An evaluation from PwC, formally launched last month, has demonstrated the level of social and economic returns from our peer-led approach of training our clients to become professional, Level 3 qualified advice and guidance workers.
The PwC team concluded that £8.54 in societal and economic returns was generated for every £1 invested in our Peer Advisor Programme. The finding was based on a study into our work in Leeds using ex-offenders to support prison leavers at risk of re-offending. Alongside savings in costs to re-offending, the researchers also concluded that the programme offered immense benefits to the people who train as Peer Advisors in terms of increased skills and employment prospects. Increased wellbeing as a result of access to housing, jobs and opportunities was also found.
You can read a blog piece written by Rob Owen, our Chief Executive, and published by PwC here
The Leeds work examined in the evaluation set the foundations for us to establish our Leeds-based Peer Advisor Centre in 2015. Supported by The Big Lottery Fund, it offers former service users the opportunity to train as Peer Advisors whilst carrying out voluntary placements at local partner agencies – usually other charities. It aims to help improve opportunities for very disadvantaged people in Leeds whilst supporting local charities with specially trained volunteers.
Over the past 18 months, 75 people have trained as Peer Advisors through the Peer Advisor Centre and supported hundreds of people in need of help through their voluntary placement. 30 people have successfully gained employment as a result of their Peer Advisor training.