Peer-led services are at the heart of St Giles. We call this working Side by Side and it uses past experience to inspire and enable people to improve their lives, change the lives of others and bring benefits to local communities and wider society.
Side by Side offers an innovative, effective and smart solution at a time of increasing pressure on public services. It places people who have been there themselves at the centre of devising and delivering services.
We are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting this work.
The Peer Advisor Programme
The Peer Advisor Programme offers people who have experienced disadvantage the opportunity to train to a City & Guilds accredited Level 3 Advice and Guidance qualification. As part of the vocational element of the course, Peer Advisors undertake supported work placements before progressing to employment.
The professional qualification coupled with their past experience means they can reach, advise and support people in a highly effective way. They also show possibilities to others who share similar backgrounds, becoming role models who inspire positive change.
"I enjoyed gaining experience and learning, it has built my confidence and self-esteem hugely and I just feel like I’ve been able to take a big step forward in my life by having these skills and being on the programme." Jill, Peer Advisor
As part of the vocational element to the qualification, they undertake supported work placements with partner agencies who are addressing local needs, typically those around homelessness, addiction, unemployment and work with ex-offenders. As individuals with lived experience of these issues, they bring a mix of professional skills and their first hand experiences to offer highly credible services.
Why Adopt This Approach?
It’s adaptable and responsive to different environments and communities.
And the facts speak for themselves – for example:
- Every £1 invested in services led by this approach saves an estimated £8.50.
- Every Peer Advisor who trains through our programme contributes six times their training cost to their communities in casework time – as well as the long-term benefits of the support they provide.
Become A Partner
Our Peer Advisors can enhance your organisation in numerous ways. These include increasing diversity, bringing professional skills, living experience and help in addressing frontline pressures. We can also help advise on processes and policies to enable people with lived experience to thrive in your organisation, and provide training and support to existing volunteers and staff.
“Having John as part of the team encouraged many people to ask for the help that they needed. Many homeless and people in addiction as well as in recovery who previously felt that they would be judged and not listened to by the staff came for help through the support and lived experiences that John has.” Host organisation feedback.
If you are interested finding out more about partnering with us please contact us here.
In this film, Peer Advisors explain the impact of the programme on themselves and those around them.
Little steps make all the difference.
There are short stories, then there’s life changing stories. Read our new Impact Series, short stories from real life impact.