peers who volunteer

The importance of volunteers

The importance and value of peer volunteers

Research shows that peer volunteering is highly valuable to all involved Peer volunteers benefit from opportunities to “give back”, importantly they can rebuild their self-confidence and realise that they have something positive to contribute to society. Peer volunteers can also learn new skills and establish a constructive and positive lifestyle which can help with their own recovery journeys. Many people are able to convert their experience of peer volunteering into paid employment and extended careers within the broad social justice sector.

The people supported by peer volunteers are helped in their recovery by people who can share their own experiences as well as providing real-life examples of successful recovery. Peer volunteers can reduce feelings of isolation and increase feelings of self-worth and self-sufficiency, they can also build trust and confidence and, as a result, succeed in connecting the people they support to other services and opportunities.

Organisations can provide people who use services  with the added dimension of peer support, as well as benefiting from the insights and different viewpoints of peer volunteers working alongside paid staff. They can also grow their workforce by employing peer volunteers who have received in-house training and are aware of their working culture and practices.

Many peer volunteers become involved in wider lived experience groups and movements, working together to bring about positive change in the social justice sector and beyond.

However, these positive outcomes can only be achieved if peer volunteers receive good quality and ongoing training and support, help with building and consolidating skills and information, advice and support on how to find work and build a career in the social justice sector (if that is what an individual peer volunteer wants). This guide provides detailed advice on how organisations can achieve these outcomes based on the lived experience of over 250 peer volunteers.

You can jump to the other sections of the report by clicking the links below:

 

Alternatively, you can download the full best practice guide here.