I’m Holly and I recently joined Providence Row as Peer Mentor Coordinator. I oversee the peer mentor service for Reset – a free service offered to residents in Tower Hamlets to help people reduce their alcohol and/or drug dependency - across both Providence Row and East London NHS Foundation Trust.
As it is Volunteers Week, it’s a good opportunity to introduce myself and also to highlight some of the benefits of peer mentoring, for the people we work with, the peers themselves and for the organisation as a whole.
A peer mentor is someone who has lived experience of substance and/or alcohol misuse, mental health or homelessness who wants to use this experience to support others to begin their own recovery journey as they enter, maintain and move on from treatment services. We are often able to relate to people who have shared similar experiences; we can learn from things that worked for them and also things that didn’t. As a positive model of recovery, peers use their experience to encourage and support others, and also to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Peers are examples of this hope, and that in itself is a powerful motivator.
As well as supporting others, peer mentoring is also beneficial for the mentors themselves as they are able to develop existing skills and learn new ones through the project work. Peers take part in regular training events at Providence Row as well as receive regular supervision where development and personal goals are discussed and worked on. All this experience can support peers move on into further education, training and job roles within the sector.
As a team, it is beneficial to have peers involved in service delivery, planning and evaluation as they offer a valuable insight on what it feels like to have been through the service highlighting both strengths and weaknesses. Peers can offer an alternative perspective that helps to ensure the service is meeting the needs of our clients, and delivering the best service for the clients.
Peer mentors offer an invaluable resource to the organisation. They support and inspire the people we work with during some of the toughest times of their lives. They do this with their time, compassion, insight and knowledge. I will be meeting and working with peer mentors in the coming months and can’t wait to update you with their stories and achievements in my next blog.
If you’re interested in peer mentoring at Reset and Providence Row get in touch with Holly on 020 37458738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org