Well, it’s been a while since I posted here but that’s mainly because I was busy preparing for the peer support event at the Forum last Wednesday. Fortunately everything went off without a hitch and all in all the feedback we’ve received has been really positive; “The best peer 2 peer event I’ve been to.”
The day was a mix of workshops, talks and activities and gave the opportunity for people to talk to a wide range of groups and organisations with different kinds of experience and expertise. I think everyone got something from it; I know I really benefited from being able to discuss things with other peer support workers. It’s always good to see how other people do it, try new things and learn from each other, or we can get ‘stuck’ doing the same thing.
The final discussion of the day was about where we go from here now we’ve created these links and co-developed the event. All recognise the importance and value of peer support and there were lots of suggestions for things we could do, for example:
- a closed Facebook page where Peer supporters can support each other and share ideas
- Create a Norfolk peer support network via a website, email and quarterly meetings
- Organise similar events at different places around the county working with local groups to develop them to meet their needs
There is such a benefit in supporting people people as individuals rather than one perceived identity. I’m not saying that supporting people is not important, of course it is; but we are so much more than a ‘disabled person’, an ‘elderly person,’ ‘a recovering alcoholic’ etc. If we offer support to someone purely because of how we perceive them and their issue, are we not potentially putting them in a box and cutting them off from accessing other worthwhile support offered by someone else?
It was encouraging that all the groups who came to the event recognise that and want to continue working together. So…hopefully this is just the beginning of something bigger and the start of some joint peer support initiatives in Norfolk.