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- In Practice
Peer Led Advocacy Network
One to one and Group Advocacy for individuals experiencing homelessness; Reducing social isolation; Policy and systems change.
Crisis has been running the ‘Common Ground’ project for the last 13 months. This group, made up of, individuals experiencing homelessness, have come together in that time to discuss what they have learned from their experiences, and to share their unique knowledge, and skills, with others in the same position. One area of ‘Common Ground’ that all the members of the group shared, was feelings of isolation, powerlessness in the face of ‘the system’, and ‘lack of a voice’.
From this, grew a passion for supporting others in the same position, and advocating. So, off the back of deputations to the council, and frustration at the findings of statutory sector research on 'Living Conditions in Temporary Accommodation', the idea for a Peer Led Advocacy Network grew. Rowan Alba will be supporting the group on the next stage of its journey.
PLAN will have a number of functions. A Group Advocacy drop in, 1:1 outreach advocacy throughout the city, support to individuals accessing homelessness services for the first time, or simply individuals who find themselves alone, scared, and isolated in B&B’s and Hostels, with little or no idea of where to go to get support. The group have also begun the planning stages of developing an app for people who are recently homeless, to be able to quickly locate services to meet their needs.
Over the next year the group will form from a core of around 12 people, who will be the groups initial driving force. They will undergo a wide range of training in areas such as IT skills, Mindful Leadership, Coaching and Group Work. The training will also include ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions, to ensure that they are able to pass on the skills that they learn, to each new member of the group.
One of the visions of the group is to be able to achieve sustainability by upskilling some of the individuals who access it for support, thereby ensuring a continual flow of fresh blood to the group, and new members to replace those whose circumstances change, and are no longer ‘peers’. These former members will then have the opportunity to become part of the PLANS Steering Group.
At the end of the pilot year, a formal launch of the project, and the app, will take place at The Scottish Parliament, this will follow 12 months of working with the Parliaments Community Engagement Team, and various Cross Party Groups. PLAN’s Steering group, made up of members of PLAN and individuals from other Third Sector Organisations, will provide ongoing resource and administrative support, beyond the initial Pilot Year.
To measure the impact of the work, key areas such as feelings of isolation, confidence in accessing services, confidence in finding long term secure accommodation and ability to communicate needs to professionals, will be monitored. This Outcomes reporting will provide the basis for further funding applications, from the 6 month stage of the Pilot onwards, to ensure long term sustainability. These outcomes will also form the basis of the groups first steps into system change. Linking up with the Glasgow Homelessness Networks SHIFT project to ensure that quantative, and qualitative, data is available that paints a realistic picture of what the experience of homelessness is like, to ensure that those who actually experience homelessness are influencing policy.
Initial funding is required for expenses, travel, training, group team building, administrative and logistical support.