What is Peer Support?
Peer support is an equal relationship between individuals or groups of people who get together to give and receive information, advice and support. It’s a chance for people to share their experiences, learn things they would not have known otherwise, and support each other around a particular issue.
Up until now Equal Lives has provided opportunities for people to access peer support through our Member Groups, Independent Living Groups (ILGs) and as part of our project work. For example the ILGs meet to support each other and share information about personal budgets and other issues concerning living independently. The Moving Forward Project helped people to take a positive and creative approach to perhaps getting back into work and allowed people to share their own experiences, learn from and encourage each other to overcome the barriers to achieving that.
Our Peer Supporters
Equal Lives have created an opportunity for people to get some one-to-one support primarily around applying for and/or managing a personal budget/direct payment.
Our first round of peer support training finished in April and was completed by 5 people. They thought it was “trainee led”, “engaging”, “informative”, “practical”, “engaging” and “fun”.
We now have 4 volunteers who are available to talk to people wanting support around personal budgets or direct payments. They are not advisors or advocates, but will support by sharing their own experience of using personal budgets and/or living with a disability. As volunteers, they are not in the office every day but we can arrange a call back. Each one of them has different experiences and skills to share, whether it be living with and managing mental ill health or employing a PA/support worker. The volunteers have so far been offering an extra level of support to some of our existing clients both in our independent Living Service and the advocacy team but are able to talk to anyone.
We will be starting another round of training in October with 5 more volunteers. When they have finished their induction, we will then have a team of 9 who will be available on a regular basis. We hope to continue these volunteering opportunities and training sessions next year.
For more information and/or to express an interest in future training sessions please contact Hazel on firstname.lastname@example.org