Community Peer Supporter
Community Peer Supporter
Why we need your help
At St Christopher’s we put people at the heart of everything we do. We believe that all dying people and those close to them deserve to have the best care and support, wherever and whenever they need it. We do all we can to make this happen, providing physical, emotional, social and spiritual support to over 7,500 people across south east London every year.
We are working to de-medicalise death, dying and loss and to remind everyone they are intrinsic parts of life. We think that talking about death and thinking about living well until we die should be something everyone can do and has many benefits. That’s why we work to provide opportunities for people to explore, discuss and raise awareness of some of the challenges and also opportunities in this area for support, skills development and conversation.
Importantly, we know that when people have had an experience, that gives them valuable knowledge and skills that they could share with others to help them gain those skills and learn too. We use a peer-peer model to help community members learn, explore, discuss and gain some vital skills that will support their own and other people’s end of life journey and improve that experience. We want to work together as a community to offer people the ability to explore, learn and to build their confidence in an enabling supported space.
How could you help?
We are looking for volunteers to join the Community Action team to facilitate groups, provide peer support, bringing their own skills and interests to the role. . Join us to help give community members opportunities to explore death, dying and loss together?
You will be spending time with members of our community (including current patients and their carers) to come together to share, learn and support each other. This may be through peer support groups, arts activities, or workshops.
We offer a range of activities and groups. You may choose to facilitate one or more of the following,:
- a peer group session for carers to share their experiences, online and in person
- a creative arts group at St Christopher’s for patients to explore different topics related to death, dying and loss
- a drop-in bereavement support group across SE London and online
- an evening discussion group connected to themes around death, dying and loss
- and/or other new opportunities that we may develop
In addition, we want to hear from you about what is important to you. How do you think we could help community members to explore death, dying and loss in different ways? Tell us more about initiatives, groups and offers that you would like to design or lead which could play a part in helping us to achieve our vision, in which we change and improve the way we experience the ‘end of life’ as a society.
What time should you offer?
Depending on which group you would like to support, we anticipate asking for your involvement between 2-4 times a month for 1-2hrs. This will mostly be during the week but may include some activities at evenings and weekends.
We envision small groups of volunteers working together so that there is plenty of cover for the groups and flexibility for everyone involved.
Ideally, we would like you to commit to a minimum of three months volunteering.
Where will you be based?
Onsite at St Christopher’s CARE in Sydenham & Caritas House in Orpington, online and in community settings across SE London.
What specific activities will you be involved in as part of this volunteer role?
- Facilitating groups, activities and community conversation events
- Meeting and greeting group members and setting up the learning space (in person)
- Setting up and managing virtual group work and events independently via Zoom.
- Building safe, trusting relationships with individuals, based on non-judgmental listening and shared lived experience
- Helping to create a relaxed, informal and supportive atmosphere
- Maintaining confidentiality at all times
- This is not a counselling or advice-giving role, nor is it a ‘teaching’ role. Your lived experience, compassionate attitude, careful listening skills, thoughtfulness and care are what matter most.
What you can gain from volunteering in this role
- Join an enthusiastic team, meet new people and get more involved in your local community
- Use and develop your skills, enhancing your CV if that is important to you
- Know you are helping people in your local community have access to support
- Opportunity to be part of a new role and activity - supporting and building confidence and resilience around end of life issues
- Contribute your skills, interests and perspectives with others for mutual benefit and support
Training and support provided
There will be a one-day training course and induction session which you will attend before starting this role. There will be monthly learning sessions to support your confidence, skills development and learning, as well as help you reflect on your own experiences.
- Peer learning and peer support skills
- Introduction to safeguarding
- Active listening skills
- Support from member of the Community Action team
- Access to monthly Community Action reflection sessions
- Ad-hoc training sessions where appropriate/necessary based on different themes and topics
- Volunteer Handbook and weekly email update from the Volunteering team
We are looking for someone…
- Compassionate, empathic and an active listener
- Friendly and welcoming
- Curious and inquisitive about trying new approaches
- Confident in using Zoom
- Comfortable with a facilitative approach, recognizing the skills that people can bring, whilst moving away from the traditional ‘teacher-student’ dynamic.
- Respects diversity and others’ opinions
- Able to build a friendly rapport with new people quickly
- Adaptive to new and/or changing situations
- Wants to make a difference in their local community
- Has a lived experience of death, dying and loss
- Able to follow our policies and procedures to keep you, our staff, our patients and our customers safe
- Able to represent St Christopher’s and our values positively.
Anything else you need to know
- You must be 18 years old or over to do this role
- There is a short settling in period to see if the role is right for you
- Informal interview to discuss the role and get to know you
- After the training you will need to complete a DBS check and provide two references
- Having a criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent you from volunteering
with us. We assess each situation on an individual basis
- At St Christopher’s we believe that no volunteer should be out of pocket
because of their volunteering. The reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket
expenses incurred whilst volunteering will help ensure volunteering is
accessible to all. All expenses to be reclaimed should be agreed with the
manager/supervisor in advance.
Equality and diversity
St Christopher’s recognises the qualities and strengths that a diverse group of
volunteers bring to the organisation and we therefore particularly welcome
applications from our underrepresented groups from within the local communities
and from a range of different cultures and backgrounds.