The work of PFG Doncaster demonstrates the enormous power and efficiency of peer support. In the latest phase of its development they are working in a way which is very similar to community development.
Costs & Beneﬁts
Peer Support plus
Dr Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform,
PFG Doncaster, 9 October 2015
PFG Doncaster began as a response to a sense of
injustice: the exclusion of people with mental health
problems from access to direct payments.
Hence its ﬁrst name Personalisation Forum Group.
However the spirit of the group was always about more
than a sense of anger and injustice…
We explored what PFG Doncaster was doing and why it
was working in our report Peer Power.
It was clear that people’s support for each other -
Support Buddies - was becoming central to what
made PFG Doncaster work.
In 2012 we estimated that PFG provided to itself and its
community £0.25 million worth of mutual support.
Hence PFG became the People Focused Group:
a much better name (in my opinion).
PFG Doncaster moved into the Wellness Centre in
Intake and things started to evolve again.
Mutual support began to become community
development and mutual support.
Opportunities to help others and to change the wider
The group continued to spread its activity, and where it
worked, but now it had roots.
Learning Disabilities Poverty (especially food and fuel poverty)
Mental Health Beneﬁt problems
Physical Disabilities/Illnesses Look after your own homes
Organic brain disorders/injury Debt
Dementia/alzeimers JSA claimants who need help with DWP technology
Illnesses related to old age Veterans
Blindness Physical abuse
Deafness Sexual abuse
Drug addicts Rape victims
Others (no label) but need support Loneliness
Parents at risk of losing their children
Parents struggling to cope with their children
Jenny was going to
the learning disability
day services - but
these didn’t work for
her and she felt
bullied. Today Jenny
doesn’t just attend
Wellness Centre she
Makaton and she’s
now gone back to
College and is
PFG Doncaster remains one of the most powerful and
important social innovations I am aware of.
It is different to - but closely linked to - others:
Local Area Coordination
C2 Community Development
We are now entering a new phase for PFG Doncaster.
Can it build on the early partnerships its formed with
NHS, CCGs and Doncaster MB Council?
How will it further develop within Doncaster?
How will it connect to and support other emerging
models and groups outside Doncaster?
But whatever happens…