Aberdeen Cyrenians launches new peer support service

Aberdeen Cyrenians launches new peer support service

Homelessness charity Aberdeen Cyrenians has launched a new Peer Support Programme.

With over 50 years experience providing care and support for vulnerable people in the North East, Aberdeen Cyrenians walks alongside people facing crisis.

Whether at a tipping-point or facing deep-rooted challenges, the charity provides support to anyone in crisis, struggling with overwhelming circumstances by building positive change, resilience, and recovery.

Aberdeen Cyrenians helps people to achieve their goals by working alongside them, reducing and overcome barriers that they face and empowering them to build skills and resilience.

Peer support is the process of giving and receiving non-clinical assistance to achieve long-term recovery from severe psychiatric, traumatic or substance use challenges.

This support is provided by peer supporters - people who have “lived experience” and have been trained to assist others in initiating and maintaining long-term recovery and enhancing the quality of life for individuals and their families.

Paul French, programme lead, peer mentoring programme, said: “The Peer Support Programme is a new and innovative service bringing people together in a safe and supported environment. Peer support differs from the other types of support that we offer because the source of support is a similar person with relevant experience.

“People, families and communities can play a key role in taking responsibility and managing their own health and wellbeing. Peers will be encouraged to openly discuss ideas to develop groups and activities which will assist the recovery journey. We are very excited to create this opportunity to further assist the people that Aberdeen Cyrenians support.”

The charity said that the Peer Support Programme is an exciting step forward, as the organisation has worked with service users and staff with lived experience to design and develop something that works for the participants.

One of the most important aspects of the design of the programme is the organisation’s desire to ‘do no harm’ and to ensure that it does not negatively impact on the recovery of either supported persons or Peer Supporters, so the charity has paid particular attention to how we will deal with situational challenges, such as relapse and relationship and boundary issues.

Aberdeen Cyrenians said that it hopes that in doing so, we are as prepared as it can be. The charity’s intention is that the programme will grow and evolve over time.

The Peer Support Programme would not have been possible without the passion and enthusiasm of the team of staff and service users with lived experience who co-designed our programme, so our deep thanks go to all involved.

Chris Bennett-Taylor, CEO, added: “We are really excited about our new Peer Support Programme which at its most basic level is about people helping people.  The impact of peer support in terms of helping people to heal and to sustain recovery is well documented and we are particularly pleased that we have co-designed this programme with our service users from the outset. 

“Through the peer support programme, we will also be able to offer work placements and limited employment opportunities to those with lived experience which we hope will help them in their recovery and to regain their sense of self worth and citizenship.”

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