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Volunteers sought for expanding Community Peer Mentors scheme

Community Peer Mentors

ENTHUSIASTIC AND kind-hearted volunteers, from all backgrounds and experiences, are being sought from the Durham City and surrounding areas to help vulnerable and isolated people in the community.

The Community Peer Mentor project continues to expand across more towns and villages throughout County Durham and has proven to be extremely rewarding for volunteers who have helped to change people’s lives.

Free-of-charge training will take place in April and May this year, so that volunteers can gain new skills, interests and qualifications. 

Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) Ron Hogg said: “This project is expanding rapidly which is fantastic news for the area. We now have nearly 60 volunteer mentors throughout Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe and Ferryhill, as well as Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Shildon. This means that even more people in our communities who feel vulnerable or isolated can receive the support they need to improve their quality of life.”

There are two training courses available. Both courses offer the same training content, just with different time durations to meet different people’s needs:

  • 2 Day Training Course - 26 to 27 April 2017 - Durham Town Hall. (This will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm. People will be required to attend both days).
  • 5 Week Training Course – 3 May to 31 May 2017 – New Police HQ, Aykley Heads, Durham (This will run every Wednesday evening, 6.00pm to 8.30pm).

No previous experience in volunteering or supporting people is needed as training is provided. There is no upper age restriction and relevant travel expenses will be paid when engaging with a client.

Once trained, Community Peer Mentors work with individuals in pairs to find the reasons behind their behaviour or why they feel the way they do, and encourage them to find ways to get the help and support they need. Existing volunteers within this unique project have found it a rewarding experience to help others when they need it most. Mentors also have the opportunity to gain BTEC and NVQ qualifications as part of their voluntary work and numerous opportunities including Safeguarding and Mental Health Training.

Applicants are invited to contact Jim Cunningham for more information or to register their interest on Tel: 0300 003 1818 or email: jim.cunningham@restorativehub.org.uk.

 - ENDS

 Notes to Editors

  • Once trained, the ‘Community Peer Mentor’ can choose if they would like to engage with clients in areas closer to where they live. The level of training required will depend on a volunteer’s experience, expertise and qualifications.
  • The course is delivered by a professional in coaching and mentoring, and provides an opportunity for experiential learning, using techniques including role play, large group discussions and creative exercises.
  • The feedback from recent volunteers includes: ‘Always interesting and informative’ -‘Very Good’ – ‘Easy to understand’ - ‘Met more than my expectations’ – ‘Brilliant’ - ‘Felt comfortable and able to talk’ and ‘Absolutely brilliant’.
  • More information about the project can be found on Ron Hogg’s website, at: http://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Victims/Community-Peer-Mentor-Project.aspx, or search for Community Peer Mentor Project on Facebook.
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
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