Country - Czech Republic
TG:
homeless people
Activity: peer involvement, commercial

Pragulic

Discover Prague in a Different Way!

The organisation

Pragulic aims to create unique placements for people who are experienced in being homeless by engaging them in natural activities, through which they can contribute to society, and thus regain meaning and dignity. Their mission is to challenge the stereotypes associated with homelessness by enabling people to experience the world from a homeless person's perspective. Their ultimate goal is to rebrand homelessness by means of a market-driven social business. It is run as a social enterprise, aiming to be financially sustainable using its own revenues.

They currently employ nine homeless people as tourist guides in the streets of Prague as they believe that no one knows this part of the city better than people who spend there most of their time. The main activity is: city tours - guiding a group of tourists through the city, showing interesting places, and sharing life stories and facts about homelessness. However, they also offer other experiential services such as teambuilding activities, city games for groups or a 24-hour homelessness experience, where a guide accompanies a customer and helps him survive on the street. The project started in August 2012 with four employees, and five more were hired in the second round of recruitment.

Results

The main results of Pragulic are the changed societal perception on homelessness, as well as contributing to an improved life condition and self-esteem of the participants. Besides building up self-esteem the participants are stimulated to develop various skills: they receive tourist guide training, improve their communication, organisational and language skills as well as financial management coaching. Moreover, specific trainings are possible upon request.

After the training all employees are paid, so the placement is considered to be a regular job. On the job participants are stimulated to develop professionally through feedback from customers. All participants attend regular meetings, cultural meetings and various events; through the contact with people and the possibility to express themselves they are stimulated in their personal growth. Besides, the earnings and benefits are a good incentive for the work, and stimulate a sense of worthiness.

All in all it is a good example of an innovative approach towards employment of disadvantaged groups, and it is a successful and well known project in Prague. In the future the project will continue to grow and develop in various ways: Increasing their reputation, growth in number of customers, extension of their services, and possible international expansion.

           

More information:

Website: www.pragulic.cz

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Country - Portugal
TG: drug users, (ex) offenders
Activity: peer involvement, training

InPAR

“Through the collection and systematisation of data, our process and outcome results proved the efficacy of peer workers. This was used in our advocacy for their recognition and for building relationships of trust between organisations/teams and peers.”

Organization

InPAR was a two-year project run by the Portuguese NGO APDES, from August 2009 until July 2011. InPAR was an experimental project at national level in the area of professional and social reintegration aimed at unemployed people who use drugs, but motivated to work. The project was worked on in close cooperation with harm reduction interventions. It was anchored in action-research principles, with participative methodologies playing a crucial role in the process of implementation and evaluation of the project. The project was implemented in the north of Portugal and studied/developed a reintegration methodology in socio-professional responses for people who use drugs, namely through peer work. The overall aim was to highlight the facilitating factors and obstacles in this process of integration and identifying good practices/recommendations for future projects. Regarding the integration of drug users as peer workers the objectives were the following: Integrate 8 drug users in outreach teams and facilitate their bio-psycho-social stabilisation; Offer training and follow up for these persons as peer workers; Facilitate conditions for the integration of peer educators into the outreach teams, as well as into their supporting organisations; Develop a professional and social reintegration methodology, identifying facilitating factors and obstacles for the integration of drug users as peer workers; Contribute to the recognition of the profession of peer worker.

This project was the starting point of two other projects, namely:

  1. PREVIH, integration of Sex Workers as Peer Educators in Harm Reduction Projects. APDES is responsible for the training of the sex workers, implementation and adaptation of the peer educator’s integration model on sex work intervention (together with Porto University);
  2. Vanguarda, a prevention Project in a Prison, aimed to train and develop a peer education methodology inside a prison.

Results

The main conclusions achieved by InPAR are brought together in the manual "O Trabalho primeiro" [Working First - Manual for Employability of Drug Users and Recommendations for Integration through Peer Education]. This manual was published in June 2012 and since then 300 copies have been disseminated through the project partners, national outreach teams, universities and professional training resource centres.

The main results showed a relevant change of the situation in Portugal: 4 peers integrated with formal contract with the organisation after the project end, and 2 peers were doing voluntary work (10 Peers were followed throughout the project); increased recognition of the peer workers' contributions to Outreach Teams; Policy impact suggested by the firm commitment from the public funder to study/adopt criteria for applications evaluation where the inclusion of a Peer Worker in the outreach team can be valued; Creation of a methodology for promoting the employability of drug users, particularly in Peer Work, through identification of key factors (obstacles and facilitators) for integration.

The model developed by InPAR was implemented in a project held in the prison context, with prisoners as peer educators, and in a project involving outreach teams that intervene in the sex work area, with sex workers as peer workers. Also, the model lends itself for further distribution in other countries and/or settings, for instance by using the previously mentioned manual as a training tool.

More information

Website: http://www.apdes.pt/en/project_inpar.php
or http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index52035EN.html?project_id=01PT10&tab=overview

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Country - United Kingdom
TG:
drug users, homeless, (ex) offenders
Activities: peer involvement, training

Addiction Worker Training Programme

“Trainees provide an inspirational role to service users, showing them what can be achieved if they persevere in recovery, which is particularly helpful for those struggling to engage, who feel the cultural gap between professional services and their own lifestyles. Trainees can often provide critical words of encouragement which are listened to because of their own background, or help to diffuse problems by reassuring service users who might have barriers to talking to staff.”

Organization

The Addiction worker Training Project is managed and co-ordinated by the Scottish Drugs Forum. SDF is a voluntary, membership based organisation with nearly 300 organisational and individual members across Scotland. SDF primarily focuses on improving the quality, range and effectiveness of service and policy responses to problematic drug use in Scotland, reducing future and recurring problematic drug use and promoting and sustaining recovery from drug problems.

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Programme (AWTP) is a unique, multi-agency funded initiative which trains, and prepares individuals with a history of problematic drug and alcohol use to work in social care whilst receiving an intensive package of support. The project was launched in 2004 to help former substance users prepare for employment through in-work placements and formal learning. Scottish Drugs Forum works in partnership with accredited learning providers and alongside frontline services to provide training for students who include former homeless people and ex-offenders who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment. Course participants must be two years drug free, including substitute prescribing and two years problem drinking free.

Trainees are supported to complete two full time six month work placements with partner organisations, complete an industry standard qualification, and have access to a variety of training and workshop opportunities related to issues in the care field. Trainees are supported to be involved in the day to day duties that placement staff carry out, and attend placements three to four days per week, with a day for study or learning. Placements are accessed in social care projects with a key focus on addictions. Project partners offer trainees invaluable work experience in residential, community, and outreach based projects with a range of service users, and offer additional training to supplement that provided by SDF. Initially, trainees shadow other members of staff, building relationships with colleagues and service users, and learning about the project policies and procedures. In subsequent weeks and months, trainees are supervised to participate in the tasks of support workers. Tasks include, but are not limited to: working with service users, liaising with other agencies, carrying out assessments, key-working, group work, accompanying service users on journeys, accessing and updating client files and records and community outreach.

Results

SDF currently has 14 Trainee Addiction Workers on the 2013-14 course in Glasgow, and 8 Trainee Addiction Workers in the East of Scotland. Since 2004, the lowest number of trainees has been 11, with the highest number reaching 22.

Nearly 90% of those who start the course complete, with 85% of those completing moving in to further employment, the vast majority to full time jobs in the Social Care and Addiction fields. The AWTP provides a resource of motivated and highly trained staff for the care sector, and an opportunity for people with direct experience of services to inform practice as project participants and ultimately as staff members. Overall, the project has resulted in more people previously outside the labour market are employed as trainee addiction workers (127 people since 2004), more people who have recovered from substance misuse have improved their employability skills and achieved an industry standard qualification (114 people since 2004), and more people who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment related to their past substance misuse have moved in to further employment post project completion (97 people since 2004).

AWTP has a direct impact on trainees and their families, however wider beneficiaries include placement agencies and their service users. Through their placement experience, one trainee can support and provide interventions to up to 85 people experiencing problems with substance use over the duration of the course.

More information

Website: http://www.sdf.org.uk/moving-on/addiction-workers-training-project-awtp/

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Country - The Netherlands
TG:
people with mental heath problems
Activities: peer involvement, individually tailored, low threshold, product sales

SCIP

“Give the participants a lot of freedom to explore their own talents and capabilities. Adjust the activities to the abilities of the participants to keep them involved and responsible.”

The organisation

SCIP started as an independent initiative in 2000, and since 2009 it is an independent client controlled branch of HVO-Querido daytime activities in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During the foundation of SCIP, the clients themselves decided how they were going to implement the project and they wanted to organise something independent of healthcare institutions. The projects are for people with mental health problems. Individuals who want to work for SCIP do not need official medical approval; everyone who wants to participate is welcome.

The essence of the strategy lies in the client control. At least 51% in all layers of the organisation (from menial work to management) has a psychiatric background. SCIP has 17 paid employees of which 14 have a mental healthcare background. SCIP runs around 18 projects focussing on social integration, meaningful day activities and work (ranging from group dinners to a publishing house). The work-projects are: Tobi Vroegh, ACC, Web buro en login/logout.

Publishing house Tobi Vroegh is a project where volunteers take care of all the activities in the printing and publishing process. All publications have a link with psychiatry, being either written by someone with psychological problems or on a topic related to psychiatry. ACC are computer centres, where in the mornings and evenings people can follow courses, and in the afternoons people can work independently. Login is a shop where new and second-hand computers and hardware are sold. Login has a separate workplace where computers are fixed/put together in order to be sold in the shop. At the workplace they also offer a course on hardware and software and outsiders can visit the workplace to fix their own computer under professional guidance. Logout started in 2008 and offers help with computers at home and Web buro can develop professional websites.

Results

The volunteers participate as real employees and several volunteers move on to paid jobs inside and outside the organisation. Participants become more socially included and learn to put their skills into practice in a protected environment. SCIP emancipates people with a mental healthcare background.

At Toby Vroegh all the expenses are covered by the financial yielding of the publications.

Contrary to the regular approach in psychiatry people at SCIP are not approached or treated as mental healthcare clients, but responsible individuals with personal capabilities. Rather than disabilities the focus lies on talent and individual strengths, and the contribution a person can make to any of the projects. At SCIP individuals shape their activities themselves, without being pushed to walk a certain path or to achieve specific targets. People are stimulated to do things their own way. Consequently there is a low drop-out rate and a higher well-being and commitment among the volunteers and employees.

There are no access criteria, and everyone who wants to participate may do so. As a consequence the participants of SCIP are very diverse in their capabilities, level of recovery and social abilities. The resulting cooperation between those with lighter and heavier problems has proven to contribute to the empowerment of all participants. Those with heavier problems are empowered through the support of the stronger ones, and the ones with lighter problems can gain confidence by fulfilling an exemplary role.

More information

Websites: http://www.scipweb.nl/ and www.webbureau-amsterdam.nl