On Monday 25th April, new Peer Support Volunteers from Brighton Housing Trust’s (BHT’s) Mental Health and Wellbeing Service attended a certificate presentation ceremony at the Mayor’s parlour.
Volunteers enjoyed tea with the Mayor, Cllr. Lynda Hyde, sharing personal stories of peer support and recovery while celebrating completion of their training.
Peer Support Volunteer, Paul Connors, said: “I just want to show my gratitude to BHT by giving something back. Who would have thought a year ago I would be having tea with the Mayor? “
Fellow volunteer, Sarah Lavis, said: “I’m eternally grateful to BHT. It saved my life. Without BHT helping me into recovery I don’t know where I would be. If I can help people get even half the life I’ve got, I will be so happy.”
The Mayor, Cllr Lynda Hyde, said: “During my year in office I’ve commented many times how important volunteers are to our city; without them … without you … many of the things we take for granted would simply struggle to happen; and so I thank you for your dedication and for the difference you make.
“The act of volunteering itself also makes a difference; it unlocks skills that were always there but hidden away, it provides confidence where perhaps there was a lack of it and it provides a focus where things were perhaps once unclear.
“Each of you now have the ability to share and pass on those opportunities and do so with lived experience … experiences that have often been hard and challenging but nonetheless ones that have shaped who you are and that you have chosen to make something positive from.”
Lorena Barroeta, Wellbeing Peer Support Worker, said: “Peer support is based around the idea that people who have had similar life experiences can provide recovery-focused, non-judgemental support to one another based on their shared and personal understanding. Volunteers are all in recovery from mental health challenges, better equipping them to support others through a sense of mutuality and trust.
“It is great that the Peer Support Volunteers are being recognised for their invaluable work.”
BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service supports people experiencing mental health problems through free counselling, group work, casework, peer support and Threshold Women’s Service. The team of peer support volunteers have helped to facilitate drop-ins, outreach work at other BHT projects and client involvement activities.
If you are interested in becoming a peer support volunteer please contact BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service on 01273 929471.