Marking a Remarkable Journey – RISE Peer Supporter Graduation

The inspirational achievements of nine peer supporters at RISE Recovery Integrated Services were recognised at the first ever RISE Peer Supporter graduation on Tuesday 22nd September. The graduation ceremony was held at RISE Exeter with peer supporters coming from RISE services across the county including Newton Abbot, Barnstaple, Tiverton and Exeter.

Over the last year each of the peer supporters completed an ‘Understanding the Principles of Care, Organisational Policies and the Role of the Supporter’ training course accredited by NOCN and have since become a vital part of the service. Between April and June 2015 alone 26 peer supporters across RISE have completed over 700 hours of support to those wishing to address their drug and/or alcohol use.

Peer supporters are RISE clients who are engaging in treatment, are committed to their recovery journey and are able to lead by example making recovery visible to those new to the service. They co-produce structured recovery groups and activities, and have been key in instigating 11 recovery cafes, open to anyone who is looking to access help, across Devon.

RISE is a recovery orientated drug and alcohol service delivered across Devon by a partnership of Addaction and EDP Drug & Alcohol Services. Its aim is to empower individuals and their families to achieve their own personal goals through recovery and integration and peer supporters are key to making this happen.

At the graduation Liz Thompson, Families and Communities Manager for RISE, told the peer supporters “What you are doing here is the most important thing – making recovery visible. RISE is committed to driving our peer supporter programme forward so that those who need help can see that recovery is possible. With your help RISE will be a beacon of recovery across the country”.

On receiving their certificates many of the peer supporters spoke of their experiences. One peer supporter said “I felt part of a community and was part of creating that community. It’s all about having hope – so that you can see it and imagine it. Being a peer supporter has been the most valuable part of my life”. Another peer supporter commented “Without a doubt this is one of the best things I’ve done in my life – to pay it forward.”

Another of the peer supporters, shared “this time last year I was in treatment and the last year and the journey has been incredible. I’ve made a new friendship group and I’ve been very humbled by the experience.”

Many of the peer supporters have now left treatment and have moved on to become Recovery Champions for RISE or taken up full time employment.

If you are looking for support to address your drug and alcohol use please visit the RISE website www.riserecovery.org.uk to find your nearest service.

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