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Our Voice

Posted on 7 April 2020

A day in the life of a Peer Mentor

Acorn work on the New Leaf Programme, supporting people affected by drug and alcohol use. Acorn provide one-to-one mentoring services that help participants overcome barriers to employment, gain access to a participant personal budget and other specialist services within New Leaf. Our dedicated team of Peer Mentors act as supportive companions and trusted allies throughout participants recovery. One of our Peer mentors has shared the following insight into a typical day with the project.

2nd April 2020

AM

5am wake up call from my boy Archie, cheers son. Wondering how the day will go today with little legs (my daughter Ruby), every day is different and her mood determines how our day as a family will pan out.

I’ve had a few anxious participants getting in touch struggling with everything going on at the minute. Some are struggling to feed their children, so I have spoken with my local church and they’re happy to support Acorn and our participants with weekly food parcels.

I’m tapping into online support for my own recovery and doing lots of readings which are helping me. To be honest, I’m feeling quite anxious too but my job helps me to step out of myself and help others. Some of my participants have nothing and nobody… just us, just New Leaf.

So sorted the kids out with their breakfast, Ruby is in a surprisingly good mood (happy days), that means mummy and Ash are going to have a good day too.

Ruby has autism special needs, global development delay and suffers from separation anxiety from myself. Some days are tough, but she’s an absolute star and full of character. She seems to be coping without school so far, but I’m trying to take it day by day, she doesn’t really understand the idea of six weeks, six months; a bit like me and Ash.

I have to be at church for 9am to pick up 4 food parcels. While I’m getting ready, Ash is trying to sort the kids out. I’ll probably take Ruby with me as it’s a bit much for Ash.

Phones going off already so I know it will be my participants, quick text to them then I’d better go.

Finally got to Alsager after getting food parcels for my participants. Obviously, nobody could help, so I had to lug them from the church to the car myself. I popped some bibles in, they might not be religious but the church offered so I tucked them in the bag.

My first participant looked really upset and wanted me to stay and talk, but I just can’t risk my kids, family or the participant themselves.

I’m going to have a phone appointment tomorrow with a lady who really relies on our appointments and that face to face contact. From where she was to where she is now, I just hope she stays connected.

Off to another participant, she has 4 children quite a lot of substance misuse and very vulnerable. This lady was on the floor when she first signed up, but I just knew all she needed was for one person to believe in her. She’s making progress, still has her bad days but I’m in daily contact with her and referred her to the relevant partners that can support her more. We’ve spoken lots about NA and AA online support groups and she has even reached out to other participants who are in recovery for support… absolute magic.

Off to Crewe now to drop another food parcel off. This lady was at risk of losing her son when we first met, lots of substance misuse drinking and domestic violence. She has worked so hard to change her life and get involved with CGL and ourselves. She’s been on the well-being course, the digital inclusion, she tapping into YouTube listening to NA speakers, reaching out and being honest about where she’s at. I could understand her pain when we first met, the realisation of losing a child, she knew she had to put the footwork in and she flipping did.

This delivery is a nightmare. Up lots of steps not sure how I’m going to manage this one but I will!
Just received a few calls from participants. One is starting online college; another is off to university, she doesn’t start till September but absolutely over the moon for her.

Just got in still need to eat, but it’s now dinner time so the kids need food.

PM

Doors just gone. Finally, my participants’ tablet has arrived. So, now it’s off to Alsager again to get the Annex N signed from my participant then scan over to Alison for her to upload onto participants file. So glad New leaf agreed to fund her a laptop as this was a big barrier for my participant she’s going to be so happy.

Right, better get this mileage done and sent….. I still need to eat but really do need to get this mileage done.
I need to send some emails as a colleague from groundwork wants to use three of my participants as case studies, so I need to get their permission first.

Just received a phone call from my participant, she’s managed to get dressed, clean all of the upstairs and feels so much better today and thanked me for all the food. New Life church are brilliant, I have a great relationship with the pastor there and other staff so they will always try and help if they can. They are the most selfless people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

Right, I better update yeti and catch up with Beech House residents to see how they all are. I know some are really struggling not being able to get out to a meeting, but I have managed to send links for meetings support groups etc. What I find with this job as a mentor is, we can be the only form of contact for some. The sad realisation is, these people have absolutely nobody. Even before this started with the lockdown, they were socially isolated and have no form of support other than us.

Two people making a heart with their hands

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