Not alone …..
As well as offering employment or training advice and support, as Peer Support Workers (PSW’s) we also offer a broader moral support to our participants. There can be many factors involved in individual cases which all need to be addressed to ensure that someone is ready and able to return to work.
For example one participants life has been extremely hard recently. She has 2 young children, no local support network and a difficult relationship with her ex-partner (her children’s father). So, how can she even be ready to start work if she’s trying to cope with lockdown, home-schooling her children, her own mental health issues and, on top of all that, dealing with domestic abuse?
But this lady is a fighter, she is determined to get back into work, provide a safe and loving environment for her children and take back control of her life. However, she cannot do all of this at the same time, and she cannot do this alone.
Part of our job as PSW’s is to recognise when we need to find other sources of help outside of that offered through our own employability project. In this instance we have signposted our participant to various local support groups for those suffering domestic abuse and we have reached out to colleagues for additional support and guidance. At HeadsUp we have a Wellbeing and Safeguarding policy to keep both staff and participants safe, and we make our Safeguarding Lead aware of relevant information to enable them to follow things up and provide any further support should it be required.
Sometimes the most important thing we can do is make sure that our participants know that they are not alone.