DHI to launch new Peer Academy

DHI to launch new Peer Academy

DHI is launching an exciting new training academy that will help some of the most vulnerable and excluded groups in the West of England.

The West of England Peer Academy will help people overcoming drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, those with an offending background and people with poor mental health. The fully accredited training will help people to become peer mentors – someone who uses their own experience to help others going through similar situations.

Participants will work towards a Level 2 Award in Peer Mentoring and choose from a range of other activities to help them into work – this could be anything from digital skills courses and employment programmes to undertaking work placements to support others in recovery across the region.

In addition, the project will offer an online toolkit and resources to support other community organisations working with socially excluded people to set up their own peer service.

The West of England Peer Academy will be led by DHI in partnership with Julian House, Second Step and Weston College. The project is funded by the West of England Combined Authority Community Support Fund and will launch this summer.

The West of England Peer Academy builds on DHI’s significant experience of developing peer-led services. DHI has provided peer-led support services in the South West since 2012.

DHI Chief Executive, Rosie Phillips, said: “The West of England Peer Academy will build on the strong foundations of our peer services to support those with lived experience and the organisations that help them. We are really excited about the potential of this project to make a big difference to the lives of socially excluded groups of people in the areas we work.”

Second Step CEO, Aileen Edwards, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project. Our aspiration is for people to have a life beyond services – people have untapped skills and abilities – this is exactly the kind of learning space that people need: building skills, confidence and validating strengths.”

Julian House Director, Cecil Weir, said: "This is another terrific example of effective inter agency working. The individuals that we support often have complex needs that no one organisation can address. Projects like the West of England Peer Academy is fantastic way to empower people, improve self-esteem and ultimately reconnect individuals with their local community. We are excited to be part of it."

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