Volunteers who help others with their mental health and wellbeing were thanked at a reception held by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Alex Phillips.
Councillor Phillips praised them for their dedication, thanked them for their spare-time work and presented them with certificates for graduating from their recently completed peer support training.
The 10 peer support volunteers help out with Brighton Housing Trust’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
The volunteers provide a weekly peer support drop-in alongside other activities which have recently included relaxation, self-care and arts and crafts.
There is also a “We’re Still Mothers” peer support group for women whose children are being “looked after”.
Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) gives the volunteers support, regular supervision and additional training.
Previous volunteers have gone into employment, education and training in fields such as support work, youth work, neuroscience and counselling.
The reception was held in the Mayor’s Parlour at Brighton Town Hall on Friday (16 August).
BHT’s wellbeing peer support co-ordinator, Lorena Barroeta, has developed and delivered the four-week peer support training to BHT volunteers for several years.
The training includes peer support theory, boundaries and disclosure, active listening, safeguarding and equality, diversity and stigma.
She said: “Peer support volunteers are an integral part of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
“Without them, we would be unable to offer the range of activities that we do.
“The fact that these volunteers have overcome their own challenges regarding their wellbeing makes the groups they lead more authentic and inspires hope in the clients who attend.”
Councillor Phillips said: “One of my charities is Threshold Women’s Services which is part of BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
“It is always inspiring to hear about the great work undertaken by the service – and how volunteers play a huge part in supporting clients to achieve their life goals.
“In my role as mayor, I meet people from different backgrounds from all over Brighton and Hove who have overcome their own challenges and then give something back to their communities.
“It is an honour to thank them on behalf of the people of this city for their commitment and the work they do.”