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Staff blog – what is a peer mentor?

What is peer mentoring? Mark Blyth, Peer Mentor and Volunteer Coordinator

I’m Mark, a Peer Mentor and Volunteer Co-ordinator at Moving On Tyne & Wear (MOTW).

As part of my role, I am responsible for recruiting and training peer mentors in South Tyneside who have experience of long-term health conditions. We support each of these peer mentors to draw on their skills and experiences, so that they can help support those in their local community, as well as those engaging with MOTW!

A bit about our peer mentoring service in South Tyneside

MOTW’s peer mentor service focuses on training mentors within the South Tyneside area to support people over 50 with a long-term health condition.

The service runs regular peer mentor training sessions to support and develop mentors’ skills; sessions include both individual and group activities designed to encourage and support mentors.

Our group meetings help to develop a safe and rewarding service and offer participants the opportunity to meet and make friends, take part in new activities, and improve their health and wellbeing.

What does being a peer mentor involve?

Mentors are people that want to either give back to the services that have supported them, or those who have experience of certain issues and want to use this experience to support others. Being a mentor means being a good role model to someone and supporting them through positive encouragement.

Peer mentors have the opportunity to take part in peer research, support other services in the area by raising awareness, and be part of creating and developing new services within the community that will work to support those with long-term health conditions.

What support do peer mentors receive?

Although the process of getting involved with peer mentoring may be simpler than with other volunteer roles, we still assess everyone that comes to us wanting to be a peer mentor. This is to ensure that the role is something they want and are able to commit to.

This is usually done through our own in-house peer mentor training programme, which provides participants with training, support, and development opportunities. It also gives those involved an insight into what a mentor is, as well as the benefits it has on the mentor and mentee.

When someone is mentoring we offer regular one-to-one support to review any future needs and identify any specific training that’s required. We also look at what each mentor is comfortable with, and what areas are suitable to each mentor, such as diabetes, COPD, or mental health barriers, and try to pair suitable mentors with mentees.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about peer mentoring in South Tyneside, or our Long-Term Condition Project (South Tyneside) you can contact us using the details below:

T: 0191 300 6931
E: enquiries@motw.org.uk

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