Fife Peer 2 Peer graduates celebrate in style!
20th February 2019
Peers were rocking the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes earlier this month as they celebrated their achievements on completing the Peer 2 Peer course. Lesley Smith, SRN Network Officer (East) tells us more.
Fife Employment Action Trust (FEAT) piloted the course, thanks to funding from the Delivering Differently employability project and the tenacity of Catherine Grubb! Catherine has been keen to see peer support develop in Fife and as a member of Team Experience (Delivering Differently) saw an opportunity for FEAT. A funding bid was awarded to FEAT to pilot the Peer 2 Peer course with support from SRN.
Delivered by people with lived experience
A commitment was made to ensure that delivery of the course was by people with lived experience of recovery. Catherine not only saw her idea come to life, she led in making it happen through becoming employed as the Lead Peer Facilitator. Jen Hannah was employed in a peer support role with the added benefit of also being a participant in the course. Planning started and information sessions were provided to encourage interest from potential students. This included a taster session and opportunity to find out if the course was for them. The response was positive with twenty-six people expressing interest in the available 10 places.
The pilot started with enthusiasm, curiosity and to be honest a bit of anxiety and that was just the facilitators! The first day people quickly created their learning space and over eight weeks explored together peer support and recovery approaches. The students worked hard together and supported each other week by week even taking the initiative to set up their own support network. The course coming to an end felt like the start of something new as students talked of their hopes for their futures and many looked to start volunteering with FEAT as peer supporters whilst another is already employed in a peer role. One participant commented:
It has given me a good idea of what would be expected of me in a support role and when it is appropriate to share my own experiences. It has given an idea of important aspects of being a supporter, such as establishing and respecting boundaries.
I have a better awareness of my strengths and weaknesses, and what I could bring to a peer support role. I also have a better idea of my recovery journey and what helped/hindered me.
The celebration event
To share their learning with their family, friends and wider community, we held a celebration event. Duncan Mitchell (General Manager, FEAT ) spoke of how FEAT was seeking to build on the ways people with lived experience are involved in the organisation and peer support was always something that they wanted to take forward and build on.
The students powerfully shared with everyone their experience of the course and their learning. Debbie, a participant on the course, had noted all the positive words that were used throughout the course creating a wonderful word cloud.
As with any celebration a cake is essential! The students had joked throughout the course that the sandwiches were a vital part of making the course what it was…. so the joke was then on them as they were presented with the Peer Sandwich Cake! The fillings representing the Peer Values of Hope (Ham), Experience (egg), Authenticity (apple), Responsibility (raspberry jam), Mutuality (mayonnaise) and Empowerment (edam cheese).
Throughout the course another participant, Ross was encouraged by his peers to share his love of writing and poetry. The final day of the course was an emotional one as everyone shared their appreciation of each other and Ross shared his poem. It was fitting to also end the celebration event with his poem:
We started a journey in mid November
Face and names to remember
With passion and emotion from everyone
We’ve seen it through till the course was done
We all strive for change and to help with our knowledge
And all of this done without the help from a college
It’s life skills and help from SRN and FEAT
And draw from our experiences from the people we meet
We’ve done this folks, there we go
By having the courage to give it a go
We all are great people with struggles in the past
And I’m sure at the end we’ll have friendships that last.
Ross Harrower (2019)
As the event ended, journeys begin for all the students, FEAT and peer support in Fife.
This has helped me understand that no matter how insignificant any of us feel our experiences are, they are valuable to others.
Talk to us
SRN would love to hear about the work you are doing in Scotland, your hopes for change and how we can work together. Contact one of our Network Officers:
Robert Stevenson (West): firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Hendry (North): email@example.com
Lesley Smith (East): firstname.lastname@example.org
You might also be interested in…
Growing Peer Support, Mentoring and Befriending, 28th February, Glenrothes
A great opportunity to hear more from the Peer 2 Peer students, FEAT and SRN as well as get involved in discussing how to develop peer support in Fife. Book here
Using Our Experiences to Influence Change, 1st and 8th March, Kirkcaldy
Two workshop sessions exploring how to use our stories to influence change facilitated by Lesley Smith, East Network Officer, SRN. Book here
Peer Support Worker Role
SAMH are recruiting for a new innovative peer service: