A new report has found that the Peer Circles Project, which works with people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage, has offered life-saving interventions.
During the course of research for the interim evaluation report, carried out by JH Consulting, clients spoke of the fact that the support they received from Peer Circles had prevented them from suicide. One woman said: “Without St Giles Trust people would be reading about a woman who committed suicide and the reasons why.” She also recalled how she would shake so much when she first came to St Giles Trust she could only sign her initials in the signing in book. With her confidence returning thanks to the support of her caseworker, she is now looking for work and securing interviews.
Started in January 2017, Peer Circles offers support to people facing issues such as homelessness, mental health problems, addiction and chronic social exclusion. The three-year project, funded through the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund Building Better Opportunities Programme, has helped 451 disadvantaged people across London with emotional support, housing problems, accessing and engaging with other support services and support with employment. Peer Circles adopts a peer-led approach and offers individuals with first-hand experience of disadvantage the opportunity to train as Level 3 qualified Peer Advisors who help others to make positive changes in their lives. 37 people have embarked on the Peer Advisor training since the start of the project.