“Peer Ed has helped me to give me optimism and make me feel more confident in myself. I really enjoy raising awareness of youth homelessness.”
Lisa is a bright and bubbly 24-year-old who recently put herself forward to become a Peer Educator. She has been a 1625ip service user for many years, originally accessing housing support from our Bristol team, Lisa is now based in the wider Bristol area and accesses support from our South Gloucestershire team.
Proactive and keen to get involved, Lisa has already helped to co-deliver an impressive 9 sessions since our initial meeting mid-November. She has quickly become a core contributor to our Peer Education program and is forever thinking of new, innovative ways for which to develop our work to best benefit the young people attending our sessions.
Lisa has overcome several challenges in her personal life and has shown great resilience in the face of adversity. She has candidly shared her experiences of turbulent mental health that she in part attributes to a severe lack of support prior to accessing the services of 1625ip.
Lisa describes struggling with issues concerning both employment and housing, and comments on how success in either area typically depends on the other also going well. She reflects proudly upon managerial roles she previously held within retail and at an estate agent and is open in discussing how her employers fell short in providing mental health support.
Ultimately Lisa reached crisis when her wellbeing took a turn for the worse which resulted in her having to leave her job and subsequently her privately rented flat. Lisa moved in with family and sought mental health support, although her experience of such has been mixed.
Lisa explains how her primary reason for engaging with Peer Education was to fulfil her need to engage in daily activity in the absence of a full-time job.
‘I feel like the organisation was the best place to put my time into.’
Noting how she is motivated by giving back to both 1625ip and wider society, Lisa also acknowledges ways in which Peer Education has benefited her personally.
‘Peer Ed has helped me to give me optimism and make me feel more confident in myself. I really enjoy raising awareness of youth homelessness.’
Lisa also mentions an improved ability to work with others since engaging with the project. Her ability to adapt her delivery and build rapport with whomever she works with was evident to me immediately. Lisa has the ability to read the energy of a room intuitively, knowing just how to adapt her communication to suit the needs of the class.
She explains to me how it’s nice to be raising awareness of 1625ip and youth homelessness, and believes the project has a lot to offer young people.
‘Young people going through issues can feel that they have somewhere to go and be listened to and supported…and where they can access that help.’
Lisa has a determination to take her life experiences and use them to empower others. She has aspirations of working with young people, possibly Young Offenders, in a support capacity and acknowledges how Peer Education is conducive to this.
‘My career is heading in this direction so it (Peer Ed) makes sense. I hope I can change Young People’s views towards society and how they behave accordingly.’
True to her proactive nature, Lisa already has an action plan in place to help her achieve this goal. She is enrolled with the Open University to study for a degree in Criminology & Psychology starting February and is positive about having a new focus in life.