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The first of our national network of Peer Hubs have launched across the UK. They address social issues in local communities by training people with first hand experience of them to help others.
They use our established Peer Advisor Programme which provides accredited Level 3 training in Advice and Guidance to the trainees known as Peer Advisors. They support others undergoing similar experiences and work towards paid employment, helping people progress their own lives whilst helping others.
Underpinning the Hubs is St Giles’ belief that people relate best to others who have had similar experiences to them. It is hoped that they will bring about a fundamental change in the way charities and organisations offer their services so that employing people who have previously used their services becomes the norm.
The Hubs have been made possible thanks to a £3.6million grant from the National Lottery Community Fund announced in April. We were delighted to welcome Community Fund CEO Dawn Austwick to our London Peer Hub launch on 27 November. She said: “We are delighted, thanks to National Lottery funding, to be supporting the development of their London hub which has people with lived experience at its heart.”
Peer Hubs have recently opened in the West Midlands, North Wales and London with more to follow in Ipswich, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the coming months. Since its start in 2002, over 2,500 people have trained through the Peer Advisor Programme helping many 1000s of other people experiencing similar issues the chance to make the same positive changes. St Giles Chief Executive Rob Owen OBE said: “The first 2,500 Peer Advisors are the first step. It’s the next frontier we are excited about.”
The London Peer Hub was launched at a special celebration event at the National Gallery on Tuesday 26th November. Peer Advisors from two of St Giles’s existing projects shared their stories of overcoming adversity to qualify as Peer Advisors through an exhibition of photography and written testimonies. A PDF of these can be downloaded here.