Merton Centre for Independent Living is proudly launching its new Peer Support Programme, with volunteers trained in coaching techniques offering a free, three-month programme of support and coaching to disabled and deaf people in Merton.
“The peer support workers have such a great energy along with first-hand experience of dealing with all sorts of disability issues. Being able to chat through things with someone you know has been there is so much better in terms of thinking through different options and choices to a problem. I’ve spent time training with the team and they are ready to go and I know they have the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives,” said freelance musician and Disability Equality Facilitator John Kelly.
Merton CIL is an organisation run by disabled people promoting the inclusion, choice, and independence of disabled people in Merton. The centre was established to provide a voice for disabled people in the borough and to provide support to disabled people in all areas of their lives.
Members and other disabled people in Merton said Peer Support was one of their key priorities so the team recruited Peer Supporters with experience of disability and trained them over two days in coaching techniques, disability awareness and safeguarding. The Peer Support Programme can help disabled people in Merton to set goals and take the steps they want to take in their own way and in their own time. The programme will suit people thinking about making a life change like leaving home or starting employment, looking for a little extra practical or emotional support, or those who are newly disabled. They will be supported by someone who has been through similar experiences.
Local emotional health consultant Wendy Fry from www.bepositive.me.uk who delivered the coaching training said: “What a fantastic group of caring, compassionate, intelligent individuals who each bring their own experience and uniqueness which make them fantastic Peer Supporters, I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever their peers are will benefit greatly from their support.”