The Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton hosted HeadStart Wolverhampton for two days to run their revolutionary Peer Support Program. This included three secondary schools on the first day and three primaries on the second. The Program aims to teach young people the importance of relationship building and acceptance of different beliefs, cultures and options. This is how our young people managed to learn more about being a real life HERO.
This is the first stage in building a peer support relationship. This is absolutely vital, that the young people understood how to develop a healthy relationship in a short time. When a Peer Supporter approaches a young person it is important to remain open minded and not to be judgemental about what they may or not talk about. Therefore in this part of the session we helped teach this to the young people.
Understand is based on understanding the different emotions peers can experience. For instance understanding different types of facial expressions when a young person is feeling happy or upset. It is essential that the peers supporters understand this so they can then empathise with others.
The Access stage of Hero's is about being aware of a situation, to understand and agree next steps. This is to make Peer supporters aware of how to follow clear proceeders to ensure that all parties are protected and that they can evaluate levels of risk effectively.
As a Peer Supporter, supporting fellow peers can help both promote resilience for both parties. This is because the peer can feel empowered to do stuff that they may not have ever tried like; football, tennis, chess, arts and crafts etc. This can then lead them into a area that could help promote emotional wellbeing. This also has the positive impact of making the Peer Supporters feel as though they have made an impact and change in someones life as a result.
In share the Hero must identify if the situation or conversation that has occurred, wether or not to report this to a responsible adult. This is to ensure that peer supporters are not taking the burden of a situation on themselves. By doing so it can put both the peer and peer supporter at risk. This part could be considered the crucial role of a peer supporter in understanding what should be reported. The young people found this difficult to understand, "why should they tell a teacher certain things that the peer has told them in high confidence?" Well this is a skill that the peer supporters eventually learned. Safeguarding is a vital skill to have and understand as safety is everyones number one concern.
Resolve, this is the end of the peer support relationship and how to pass on that relationship to another fellow supporter. This is to ensure that the peer supporters remain professional and that boundaries are adhered.This also makes sure that the peer doesn’t feel abandoned. Many of the young people may ask why they have to end the relationship? Well we believe that they don't need to end their friendship but they must resolve their peer support relationship as it can lead to complications and puts too much pressure on induvial peer supporter.