Posted: Fri 13th Oct 2023

Shotton peer mentoring programme helping people with substance dependancy into work

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Oct 13th, 2023

In a response to the growing concerns about substance misuse in Wales, The Wallich, a leading homelessness prevention charity, has joined forces with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to launch a unique Peer Mentoring initiative in North Wales.

Recent data paints a concerning picture. Between January and March 2023, Digital Health and Care Wales recorded an increase in referrals to NHS substance misuse services – a rise of nearly 1,000 people from the previous year.

Additionally, 2021 statistics from the ONS revealed that drug-related deaths in Wales had reached an all-time high with 322 deaths, or 51.1 deaths per million people.

The fresh initiative will place three Peer Mentors in Shotton, Wrexham and Rhyl.

Drawing from their own journeys of addiction and recovery, these mentors aim to build trust with individuals grappling with substance dependency.

They will work closely with those accessing Job Centre Plus, DWP services, or those currently unemployed, offering guidance to not only overcome their dependency but to transition into meaningful, lasting employment.

One such Peer Mentor, Cheryl Murray, who will be operating in Rhyl, commented on the upcoming role. “After a challenging few years and with invaluable support from remarkable individuals, I recognised our shared humanity,” she expressed.

[Cheryl Murray]

“Experiencing genuine compassion during one’s struggles can be transformative. This drives my excitement to be a Peer Mentor, to demonstrate that with the right support, anyone can overcome any obstacle.”

The Peer Mentors’ unique lived experiences are central to the scheme. Their responsibilities will span a range of activities, such as:

  • Bolstering clients’ support circles and advocating for them.
  • Enhancing coping mechanisms.
  • Pushing for engagement with substance-related services.
  • Conducting workshops on CV writing, interview skills, and positive disclosure of DBS.
  • Nurturing trust with their Job Centre Plus Work Coach.
  • Introducing other job-related activities and supportive interventions.

Additionally, they will offer training to Job Centre Plus staff, educating them on recognising and assisting individuals who use substances in a trauma-informed manner.

Potential mentees are typically referred via their Job Centre Plus Work Coach or directly by other statutory and third sector organisations.

To qualify, individuals must be battling a substance dependency hindering employment, be 18 or older, reside in Shotton, Rhyl or Wrexham, and be claiming benefits or unemployed. Once onboarded, they’ll receive a tailor-made support plan lasting roughly eight weeks, extendable if needed.

Grant Hyatt, Area Manager for North East Wales at The Wallich, shared his insights on the program’s inception, “This service exemplifies a novel partnership model we hope will redefine many lives.”

“We at The Wallich are acutely aware that overcoming traumatic episodes, like substance dependency, mandates distinct interventions. Our vision is to enable individuals to view their futures optimistically, equipping them with necessary tools.”

He further elaborated on the organisation’s collaboration with Job Centre Plus, focusing on a psychologically informed approach when assisting vulnerable individuals. “We’re thrilled to direct our adept Peer Mentors in this pioneering endeavour in North Wales,” he concluded.

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