Tony Fiedler works as Project Trainer and co-ordinates our Norwich-based Peer Hub. Here he describes him and his team’s experiences at a special networking event for organisations in Norfolk involved in delivering peer support.
Connection and sharing are key elements of our Peer Advisor Programme and this became more of a challenge during the pandemic’s restrictions. Therefore, we were so grateful to be part of the first Norfolk Peer Support Networking event since the start of the pandemic on 7 July. It gave us a chance to listen and learn from each other in person rather than as tiny squares on a computer.
A host of other likeminded organisations attended the day and we were very proud of our Peer Advisors who contributed to the discussions and presentations. One of these was our colleague Laura who has described her journey with St Giles here.
Peer Advisors shared their stories with the lived experience chat table hosted by Norwich-based support organisation Men’s Craft. They outlined how they have overcome challenges and where life has taken them because of their lived experience. The feeling around these discussions was so positive and a couple of the Peer Advisors were buzzing afterwards, one stating that he never knew that sharing his lived experience could be so empowering.
Our City & Guilds accredited Learning to Advise course – the entry point towards becoming a fully qualified St Giles Peer Advisor – was outlined in a presentation by me, which has already resulted in applications from perspective trainees onto the next course which starts in September.
Feedback on the event was extremely encouraging and sets a positive platform for future events. There were some great ideas for developing the network further, including having a forum for people in peer support / advisor roles to support each other.
Lastly, we said goodbye and thank you to one of the best advocates for peer support in Norwich – Denise Snell from Norfolk County Council who is retiring. She has been the glue who has kept the network together and will be sadly missed.
Tony Fiedler, Project Trainer and Peer Hub Co-ordinator
Learn more about the work of the Eastern Team here
If your organisation is interested in working with St Giles find out more here