A new peer mentoring programme that will place people with experience of drug or alcohol dependency in Jobcentres to help others get back into work has been launched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The scheme will be trialled in 40 Jobcentres across England from this month, says DWP.
The mentors will be contracted by the department following recommendations from partner organisations. They will then ‘draw on their lived experience of drug or alcohol dependency to support people in the same position’, the government states. The aim is that people will then feel comfortable in disclosing dependency issues ‘without fear of reprisal’ and signposted to appropriate support, as well as being equipped with skills to access training, volunteering or employment.
The programme is open for referrals to Jobcentres in Cosham, Fareham, Gosport, Halton, Havant, Hull, Knowsley, Liverpool, Portsmouth, St. Helens, Sefton, Southport and Wirral, as well as the London boroughs of Camden, Croydon, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Westminster. DWP will also be expanding its individual Placement and Support programme for drug and alcohol dependency to all local authority areas in England by 2025, it says.
‘Our new peer mentors are proof that work can be a crucial part of someone’s journey out of substance dependency, transforming their life,’ said social mobility minister Mims Davies. ‘Their lived experience will help them provide expert one-to-one advice and support from DWP in our Jobcentres, helping people recovering from addiction move into work. This new form of support will not only give people in recovery the tailored help they need to get on in life and prosper, but it will also help grow our economy by getting more people back into the workforce.’