Two Community Peer Mentor Coordinators have received WOW awards from Durham Constabulary. Liz O’Hern and April Dickens were awarded their WOWs in October.
The Community Peer Mentor Service trains volunteers to become peer mentors. They then work with the clients to find the reason behind the problems the individuals are facing, or why they feel or behave the way they do. The mentors encourage clients to find ways to get help, and signpost them to the support services they need. They are ‘peer’ mentors as they all have ‘lived’ experience, which enables them to understand and relate to their clients’ needs, as they, too, may have a mental health problem, have experienced long-term unemployment, struggled with debt, or had a substance misuse problem.
Liz has been with the Community Peer Mentor Service since 2016, and April since 2017. They have both been instrumental in the success of the service, having helped to shape the training, the volunteer support, and client engagement, all of which contribute to the significant demand reductions provided to Durham Constabulary.
Jim Cunningham, Lead Community Peer Mentor Coordinator said: “Liz works tirelessly, constantly working late and weekends to ensure the best outcomes for those who have no one else. She is a positive role model to the new area coordinators and volunteers and provides briefings and support for Durham Constabulary staff. She is an inspirational lady who has made a real difference to the people across Darlington and County Durham.”
April was nominated by one of the service clients who said: "With the support of my peer mentor April who met up with me every other week I got through those eight months. She helped me realise I was resilient and deserved the chance at a new life. I will be eternally grateful to April, she will never know how much she helped me by just listening to me vent, telling me I could do this and just be being that someone to sit next to, in calmness and assuring me that my life would change."
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019