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Welsh Government project helps over 1,700 former substance misusers into employment and education
The evaluation of the Peer Mentoring Wales project by the University of South Wales showed that the project had met nearly all of its targets and compared favourably with early outcome figures from the DWP Work Programme.
The Peer Mentoring Wales project was established to assist people with substance misuse issues enter employment or further learning, with the support of ‘peer mentors’ many of whom have suffered from drug or alcohol issues themselves.
The Welsh Government is the project sponsor for the Wales wide £20m project (£11.1m grant and £9.3m match funding) which commenced in October 2009. The service is delivered by six different third sector agencies across Wales and over 4 years helped 9,627 individuals with over half gaining at least one positive outcome.
The report, showed that the providers had effectively developed links with employers and employment agencies, trained some clients as peer mentors to support others, and offered a variety of courses, opportunities for volunteering or work experience.
Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“The success of the Peer Mentoring Wales project is heartening to see and is testament to the hard work of the peer mentors within the six service providers and a great example of how working with service users can enable people to turn their lives around.
“This innovative approach to providing post-treatment services is reflected in our ‘Working together to reduce harm’ substance misuse delivery plan and we have gained valuable information on what we can do as the Welsh Government to help people make positive lifestyle changes.”
Rachel, a participant on the project said:
“The best part is the support and acceptance you get. It makes you feel that you are not alone. The Peer mentoring experience gave me the confidence to go to college and get a job as a support worker. I could not have done this without the help, encouragement and life-skills I got from the wonderful people there.”