Service Involvement and Peer Mentoring

Our Service Involvement group and Peer Mentoring Programme has now been running at SPEAR since 2016.

Our Service Involvement Group

All SPEAR clients from across our different services are invited to be part of the Service Involvement Group. They are involved in many areas such as giving feedback on SPEAR’s services, volunteering and assisting at events and other activities. Our Service Involvement Group ensures the voice of our clients is heard. In addition, through meeting others who have been through similar experiences to themselves, they can gain support, understanding and friendship.

Peer Mentoring

Since 2016, 23 people have enrolled on the Peer Mentoring course at SPEAR. 13 are qualified and 7 are still completing their course and are awaiting assessment in the future. This course is accredited by OCN (Open College Network), Level 2 and takes place at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult College (RHACC) and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH). Once trained, Peer Mentors go on to offer peer-to-peer support to others who have been through the same as them. In July 2020 we started recruiting for the next group of Peer Mentors ready to start again in September 2020.

Four qualified Peer Mentors gained employment through SPEAR upon completing their course, SPEARs staff teams, including Fundraising, Homeless Healthlink and Outreach. This means they benefit from hands on experience in a variety of roles from presenting and being an Ambassador at schools, colleges or community groups, to helping support clients. Having people who have experienced homelessness themselves employed at SPEAR, is something SPEAR continues to encourage and is part of SPEAR’s strategic aims.

Five others have gained employment or are now working or volunteering for companies outside of SPEAR.

Events our Service Involvement Group and some other SPEAR clients have been involved in, in 2017-2020:

  • 12 clients from our Service Involvement group became qualified First Aiders (7 of these were Peer Mentors and 5 of them were SPEAR clients from different services and hostels)
  • Around 35 clients attend our SPEAR Christmas party on average each year
  • Clients from our Hostel have helped with gardening across other projects within SPEAR
  • Day trips to Kew Gardens and a day trip to Barnes Wetlands Centre.
  • Boat trip to Hampton Court and a palace tour
  • Rounders – playing against CGL – a local charity who also played with staff and service users.
  • Rugby tournament – St George.  This is SPEAR’s biggest annual fundraiser and SPEAR field a staff and SPEAR client team to play against the other corporate teams.
  • Local fairs including Kew, Hands Fair – Twickenham, Barnes, Hampton Hill.  Clients helped on the stall, gave leaflets out and talked to people about SPEAR.
  • Ambassadors – giving presentations in schools and community groups.
  • Service User Forum Involvement at St George’s Health Trust – SPEAR clients gave input into redeveloping services with an aim of improving them. 
  • Partnership with Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do’ who donated SPEAR Christmas gifts and visited for the day with their service users too and together we wrapped presents and shared stories.
  • Art sessions with coffee and cake
  • Haircutting sessions for clients
  • Monthly outdoor games from April – September

This project has been made possible by charitable funding from City Bridge Trust (the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder), Heathrow Community Fund and Postcode Community Trust. Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our project received £15,000 from the Trust to support people experiencing homelessness in the local community to get active, improve their health, build confidence and find new skills.