Posted by Chiara 80 days ago in Fast Forward

Our new SPEN coordinator

Hi everyone,

I’m Elaine, the new Scottish Peer Education Network (SPEN) coordinator at Fast Forward.

I was given the opportunity to start this fantastic role in July, but have already worked at Fast Forward for 3 years, delivering projects with minority ethnic groups across Scotland, most recently with the Gypsy Traveller community.

As someone who has always been passionate about education in all its forms, this is the perfect job!

For those of you who don’t know much about it, SPEN is the place to be if you need or want support with a peer education project anywhere in Scotland or are thinking about starting one, are not sure how to go about it or just want to know what peer education is. It is a term widely used to describe a range of initiatives where people from a similar age group, background, culture and/or social status educate each other about a variety of issues.

If you work with young people there will be always be an issue worth tackling that they feel passionate about. Using peer education is a great way to share positive messages and some of the more challenging issues faced by our younger communities.

The themes of the projects can be anything around health and wellbeing and with a bit of support, research and preparation, young people very often come up with unique ways of telling their peers about the facts or highlighting and challenging risk taking behaviours.

Being part of a project can be a fun experience, increasing confidence, self-esteem and knowledge, which for some, can lead to accreditation and opportunities they didn’t think possible.

Imagination, support and willingness to try are essential and SPEN can provide training which looks at: what is peer education, skills and attributes required to be a peer educator, what you need for a successful project and much more.

This can be delivered to young people and/or those supporting them. Delivering the actual project is up to you.

With around 200 members already, joining the network is easy and free. You and/or your group will receive newsletters about other peer education projects, new ideas and also get opportunities to attend our network meetings, conferences and events.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more, or perhaps you want to tell SPEN about your project. I’m especially looking forward to hearing from our young peer educators themselves.

Over the next few months I will be asking current members for contributions to our newsletters and also about themes you might like to hear about at network meetings so we can share ideas and link more groups together on subjects that are relevant and topical.

Thanks to the individuals and groups I’ve met already for their support and enthusiasm and I look forward to meeting many more over the coming months. Contact me direct at elaine@fastforward.org.uk.