Since March, our Peer Hub teams and Peer Advisors have done everything they can to rise to the challenges of this unusual and difficult year.
Training has continued online, with the whole ‘Learning to Advise’ course we deliver adapted for remote delivery, enabling Peer Advisors to participate in the introductory learning to advice & guidance, assured by City & Guilds, even when they’re not in active placements. Where possible and safe to do so, hubs are returning to ‘blended’ learning with some face-to-face delivery in COVID-secure venues.
Volunteering placements have been harder than normal to find and keep going during lockdown but many peer advisors have kept delivering advice and guidance over the phone, online, or in COVID-secure workplaces.
Host organisations continue to tell us how much they value peer advisors and the huge difference people with lived experience make to their services.
“Having [a Peer Advisor] as part of the team encouraged many people to ask for the help that they needed”
“The Peer Advisor has inspired other participants to consider taking up volunteer roles and look into further education opportunities.”
“As a result of working with St Giles] We’ve changed the way we deal with our advice sessions; being more organised as a charity to schedule and diversify who’s giving the advice and guidance than how we were before”
We were lucky enough to be awarded additional funding from National Lottery Community Fund to support Peer Advisors with needs that arose during and after lockdown, including funding for laptops to help Peer Advisors keep up their qualifications and training online and stay connected to support, and new help from a digital coach and mental health professional.
Click here to watch a short film of Peer Advisors receiving laptops.
The St Giles COVID19 fund has enabled Peer Advisors to access food vouchers, hub staff have supported them to apply for additional help such as resources for their school-age children and they have held regular sessions offering emotional support. Peer Advisors have been extremely grateful for this: “It is good to know I have support; this has let me support my clients because I feel in a good place.”