Peer Support Network

Community Action Norfolk runs a Peer Support Network to help rural community groups across Norfolk. It complements the work of our community development team by providing the sort of expertise and insight that can only come from people with specialist knowledge or first-hand experience of doing things.  The idea is to make that expertise available to others. Many years’ experience of working with a wide range of community groups shows that they really appreciate the input of someone who has already been involved in similar activity at community level.

The ideal Peer Supporter is community-minded and has either been involved in developing or delivering community projects or has other expertise they would be willing to share with people in other communities.

A typical example of the knowledge and experience needed might be that of a community looking to build a new village hall. A project like that will need people with a variety of skills to make it happen. The sorts of expertise needed might be how to set up, register and run a charity, chair meetings, take minutes, do accounts, plan and manage projects, undertake community consultations, draw up business plans, start fundraising and apply for grants, liaise with architects, consult with local authority planners, and identify potential builders and suppliers and obtain quotes.

Continuing the village hall theme, once the hall is built, the charity trustees will often need ongoing support from people who know about things like charity governance, employing people, health and safety, policy development, child and vulnerable adult protection, and licensing rules.

It’s not just about village halls though.  All sorts of other community projects will potentially need people with these sorts of skills.  So a pool of volunteers – the sort of people who have been there, done it and got the t-shirt - can give a bit of extra support to help groups achieve their ambitions.

The subject areas requiring expertise is very wide and how much of a commitment individual volunteers make would be up to them but training will be provided and expenses will be paid.

If you are an ‘expert by experience’ and want to make a difference in Norfolk’s communities, please contact Community Action Norfolk for further information on 01362-698216 or e-mail office@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk