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The STAR Model

The STAR model is not:

  • Not a constituted business, registered company, charity or *public service

  • Not managed by a governing body

  • Not a counselling service

  • Not a service giving advice & guidance

  • Not an organisation that charges

  • Does not have a selection criteria

  • Does not have a waiting list

* A public service is something which is organized by the government or an official body in order to benefit all the people in a particular society or community.

The STAR model is:


  • A voluntary community group / entity managed BY local people FOR local people

  • A service which gives 'added value' to  public health

  • Self sufficient using an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Approach

  • A secular community service

  • An organisation where there is no hierarchy

  • Community provision that is responsive & can adapt accordingly to meet the needs of its users

  • A safe place where people are welcomed, able to listen to others, talk, share stories, cry, laugh, receive care and support, and just be

  • FREE

  • An inclusive environment, welcoming diversity and equality for all adults aged over 18 years

  • A service that can sign-post people to other support agencies

  • A service with no selection criteria or waiting list

  • A service offering no restriction on length of attendance

  • A service that doesn’t cost any money to run – just time & commitment of everyone involved, & gifts in-kind

Content & Delivery

Initial enquiries are usually made through a phone call, either by a potential service user or an organisation who may be making a referral on their behalf.  Arrangements are made to meet the service user prior them attending the Peer Support Group sessions.  Two members of the STAR facilitation team meet with the individual to give them an induction, a Welcome Pack, and to answer any questions they may have; it is also an opportunity to get to know them a little and ensure they feel comfortable to come along to the group sessions. 

The Peer Support Group sessions run twice per month (days & times are variable, according to the capacity of the facilitation team) and are essentially structured in order to give continuity for both facilitators and the service users.  Here is an example:

A variety of resources (including question cards, activities, video clips) are available to engage participants and provide opportunity for everyone to share stories, listen to others, and feel part of a supportive group. 

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The Benefits and Impact of the STAR Bereavement Peer Support Group sessions are wonderful! 

The STAR model enables STAR groups to be free of charge for people to attend. There is no selection criteria, (as long as participants are over 18 years of age), no waiting list,  and, there is no time limit on how long someone stays involved with the STAR group. Some people may join for one session, whereas others may stay for many years. Some may stop attending for a while, but then join again at a later time should they feel they may need more support.

The most prevalent comments given by service users are 'it's so good to know that everyone in the group listens and understands', and 'I can just be me'. 

Everyone associated with the STAR peer support group sessions (service users and the facilitation team who volunteer their time to run the service) receive so much reward for being involved.   Please read through the quotes and case studies to get an overview of the positive impact this service is making.

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