What do the Peer Advocates do?
Peer Advocates work as volunteers on the acute admission wards at the Bradgate Unit, Glenfield hospital and also in the community, for example, in local residential homes or day centres. The Peer Advocacy Project is an informal service for people in mental distress. It is a way of helping you to speak up for what you need and want from your care and treatment. Peer Advocates are fully trained and supported. Our volunteers have all lived with mental ill-health and this helps our clients to know they are talking with someone who understands.
Our Peer Advocates are independent. They will speak up for you (advocate), offer support, and give you information. They will listen to you and can deal with ‘on-the-spot’ issues. These typically include medication, hospital leave, care plans, meals, and things that happen on the ward or in the community setting.
The Peer Advocates visit the wards at the Bradgate Unit every week. They can help you with your ward rounds when you meet with the Dr and the team who are caring for you. They can represent your wishes when key decisions are being made, for example, planning for your discharge. They can also speak up for you at professional meetings such as Care Plan Approach (CPA) reviews.
The Peer Advocates can make sure you are seen by a formal Advocate at LAMP if your needs are more complex. This may be if you have been detained under a section of the Mental Health Act and need to see an IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocate).
The Peer Advocacy service is developing to include the Bennion Centre at Glenfield hospital. This has two acute admission wards for older people who are mentally unwell.
How can I access the Peer Advocacy Service?
If you would like to use our Peer Advocacy Service please call Judith Lindley, Peer Advocacy Project Lead, at LAMP on 0116 255 6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I become a Peer Advocate?
If you would like to become a Peer Advocate, please call Judith Lindley on 0116 255 6286 or email her at email@example.com. We will take your contact details and invite you to an introductory meeting with other new volunteers at our next recruitment session. You will then be invited to attend a short training course and a certificate will be awarded upon completion. Everyone will be fully supported throughout, in a safe and confidential environment.
The benefits of being a Peer Advocate:
Being a Peer Advocate is not all hard work! Our volunteers have lots of opportunities to meet together and often form new friendships and informal support networks. We organise regular social events and outings, such as the LAMP Social at the Exchange Coffee Bar, Narrowboat trips or a meal out together.
Our volunteers often comment that they get a huge amount of satisfaction from being a Peer Advocate and ‘being able to give something back’. Many of our volunteers have been helped by our Peer Advocacy service in the past. Feedback from clients we have advocated for include: ‘I am so pleased that I met with LAMP when I did because I was struggling with trust issues and you were on my side. You have been there for me both times I have been in hospital and each time, kept to your word. I would not hesitate to refer anyone to your service’.
LAMP offers further training opportunities once you become a Peer Advocate, to help you develop your skills and grow in confidence. These may include topics such as health and safety, and safeguarding. Some of our Peer Advocates have moved on to paid employment, following the valuable experience they have gained at LAMP.