I am a Peer Navigator for the NIHR funded study SHARPS, Supporting Harm Reduction through Peer Support. I work at the Salvation Army’s The Orchard in Bradford which has fifty six beds for people who are homeless to reside and receive support. There is also a day shelter which people can access on a daily basis. I have an NVQ Level Two in Progression with Change, Grow, Live, and an NVQ Level Three in Advice and Guidance with St Giles Trust. I previously volunteered with Humankind. I took different substances for 28 years and experienced chronic addiction for 16 years which led to homelessness and numerous spells in custody. I have now been abstinent for four years. I want to give people the support they deserve by building a relationship and rapport. I believe in recovery but also recognise that this is their choice. I see the main aim of my job as keeping people as safe as possible. I try to rebuild confidence, motivate and empower people to reflect on the choices they make.
Working at the SHARP end: Reflections on recovery and identity as a Peer Navigator
Our National Institute for Health Research funded study (SHARPS) involves Peer Navigators providing a ‘relational intervention’ for people who are experiencing homelessness and problem substance use.As Peer Navigators we have lived experience of homelessness and/or problem substance use. We explicitly draw from this to support our participants (practically and emotionally) to improve their health and wellbeing, and reduce harms.
SHARPS is mixed-methods feasibility and acceptability study to explore if the Peer Navigator intervention is feasible and acceptable to: service users, members of staff in services and the local context.
We are based in third sector hostel/outreach settings in Scotland and the north of England.
We are each working with a caseload of around 15 individuals.
Please see ‘aims’.
Study researchers are conducting questionnaires with participants to build a picture of their health (providing the quantitative data). Qualitative data is being collected via observations in all settings and via interviews with members of staff and ourselves, the Peer Navigators.
Findings and conclusions
Formal study findings will be shared in spring 2020. In this poster, I (Michael, one of the study Peer Navigators) will briefly introduce the study on behalf of the study team. The focus of my poster will be sharing reflections on my identity as a peer worker and how this is developing and shifting over time. I will also consider the implications of this for our understanding of (long-term) recovery.