10 previous clients of the Community Peer Mentor programme in County Durham and Darlington have now become volunteer mentors to help others who went through similar experiences.
The Community Peer Mentors were the initiative of the previous Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner late Ron Hogg CBE; however,funding continued, and the scheme grew exponentially, and the mentors have been established for over 6 years.
The mentors have actively recruited over 300 people with lived experiences who aim to inspire confidence in the police and criminal justice system and support victims and the vulnerable.
In the last 4 years Community Peer Mentors have dealt with over 1,400 referrals, offering support to vulnerable and isolated people.
10 previous clients who received support from the Community Peer Mentors in the past have now become mentors themselves through supporting vulnerable people affected by significant life changing events, either perceived or real, who through unfulfilled needs become high impact users on frontline statutory and non-statutory frontline services.
Based on 397 clients between January 2017 and April 2021,the mentors have seen 81% demand reduction on frontline policing services which includes demand on the 101 call service. 50% of clients between January 2017and April 2021 did not call the police during the accounting period and only22% called on one or two occasions.
The implementation of the Community Peer Mentor Scheme over the past six years has had a significant impact on demand reduction on policing services from high impact users including reduction on the 101 service.
Lyndsey Ballantyne, a previous client and now volunteer mentor said: “Being a volunteer peer mentor is truly amazing, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that I’ve helped my clients.
“I work very closely with each individual client and call my clients on the day they have selected, sometimes twice a week depending on my client’s situation. I’ve supported clients individually through several life-changing events including, bereavement, domestic abuse, loneliness, depression and much more.
“Hearing positive feedback from my clients is the most amazing, heart-warming feeling I’ve ever experienced; one comment was that I am their light at a very dark tunnel and that makes me very proud”.
Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner said:
“It is great to hear the positive impact the Community Peer Mentor scheme is having within the local community and how it has led to a demand reduction on frontline policing services including demand on the 101 service.
“Through having so many volunteer mentors, who were previous clients and are now supporting individuals who have gone through similar life events is truly selfless and I thank all those volunteers who continue to keep the scheme running for the people of County Durham and Darlington. The mentors offer unique support to each client, with the aim to leave individuals feeling safer and inspire confidence in the police and criminal justice system”.
The mentors aim to leave people with hope and confidence to lead a happier and more fulfilling life; by helping individuals to feel safer and improve the circumstances they have found themselves in.
Mentors offer support for as long as someone needs, as support is unique and bespoke for every client. Recently due to the pandemic mentors have provided support to those suffering from anxiety or social isolation.
The Community Peer Mentors Scheme has been recognised by the College of Policing as part of their ‘Top 10’ best practices for demand reduction, through the unique way they support vulnerable and isolated people.The scheme has also been awarded The National ‘Tilley Award’ for problem solving and demand reduction 2019-20 and were finalists at the International‘ Goldstein Awards’ for problem solving and demand reduction 2019-20.
For more information on Community Peer Mentors please email Community.PeerMentors@durham.police.uk
PCC shadows control room to observe demand
PCC praises work of Neighbourhood Watch Volunteers
Last month PCC Joy Allen swore her official oath of office so she could quickly get to grips with tackling the local communities policing priorities.