Marsh Award for Mental Health Peer Support: In Connection

These Awards are run in partnership with Mind and wider Peerfest partners and recognise excellence in peer led support for those experiencing mental health problems.

Peer support happens when people work together, or support each other, from their lived experience. It can take place informally and formally, in all sorts of settings such as in user led organisations, projects, support groups and in the workplace. It means different things to different people. It may also be called self help, befriending/wellbeing groups, meet ups, or mentoring. It also can take place online through digital means.

This Award  recognises peer support groups that have worked in collaboration with other groups or that have forged important supportive connections within the community that their participants live in. 

Nominations for the Award are judged by an independent panel of people with peer support expertise, others with lived experience, and representatives from Peerfest partner organisations.

In Between Lines and Mentell 2023

In Between Lines

In Between Lines is a creative community for people of all races, cultures and families. The group empowers individuals with complex mental health issues to celebrate themselves in their fullness through a combination of online content and in-person events. They began as a project by students at the University of Exeter when, after talking about their experiences over coffee, the group realised how much they had in common despite their differences in culture and upbringing. They now share their experiences through a display of art and text, and also encourage the audiences that attend their exhibitions to participate. They have held exhibitions in Exeter, Cornwall and London, and have also held workshops, discussion panels and poetry nights. In recent months, In Between Lines have been cementing their identity as a group and building their online presence so that their artwork and stories can be shared even wider.


Mentell was created in 2017 by 7 men in Stockport after they found that there was a lack of local support services available when they reached out for assistance with their mental health. The group is run by volunteers with lived experience of mental health and so far they have supported over 3,500 men across the UK. They provide safe spaces for men to open up and talk about their struggles and feelings, with no pressure for men to speak at group sessions until they feel comfortable to. Mentell groups run on a weekly basis and are supported by trained facilitators to ensure that safeguarding measures are met, although there is no hierarchy in the group and all the men who attend are made to feel equal. The group sessions have enabled the men to form connections with one another and build trusting relationships so that they are able to speak freely about the issues that are affecting them.

Previous Winners

TransSober, Cardiff New Muslim Club and House of Polish and European Community

TransSober (Star Project) 

TransSober is a community based support group made up of a committee of diverse backgrounds and ages, all with experience of substance or alcohol misuse. The experiences of the committee range from functioning with their addiction and continuing to work, to being made homeless by it but all are now sober and willing to share their experiences to help others on their recovery journey. The peer support groups are open to anyone in the transgender community who feels that they need support or have something they want to talk about. Trans Sober fills a gap in services for people in this community, allowing them to be assisted in their recovery by others who have gone through the same experiences as them. They work in partnership with other organisations to signpost their members to services and other groups that could help them even further on their journey to recovery. Peer support groups have recently been set up online which allows members to access support wherever they are, and helps to reduce the stigma around seeking support. 

Cardiff New Muslim Club 

Cardiff New Muslim Club was established in January 2021, however before this the group had volunteered at their local mosque, offering weekly classes and social activities for people who had recently converted to Islam. Volunteer mentors act as one-to-one points of contact, especially for the vulnerable, and the group have run a number of online events including Eid gatherings, quizzes and virtual coffee mornings, which are now being held in person. The volunteers, particularly the founding members, are themselves converts to Islam or people who have had close relatives become converts. Converting to Islam can be a lonely experience and the Club aims to help converts navigate this situation by matching them with mentors who can share lessons from their own journeys and running events where converts are able to meet like-minded people.  

House of Polish and European Community (HOPEC) 

HOPEC was born among Polish friends and families in North-East London who struggled with the lack of clear information, language and cultural barriers and the lack of opportunities for integration. Therefore, they set up this house of friends, where anyone can attend to access support and build bonds across the community. HOPEC takes ideas from the actual experiences of community members, and leaders collaborate with organisations and professionals in order to be able to signpost members to the support that they need. The group aims to be a problem solver, encouraging bonds within the community and trust between members and institutions. They are working to reduce the language and cultural barriers that immigrants face in the UK, while allowing them to preserve their national heritage as they integrate into society.