The Peer Hubs

Enabling the sector and beyond to benefit from lived experience

Peer-led services – or those using people with lived experience of the issues facing those they are helping - are at the heart of St Giles’ work.  We know they bring our services added understanding and compassion.  This improves client engagement and accelerates the pace of their progress. Numerous evaluations into our services have concluded that they bring benefits on numerous levels –from helping the individual and their family right through to wider society. 

“I’m like a flipper on a pin ball machine – there to catch the person so they don’t fall through the gaps.  I know exactly how hard it is for the guys I help.  However, because I’ve been there myself I also know if they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes and I’m not scared of challenging them when they do.”

          - Colin, Senior Caseworker, St Giles Trust

We are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting our first Peer Hubs in London and Leeds and for sharing our ambitions in extending the network further.

WHAT THEY DO

Our Peer Hubs are located in the communities they serve and offer a structured programme of training and supported work placements to people within that community who have overcome adversity. They train towards achieving an accredited Level 3 Information, Advice and Guidance qualification whilst undertaking work placements with partner organisations and continuing to receive support from St Giles. Alongside added resources, they bring diversity, fresh thinking and keep organisations close to the grassroots communities they are helping. The qualification we offer our Peer Advisors is a high level one and gives them a solid grounding in professional skills. The combination of this, alongside their lived experiences, brings a powerful tool than can effect positive social change from the grassroots up.

Thanks to a £5 million grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, we are extending our existing network of Peer Hubs across the whole of the UK.

We have bold ambitions which extend beyond St Giles and the Peer Hubs. We want to mobilise a fundamental change in the way services in our sector and others are shaped so that training and deploying peers becomes the norm. Through our tried and tested approach borne out of many years of developing and professionalising our Peer Advisor Programme, we have a wealth of knowledge to share with other organisations across sectors.

CURRENT PEER HUBS (AS OCTOBER 2019)

St Giles Camberwell

Based at our Camberwell HQ and works with partner organisations in south London. 

St Giles North London

Based at our Holloway Road office principally training people from the local area and working with partners in north London.

St Giles Cymru North 

Based in Wrexham and working across North Wales

St Giles Midlands

Based in Coventry and working across the Midlands

St Giles Yorkshire

Based in Leeds and working across a broad geographical area to train people from a diverse range of communities whilst partnering with a large number of other agencies.

To follow (as at October 2019)

St Giles Cymru South

This hub will be based at our Cardiff office  working with local communities and partners.

St Giles Norfolk

The location is  to be confirmed.  It will extend our existing peer services helping people find employment to benefit a wider range of individuals in the local community.

St Giles Scotland and St Giles Northern Ireland 

 This will be the first time St Giles has had a footprint in these countries and we will be working closely with existing providers in the course of their development. 

Who are peer advisors?

The people who train as Peer Advisors come from all different backgrounds and experiences. These include having a criminal record, family breakdown, poverty, histories of homelessness, substance misuse and mental health issues. However, they share a common goal of wanting to progress their own lives and help others in the process.

“It’s really rewarding to see the progress in my clients.  When I ask them where they want to be in a few months’ time a lot of them say: ‘Standing where you are and doing what you’re doing right now’ “.

                                                                                                  - Jenny, Peer Advisor on one of our services helping vulnerable women.