You Matter Project
An update on our You Matter Project starting peer research.
Starting remote research in Glasgow:
Our You Matter Peer Research Project has now started remote research in Glasgow. The You Matter Project is made up of a team of Peer Engagement Officers. Team members Linda, Scott, and Thomas, started carrying out research at the beginning of December.
The team is carrying out research evaluating our HIV Street Support service. The purpose of the evaluation is to make sure the service is meeting the needs of the people it's there for. That means ensuring people who are homeless or in temporary accommodation and affected by Glasgow's HIV outbreak have a voice when it comes to the support they receive.
About peer research:
Peer research is a method used to gather fuller information about people's experiences. That's why it is our chosen evaluation method for our HIV Street Support Project. The You Matter team describe the value of peer research best:
"It’s not just about giving a voucher and taking a story off them, it’s about having empathy for people. In my experience with lived experience, it means people open up to me, they trust me. If they ask a bit about me, I’ll tell them where I’ve been. And that makes a lot of difference with someone opening up to you and being comfortable with you." - Scott
"In my experience peer involvement is important when carrying out research for many reasons. One of being lived experience gives you an insight into many difficulties people face and the issues that can be a barrier to accessing support. The connection between individuals that can be established within minutes is indescribable due to the level of empathy and identification. Very rarely there is any imbalance of power which helps in accomplishing the truth of a situation. Therefore, the level of understanding creates this equal platform whereby much can be accomplished." - Linda
"Peer research is important in a programme like this, collectively we have a wealth of life experience are non-judgemental and are eager to help, we are distanced from day to day staff at Waverley care and anything spoken with us is only shared with consent. We have built up our knowledge base with the hope of collecting information that will help improves people's lives in going forward." - Thomas
Restarting following COVID-19:
It's been just over a year since the team first started research training with our Research and Engagement team, with training first carried out in November 2019. The team was then planned to start the HIV Street Support Project's evaluation the week Scotland entered COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. That meant the team waited until later this year before getting started with research again.
To restart the research, the team was trained on carrying out research remotely with our Research and Engagement team. With this training, the team is now able to carry out research in a virtual world. Following 13 months since the team first began their journey, they were delighted to be finally getting started this month.
We're grateful to the Scottish Government for funding this work, Without whose support we would not be able to carry out this research to improve the support we provide.