are run by recovering and trained Grow members who have gone through the program and have volunteered to lead the groups.

There are around 200 groups throughout Australia.

https://www.grow.org.au/join-a-grow-group/

Mental Health Resources for Peer Support Networks

Centre of Excellence in Peer Support: https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/resources/peer-work/training-modules.html

Share Your Story: http://www.arafmi.org/events/herd-training-program/

The Art of Hosting: http://www.artofhosting.org/home/

Health Issues Centre training: http://www.healthissuescentre.org.au/

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales collaborated with the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) between June 2013 and 2016 to undertake a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Mental Health Analysis Partnership Project. This Guideline is about how to establish a Community of Practice. It also considers the purpose, benefits, qualities and next steps to establish a Community of Practice:

http://mhcc.org.au/media/85848/ndis_cop_guidelines_final_200117.pdf

The Peer Work hub looks at Peer work in the Mental Health sector: http://peerworkhub.com.au/what-is-peer-work