On 17 June, Fife’s Mental Health Peer Support Network celebrated its 1st birthday with 100 members on its mailing list, speakers from a variety of peer perspectives and an Awards Ceremony which will sow the seeds for growing Peer services across Fife for years to come.
Cllr Rosemary Liewald, Chair of the Joint Health & Social Care Partnership presented the Awards, ‘Covid-19 has shown that no one is immune to mental health challenges. In Fife we know that peer support, in all its forms, has a critical role to play in the tapestry of mental health and recovery-focussed support in the area.’
Kym Solanki, Peer Worker and Network Member shared, ‘I feel very privileged to be part of this network. Peer work is not only benefiting the individuals that I am finally able to come into contact with, but it is doing wonders for my personal journey. It means I am able to continually work on myself whilst helping others, through sharing lived experiences.’
It was a packed afternoon with lots to celebrate. Awards were given to Sam’s Café, a peer-led drop-in available in Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy & Leven hosted by SAMH, and Fife Employment Access Trust for their efforts in growing peer worker roles in Fife. Whilst Ross Reilly, Kym Solanki, Liam Cummings, Catherine Grubb, Michelle Austin and the Network’s own Trish O’Brien received awards for individual efforts and commitment to delivering peer work and growing Peer Support in the area.
Jillian Torrens, Senior Manager Mental Health, Addictions & Learning Disability Services at NHS Fife spoke at the event: ‘I was delighted to be invited and to have been involved with the network in the past few months. It was a super event and enthused me with ideas and possibilities. I am truly committed to working together to grow and develop Peer Support within Fife.’
Fife’s Peer Support Network is partnership in action. Funded by the ALLIANCE to June of this year and hosted by Fife Voluntary Action, the Network has brought together Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, the Scottish Recovery Network, a host of third sector providers and, crucially, individuals with lived experience of mental health challenges who are keen to see more peer work available in the area.
Trish O’Brien, Fife Voluntary Action Peer Support Network Coordinator shared, 'The partnership working in the Network has been really inspiring. Co-production, openness to all and a spirit of learning have been the foundations on which this work has grown.’