I started with Vocational Services (South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, SLaM) at Beale House as a receptionist. I helped them for some time until I had a thought of going back to study. Shaun Williams, Vocation Matters Project Manager, helped me to apply for Lambeth college where I was successful and did a Diploma in social work Level 3.
I continued my journey to look for employment through Vocation Matters. I was connected to Vital Link (service user and carer engagement group feeding back to the then Primary Care Trust, NHS). I used to attend meetings, events and this is where I met Jessica Aguedelo. It was a peer support event and Jessica (then co-ordinator) introduced Solidarity in a Crisis (SiaC) and told us she needed people who had a mental health experience to work as peer supporters. I was interested and she posted me more information about the job. I did my interview with Jessica, got through and started to work as a peer supporter for SiaC.
A kind heart to support people
I have gone through various training to do this job, both on-line and face- to-face. This has given me a lot of understanding and knowledge to perfect my job. I have got a lot of support, both from peers as a team and the management. Peer support work has given me a lot of confidence and an experience that am not the only one who has suffered in this world…but other people suffer the same as well. It has given me a kind heart to support people of diverse groups and keep their confidentiality – 1.1 supervision has helped me to grow professionally. This is when you discuss your achievements at work,what more help you need to do your job, necessary further training and your way forward. I am happy to say that my experience with Solidarity gave me confidence, knowledge and self-esteem. It helped me to move a step further in Certitude as a company and I am now employed as an Employment, Training and Education (ETE) trainee advisor.
I am training towards NVQ level 3 in information and guidance, and while working, I am training towards a qualification as a pathway to employment. I feel this is a great chance for me, and I would like to advise my fellow peer supporters to grab opportunities, which Certitude has in order to move forward. I am happy that Solidarity as a project is growing at a high speed and am really happy with Patrick, the Peer Involvement Co-ordinator who has helped me to grow professionally.
Wow Solidarity… We are moving forward and I think the kind of support we give to people in a crisis is highly appreciated, because even professionals want to know more about how peer supporters work. SiaC in Lambeth has inspired other boroughs to start a crisis line so we are expanding to Lewisham and Southwark, so I am pleased to be a product of Solidarity in a Crisis.
Click here to read more about Solidarity in a Crisis