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Community groups learn for free from peer mentors

Written by on 11th April 2022

Interlink RCT is playing matchmaker between voluntary groups and peer mentors. The organisation has experts from the community in green social prescribing, tackling climate change, digital exclusion and opening up after the pandemic. They’re available for free knowledge sharing, which is a great way to skill-up a community group.

The scheme has already helped several groups and organisations in RCT.

Lee Thomas at Bryncynon Community Revival Strategy Ltd said,

“…the support gave me the confidence to push the charity forward more and gave me the opportunity to speak to someone likeminded…The support received was fantastic.”

Peer mentoring can make projects flourish. If a community group isn’t sure where to start, they can pick the brains of a mentor who’s been there and done it before. They will know what policies and forms are important. Also it can be a shot in the arm for a group which may have lost a mentor too.

The mentors themselves all have first-hand experience of the topics that they support groups with. In many cases, they are pre-eminent in their fields, as with Janis Werrett, Director at Cynon Valley Organic Adventures who mentors for green social prescribing. In 2021, Cynon Valley Organic Adventures became the Wales winner of the National Lottery Awards.

The mentors also gain from the exchange, and Janis said of the project,

“Being able to connect with other groups with similar values and aims as our own is invaluable, it has helped to build some strong mutually supportive links that will continue long into the future.

The most important part of it for me though is playing a part in creating and supporting other community initiatives like ours, helping to raise awareness of green prescribing and to share our own resources and structure to ensure that other areas get to benefit from similar activities and support.”

Becoming a peer mentor can be a way to have more of an impact in the community. Through the scheme, people well-versed in a cause that they care about spread that knowledge to others who are keen to do work in the same field. In the process, it raises the mentor’s profile in the community while bringing attention to their work. Interlink RCT reimburses them for their time at a rate of £50 per hour up to £350 per day.