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Young People's Area

Media

"I'm Walking A Life"

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"Whitney Spoken Word"

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"Young People Performing A Song"

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Experiences

"Be good to be close to family and those supporting you"

"Intelligence is more than School smart"

"Young people aren't out of reach. Services are out of reach"

"I just tried to stay out of trouble, connect with family and friends and get early release"

"The word education isn't a great word"

"Young people need a second chance"

"If someone's got something to lose they will fight to keep it"

"Don't judge a book by its cover"

"Knowing your rights and entitlements means you feel more empowered"

"If I complain, I don't think anything will happen"

"The long term affect is massive, but the decision is based on the judges mood"

"Young people should be involved from the beginning"

Projects & Delivery - Peer Power
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Projects & Delivery

Our Approach

We take a pro-social and strengths based approach to our relational work and our practice is underpinned by our core person centred values of empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence.

See our values here

We promote an evidence-based approach: learning from cognitive archaeology, neuroscience and the impact of trauma, development psychology and attachment theory.
All our strands of work are based upon what people with lived experience have said will make a positive difference to their lives, and are Peer Led.

Our Approach To Engagement

Peer Power is Peer Led

The Peer Power staff team and young Peer Leaders have experience of support services, resulting in accelerated empathy and engagement with the children and young people we work with.

Voice

We are known for our excellence in participatory/ user involvement work with ‘harder to reach’ children and young people.

We don’t speak for (or on behalf of) young people, we support them to have their voices heard and to speak for themselves on the matters that are important to them. We ensure that young people’s voices are heard at the highest levels, and most importantly, that their views are responded to and acted upon.

Many of the children and young people we work with suffer from social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), and have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and trauma.

Below we set out our approach to engagement and relationship building:

Nurture

We take a nurturing approach to equip young people with skills and resilience, through developing vital emotional and social skills to help them increase well-being and cope better in education, training or employment environments. The concept of nurture highlights the importance of social environments – who you’re with, and not who you’re born to – and its significant influence on behaviour and cognitive ability. Children and young people who have a good start in life have a whole host of advantages over those who don’t have such positive experiences at home when they are little. They tend to do better at school, attend regularly, enjoy activities with friends and are significantly less likely to offend or experience problems with poor physical or mental health. Nurture approaches offer an opportunity to learn the nurturing experiences some children and young people lack, giving them the skills to do well at school or college, make friends and deal more confidently and calmly with the trials and tribulations of life, for life.

What is the underlying theory behind nurture?

That unconditional positive regard is the most powerful mechanism for change.
The primary theoretical model that underpins the effectiveness of nurturing provision is John Bowlby’s (1965) attachment theory which argues that children acquire age-appropriate behaviour through interactions with significant others.  These relationships allow the child to locate themselves as distinct individuals in relation to other people – a fundamental psychological base required for learning.  If a child’s early experiences were characterised by missing or distorted nurturing, it can lead to stunted social, emotional and cognitive development.  By providing another opportunity to internalise models of effective relationships and form attachments to supportive and caring adults, nurturing can develop vulnerable children’s social and emotional functioning in the long term.

Positive Psychology

Our approach is positive, strengths based and resilience-oriented. We believe in what’s right with young people, not what is wrong with them. Most work with ‘at risk’ young people is focused upon risk factors and problems, a ‘deficit based’ perspective, in contrast to our positive and ‘strengths based’ approach.

We use evidence based Positive Psychology methodology in our work to support well-being and happiness, it focuses on what makes people happy and encourages it, in comparison to the disease model approach of Psychology which focuses on what makes people unhappy, and tries to prevent it.

The approach focusses on human well-being and is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

At Peer Power we adopt Consortium of Therapeutic Communities Core Values in our approach to engagement:

  • Attachment – Healthy attachment is a developmental requirement for all human beings, and should be seen as a basic human right.
  • Containment – A safe and supportive environment is required for an individual to develop, to grow, or to change.
  • Respect – People need to feel respected and valued by others to be healthy. Everybody is unique and nobody should be defined or described by their problems alone.
  • Communication – All behaviour has meaning and represents communication which deserves understanding.
  • Interdependence – Personal well-being arises from one’s ability to develop relationships which recognise mutual need.
  • Relationships – Understanding how you relate to others and how others relate to you leads to better intimate, family, social and working relationships.
  • Participation – Ability to influence one’s environment and relationships is necessary for personal well-being. Being involved in decision-making is required for shared participation, responsibility, and ownership.
  • Process – There is not always a right answer and it is often useful for individuals, groups and larger organisations to reflect rather than act immediately.
  • Balance – Positive and negative experiences are necessary for healthy development of individuals, groups and the community.
  • Responsibility – Each individual has responsibility to the group, and the group in turn has collective responsibility to all individuals in it.

Relationships

Empathy Lab Programmes

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma

Understanding Emotional Intelligence and Resilience

Experience Led Coaching and Mentoring – More information

Positive Psychology Programmes (Custody and Community)

Issue Specific Peer Engagement Programmes: Young Women, Mental Health, Substance Misuse, Offending, Bereavement, Care experience, Housing, Debt

Emotional Health and Well-Being Workshops  for Young People and Practitioners (inc Empathy, Values, Identity, Relationships, Managing Stress, Emotional Resilience)

Relational Youth Engagement Training (Youth Justice, Police, Health and Children’s Social Care, Peer Supporters)

Building Relationships
Young People Sharing Their Stories

Involvement

Voice of the Young Person Training (Youth Justice) and Shared Decision Making

Voice of the Child/Young Person – Youth Justice Service Audits and Consultation

Peer to Peer research projects and stakeholder engagement events

Storytelling and the Journey of the Child

‘Experience Specific’ consultations and co-production (Young People and Practitioners)

Peer Outreach Programme – Young Speakers

Employment

‘Peer Mobilisation’ – Social Action and Volunteering Projects

‘Ready for Work’ – Pre Employment Action (NEET)

Peer Power Works – Employment and Progression Scheme

Getting Involved With Youth Projects

Outcomes

Our work generates a ripple effect. Using empathy and positive psychology we place young people at the heart of our delivery, increasing their small circles of influence. These grow in impact, influencing the larger circles of the services that support them, creating a wave of systematic change. Driven by what young people have told us will make a difference, our programmes are designed to make an impact, with the following outcomes:

  • Young People will have improved Emotional Health & Well-Being: We know that trusted, consistent relationships and the development of empathy are essential for children and young people’s development. We support their recovery from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) using positive psychology programmes as an ‘early intervention’ reducing the future need for expensive multiple and acute interventions. We teach children and young people the language of emotions, increasing their ability to articulate their stories and their needs.
  • Transformation of Young People’s Support Services: We collaborate and work in partnership with professionals and organisations to develop higher standards of empathy, inclusion, and diversity.
  • Increased Employment Opportunities and Social Mobility: We provide supported employment and open up career routes for people with lived experience of support services. Our staff have experience of these services, resulting in accelerated empathy and engagement with groups of ‘hard to reach’ children and young people.

Impact

Impact Infographic