GUNNERS FUND

    ALAG Peer Support Project

    ALAG was delighted to receive £2000 in grant funding from the Arsenal Foundation Gunners Fund and grateful for the opportunity to take the initial Support Planning Brokerage Project forward beyond the training stage to initiate a Peer Support volunteer service.

    This was an exciting and challenging project for ALAG, supporting members to offer their time, experiential knowledge, skills and expertise to help their peers’ access and make better use of local services. The project aimed to help our users create new healthy life-style habits to address major issues such as anxiety and isolation.

    A range of activities were offered within the Peer Support Project which included mentoring, employment coaching, workshops and signposting to specific services.

    During the initial stages and throughout the project, it was important to listen to what people said their needs were and to help them explore the services available to address those needs as well as matching the individuals with peers who had relevant lived experience. Using the skills and growing confidence of the peer support volunteers, support focused around activities such as communication workshops, supervised one to one sessions incorporating mentoring and coaching, social events and managing money workshops.

    This quote from one of our workshop leaders who also gave employment advice:

    “Working with my peers gave me the opportunity for personal development. I had to structure activities that took into consideration the individual needs and abilities of those attending the workshop. It was a valuable opportunity to see the wide spectrum of abilities and respond accordingly. I also had the opportunity to develop relationships further with other members and interact with them where there was not the opportunity before. I also was able to develop a workshop pack which can be used again in the future to support other members. The whole experience was enlightening, educational and extremely enjoyable.” Jennifer Barker

    This quote is from one of our beneficiaries:

     “…I enjoyed taking part in the workshops as it was nice to have the opportunity to share my views and hear what everyone else thought. The group leaders were good at involving everyone and making us feel more relaxed and comfortable in the group with plenty of opportunities to find out more about communication skills and to practice them in the group setting. The overall experience has helped me to identify areas where I need improvement but also it has highlighted my strengths which has made me feel more confident to try new experiences.” Aysen

    The Arsenal Foundation has made a significant difference to this project in that it:

    >Has brought us positive attention from a range of organisations who have an interest in autism – they would not otherwise have known about the positive value of peer-to-peer support networks.

    >Gave our members a sense of pride and increased confidence to know that they have the support of a prestigious club like Arsenal supporting them and raising awareness of the difficulties they face in everyday life.

    >The article featuring one of our members in the match day programme was also very well received and appreciated by the ALAG group and the wider community. It brought smiles all round and may even have swayed allegiance from other clubs, who knows…?

      

    Support Brokerage Training Project

    The Support Brokerage Training Project received funding from the Department of Health for a six month project training ALAG members to understand the social care system and give peer support to other individuals to enable them to engage more effectively with health services and tap into alternative autism resources.

    Andrew Carpenter of the London Brokerage Network, (third from left below) delivers the weekly training sessions to ALAG members.


    Members of the training programme from left to right:
    Val Edwards, Ethney Anderson (Project Coordinator), Andrew Carpenter (Brokerage Trainer),
    David Mery, Terry Bassett, Lance Charlton and Jennifer Barker.




    Listed below are feedback comments from the trainees describing what they think of the course.

    • "Through a dynamic mix of presentations and workshops, I have learnt how to create a holistic person-centred plan and discovered many of the resources available. I look forward to applying this learning to helping others."

    • "An interesting and inspiring course...I'm looking forward to putting what I've learnt into practice."

    • "The course helped me pass my interview for a part-time job with a local charity. I’m pleased at how it helps me structure my week and I enjoy the social interaction."

    • "Doing the course has increased my awareness and provided an insight into the issues and the resources available to support individuals to manage their own needs with more choice.

    • The Support Brokerage Training organised by ALAG has given me useful and valuable knowledge of the various types of social support and funding available to people with disabilities while also helping me to gain a better understanding of how the system of social care works and how it can be used in the most reliable way to meet the needs of the individual."