A Peer is always near in Yorkshire

Our Yorkshire team – whose work spans the West Yorkshire area – held a 5th anniversary event on 19 January to celebrate helping hundreds of heavily disadvantaged people to improve their lives, gain employment and independence.

Their peer-led approach has meant they have been able to engage and support people who may be reluctant to engage with mainstream support services. The Big Lottery funded Peer Advisor Centre has helped 98 people train as Peer Advisors over the past two years, enabling them to work towards a Level 3 qualification and help others through work placements with partner agencies. City and Guilds support means that they receive added help to improve their employment prospects.

The team work in prisons and in the community with people facing a wide range of issues which need addressing to help them progress their lives. These include offending backgrounds, homelessness, substance misuse and long-term unemployment. They support young people through the Choices Programme and offer specialist services for disadvantaged families through COPE, Gamechangers and Maintaining Family Ties.

Chelcey Huxley, Manager of the Yorkshire Team at St Giles Trust, said: “I am extremely proud of the impact we have had in helping some of the most disadvantaged people in West Yorkshire get the support they need and build the confidence and skills to become positive contributors to society. My wonderful team – many of whom have direct experience of overcoming disadvantage – always go above and beyond to help their clients.”

Annually, the team help 250 ex-offenders progress towards employment through its NOMS-ESF CFO3 project. Working in partnership with APM, it focusses on individuals who need the most support through helping them access employment and training opportunities whilst offering added help from a mentor to help them stay on track.

Supporters and partners attended the event and heard first-hand accounts from staff, peer advisors and clients on the team. This close-knit team hold an annual fundraising challenge to raise money for their client work and tackled the Three Peaks last year.