With our upcoming recruitment drive for Hepatitis C Peer Mentors in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Stephen Davidson, our Hepatitis C Peer Mentor Coordinator has written the following blog piece sharing what the project is all about.
“My confidence has really increased from Peer Mentoring, I had fear of failure but I now know that I can do it. And my goals have changed, when I started volunteering I didn’t want to gain employment for a couple of years but I’m now thinking that I would like to get into work a lot sooner. I’m really enjoying it and feel really motivated.”
– Sharon, 33
The Hepatitis C Recovery Plus Project is a peer mentor project, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery. Through the project, we provide the opportunity for people affected by hepatitis C to learn and develop skills that they can use to make positive changes in their lives and plan for their future.
When we talk about Peer Mentoring, we mean the relationship between two people, where one person uses their own lived experience to guide and support another person – helping them realise their own potential, overcome challenges and work towards personal or professional development and improved quality of life.
By working together in a way that values listening and collaboration, both Peer Mentor’s and the people they work with build new skills, confidence and draw on their personal strengths to live well. This makes the mentoring relationship beneficial to both Peer Mentor’s and the people they work with, as they have the opportunity to learn, grow and feel empowered together.
At Waverley Care, we have long known the value of peer support and the difference it can make to people’s lives, as demonstrated by the growth of our peer mentor projects including Project 100 for HIV Peer Mentors. We believe peer mentoring is a vital element of supporting anyone living with HIV or hepatitis C and, have seen the positive change it can bring to people’s lives.
If you’re thinking of getting involved in our peer mentor project, you can expect to get involved in:
When mentoring, we will provide you with the support needed to nurture and achieve your goals – helping you develop personally and professionally.
As a Peer Mentor, you are a vital and important part of Waverley Care and, the support we offer people living with HIV and hepatitis C across Scotland. So far, our Hepatitis C Peer Mentor’s have been out supporting people on a one to one basis, as well as supporting people over the telephone and providing a new Peer Mentor Drop-in service at our Glasgow office.
Since committing their time and energies to volunteer with us, our Peer Mentor’s have embraced their roles and have begun to thrive – with all of them accessing further training and education opportunities as a result of getting involved in the project.
One of our Peer Mentor’s has gained employment since joining the project and continues to volunteer with us to further develop his skills.
“It’s been great. I still get nervous with some of the stuff, like the groups but I know that I’m getting there! I’m really enjoying all the training and the chance to do different things too.”
– Graham, 46
And of course, there are the people our Peer Mentor’s work with, who have expressed their gratitude and approval for the additional support that they have received through peer mentoring. The support has been so well received that we have even had referrals that have specified peer support as part of their care plan, as they want to connect with someone who has similar lived experience.
There is a third recruitment drive scheduled for June this year, where I will be joined by Peer Mentors who will co-facilitate the training along with me and other staff.
By involving Peer Mentor’s in this process, my vision is an organic, sustainable peer mentor programme that can eventually be run by Peer Mentors themselves, giving them the ownership and recognition deserved for a service that wouldn’t be possible without them.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about peer mentoring or, become a Peer Mentor with our Hepatitis C Peer Mentor Project, you can contact me at: email@example.com or call 0141 332 2520.
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