What is Peer Support?
As part of the “Building Futures Project” funded by the Big Lottery, I am one of two workers who provide one to one support to young mums across Cornwall for Mums and their families who are part of the child protection process.
Last week we arranged a peer support day to allow some of the mums, Clare and I work with to get together and meet other young mums in the same or similar situations to themselves. It was a great opportunity to enable our mums to share their experiences, good and bad, and to learn from one another about coping strategies, ideas around how to begin to implement positive change in their lives and most importantly to not feel alone in what can be a very lonely and isolating time in their lives.
Support is a word we use a lot at WILD. We support young parents, they support each other and as staff we support each other. The word embodies who we are and what we try to do.
Peer support happens when people provide knowledge, experience, and emotional, social and practical help to one another.
We were lucky enough to have Jo Scrimgeour from the First Steps project who delivered some amazing information to the mums around attachment and why it is so important for our children’s brain development. The mums took part in some play activities to give them ideas how they can provide opportunities for attachment with their children.
We worked as a team together and the Mums were brave enough to tell their stories and support each other as they talked about the challenges they have faced as individuals and as they tried to hold their families together whilst struggling with addictions, relationships, mental health and the pressures of the Child Protection process.
The real achievement of this day was that the mums went away with a sense of hope that positive change is possible and support is available to them, not just from professionals, but in the form of their peers.
What did I learn today?...... Today I learnt that change is possible. I met a group of brave women on a challenging journey who extended a hand of support to each other. Women who started today feeling isolated and ended the day feeling more understood & more supported.
"It takes change, to make change"